Did that just happen? Really 2015 is over? These years really do go by too fast! A new year is upon us once more. It is a good time to reflect on what we learned in the past year and to think about God’s purpose for our lives.
One thing I can tell you is that even though I started writing some of what I will share months ago, I wait with actually getting it all down until that clock is about to strike midnight and that calendar is about to open to a new page; a new year! The excitement builds up you know, and the closer to the new year we get, the better this post should be, right? (Besides, I was only asked to write this three month ago.) Ok… I admit it…It actually has more to do with this bad last minute habit thing I have going on. If I were to make resolutions this year, that should probably be one thing I should change. Our homemade gift exchange at church was a fine example of why I need to work on that one.
However, I really do find a new year exciting. Much like our walk with God. Or wait, was that excitement I experienced with Him in 2015? Did you? (I’m going to ask you some questions as I share, to get some interaction going on here.)
2015 really didn’t feel all that exciting to me. However, at this very moment - looking back, experiencing today and thinking ahead, I am excited! The only place I give the credit for that is Jesus.
When I think back on the last year, I have to say God took me places I did not want to go! I faced some battles I wanted to run from, not fight head on. Do you ever feel that way? Is it just me, or does it seem like our Father always wants us to grow and stretch? This keeps happening to me anyway. And when I say I can’t, He says, “Yes, stick with Me and you can.” Is this not what we ask for, when we pray to become more like Him? I really would stop asking for that, but I really do need to become more like Jesus. I don’t want to see the results of who I would be without Him.
Isaiah 64:8 - But now, O LORD, thou [art] our father; we [are] the clay, and thou our potter; and we all [are] the work of thy hand.
A few months ago I went to the most loved/most despised world of Facebook and shared something I was actually learning about myself.
This is what I said:
Many years ago I was in a place where I kept my thoughts and feelings to myself. I was a closed box and I never let people in too deep. I guess you could say No one really knew me. One-day God broke the box that I was in and opened me up. I fully gave my life to Christ and I said use me flaws and all. God showed me he wanted me to just be honest and real with people, even if it meant they wouldn't like me or thought I was strange.
My biggest temptation when I am hurt or weak is to climb back in that box and shut everyone out... This is a temptation I know I do not have to give into. I do take a step towards that box too often, but my Father in heaven takes my hand and says no come back. REMEMBER: I want you to be where I can use your life. Don't run, don't hide. I am with you in this! Thank you Lord for never giving up on me.
The funny thing was that after I posted it, I thought about deleting it. You know, go back to hiding. In fact, I even thought ugh… I should just close my Facebook account, so that I don’t get myself into these very exposing situations. Is this not what we all often do? I’m not talking social media here now. Frankly who has what account doesn’t matter much… But, I think often we want to build these protective walls around ourselves. I felt convicted right away, and realized I should now do the opposite and write a whole blog post on what God has done and is doing in my life.
God really is quite humorous. See before I had a chance to delete it, or had a chance to change my mind about writing more on this, I got a private message asking if I would elaborate on my status, in an another exposing place called Lighthouse Keepers. Ok, Lord, I got the message. So, I did not hesitate for a second on my answer.
See, He doesn’t want me to hide. He has set me free! He set me free to be me… rather that is in person or online. Rather that is with family, friends, or a stranger.
And by me, I don’t mean the old me. I mean the new me. The me that He is molding me into.
2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Galatians 2:20 - I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Ezekiel 11:19-20 - And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh…
Now tell, do those verses not excite you?
The saddest part of being my old self is that, the old me can’t be used by God. The old me might be too afraid or too bound to step outside my comfort zone. The old me to too afraid to be disliked than to take the chance of being loved. When God set me free, He set me free of that fear. Those chains came off.
I remember the very first time I went up and openly shared my pain and struggles at this little church in Houghton God had lead me. That only could have happened with Jesus filling me and taking those steps for me. From there on, I knew He wanted me to be transparent and He wanted to use my life for His purpose. He cannot use my life if I crawl back into my box.
Living life with Jesus is a battle though. I think if we don’t ever find ourselves at war, we may need to ask ourselves if we are living for the world or for God.
Ephesians 6:12 - For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].
Ephesians 6:11 - Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
The war I faced this past year was definitely a spiritual war, like I had never faced before. I felt like I was being choked. I was not physically being hurt. We often see the persecution going on around the world. People who are physically being beaten and even killed. We are SO protected and do not face those things here today, at least not in the physical realm. But we do face a war. A war that is within. The devil wants to strangle us, tear us apart, torture us in a way that cannot always be seen. The spiritual realm became very real to me this year. Though I won’t go into details at this time, I knew something was very wrong around me. Yes, I have it good. I have much to be thankful for. Physically I had all I need and I have nothing to complain about.
Spiritually things seemed unbearable. I now Know demons had been invited into our home. I was fighting them left and right. I did not know at the time how this happened. I mean, I prayed for protection over our home! Several times, I called to people for help, but it seemed I just could not make anyone understand what I was facing. People can pray for us but this battle belonged to the Lord! It was only Jesus I could turn to with this. He is our shield.
Romans 13:1 - Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Ephesians 6:17 - And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…
The devil cannot win with word of God as our shield!
1 Corinthians 15:57 - But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:37 - Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
2 Corinthians 2:14 - Now thanks [be] unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Jesus won the battle, so I am now free to be the new me in Christ. I am free to come share with you. I am free to have joy and peace within me because the battle is won!
I am free to shout out hallelujah and Amen at any time. I am free to sing and dance for Him. I am free to speak of what He does in my life. I am free to love and to be loved. I am free to forgive and be forgiven. I am free to write all this even though I know I will be challenged on it again and again.
How about you? Have you been set free? Are you ready to take off that mask, knock down those walls and serve the Lord your God to the full extent, he has enabled you to do?
When we allow God to set us free and serve Him, we get to be apart of so many special things. He allows us the blessing of being a blessing to others.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
In His Presence,