For 2015 I chose the word obedience. Like any “resolution” you start off pretty strong and intentional and then 6 months later you find yourself slacking a bit, not pondering that word or commitment as intensely as before. But last year God gave me ample reminders and opportunity to consider this word I had chosen.
- In May, I followed through with His prompting to be re-baptized. It was important to acknowledge that my life had not been surrendered to Him for years, even into adulthood. I am now and I needed to respond humbly and publicly by way of baptism.
- After many months of prayer and consideration my husband and I sensed the Lord was prompting us to homeschool our daughters….. Again. This was a huge step for me in particular because while I sensed strongly this was Gods leading, I was scared, knowing how difficult it would be and the sacrifice involved. In faith I obeyed.
- For the last year and a half we have been attending a church plant in our area. From our vantage point, the town we live in needs the vision of this church, yet it has struggled to really get going. It’s left us wondering whether God wanted to use us here or not on several occasions. In September our founding, lead and basically only pastor felt led to step down. We found ourselves with the “perfect exit” and yet God impressed on Jason and I both to stay with the body of Christ and see that this church doesn’t close its doors to a broken community in need of the Savior. We have yet to resolve many issues the church has, like not having a pastor, but we know God is still on his throne and we will not walk away unless he asks us to.
- In November my husband had the opportunity to go on his first foreign missions trip to Guatemala. Knowing what an incredible opportunity this would be for him I excitedly supported his desire to go. But as his trip drew near I realized this would require me to spend several nights alone. I have issues with being alone, to say the least. I did spend one night away with our cousins but I sensed God prompting me to spend some nights at home, with my kids, not alone but with HIM. I fought the temptation to ignore this prompting and stay with a friend and I embraced the dark of the night with His Word in my grip, the prayers of His saints and His voice whispering comfort and strength in my ear. “I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust………You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day,” Psalms 91:2, 5
Those are some examples of opportunities I was given to choose obedience and because I did, I experienced the fruit of yielding to Christ. Fruit like greater trust in Him, strengthening patience and faith, and joy in obedience. There were of course other times that I chose not to obey and reaped the consequences of my resistance and disobedience to God or simply missed out on partnering with God in his bigger story. A life surrendered to Christ obviously is a lifelong pursuit of obedience. He’s revealed to me time and again the delight of surrendering to His Lordship. Though my word this year is changing my desire in that area is not. Obedience is the mark of a Christ follower.
But this brings me to my Word for 2016….
Every where I go it seems God is impressing this word on me. In fact I burst out with excitement and a big grin when my friend and fellow blogger chose the same word! 🙂 love it! Joy is also the mark of a Christ follower. I want to have, express, and exude joy.
Joy in weakness.
“Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.” Psalms 63:7
Joy in salvation.
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.” Psalms 51:12
“You thrill me, LORD, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done.” Psalms 92:4
Joy in trials.
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while…….You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.” 1 Peter 1:6&8
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” James 1:2
Joy in our Refuge and His love.
“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.” Psalms 5:11
Joy in troubles that results in giving of ourselves.
“Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.” 2 Corinthians 8:1-2
Joy in the Lords discipline.
“Joyful are those you discipline, LORD, those you teach with your instructions.” Psalms 94:12
“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalms 30:5
Joy in forgiveness.
“Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin.” Romans 4:8
“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!” Psalms 32:1
Joy in obedience.
“I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.” Psalms 40:8
Joy in HIM alone.
“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” Psalms 16:11
“Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.” Psalms 90:14
“There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God!” Psalms 43:4
Joy. Unspeakable joy.
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” Philippians 4:4