Happy New Year! (What will we do with the opportunities?)

27263The Lord has given us a start to a New Year.  It is by His marvelous grace that we are able to walk through this door of possibility and opportunity.  Only the Lord knows all that He has in store for us in the coming days.

As we begin this New Year we must make deliberate and willful decisions as to how we will accept the opportunities for service and ministry.  In the midst of a changing world — politically, socially, economically, and spiritually each of us will either sit and fret or we will pray and serve.  In 2 Kings 7:3 we read the following question asked by four lepers:

“Why just sit here until we die?”

Now is not the time to simply sit back and complain about the things happening in the world, nor is it time for us to “throw in the towel” and idly watch the world spin out of control.  It’s not time to use the elected officials of this, or any land, as an excuse for depression and defeat.  We cannot simply sit still and do nothing!

You and I must constantly be mindful that God has placed each one of us here to serve Him.  We can all be assured that many of our assignments have not changed.  We all have been called to at least four things:

      1. “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thes. 5:17)  There is no denying this mandate.  In all of life we are called to a ministry of prayer.  Begin the day with prayer,  Pray throughout the day, and go to bed at night with prayer.  It must be a vital, ongoing part of our life.  Let me encourage you to keep a prayer journal for the year.  Jot down specific and general prayer requests and see how God relates and responds to each of these.  It will amaze you at year’s end just how much God has done in your life!
      2. “Share the Gospel.”  (Mark 16:15) In light of all things we must acknowledge that Jesus is the only hope of the world!  With the increased chaos in the world — wars, conflicts, and the general decay of society only the transforming power of Jesus Christ will make any difference in the hearts of people.  We have been given the clear command to be used of God in sharing the life-changing message of Jesus with the nations.  Commit to sharing your faith with someone each day!
      3. “Give thanks in all circumstances.”   (1 Thes. 5:18) An attitude of thanksgiving will absolutely change your perspective on life!  I am not telling you to be thankful FOR all things, but, as the Word of God implores, give thanks IN all things.  Even in the midst of the most difficult trials, God is reminding you that He is in control.   In this New Year let’s commit ourselves to living a life of gratitude!
      4. “Read the Word.”  (2 Tim. 2:15)  The deliberate, systematic reading of the Bible will arm you will all you need to face life.  In the New Year I hope you will join me in reading the entire Word of God.  I am using a chronological reading plan this year.  You can find this plan here and will enjoy reading the Bible in this way.

It is my hope and prayer that 2013 will be our most productive year ever in our service to the King.  Let’s not just sit here, let’s be aggressive in our submission, surrender, and service to Jesus Christ.