It is hard to believe 2019 is racing to its conclusion. Often at the commencement of a new year we make commitments to change, in anticipation of growth and healthy living. Do you remember any “resolutions” you committed to in January? Maybe you chose a word for the new year?
When is the last time you reflected on the patterns you committed to engage this year or notice how you’ve entered into your word for 2019? If you haven’t yet seen positive change or engagement, there are still nearly four months; there is still time 🙂
Last Christmas Sophie gave me a new Bible. It is called the Daily Walk Bible. Beginning with January 1 and Genesis 1, the reader is guided through the entire Bible. It’s great. For each day there is a short devotional and chapters to read. I shared the plan with some close friends and together we joined in this practice of reading through the Bible in 2019. Each week we gather to talk about the chapters we’ve read. It has been a blast.
What is remarkable, though, is God’s sovereign timing. He perfectly timed my placement in His Word with the events of my daily living, especially during the past two months. God’s has graciously nourished my soul with timely readings. While attentive to the truth that these Scriptures were written to specific people in specific times, I also notice the Spirit of God gently speaking truth to me in my situation and space, sustaining me.
In July when wrestling with the Lord, experiencing darkness, God consoled my soul with Isaiah’s words in Isaiah 45:3 “I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” I ponder the hidden treasures of the Lord to this day. Most of all, I find encouragement that He calls me by name.
I found myself resonating with Jeremiah. Poor guy! No one listened to the concerns he shared from the Lord. Ever feel like no one around you is paying attention? Then into Lamentations I identified with Jeremiah’s weeping and yet in Lamentations 3:21, he found hope. I struggled to embrace the hope as I found myself sitting in verse 20, “My soul is downcast.” Nevertheless, I soaked in chapter 3 pleading with Jeremiah: “I called on your name, LORD, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry or relief.” You came near when I called you, and you aid, “Do not fear.”
Ezekiel’s prophetic words in chapters 34-37 connected deeply with my soul. Chapter 34 is all about the Lord being a good shepherd. He searches for His sheep, tends to their needs and shepherds with justice. What a great shepherd we have! Chapter 37 reverberated within my soul as I begged God to send breath from the four winds of the earth and breathe into my weary soul so that I may live. I imagined the way God brought life to a valley of dry bones. He breathes life so that all would know that He is the LORD. Read chapter 37:1-14 and be amazed at the mighty power and presence of God.
The mysterious nature of God jumped out to me in Daniel. While perplexing and somewhat bizarre, God’s ways with Nebuchadnezzar bring glory to God and humble lessons to the people (see Daniel 4:37). I’ve meditated on the mysterious movement of God often in the last weeks. He is beyond understanding. Yet, often we try to put God in a box and figure both He and His ways out.
What would it be like to actually embrace His puzzling nature? Actually, it is freeing to just be with God and not try to sort this crazy life but rest in His greatness.
Then I moved into Hosea. Hosea had a tough assignment. He demonstrated great fortitude. In this small book, I noticed the unfaithful nature of God’s people and extensive means God employed to draw His loved ones back to Himself. In what ways do you live unfaithful to God and your loved ones?
Joel and Amos followed Hosea. I recognized God’s just judgment toward His wayward people and also His intense love and care for the poor. Interestingly, on September 11, I read Amos 9:1 which says: “Strike the tops of the pillar so that the thresholds shake. Bring them down on the heads of all the people…” Crazy, right?! My heart grieves for those effected by the events of 9/11.
Likewise, Micah proclaimed an unpopular yet necessary message. I found Micah 7:7 becoming my current simple prayer: “I watch in hope for the Lord. I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” I experience conviction and comfort from Micah’s words as the posture of watching and waiting while knowing God hears connects profoundly within me.
All this to say, God is mysteriously and intentionally involved in the life of His followers.
I did not know when I made the commitment in January to read through the Bible the ways God would connect so personally His Word to the place and state of my soul. Reading it has been a source of sanity during this time. The words have actually helped give voice to the inner turmoil and provided reminders of God’s sovereignty.
So, what about your commitments for 2019? Are you continuing in them? Do you notice their impact in your journey today?
Interestingly, In January I attended a mini soul care retreat during which I chose the word “deeper” for the 2019 year. I’m not sure why exactly, but that was the word bubbling from my soul. A little sign I made at the retreat has hung along the refrigerator since then. It was just a few weeks ago, I “saw” the sign and realized, deeper is exactly what God is doing with me. He is taking me deeper with Him. I am moving in deeper communion with my living Lord. Wow!
Whatever your commitments – never discount their impact. Whether the commitment seems small and insignificant or insurmountable and life changing, the promises we keep and the resolutions we make affect us and those around us in ways we could never dream.
Let’s live fully committed to the commitments we make for God’s glory and our good.
Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.
The Daily Walk Bible. Carol Steam, IL. 2013.
Eugene Peterson. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society. Downers Grove, IL. 2019.
Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming travel and speaking engagements.
September 25-October 1 – Guatemala City, Guatemala
I will be speaking multiple times for women’s groups and leading two full-day retreats. Thank you!.