When you think about your past, what emotions reach out and grab your heart? Do you struggle to keep those feelings inside? Do you fear that others may think less of you if they knew your past?
If this is you, then your story owns you. You have allowed it to define who you are, to shadow all that you could be. It has shackled you and your future.
Why do we do this? Fear? Pride? These are not words that we should have in our vocabulary as Christians. Christ died to set us free that we might be “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37). By the mere definition of a conqueror, it means you may have been in a battle, but you were the victor. You won. You have faced the enemy and his plans for destruction in your life and you have overcome (I John 4:4). Now that’s a story to tell not hide–it’s your story.
Did you come from poverty? Were you raped, an addict, pregnant out of wedlock, had an abortion, adopted, suffer with depression, consider/attempt suicide, divorce, commit a crime and have to do the time? Did you lose a job or a business or maybe file bankruptcy? These things do not define you so why are you allowing them any place or power in your life?
What’s your story? As long as you hold onto it and try to conceal it, you infuse it with power it does not deserve to have in your life. But when you take off the glasses of self and put on His robe of righteousness, your story becomes your testimony of His power and grace to you. It’s how you became His child. It’s about His redeeming power. According to the Word, we are all sinners saved by His matchless grace. My sin and your sin drove the nails into His hands and feet. The price has been paid. You have been set free. Cast off the shackles and live in victory. Victors shout about it. They rejoice. So let your shame turn into music. Let today be the day the tempo in your music changes so you cast off those shackles and put on your dancing shoes.
You’ve given Him your heart and trust Him for your eternity. Try giving Him your past and watch Him turn your story into His story and use it to impact the hearts and lives of others..
As the clock struck midnight we launched into a new year–2016 is here whether we are ready or not. Many have endured loss, heartaches, hurts and trials that meant they were eager to close the door on 2015, while others had a very successful year and cause for great rejoicing. As we face the new year, some enter it with trepidation while others rush forward eagerly. Regardless of our circumstances and mindset, we each have 365 days stretching out before us. Some of us won’t be given all 365, but for those who are, God admonishes us to number our days and to focus on gaining a heart of wisdom.
WISDOM IS A HEART STATE. Wisdom is not a head full of knowledge. Wisdom is knowledge in action–right action. So we can’t sit around hoping wisdom is going to show up; we have to apply our hearts to learn, to grow, and to properly exercise God’s truth day by day. Wisdom isn’t some lofty state you will arrive at one day and be able to set up camp for the rest of your days. Wisdom is the judicious application of knowledge moment by moment, day by day.
God’s admonition in this Psalm is that we need to recognize we don’t have forever. We must make every day count. How will you number your days this year? Maybe you need a visual–e.g., 365 stones in a bucket or beans/kernels of corn in a jar, a notebook with 1-365 pages waiting for you to journal what you are learning and how it is changing your actions.
I wish I could tell you I’m wise and always exercise wisdom in all my actions. I don’t. But I want to learn and to grow. Joshua 1:8 tells us to get into the Word for as we meditate on it day and night, it will help us observe what the right thing is to do–for in doing so we will have prosperity. I hope you’ll join me in pursuit of God’s wisdom for this year.
So rather than just wishing you a Prosperous New Year, I want to give you the tools for getting to next January 1 prosperously. Find your strategy to number your new gift of 365 days. Memorize and make real Joshua 1:8 and Psalm 90:12 in your life this year. Daily find gratitude and record your blessings. One friend suggested writing down at least one blessing on a 3×5 card each day this year. Be creative and put your jar, book and/or box of blessing notes/cards/stickies where you will see it each day.
Determine with me that this is the year we will not only count our days. . .we are going to make them count for the Kingdom.
Happy New Year!