Resolutions?

January 2022!  When I say that out loud it doesn’t seem possible that we could be in 2022 already. Along with a new year comes new visions, resolutions, a brand-new page to be written upon.  It’s a time to sit and ponder about what 2022 will bring, a time of hope for the future.  We want to do better, be thinner, get fitter, save more, love more.  A desire for change is birthed every New Year’s morning.

As I sat and considered my own life a study came across my desk, it is called The Power of 4 Effect.  The Center for Bible Engagement surveyed over 400,000 people around their world and their findings were astounding.  If you are not reading your Bible four times a week, then your life is statistically the same as that of a non-believer!  Your life will not change in any significant way than that of one who never reads His Word.  This survey also discovered if you are in God’s Word four times a week, you are 30% less likely to be lonely, 59% less likely to view pornography, 228% more likely to share your faith, and 407% more likely to memorize Scripture.  These are some mind-blowing stats!

John 8:31-32 says this; “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  If you tarry and remain in the Word of God, then you will know the truth.  Not only that, His Word will set you free and deliver you from bondage.  What a beautiful promise, a promise of change and freedom.

As the sun rises over 2022 may I encourage you that if you make any resolution, make it one of being in the Word of God.  He will change you, remold you, and set you free.  You will be a radically different person by the end of this year.  Not only that but when those hard times come you will have something to stand on, God’s Word hidden in your heart!

Jesus is there!

Isn’t it a mystery how you can read a passage of scripture dozens of times when all of a sudden a sentence will jump out at you as if highlighted, and you’ll wonder – “Why did I not see that before!”  This is the absolute miracle of the Word of God, it is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword!  The words etched on these pages are not dead, they are not passive or lifeless, but alive, endless, they have a power of their own!

While reading Luke 22, the story where Peter denied Jesus three times, I noticed a few details that I hadn’t seen before.  One small sentence containing eight little words!  “Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!”  Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter.”

“And the Lord turned and looked at Peter!” The Lord was there!  The Lord heard each and every denial Peter made, one blow to His heart after another.  The Lord heard every defiant renunciation that fell from Peter’s lips.  How did I miss this, how did I miss the fact that Satan sifted him right in front of Jesus?!  Oh how that must have stung, how personal and painful this particular rejection!  And from Peter too – the one who knew that Jesus was the Messiah!  The one on whom Christ promised to build His church.  But even more than that, this denial came from one of His closest friends!

The Lord turned and looked at Peter – a look of compassion, a look filled with love and a look of understanding.  It was this look that broke Peter causing him to weep bitterly, this look that finally brought Peter to the end of himself.  If Peter had not been completely broken he could not have been completely transformed.  Wholly changed.  Peter’s transformation was so dramatic that he did indeed become the rock on which God’s church was built, bringing the gospel to the gentiles.  He died a martyr’s death being crucified upside down upon a cross. 

Of course Jesus was there!  He always is.  He is always standing beside you, watching over you, taking care of you, looking upon you with a love that is simply never ending.  He is there in the good times and the hard ones.  He is there when you fail, when you stumble, flounder, or fall.  He sees the potential within you and believes wholeheartedly in you.  He knows that when you come to the end of yourself, then His story can begin in you.  The purposes and works that He has planned for you can begin and be established.  When you find yourself at the end of your rope, remember, Jesus is always there.  Where else would He be?!