Six things I Learned In 2019. First, I learned that I could post a devotional every single day in 2019-that’s 365! I was able to read and study God’s Word even during illness, travel, surgery, barrel racing and a list of other excuses. I literally thought I would not make it past the first month. I’m not a writer, a pastor, a teacher, a student…..and what do I know about the Bible better than anyone else? Remember what Moses said to the Lord…. “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? Or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I the Lord?” Exodus 4:10-11. Moses wasn’t the only one who doubted God’s call. Many who were chosen to do hard things questioned the Lord, argued with Him, and even ran away.
Second, I learned that I can carry out any task given to me by the Lord. I have to look past what I feel are obstacles and trust in the Lord. It’s easy to step up to God’s calling when the task is easy. But when the Lord draws us out of our comfort zones that is when we wrestle with His assignment. He will always equip us with whatever is needed to carry out His divine purpose. 2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Third, I learned that just because I read and study God’s Word every day and spend time with Him, life won’t be easy. This past year hasn’t been easy in some areas of my life. And like a lot of you, I have had to cope the loss of friends and family members. Even the loss of a beloved pet. The truth is we can’t know all the reasons why God allows bad things to happen. We live in a world that is marred by sin, so difficulties and disappointments are bound to cross our path. Ask God for discernment to begin to understand why He allowed something to occur. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
Fourth, I learned that social media can be a dark place and a thief of joy. Social media can be an emotional roller coaster, making us feel terrible. It can make us envious of a friend’s vacation, car, family gadget, or work opportunity; hopeless and angry about the state of the world; or depressed about ourselves. God uniquely fashioned each one of us. Negatively comparing yourself to another person truly is a thief of joy. If you find yourself doing this and being less joyful, then trade the time scrolling for using the gifts God has given you. Stop wishing you were more like someone else. Proverbs 14:30 “A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.” When we are envious, we become discontent and maybe even resentful. It can cause us to dwell on what we do not have instead of what we do.
I also learned that I worry too much about things I can’t control. Guilty again. I cannot scroll through my feeds without daily seeing the face of a missing teenager yet another political outrage, or a young child struggling with some type of horrible illness. Even after stopping to pray, I still feel burdened by what other people are facing. It is not bad to feel burdened, but social media can show us more than we are meant to process.
Fifth, I learned that the Lord calls us all to different types of ministries with different numbers of people. I have to be reminded from time to time that we cannot all be Billy Graham. But if we even bring one soul to salvation, isn’t that worth it? Remembering that point can help us maintain perspective and sustain our joy.
Sixth, I learned the more I read and study God’s Word the more I feel a personal connection to God and He reveals so much to me through His Word. This year the one that sticks out the most is the wise men were not there on the night of Jesus’ birth as manger scenes, Christmas cards and songs depict. It is believed that Jesus may have been close to 2 years old. So Jesus was not necessarily a baby. Therefore Jesus was not in the manger when the wise men met him. Matthew 2:10-11 states that the wise men came into the house: “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.”
I challenge you to write down the things that you learned in 2019. As you being to think about what your New Year’s resolutions might be-losing weight, getting organized, exercising more, eating healthier, and managing finances better-what about making spiritual New Year’s resolutions?
If we want to be successful with our New Year’s resolutions we must seek God’s will. What does God want for our lives? When he convicts, he also equips us to follow through with the plan and have the strength to stick to it.
One resolution I am making is to take a break from social media. I will be turning off the Facebook app on my phone. I will make a point to speak to people more face to face and spend more time outside enjoying God’s creation. I hope to rekindle and grow my joy. I will keep the Messenger app, where I can be contacted.
I pray that no matter what you or I do this next year, but that in all things we glorify and honor Him. Colossians 3:17 “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks go God and the Father by him.”
I pray that the New Year is full of great things for each one of you reading this last devotional of 2019. Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Give the New Year 2020 your best! And may the Lord renew your strength as you serve Him!