By Keiko Chibana-Shinn | Rediscovering Prayer
“Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
“Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert. Is. 43:18-19
Jesus says to us: Put Me in remembrance… today. Let us begin here in this new year. Forget yesterday and even the minutes prior to when you realized your heart turned steadily colder from last year’s blunders and unfulfilled dreams. Let our hearts receive the victory in advance through our decision to surrender to Him afresh and anew, today. We are a new creation and our identity is maintained through the faith we profess to have in Christ. Let our faith speak forth from a place of a renewed assurance. We have been found wearied in Christ but God is calling us back into proper alignment:
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance. Ps. 16:5-6
Let us not lag behind Him or run off ahead of Him. Jesus calls you by name. Our Father forms us, sets us apart, and honors us for Himself. He crowns us with life through His Son so that we may live a life of love, mercy, and peace. Motivation is His, good and pure. Let His Spirit breathe life into your goals, aspirations, and into your thinking. It’s no longer a safe lifestyle to hide your gifts in mere head knowledge, in the limitations of your skillful ability, or in a receding reservoir of faith succumbed by pride and fear. Jesus wants you closer to Him this year than ever before.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. John 15:16
In this season of expectation for what we yearn to see this year, let us realign our perspective. There are so many things we are hungering to experience: physical healing, financial freedom, career and ministry goals attained, greater depth and richness in our family relationships and friendships, and the list goes on… But I feel the Lord tugging my heart to refocus my heart.
May I draw closer, ever closer to Him- not seeking the provision or the gifts themselves but rather, that the person of Jesus Christ be my all sufficient one. His Word would be the one true practical resource, my compass for fruitful living. As I take a hard look at the condition of my heart, I ask that God would examine areas where there may be lack and allow God to move in so that as He builds me up, I may find the fruit of His Spirit working thoroughly in me, adorning my character with the fragrance of His presence.
Let us bear the fruit that speaks louder than words and prevails against the opposing forces of distracted living, pessimistic thinking, and emotionally-driven faith. For this is the stuff that assaults our capacity to live in authentic joy and taints our attitude because our perspectives are anything but pure. May we come into a new level of experiencing God’s love to break free from the cynicism that heavily brands our times and so eagerly wants to see healthy and vibrant, child-like faith go bad.
Instead of waiting for something to just magically happen for me this year, may I intentionally bring something new and special into this year for His name’s sake. May this year be marked by a Spirit-filled awareness to acknowledge my real need of Jesus. My heart’s prayer for my family and for the Church underscores the following:
May we be bolder and more courageous in His leading to ask the hard questions that will ultimately nourish Godly wisdom and make level our path before us. May our intimate encounters with Jesus provoke actual change in the attitude of our hearts and in the quality of our faith. In doing so, collectively as a Church, we will be ever more so mindful to relinquish the doubts, fears, and the blindfolds. We will gain greater freedom to place our thinking under the obedience of Christ and walk in a deeper level of love that breaks chains and brings continual deliverance.
Authority in His grace will rise from our hope to trust in who Jesus says He is for our lives. We will experience supernatural transformation by being faithful in the small stuff and holding our integrity in check. It is Jesus who perfects the good work in us but let us give Him rightful place in our everything that we may declare unswervingly that the best is yet to come. Let us test Him in this and we will see it for ourselves, a newness of life springs forth- we shall see it come to pass. He is faithful to do it! May all of God’s people say, Amen!
Additional verses: Matt. 11:28; Ps. 145:13; Is. 43: 6-7; 1 Cor. 15:57; Ps. 103:4; 2 Cor. 5:17; Heb. 11:1; Jn. 15:4; 2 Cor. 12:9; Phi. 4:17; Gal. 5:22-23; Heb. 12:1-2; Lk. 16:10; Heb. 12:13; 2 Cor. 10:5; 1 Thess. 5:24