As 2018 is quickly approaching I’m sure we are all beginning to think about the coming New Year. This time of year we usually begin to set the goals we hope to accomplish in the New Year or consider and pray about the changes we want to make in our lives. It is also a time of reminiscing where we reflect on the challenges we have overcome throughout the current year which have taught us valuable lessons and made us stronger. For some of us we may be even carrying those same challenges with us into the New Year because they are not yet resolved and we feel uncertain about the outcome. But whatever our story may be there is one thing that is steadfast and that is the truth of God’s Word. His Word will never fail us it will stand forever.
Luke 1:37 says, “For the word of God will never fail”.
Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.”
So with that said, I believe we have to learn to take God at his word no matter what circumstances we face. It’s called living by faith and not by sight. I definitely want to take hold of all God has for me in this New Year and I’m sure you do to. I know that I frequently pray and ask God to remove anything in me that is not like him and to show me areas where I need to draw closer to him. It’s always interesting to pray a prayer and begin to see God through His Spirit teach you and show you the answer to the things you prayed about. There is a certain freedom that comes with repenting and asking God to help you to get better in Him because the more like him we become the more of our purpose we can fulfill.
As we venture into this New Year and continue to pursue the dreams God has given us or accomplish the goals we have set, one thing I believe I can share with you that He is showing me the importance of being a giver. Our ability to trust and obey God in our giving plays a vital part in seeing our dreams and goals come to past. It can be hard to give when we think we cannot afford to give or when there is something God is asking us to give that we simply do not want to part with. Although giving is often associated with money it is definitely not the only thing God expects us to give. He may also ask us to give of our time or possessions, and that can be really hard if we don’t want to part with them. We may even need to give up wrong attitudes or wrong thinking that is contrary to his word. But for every seed of obedience we plant I’m learning He always has a blessing on the other side and that we can never out give him. As we give more of ourselves to him we will experience more of his presence in our lives.
I believe that when we go to God with our problems, hopes, dreams, etc., often times there is a process that he may take us through before he can bring us the answers we seek. When we pray for increase we also have to learn to trust that God knows the best time for us to get the increase we desire and also trust him as he does the work in us that needs to be done before we can handle the increase. In my previous blog, “There is Always Something to Give”, I talked about the widow who gave from the little she had. I was so inspired by her story because she was willing to give, in spite of her circumstances. Her obstacles didn’t hold her back from giving what God told her to give.
I realize it’s so easy for us to become discouraged when things don’t go as we thought they would and we wonder what God is up to when we don’t see changes as fast as we thought we would. But remember this truth from Romans 5:3-4…
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
I think these verses tell us why some of our goals or dreams may be delayed. They tell us it’s because God is working to develop endurance, character, and confident hope in his salvation. But it also assures us we will not be disappointed as we go through this process.
I admit sometimes the wait can be hard but for me, I’d rather trust God as I go through the process so I can know once I receive the blessing it will be something I can handle it. Hopefully you feel the same. So we have to be willing to give our trust to him and not hold back or pick and choose what we will and won’t trust him with. The Holy Spirit recently whispered this in my ear, “Give what I tell you to give and trust me for the increase”. I knew he was affirming that whatever I receive from God will always start with my obedience in giving to God. Look at this truth in Luke 6:38…
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”
Yep, our receiving is directly tied to our giving! Never fail to give the little that God may be leading you to give because as he sees your faithfulness in giving in the little things and as you see his faithfulness to provide for you even in the little things a beautiful relationship built on mutual trust begins to develop. Next thing you know you will be trusting him with bigger things and seeing him release bigger blessings that he now knows he can trust you with. In other words if we can’t give him the $10 chances are we won’t give him the $100. If we can’t be faithful teaching a Sunday school class chances are we won’t be faithful if he places us over a large ministry.
So let’s ask God to make us better givers in 2018! Rather it’s time, money, gifts, talents, possessions, or even using your mouth to encourage those around you don’t be afraid to step out on faith and give. We never know what God will ask us to give but it maybe the seed he needs you to plant to reap the harvest you have been praying and waiting for. So give what he tells you to give and trust him for the increase in 2018 and beyond. God bless you!
Those who hope in the Lord will never be put to shame…(Psalm 25:3)
You word tells us every good and perfect gift comes from you and we thank you for so patiently teaching us that the ability to give is a gift from you. When you use us to give to others it impacts your kingdom in ways we may never even know. Even a simple smile and genuine hello can make a person’s day a little better. Many of the things we are trusting you for are usually dependent on what we are willing to give to you out of obedience. Help us not to try and take shortcuts but to trust you through the process one day at a time as you build our character. We want to be people of integrity who can be good stewards over the blessings you have planned for us so please shape and mold us each day. We rejoice in the good things you have planned for us in 2018 as we grow closer to you and learn to trust you as you teach us to give.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.