As the start of 2016 approaches, many of us will reflect on the past year and swear to do this and that to better ourselves in the coming 12 months. While that practice sometimes gets a bad rap as being short-lived, it is actually quite Biblical, and when we choose to follow where God leads us through it, the process can be life-changing and lasting.
The other day at the devotional website, SacredSpace.ie, I read these timely words, “Where do I sense hope, encouragement, and growth areas in my life? By looking back over the last few months, I may be able to see which activities and occasions have produced rich fruit. If I do notice such areas, I will determine to give those areas both time and space in the future.”
God often encourages us to do just that, to test ourselves to see if we are in the faith; to examine ourselves! (2 Corinthians 13:5). We are urged to consider what He has brought us through (Deuteronomy 2:7), to remember all that He has done for us (Psalm 143:5), and to share those stories with others in order pass along faith. (Psalm 78:4)
In John 14:26 Jesus reminds us that the Holy Spirit will help us to remember AND will teach us how to live more faithfully for Jesus. Paul encourages us to get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up. We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. (Hebrews 12: 1-3)
As challenging and frightening as it was, my cancer diagnosis and treatment definitely strengthened my faith. While I don’t recommend it physically, on a spiritual level it solidified my belief that God answers prayer and renewed my trust in Him care. His followers held me up to the light of His healing love. As a result of my own experience, I have asked God to show me how to reach out to others who are going through similar trials.
I have also found soul-sustaining time with God led by daily meditations from the websites of various ministries like SacredSpace, Proverbs31, and Quiet Walk, plus the regular posts of several bloggers that I follow—Gail Purth, Ceil Ryan, and Bill Grandi, to name just a few. God never fails to speak to me through these resources. I know God will continue to use these dedicated Christians to further my walk with Him. My prayer for 2016 is for opportunities to do the same for others through my writing.
Where have you found encouragement for your walk with Jesus this year? What circumstances or devotionals have nurtured and stretched your faith? How will you cultivate those opportunities in 2016?
©2015 Pamela D. Williams