Greetings brothers and sisters! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
What if you decided this year to make some changes in how you respond to some of the difficult situations in life? What if your weakness was fear or anger or whatever you struggle with . . . what would you do?
My first response would be to think “Forget it! I can’t do this!” One time many years ago (too many to mention) when I was driving home from Bolling AFB I thought that exact thing. And God corrected me and said, “You’re right! You can’t do this, but with me you can!” I almost pulled over in my 1974 Gold Plymouth Duster, but I was hesitant to stop on Rt. 295. I was flabbergasted that God spoke to me! With God’s help I knew I could try to make some changes in my life. I trusted God and I really wanted to change my heart and life.
The Second Sunday of Advent our church’s devotion and meditation in lighting the Advent Candles focused around Psalm 86, especially verses 10 and 11. They read like this, “You are God. Just you. Teach me your way, Lord, so that I can walk in your truth.” Verse 11 is what jumps out at me, “Make my heart focused only on honoring your name.”
This psalm is a lament, and the author cries out to God to be taught – because . . . it’s not always obvious how to walk in God’s way or truth. But the psalmist wants to walk in God’s way—so there is a statement of commitment, but verse 11 brings up a universal human challenge we all confront.
Verse 11 says the heart is divided and not focused. The psalmist asks boldly and with confidence, but what’s powerful about these verses is this. We all see our need for God’s instruction, but we can so easily lose focus and let our hearts become divided. Life is filled with so many challenges that can be upsetting—our kids, our job, extended family issues that have never been resolved, and on and on.
Fear can also be a challenge. Fear of not having enough money. Fear of aging or being rejected by others. Fear is something we deal with regularly, and we may not even notice when it begins to take over our focus on Christ and following God. But we can acknowledge God and ask for God’s help, and in so doing God teaches us. Our aim as Christ followers is to allow God to change our distraction and lack of focus—to help us re-center our attention on him.
God promises to transform us, but we have to cooperate and see our need. Romans 12 states that this is our spiritual or our reasonable service. Not to be conformed to the world’s ways but to be transformed. Know that God is able and willing to help you achieve whatever God commands. His commands are His equipping!! Christ empowers us, but we must see our need and believe God will help us. Ask for a heart and mind that acknowledges God and allow Christ to make your dreams come true. Maybe not exactly the kind of 2019 dreams you thought might happen, but God knows exactly what we need to be filled with joy. God bless your dreams in 2019. God is able and willing!
Peace and grace!
Happy New Year!