Looking Ahead

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by Stan Peterson

Looking ahead to 2013, many of us have already started to plan and set goals and look forward to what we want to see accomplished in our personal lives, the lives of our families, and in the life of our Church. We envision what we will be doing and where we will be going, and this creates an expectation within our hearts — a yearning for those things to come to pass. We slowly but surely transfer our passion (time, energy and money) towards those goal(s).

As God sovereignly directs our lives and the path that we walk down (Proverbs 16:9), we are faced with choices. Will we choose to surrender our rights and our plans to follow God’s sovereign plan as it unfolds before us … or to continue in our ways? The greater the difference between our thoughts and plans, and God’s, the greater the disappointment we face.

In the book of Isaiah we see Israel and Judah (the split kingdom) being chastised for their thinking (Isaiah 55). The walls of Jerusalem had been remade and the Temple reconstructed, yet we see a nation that is still divided and held in captivity. The Jew thought that the Messiah would come and be set up as king in the Holy City, reigning with all authority and power, and the people of Israel would prosper physically. But this was not happening. Why? Thus Israel had a choice to either become hardened and indifferent to the ways of God, or to repent and believe in God’s goodness and plans (Isaiah 55:7).

How do we as a people chosen by God know the thoughts of God, the will of God? Just as God called to Israel through the Prophet Isaiah to remember His promises, that He is a God who is near, and His word will accomplish what He has sent it to do (Isaiah 55.11), so too we have the Word of God given to us in a book, the Bible. Let this sink into our minds … it is profound: We have the very words of life given to us! This should shake us to the core and give us great hope and confidence.

With the Spirit, meditating on God’s Word, we may through prayer commune with God and know His thoughts and speak them back to God (1 Cor. 2:16).

My hope and prayer for us at Elim is that we would grab hold of God’s Word and prayer in ever greater measure throughout the course of 2013; that our hearts would be lined up with His, and that we would be a reflection of Jesus to all we come into contact with, no matter the circumstances or situation that God has sovereignly placed us into!

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