Welcome to 2018! A new year with new possibilities. I hope that you, like me, are determined to move forward in your faith and put everything that’s happened to you behind you (as much as possible at any rate) follow the apostle Paul’s example in Philippians chapter 3:13b-15:
“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press ontoward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenlycalling in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should embrace this point of view. And if you think differently about some issue, God will reveal this to you as well.…”
It takes a lot of faith to leave our pain and struggles behind us and look to the future. Looking to the future means we have faith that there are better things in that future. Even better, that there is some ONE in the future to guide us through it and to receive us there. I read a devotional this past week in my YouVersion devotional by Ryan Stevenson that speaks to this and I wanted to share it with you, my readers:
Living by Faith
The Christian life is all about FAITH. Hebrews 11 says, “faith is being sure of what we hope for, and knowing something is real even if we do not see it.” I love this verse because it always brings me comfort when I am in the midst of a season where I’m finding it difficult to hold on. When God has called us to do something, we must believe and act on it. I believe that God delights in those who will follow the call He’s placed in the heart, and risk the comfort of everyday life for the Kingdom’s sake.
The easiest thing for us to do is doubt. As an emotionally driven people, we often find ourselves in peaks and valleys, caught between hope and despair. It seems as if the journey of life is a constant rollercoaster of highs and lows. It seems that even when we want to move forward with confidence, our flesh continuously wants to resort to the comfort of what we can see, feel, and physically grasp. This can be extremely frustrating because we want to see results and the fruits of our labor quickly.
Are you in a season right now where you feel like nothing exciting is happening for you? Are you feeling alone, hopeless, or discouraged? I have been there and know the feeling! Let me offer you the hope that keeps me going. Jeremiah 29:11 states, “I know the plans that I have for you…plans to prosper you…to give you a future and a hope.” If you are feeling discouraged today and are having a hard time believing, just know that God is closer to you than you know.
He is using this season right now to stretch, bend, purify, and refine you into a warrior for the Kingdom. Like grapes that get crushed and pressed and eventually turn into beautiful wine, so our character and faith after the Lord puts us through His refining process. This may require some crushing, pressing, filtering out the junk, and even sitting for a while to mature, but in due season, it’s our time to be released! God has a plan for you, and it’s probably just around the corner! BELIEVE IT!
—by Ryan Stevenson, “Trusting God in the Eye of the Storm”
“So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”–
James 2:17 ESV
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. .. (read the whole passage HERE)” –Hebrews 11:1-40 ESV