Happy New Year everyone, it is now 2019. I want to share that for our church new years service our brother in Christ asked us to come up to stage and share our testimony and what we are thankful for this past year. I remember sitting there and my heart started to pound. Although not out of nervousness but that fact that I felt the pulling to share my story. But as I was thinking what should I share, I was feeling the joy and sadness of 2018.
This past year was a testing time for my life. As I sat there thought well I am grateful, but sad at the same time, because honestly my heart was still hurt and still in the healing process. I looked at everyone's smiling face sharing their testimony, it was warming my heart, all great testimonies of God's faithfulness.
I looked down and started to open my bible, maybe God can help me find the words I need to share. I really wanted to share but at the same time I couldn't find the right words. As I looked at my bible I then heard persevere! Persevere, I thought what does that mean again, so I quickly looked in my bible dictionary and looked up the scriptures indicated.
James 1:12 12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
That's it, that is what I need to share, so I built up the courage to lift my hand up and prayed under my breath asking God to speak thru me. As I walked up to the stage I don't remember if I was smiling, I may not have been, probably looked a bit sad. I shared how God thru a dream called me to Florida and called me to this church and I am grateful. I went on about last year how God blessed my life but also showed me that he gives and takes away, its like as though he is testing us and it doesn't mean we have done anything wrong. You see God wants us to learn to persevere thru the ups and downs of life.
Proverbs 3:5-6 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
I want to encourage you, many of us have gone thru so much thru our lives, and many of you may have had a terrible 2018 and asked God why. But many also have had an outpouring of blessings. You see even if you believe in God or have never accepted God in your life you have gone thru trials and tribulations. You have been favored and may have had doors close. Maybe you lost a love one, went thru a divorce, lost a child, lost your job, got sick and many other situations that may have come up in your life. But many of you have been blessed with a new baby, a new relationship, a great job, a beautiful home, a great opportunity. Or like a lot of us went thru both a trail and a blessing.
Luke 21: 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.
I want to encourage you to keep going, life is tough and we are constantly faced with life circumstances that may be in or out of our control. Persevere my friend, keep on the course, stay firm, even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success. Persist, continue, carry on, go on, keep on, keep going, struggle on, hammer away, be persistent, be determined, see/follow something through, keep at it, press on/ahead, not take no for an answer, be tenacious, stand one's ground, stand fast/firm, hold on, go the distance, stay the course, plod on, stop at nothing, leave no stone un-turned.
Pray with me:
God I pray for strength and direction for 2019. Although I don't understand why things are given and taken away I trust in you Lord. Lord show me to stay strong and continue the course no matter what comes my way. I pray for those who are still carrying the burdens of yesterday. Please Lord show them to lean on you and cast their cares on you. Prepare my mind, my heart, and my soul as I look forward. Guide my steps, show me what path I need to take. Lord I want to be obedient although I know this path my be tough, teach me Lord thru each testing period teach me Lord to trust in you. Amen