If you’re not asking what God’s will is for your life today, chances are you will be doing so pretty soon. When we wonder about God’s will for our lives, usually we’re thinking about specific paths we might take… While it’s certainly right to seek God’s will for such particulars, we will be helped to discern God’s specific will if our whole life is shaped by God’s wider will.
Ephesians 3:20 refers to God as the one who “is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Did you catch that? God is able to do way, way more than you can even imagine. God is able to do far more than you even know how to ask for in prayer. Amazing!
The words of Jesus, as well as the words found throughout the Bible, are full of the Spirit and life. Yes, they are challenging at times, even unsettling. But as we read, study, meditate upon, pray, and put into practice the words God has given us in Scripture, we will experience more of the Spirit and more of the full, abundant life found in Jesus.
As we look forward to a new year, we are reminded of the greater newness yet to come in the new creation. Last night at midnight our calendars changed, but the world was otherwise the same. Someday, however, God will renew all things. In that day, sorrow will be swallowed up by rejoicing… God’s justice will cover the earth.
Isaiah 65 begins with a tragic thought. God stood ready to help his people, but they didn’t bother to call upon him. He was ready to be found by those he had chosen, but they were not looking for him… As I read this sad comment made by the Lord, I have to wonder how many times what was once true of Israel has been true of me. How many times has God been ready to help me, while I failed to turn to him?
Isaiah 64 is a prayer in which the prophet acknowledges God’s greatness and Israel’s great sinfulness. Then Isaiah turns to ask God to forgive and help his devastated people. The beginning of this supplication acknowledges two crucial images of God: Father and potter.
As the prophet looks upon the mess Israel made of its life, his thoughts turn to the mystery of God’s inaction, or even God’s participation in the rebellion of Israel: “Why, LORD, do you make us wander from your ways and harden our hearts so we do not revere you?” (63:17). If you’ve walked with the Lord for a while, I expect you’ve had questions like these.
As you reflect on the Magi in the Christmas story, as you are impressed by their boldness, don’t just admire them. Imitate them. Approach God’s throne boldly. Know that, because of Jesus Christ, God is ready to shower you with mercy and grace in your time of need.
Jesus understands. He gets it. He gets us. So, when we’re hurting physically, or when our hearts are heavy, or when we feel abandoned, or when people disappoint us, or when those we love reject us, or when we experience the reality of being human in a fallen world, Jesus knows how we feel.
At Christmas, we focus on the wonder of the birth of Jesus. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Christmas sermon on dealing with temptation. But, from the perspective of Hebrews 2, one of the life-changing implications of Christmas—the celebration of the incarnation of God in human flesh—is that Jesus will help us when we’re tempted. This is such good news.