Time to Focus

I cannot quite believe that it’s December. It may make me sound old but where has the year gone!?

Time to focus. 31 days to finish the year strong.

Having said that, I am learning that this doesn’t mean stressing and straining towards my future but instead, as I walk with God, it’s learning to allow Him to order my steps, and lead me according to His plans and purposes for my life.

I have been encouraged, reminded and challenged in the last couple of days to live life out of the position I have IN Christ rather than through my own self-effort. Obviously I still work hard at what I do, it’s not about being lazy and opting out.  The driver now isn’t me and my performance, it’s Jesus and who I am IN Him.

I know that I am in the right role and being secure in that fact of who Christ has called me to be can help me to focus, on Him and not myself. To rest in His promises, in His presence and in His purposes.

One day in and my heart is refreshed. I genuinely have a greater sense of confidence, a spring in my step even. I am not waiting for the first day of a new year before I make a change, my journal records my prayer today:

‘Teach me to rest in my salvation and to remember that I am seated with you in heavenly places. Don’t allow me to start doing things through self-effort anymore or to strive and stress about things that just sap my energy. Instead I put my trust in You and Your promises to me.

I rest in Your promises that by Your stripes we are healed.

I rest in Your promise to be anxious for nothing but in all things to pray, that the peace of God would guard our hearts.

I rest in the promise of Your provision, that You can meet all my needs according to Your riches in Christ Jesus, that as I seek Your kingdom first and Your righteousness that all the things I have need of will be added to me.

Thanks for being with me and my family. Looking forward to a great day. Amen

[Thanks to Pastor Andy Elmes for some great teaching over the weekend which helped remind me of the truth I knew but had just drifted from]

Have a Clear Out

Christmas and a New Year are great opportunities for a clear out. A chance to get rid of some of the clutter from around the house, to make room for the new clutter we are expecting to receive.

Maybe take the time for a clear out in life too.

I do say this with caution though. We often clear out things that are easy when it comes to life. Perhaps we find it easier to ignore it, brush it under the carpet, rationalise it, put the problem on to someone else. The nagging concern I have is this – if we don’t clear out the right stuff, if we can’t be honest with ourselves and with God then in reality aren’t we just moving stuff around but that ‘thing’ we think has been cleaned up is actually still there.

God sent Jesus to help with the clean up. The clean up of our sin, hurt, offence, jealousy, bitterness, unforgiveness, issues – anything I guess that stops us from living life in the freedom that Jesus won for us.

Having a proper clean up can be an uncomfortable process though. We like to feel in control of our own lives, even the painful aspects. If we have control then we know what people see or don’t see. As a result, we learn to cover stuff up, put on a good face and convince others that all is well.

To have a clean out with God involves giving control away and that kind of freaks us out. What if people see? What if the mess becomes too visible? Bit like having to empty the garage out and everyone seeing the rubbish we actually have.

Well, here is the good news. God is more than capable of handling our mess. He is all about the clean up business. That is very much His speciality. Andy Stanley in his book Grace of God puts it something like this, ‘God waded in knee-deep to begin the clean up process’. We think it’s too big, but our God is bigger.

It’s what Christmas is all about. The plan of redemption heading to its climax. The clean up process for all of humanity was reaching its final play. The birth of Jesus was the beginning of the end. This Christmas take courage. Allow the Saviour to do what He does best and give Him permission to clean up some stuff. Put it out there. See what He can do and start 2015 totally free, ready for whatever God has for you, with full confidence that you are able because of His power living in you.