The world may indeed fall apart. We don’t have to crumble with it. But holding it together is going to involve letting go of the things of the world that we have come to love.
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. I John 2:15
You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. Rev. 2: 3-5
As I face the New Year and prepare my heart for the time of dedication our church is heading into I am making a list of the things God would have me release this year. How would God have you simplify your life in 2013 to release yourself from the burdens of the world…the love of the world?
Sometimes the best way to launch a new venture is by capitalizing on the victories of the past. I am determined to believe great things of 2013 in spite of the significant challenges I see ahead. For the God who did such great things in 2012 is still the God of this moment and of all the moments that lie ahead. His power is not diminished by our national debt, or by the threat of winter storm G—– coming soon to a state near you. In the face of future tragedies his love will not pale or lose its potency. He is God, Alpha and Omega, Beginning and the End. He is the same yesterday today and forever! Let’s believe Him for big things in 2013 as we thank Him for what He did in 2012.
Here is a brief list of my Thanksgivings for 2012:
1. I am thankful that God met my sister’s budgetary needs so she could move to The Netherlands for the work of missions.
Brenda and Leqad Missionary Judy Mensch
2. I am thankful that God supernaturally healed Brenda from a terrible sinus infection in one minute with no medication just before the Easter play was scheduled to go up!
3. I am thankful that God provided an eight week internship for my daughter to Thailand for $700.00.
A trip down the river, Thailand
4. I am thankful God provided for a thirteen week internship for my son in Myanmar.
Joe in the air control tower at Yangon. He has been helping air traffic controllers with their English.
5. I am so thankfu God gave me time to visit relatives in both Maine and The Netherlands.
I visit Maine
St. Bavo’s sits in the center of Haarlem Sqare.
6. I am thankful for the opportunity to minister in music at Special Touch Camp in Connecticut with my daughter.
My first year working at Special Touch
7. I am thankful that after being hospitalized four times last year my daughter Amanda’s migraines are under control.
8. I am thankful that the grammatical edits on my book are done!
9. I am thankful that after a bad tomato harvest in my own garden someone gave me a enough tomatoes to make a gallon of sauce!
10. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit has been showing up in service when our church gathers. I am so blessed that our church is alive with His presence!
11. I am thankful that our lead pastor took the staff this fall to the Cape for a ministers retreat with Mark Batterson
Sunset DIamonds by JE Lillie Cape Cod
11. I am thankful that our artists community has continued to meet.
second annual art show
12. I am thankful for the wonderful team of people God has allowed me to work with all these years.
Praise God for the big and the little in 2012. It will cast a better glow on 2013.
Our church begins every new year with 21 days of fasting and prayer. I am sensing that the season of prayer in 2013 will be perhaps the most significant of them all. Our Lead Pastor has asked the congregation to join him in a Daniel fast. We are also going to be participating in a church-wide Bible study campaign called The Circle Maker.
Last night I received a call about yet another death in our congregation. Maybe it’s just my vantage point but it seems that all our world is shaking. I sense deep in my heart it is not going to stop. Prayer is our solid ground. Let me encourage you to find your secret place of prayer with Jesus as 2013 dawns! For He is our hope and a mighty source of strength! As Robin Mark has written “Though these are days of great trials, of famine and darkness and sword, still we are the voice in the desert crying “Prepare Ye the way of the Lord.” Days of Elijah
I appreciate those of you who have commented about praying for this season of mourning for our church. I sense the power of those prayers. Here’s the thing! I am determined to claim victory in the face of every enemy that confronts the church in Winchendon. In this mighty battle we have the high ground for we have Jesus. Our Savior has defeated even Satan’s greatest weapon which is death. Those who have passed from this realm in the last months have gone onto glory according to their Christian testimony. Theirs is a mighty overcoming. In the light of that, though Satan’s weapons sting in the moment of their release our shield of faith quenches every fiery dart.
In 2013 let the church raise up a constant praise to silence the foe and the avenger wherever he may gather against us to battle! Be brave my friends! Be brave and advance against this present darkness!
I am preparing myself for a funeral this morning. Not three days ago I was celebrating the birth of the newest member of our congregation along with the birth of the world’s Savior, Jesus.
What is the message as we approach 2013? In this world darkness and light will continue to vie against each other. Darkness may grow but as long as the church is in the world…as long as the church trusts in the strength of the only hope then light will be overcome the darkness however strong it may appear.