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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Resolved

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by Stan Peterson

Along with the New Year comes a long line of resolutions that sound sooooo good and look so good on paper but often times these resolutions fall flat as we enter into the second month of the year. Why? because we are lazy, and we want results NOW! When we fail to see the desired outcome immediately we can often grow weary and impatient in doing that which is good for us and others (Gal. 6:9).

We run around and spend countless hours and money, both precious resources, upon that which is for a physical profit (1 Tim. 4:8) forsaking that which is eternal and of first importance (the Gospel:1 Cor. 15.3). The end result is having our landfills (the Earth) filled with Suzanne Sommer’s contraptions and Richard Simmon’s sweating to the oldies. The extra pound we gain never gets burned off and we carry it around until next year and the next pound. The crazy cycle repeats itself.

As the Church we want to share the Gospel, we even talk a good talk, but bottom line when the budget is looked at, and the church calendar is looked at, what comes to be our first importance? Let’s GET OFF this crazy cycle! But how do we become a people that are resolved to see God glorified in the gospel? This is a work of God, we must first receive the Gospel, live the Gospel and preach the Gospel. The Gospel is not something to be grasped but it grasps us, shapes us, and inspires us on to good works (sharing the gospel). I ask this year that we would be a body that is resolved to see God glorified in the Gospel. Please pray that we would be a people continually receiving, living and preaching the Gospel.

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