Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Heart's Desire In This Brand New Year

Sometimes great things come out of New Year resolutions, especially when they are provoked by the Holy Spirit. A year ago I was challenged by the Spirit to write my blog every single day of the year. This was a challenge for me, especially on Sundays because often the blog was a separate subject from what I was preaching that day. I stuck to it and ended up writing my 369th blog of the year yesterday and I was blessed in doing it. Now, what about this year?

I woke up this morning with one thought in my heart and one prayer on my lips. I was speaking to the Lord even before I realized I was awake and what I heard my spirit say is, "Lord, I give to you all 365 days of this new year. My desire is to seek nothing for myself in these days but to only seek you and your will; to serve, love, and seek you with all my heart, mind, body and strength."

Almost from day 1 of 2010 I faced overwhelming challenges that threatened to destroy me and my faith. I identified with the psalmist as he wrote:

Do not cast me away when I am old; 
   do not forsake me when my strength is gone. 
For my enemies speak against me; 
   those who wait to kill me conspire together. 
They say, “God has forsaken him; 
   pursue him and seize him, 
   for no one will rescue him.” (Psalm 71:9-11)

I had a choice, I could hold on to my faith and trust my Lord or I could allow myself to be pulled down into despair and be lost to my God and those who love me. I chose the Lord because he is all I have known since my youth and he has never failed me, not even during those times I failed him. He always stayed close and covered me by his grace which sprang from his love. So as I look at what he has done for me over this past year my heart yearns with a desire to bless him will all my love and life. Again I find my words on the psalmist's tongue:

But as for me, I will always have hope; 
   I will praise you more and more. 
My mouth will tell of your righteousness, 
   of your salvation all day long, 
   though I know not its measure. 
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign LORD; 
   I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone. (Psalm 71:14-16) 

As I look at this past year I have no doubt that I accomplished nothing of any worthy yet God accomplished great things through me. I want to see more of that. Less of me everyday in this new year and more of Jesus. He has provoked such a song in my heart by his great acts of mercy and grace. He has revealed a greater portion of his heart and given me understanding to comprehend it. The more I understand the more I realize I want all of him and nothing of myself. My greatest worth is found in what he has done for me and what he has called me too. Nothing I have pursued for myself has stood the test of the fires and been of any benefit. All I know is I want to be faithful to him from my youth to my last breath, when I no longer have any strength in this feeble body to carry on:

Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, 
   and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. 
Even when I am old and gray, 
   do not forsake me, O God, 
till I declare your power to the next generation, 
   your might to all who are to come. (Psalm 71:17-18)

After all he has done for me in this past year, how could I have any other response than to give him my all in this new year. Every day, each moment of each day, in all that I pursue and desire, I pray his glory will shine as I follow his will. May this year bring you and yours even greater revelation of the depth of God's love and may the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ shine through you for all the world to see. May you be faithful to him in all that he desires for you and your family. May his praise be forever found on your lips in this brand new year.

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Elizabeth Prata said...

Happy New Year Pastor Paul!! Our Hope is eternal, His promises are sure. he is coming,and we are looking up in 2012 for our Redemption draws nigh! I wish for you a peaceful and happy new year.

Philip said...

No wonder your blog is popping up on my blog reader so often! Congratulations on 369 posts. That's truly an achievement to praise God for.

And with you my heart yearns to give God everything this year in my every moment. Step by step...