Does Your New Year Have A New Theme?

Come and see that the Lord is good!For last year the central idea or theme of my life was living in thankfulness.  It is an area that God has been working on me for a very long time and it will continue to be something that I have to practice every day.  If living in thankfulness is not something that you are focused on then I challenge you to start doing so right now.  If you commit to doing so then I promise it will change your life for the better.

But this is a new year, and God has given me a new theme.  It is an invitation and it is very exciting.  It is simply this: Come and see!

God is asking me to come and see all that He is doing.  His invitation is for a lifetime but it is renewed every single day.  He says to me “this is a new day, come and see the wonder of my creation” and “this is a new day, come and see what I will do for you”.

This is the same invitation that He offered so many times in His book, the Bible.  Remember the shepherds in the field that night so long ago?  The angels appeared to them and said “Come and see the place where he is laid”.  Recall the story of Abram, before God changed his name.  The Lord said to him, arise and go to the country that I will show you (come and see what I have for you there!).  Even the woman at the well received the same invitation.  Jesus said to her “if you drink from my living water, you will never thirst again” (come and see the power of God’s word to change a life forever!).

Come and see!  Come and see!  Over and over when God meets us He offers us the choice to come and see.  He never chooses for us (because perfect love never coerces) but always with wisdom and love He offers the chance at a new life.  His power, if we let it, will bring that which is dead in us back to life.  His power will mend that which is broken and bring hope and salvation to the those who have wandered in darkness for so long.

I can’t wait to come and see all that He has for us in this new year!  No matter how good or how bad last year was for you, it is over.  It is in the past and you can’t go back and re-do it.  All you have is today (because we are not promised tomorrow) and the same invitation from the same God who loves you so much.  You have a new opportunity.  You have another chance.  You have the power to choose God’s way and then let Him show you how amazing every day with Him can be.  God is waiting to do awesome things in your life, in your home, in your family, in your job , in your church and in your community.  He just wants you to be there with Him.  Won’t you come and see that the Lord is good?

His Call to Good Works

God's call,good works, ministryI believe there comes a time in the life of every born again believer when they become aware of a special calling from God.  This may be a call to literally “Arise and go”  into the mission field or to begin ministering in a different way altogether.  God calls us uniquely because we are unique and what He has prepared for me will be different from what He has prepared for you.  I say this not only because it matches up with what we read in scripture (consider Abraham, Moses, Noah, Gideon, Jonah, Nehemiah, John the Baptist, Paul and especially Jesus Christ) but because it also matches what I have experienced in my own life and in the lives of other believers that I know and respect.

It is important to note that this calling is not the same as the call to salvation.  You absolutely must be born again to hear God’s call.  We are born spiritually dead and do not have the capacity to hear or understand the Holy Spirit until we repent of our sins and believe by faith in Jesus Christ and His redeeming work.  It is only when the Spirit has entered our heart and life and the process of regeneration begins that God can begin to speak to us about the unique task and ministry that He has prepared for us.

And make no mistake, God has prepared a unique task and many good works for us long before we knew Him or were aware of our need for salvation.  Consider Ephesians 2:10 which says “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (NASB)  God loves us so much that not only did He send Jesus to die for us, not only did He plan for us to spend all eternity with Him in paradise, He also began preparing good works for us to do while we were still on this earth.

In regards to God’s call for us, there are exactly three types of Christians.  The first type is the type that does not yet know what their calling is, but they are seeking for it while actively pursuing a right relationship with God.  If you are in this group, then hang in there; keep praying and keep seeking.  God will reward your persistence in His timing in a way that will bless your life and the lives of everyone around you.

The second type of Christian knows that God has called them but is not obeying that call or is ignoring God altogether and attempting to live apart from Him.  If you are in this group then I pray that you would repent and submit your will to Him.  It will be the second best decision you could ever make after the decision to be saved.

The third and final type is the type that has heard God’s unique call and has made the decision to obey.  If you are in this group, then you know what a blessing and a challenge it is and you also know what a great responsibility comes with it.

I believed for many years that I was a “defective” Christian because I had no specific calling.  At a very young age I felt God calling me into the ministry but not in a way that I could work out the specifics.  All through my childhood and teenage years I did what I thought I should do to please the Lord and still no directions came.  When it came time to go to college I thought “finally, this is where I will discover my purpose” but that wasn’t to be the case either.  God did see fit to bring a wonderful woman into my life during that time but I graduated without a clear sense of direction and I began to give up on God ever using me.

I’m now 38 years old and just this year, in 2013, do I now know that God has called me to a unique purpose that was set aside just for me:  To write and speak His truth on this blog and wherever else I am allowed to do so.  The interesting part of that to me is this: Blogs really didn’t come into usage until almost the year 2000, three whole years after I graduated college.  Even had I known about them at that time I did not have the life experience, wisdom, discipline or spiritual maturity to do what I am doing now.

God’s calling came to me at the perfect time and in the right way.  He never gave up on me, even when I tried to give up on Him.  He knew what I was going to need and where I needed to be and He has patiently guided me step by step.  Looking back I can see His hand all over my life even in the times when I thought that I had completely gone in the wrong direction.  God is amazing like that.  He can take our biggest mistakes, our worst failures and our darkest hours and make the most beautiful things out of them.

If you find yourself unsure, uncertain and struggling to find direction then don’t give up.  Even now God is preparing you and the good work that He has for you to do.  Be encouraged, Christian, God’s call is coming.