A brand-new year is here and I am excited to see what the Lord has for us! Jesus addressed the church at Ephesus in the book of Revelation chapter 2 about how He was disappointed they had left their “first love” and now is a perfect time to consider that in all our plans for 2017, nothing is more important than staying close to God. This is not the only reference where Christ mentions about us being distant in our relationship with Him, and is still actively speaking today about how we all need to restore our fellowship and consistently pray for an awareness of His presence. Most of the time we live so casually that we hardly ever think about the distractions that cause us to drift away from Him. Keeping Christ at the center of our thoughts takes a great deal of discipline and determination but so does everything else we really care about. If we believe and confess that we are a Christian, the best way we can demonstrate our love and devotion is by trying to live for Him. Whatever we become involved with, He simply wants to be our highest priority which is what being our Lord is all about. If we abide under the shadow of His wings, we will walk in the peace and calmness of His Spirit but if we allow ourselves to be tempted and drawn away, we are miserable and unhappy. “Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” Matthew 22:37-38.
At this time of year, we think about resolutions and actually it’s a perfect time to start developing spiritual lifestyle changes. You notice I used the word “developing” because it is a process much like losing weight, exercising or any other type goal in which we are striving to be successful. For example, eating a salad today is not going to automatically fix our weight problem but is a positive first step and the same is true with learning how to live the Christian life. There have been many adaptations from the original Al-anon credo that encourages everyone to be realistic about trying to change everything all at once by understanding that personal transformation is a lifelong endeavor. It’s great to have long-term goals and we should release our faith into becoming all that God has called us to be, but the key is to focus on our mission one day at a time. It would be much better to go slow with permanent results than to rush the process and become overwhelmed and disappointed.
One meaningful resolution would be to dedicate a few minutes each day to prayer. Daily Bible reading is another excellent place to focus our attention because the words of God are spiritual nourishment to our soul and will help fill our mind and heart with faith and strength. However, this journey will require words like discipline and determination which we commonly avoid because of the association with being uncomfortable. As many of you already know, drawing near to God is a challenge because of the added resistance from the dark side. I recently recorded an 80-minute CD where I narrate over 100 encouraging Bible passages and also includes several worship songs I have written that are filled with hope, joy and faith. This is just an additional resource created for those who want to invest more of their time with God. Contact me through my website and I would be honored to send you a free copy. May you live in the peace of His presence this coming year. “Father, in the name of Jesus, we acknowledge you as the ultimate authority of all things. You created everything and you are in total control. We rest in your arms and trust you completely. Please give us courage to discipline our flesh that we might draw closer to you. Prepare and equip us for this coming year. Watch over us and protect those we love. We love you and worship you, amen.”
Dr. Holland lives in Central Kentucky with his wife Cheryl, where he is a Christian author, outreach minister and community chaplain. To learn more visit: billyhollandministries.com