We can all start this new year receiving God’s gracious restoration from the past and rebuilding resilience for the future, by creating margin in our schedules over the next three weeks (of prayer and fasting) for focused uninterrupted time with God.
After what the last three years have been like, it would be a mistake to enter this new year assuming that everything is ok. We may be yearning for things to be all better (back to normal, fixed, peaceful, good, beautiful). We may be depleted, discouraged, damaged, dry.
In this commitment to God, I believe God is leading us to making room for restoration/recovery from the past and a rebuilding of resilience for the future.
We need time in God’s presence.
We need to do anything necessary to allow for uninterrupted focused time in God’s presence. To hear his voice. To honor, grieve, and celebrate what is past. To receive healing, comfort, restoration, recovery, and a fresh sense of identity, value, and purpose.
“They who wait for the Lord,” – Isaiah 40:31
“Those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31
wait – wait or look eagerly for, hope, expect
What does is take for us to wait on God?
Loving God more than anything/anyone else.
loving devotion, personal attachment to God, committed relationship
“Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, leading me into a glorious destiny.
Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth.
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God, remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” – Psalm 73:23-26
It’s time for us to simply look to Jesus.
“On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, ‘Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’ ‘ (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)” – John 7:37–39
One application of what Jesus is saying here would be that our awareness of the Holy Spirit, in close personal connection moment by moment, should be life-giving.
Last week, we prayed through these truths found in Scripture.
“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.
20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” – John 14:15–21
Close personal relationship with God.
God knows what happened this year. So we can bring it all to God.
“Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you.” – Psalm 55:22
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” – 1 Peter 5:7
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.'” – Matthew 11:28–30
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.” – Hebrews 4:16 10:19
“Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” – Philippians 3:13–14
What should we do?
1. Make a fresh commitment of loving devotion to God.
2. Ask for God’s help in removing distractions to your awareness of his presence.
3. Write why you want to be closer to God.
4. Write what areas need restoration and rebuilding of resilience.
5. Plan changes to your schedule so that you can have time and energy for this.
6. Share the journey with others.
7. Thank God for this.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” – Psalm 100:4-5