Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Looking Forward

When we come to the end of December, we inevitably find ourselves in a place of contemplating the past year and considering the new year ahead. Where do we find ourselves? Are we comfortable with our status quo? Are we where we want to be, or do we want "change" in our life? This is a time for "New Years Resolutions". So, let's take inventory.

Version: NAS

Philippians 3:13-14
13. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of [it] yet; but one thing [I do]: forgetting what [lies] behind and reaching forward to what [lies] ahead, 14. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

In Old Testament times, in the Book of Jeremiah, God addresses the people of Israel. They as a nation, had wandered away from their faith. They were far removed from what God had called them to be. I think we can see a parallel with our country today. But as a nation, we are first individuals. If you find yourself wanting a closer relationship with God; if little by little in this last year or years you have lost focus for the future, listen closely as the Lord will show you how to come back.

Jeremiah 7:23-24
23. "But this is what I commanded them, saying, 'Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.' 24. "Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in [their own] counsels [and] in the stubbornness of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward.

There have been numerous times in my life that I have found myself far from God. How did I get there? How was it that one day I woke up and looked around and I found myself in a place that wasn't at all where I wanted to be? Each time there was a common denominator in my predicament...I had not been reading my Bible in a consistent way. I had gotten off the path for some reason or another, and ended up somewhere else.

I think the key word here is consistency. Not to let "life" get to be "Number 1". Putting God first, ahead of the cares of the immediate. Taking time to acknowledge Him every morning. Submitting myself to Him. Putting His Word in my heart and mind on a daily basis.

It's really "easy" to get off track. First I worry and fret, (we already talked about that one) then,I think I have an answer, my stubborn "will" takes over. I have forgotten to ask God. I have relied on my own understanding instead of His.

Proverbs 3:1-7
1. My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; 2. For length of days and years of life, And peace they will add to you. 3. Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. 4. So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man. 5. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. 6. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. 7. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.

We can find ourselves in all kinds of situations in our personal lives. Living in a mess. Or someone else's. Wanting to have it change. Wishing our life was different. Acknowledging God is the first step. Going to Him; "calling on Him". That's the beginning. Seeking Him for the change, and not trying to do it in our own power. That's a key element. Seeing the need for change and then asking God to accomplish it in His way.

Jeremiah 33:3
'Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.'

Lamentations 3: 22-24
22. The LORD's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 23. [They] are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness. 24. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him."

Psalm 103:12-13
12. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions (sin) from us. 13. Just as a father has compassion on [his] children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.

Our Father is infinitely compassionate. He doesn't hold our sin against us and rub our face in it. He doesn't keep reminding us of our failures and shortcomings. He just wants us to return to Him; to be with Him and to hear what He has to say.

I read once, pertaining to us staying "on course" with God, that just a few degrees "off" will cause us to miss our destination. Just like with a plane or ship. Staying on course is critical. If we are off "just a little" every day, over the course of years we will totally miss the plan God had for us.

Jeremiah 12:15
"And it will come about that after I have uprooted them, I will again have compassion on them; and I will bring them back, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land.

In this scripture we see God talking about bringing us to our inheritance. What exactly does that mean? The dictionary defines it as our "birthright, legal legacy, heritage, endowment."
God has an inheritance for us as His sons and daughters. It's up to us to come to a place of receiving it. (more later on this thought)

Ephesians 3:16-19
16. that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; 17. so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; [and] that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18. may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19. and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.

So let's call out to God, and let Him show us how to move forward in this next year. Even if we are in the place He has called us to be, God is never stagnant. He always wants us to keep moving. I want to move forward, daily knowing that I am on the right path with Him. That I am communicating and listening to Him speak daily.
I'm looking to God and His Word to "define" my future. I want to let Him make the plan for the future. More than just a "resolution", but a God inspired way of life. I want to be a willing participant in my destiny and inheritance, taking responsibility for my attitudes and actions by submitting myself to Him; letting Him lead the way.
May this coming year be a time
to get to know God in a more intimate way.

Love and blessings for the New Year,


  1. God IS speaking to His bride! How amazing that we are basically writing about the same topic.
    When you said, "just a few degrees "off" will cause us to miss our destination..." it immediately reminded me of a carpenter's level. When that bubble is just a hair off center, it throws off everything - just as a plumb-line that's not straight does too.
    My heart's desire is to be so close to God that I know BEFORE I get off-center and can adjust my thinking before it becomes a word or deed. If that makes sense?
    Thanks Debra for a wonderful, thought-provoking blog. Blessings for your new year too.

  2. Hi Debra. I'm hear printing out my post so I can go sit down with it and my bible and study the words. It's rare for me to read them online because I like to get quite and give it my full attention. It's a time I look forward to. I'll be back.

    Hugs....Tracy :)

  3. You know, sometimes my life is really crazy and busy. But not a single day goes by that when something really good happens, or a coincidence, or a sign, I always remember to close my eyes for a second or two (although not when driving) and just say, "thanks God". Even when we are crazy busy, our hearts have to be open to the signs that God gives us daily. I'm always on the lookout!! Have a wonderful New Year, take care, Sue

  4. This is the perfect post to end the year on. I am so ready to grow up in Christ, to leave behind childish things and maybe even some people. I want nothing between me and Jesus.
    Debra, you are so right! Time in the Word is crucial.
    I am studying all these scriptures this week. Thanks for your wonderful ministry.

  5. Hey Debra and everyone else. I love the post above from Lisa. I too am ready and eager to be closer to Christ this year. As you said Debra the time for looking back has passed and I'm confident that I'm ready to look to the future and to the Lord for all my needs. I pray that this year brings spiritual growth to my life. I am so in awe at the energy and spirit at this wonderful site. I literally feel the changes taking place with so many of us. My heart feels it. It's beyond description ~ I am amazed.

    I thank God for you being the catalyst for all that is given to us. God is using you to touch so many. And each one you touch in turn touches another. Watching and reading about each persons love of the Lord is beyond words. I can see how the connection of gives off an energy to the next.

    Thank all of you. I pray that your New Year is blessed beyond compare. Hugs...Tracy

  6. While I am struggling to sit still long enough to hear what God is asking of me, your words tell me to stop the struggle and just listen. I don't always know what to pray or even how to ask, but my focus now is just to learn to keep my mouth closed and my heart open. I'm hoping in the new year to turn my direction more to God and less to the world.

  7. Debra, I always love the wisdom that God shares through you on his word. Each time I've read your posts, they are always encouraging and uplifting and just exactly what I'm needing. You are such a blessing to us and I really appreciate you taking the time to do this. May the New Year bring you many many more blessings, T

  8. Great thoughts for the new year, eating and chewing and refreshing cleansing in God's word is pivitol. Relationship is hearing the other voice and really listening and responding. It is as intimate as pillow talk.

  9. Hi Debra

    What a nice reminder and good beginning for 2010. So often I jump into "figuring it out" and only when I can't do I turn to God for help. If only I could learn to turn to Him first and get Him on my team in the beginning, then my "figuring it out" phase would be so much easier! hahaha. I have problems in accepting that He really throws my transgression as far as east and west will go.....because I can't forget my screw ups, it is hard to believe that He long forgot them and wants me to just try again. I think that is why He invented New Year's Eve...it is sort of like a "clean slate" for us humans to grasp. Even though He gives a clean slate over and over, I know I need some sort of gesture on my part to really start fresh. Well, at least that is how I think of it.

    I know this is long but I want to add one more thing: What forgiveness looks like to me personally. When I forgive someone who has hurt me terrible, it is like a writing tablet. That person who has hurt me has scribbled all over my sheet of paper with a lot of hurt and pain. When I forgive them, I tear off the sheet of paper and wad it up and toss it on the floor and there is a clean sheet of paper on the tablet for the person who hurt me. They are forgiven.

    But wait. That wadded piece of paper is still on floor. That is my resentment. I need God's help with my resentments. Sometimes, I keep resentments. Those papers are on the floor for me to kick around. And then one day, with God's help, I finally bend down and pick up that wad of paper and toss in the trash can, where it belongs. I have rid my resentment. But do you know what the ironic thing is? Many times, those pieces of wadded up paper is my own doing. I did something, I finally forgave myself, but I hang onto it. I beat myself up over and over it. I replay the scene in my head. I replay the what if's or the should have's or the could have's. I ask myself over and over the why's. I am harder on myself than any of my loved ones would ever be. But eventually, I let go and toss that wad of paper in the trash too.

    So, for 2010, I am hoping to keep the wads of paper off the floor. Forgiving isn't really hard for me - I am all for clean sheets of paper! It's the wads of paper on the floor that trip me up.

    Just wanted to share.

  10. If you haven't read Elizabeth's last post, please be sure and take the time to read it, and let the atmosphere she creates wash over you. It is much more than a "decorating" post. Elizabeth's posts are always an invitation to get to know her and spend a few minutes her in one on one friendship. E. thank you for sharing your heart with us and for the analogy of forgiveness...so completely descriptive of how it is. I absolutely love it!

    Lee, Yes, how we need to "feast" on God's word. It nourishes our spirit, soul, and body.
    Relationships are dead if there is not communication.

    Thank you T! I have said it before, and I will say it once more. You were the "angel" God put in front of me. Without your lovingkindness I wouldn't be doing this. You inspired me and blessed me, long before you knew me. I am grateful that you "included me".

    Debbie, I have to giggle here, because you and I are so much alike. It was hard for me to just be quiet and listen. My mouth is open alot, and God reminds me sometimes that I will learn more if I just remain still and let Him do the talking.

    Tracy, I'm going to comment "about" you.
    Tracy is a woman who is allowing God to "quicken" her on a daily basis. Each time I hear from her she has grown. God is taking pieces of the puzzle, and fitting them together in her life. She is a testimony of the grace and power of God. I saw scattered "pieces" in the beginning. Now you are allowing God to fit them all together into a beautiful portrait. Soon, when the pieces have been all fit into place, God will cover all the "lines" and there will be no more "pieces" just one complete and lovely reflection of Himself.
    I know this is a personal observation, but one that God just now has shown me. Love you Tracy!

    Lisa, Isn't it amazing that we can be adults, yet still be needing the parenting that only God can give us. This last year God literally had to jerk me by the back of the neck and make me sit still. He "rearranged" my life and took some people out and put new ones in. In the beginning I felt like I was being punished. Now I know what a huge and crucial blessing it was.

    Sue, you are a jewel. I'm so glad I'm getting to know you. I read your blog and I think about the name of it everytime I visit. "Random acts of kindness". That's who you are. There are no qualifications for you. Your life dealing with people daily good and bad. The love for your family and the individuals you meet shines through.

    And Deb, You are one anointed woman, and I'm so glad that you share your anointing with all of us! thank you for giving to all of us through your amazing posts.

    Love to you all! Thank you for blessing me in a way you cannot know these last few months!

  11. Praise God ....praying we are all pressing in for 2010. Looking forward with hope and joy in Christ Jesus to increased opportunites to share our faith.

    Heb:12:1: Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

    Thank you Debra for your depth in Christ freely shared with those who visit your blog

    Hugs, GG

  12. I had a long comment started and I hit a button, what button I do not know but lost it. For a change I put in words exactly what I wanted to share and how this Bible study has brought me back and probably closer to God than I have ever been. Debra this post is exactly where I want to be. Moving on this next year. God has actually given me a single word for prayer and I have followed through with it. Something I have never done before. Usually I pray for my family and acquaintances and just fumble along. A hand full of weeks ago as I was driving the word peace was given to me and every time I pray it comes back and nags at me until I take it up again. It has encompassed more things and people in my life than I can list. So in your words I am looking forward to this New Year.

  13. What speaks to me is the phrase from Philippians,'reaching forward to what lies ahead'.

    The world may refer to that as something else, aside from the language of God. I know. I have been guilty of that.

    the lists, the planning, the over-analyzing

    Even saying 'I have been guilty of that'.

    I can almost see the Lord rolling his eyes and saying enough already.

    This plotting and planning (and I think I have shared this perspective before)can be a self-centered activity.

    So today, I pray as I look 'forward to what lies ahead', to simply do the next right thing, praying to let go and let God.

    I sense that by focusing on God's word in study I may be doing that. At least the attention is directed outward.


  14. Amen, Debra. I'm looking forward to a new year with a Great God, Who alone is able to keep me on the right path.

    I'm SO excited to begin my (brand new!) One-Year Chronological Bible. I agree with you that when we neglect God's word we suffer for it. May we all treasure God's Word in 2010. May He reveal Himself to each us in exciting new ways.

    Happy New Year!

  15. Debra,
    I hope you know that even when I don't comment, I am here, reading, praying, taking it all in.

    I am tragically guilty of letting the cares and worries of my life discourage me to such an extent that at times, it's all I can do to perform the simple, perfunctory tasks of life...getting up, getting dressed, going to work. I've been struggling through just such a time of late.

    What falls by the wayside during these times? Exercise. Housework. And prayer. Yes, sadly things of a spiritual nature make that list of shame, my sins of omission. But it catches up with me, just as it always does.

    You see, when He knows you as one of His own sheep, He doesn't let go quite so easily. I make it hard on Him at times, but He always extends that hand of mercy to catch me just when I'm ready to let go altogether.

    This year, that hand has taken the shape of yours, Debra.

    Thank you for not letting go.


  16. Wow,wow,wow...Debra, again your post is like a balm to my heart and mind...as well as the responses from all of your readers. Like Brenda's "Peace", the message to me this season has been, "amazing grace". Without that grace I could not throw away the wadded pages off of the floor (like Elizabeth),or find the peace that I need to take the next step forward from the turmoil that my family experienced this Christmas (son's bad med reaction),or feel the mercy that Anne mentioned for all of the mistakes that I have made this year. So again, thank-you Debra for bringing us back to the Word that brings us the compass for our lives. You are an awesome guide.!


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