by David Shannon Wooten – January 2, 2018
Our experience in life has confirmed that Alexander Graham Bell is correct, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” When we desire to take a trip, we begin with planning and preparation. We plan where we are going. What to bring based on the weather, climate and activity. How many miles we will be traveling. How much money is needed. We schedule the car to be serviced for the trip. Successful planning can ensure a successful trip.
We have a great opportunity when a new year comes around. It’s like we have the opportunity to reset our focus, refresh our minds and establish new habits. A new year can bring new opportunities and a host of new blessings. Of course, there will always be challenges, but as with any trip, we don’t get excited or motivated because our trip may be threatened by a setback or a breakdown. We do our best by being prepared to navigate around those setbacks and challenges. Our hope is not in what challenges are in our future. Our faith and hope is in the fact that God has prepared some amazing things for us in this new year. When God speaks to us about our future, He speaks with hope, excitement and anticipation. Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
FIRST, BELIEVE that God has a plan to bring good in to your new year. Faith is the connector. It’s what brings us to the promises of God. When we have faith, we please God and He rewards. Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Speaking doubt, unbelief and cynicism about your new year will not produce the desired outcome. Only faith that God has a good plan for your new year will bring the promise of His good in your life. Don’t let the enemy of doubt wrap you in a “gloom and doom” mentality about your new year. What we say and how we act reveal our true measure of faith. And what we keep our faith in is what will eventually come to pass in our life. Make a list of what you believe God wants to do this year in your life.
God’s Word is not just “comfort” words or “feel good” words of hope for your new year. God’s Word is a promise, a guarantee, a contract. His Word is creative in nature. God gives us His Word so that it will resource our life as we apply it. It’s the second step to moving forward in preparation for your new year.
SECOND, LIGHT THE WAY for success. We can stay on course for good things in our new year by receiving good direction from God’s Word. God’s Word is literally the flashlight that lights the path for each step. The enlightenment we receive from God’s Word gives wisdom for daily decisions. And it illuminates beyond the day so we are able to see how each choice will affect our outcome in the future. Psalm 119:104,105, “I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore, I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Placing priority and value on God’s Word will allow it to cast the light on the way of wisdom in your new year. Notice how dark our way gets when we move away from God’s Word. When we start quoting our feelings, our frustrations, our lack, our doubts, we experience more frustration, less hope and experience more darkness. Its only when we come back to God’s Word that our way becomes clear and bright again.
God’s Word not only is a light to our way but it is creative in nature. It has the power to bring transformation. If God wants to change or transform your life, He will start by bringing transformation to your heart. God always starts on the inside before the outside. God is interested and has highly invested in bringing transformation to your heart. He is more concerned about who we are becoming than our comfort. If something has changed in our circumstances without a transformation on the inside of us, I would doubt the longevity or the eternal impact of that change. Trusting and valuing God’s Word will bring wisdom, clarity and the right change in your new year.
THIRD, YOUR PRAYERS are in direct contact with your Father God who holds the future of your new year. Why are we so easily tricked in to believing our prayers are ineffective? God designed prayer to give us access to Him. We are praying to the One who has already been in our future. Asking God to be involved in our new year is putting our faith in action. We are acknowledging He has the insight and power to help us direct our life. To not pray is to not ask (James 4:2b). Prayer is not only the place we ask God, it is also the place where we hear God give instruction. Every breakthrough and miracle happened because God gave an instruction. Someone heard it, took action and followed through. Your place of prayer is the key to hearing God’s instruction for your new year.
THREE COMMITMENTS THAT WILL HELP YOU PREPARE FOR A GOOD YEAR:
- Make a commitment to BELIEVE God. Trust Him. In spite of feelings or setbacks, trust God’s nature. Be determined this year to push back negative thoughts about your year or fear of negative circumstances. Trust God’s love for you and His desire to do amazing things in your life this year.
- Make a commitment to ACTIVATE His Word. The Bible is the only book that God confirms as His inspired Word. His Word is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). Activate His Word by speaking it out loud over life.
- Make a commitment to CONNECT with God through Prayer. Your body will tell you what you cannot exist without. Try going without food for 40 days. Water for 3 days. Before you die, your body will be screaming at you to feed it. Your new year needs a God connection. The good things that are prepared for you this year, cannot exist without a God connection. Our spiritual lives cannot exist without prayer. Let this be the year that you spend more time talking to your Heavenly Father.
Three basic simple commitments that do not cost us a dime. Only time and the curving of our spiritual appetite. Yet these simple commitments can be so easily sabotaged by lack of priorities, weariness, frustration, flesh, or doubt. They may be simple, but you know and the enemy knows that they are very powerful commitments and disciplines in the life of the believer.
PRACTICAL IDEAS TO HELP YOU PREPARE FOR A GREAT NEW YEAR:
- Print out particular scriptures that speak to your future and post them where they can easily catch your attention. Rephrase the scriptures to a personal prayer over your life.
- Find a new quiet place for prayer. “Unplug” from phone, social media, tv or other distractions. Find a new time where you will not be distracted. Join us at Newspring in Springboro for our 40 Days of Prayer Campaign. Stay updated by following us on Facebook at Newspring of Springboro or Instagram at Newspring of Springboro. If you are local join one of our 40 days of Prayer Life Groups.
- Prayer is not a monologue, a one-way conversation. Take time to listen and hear what God is saying to your heart. Journal what God is saying to you. Prayer gives the Holy Spirit space to give discernment, clarity and direct your focus. You can join us at Newspring on Sunday mornings for our January sermon series on Frequency (Hearing God). Frequency is a sermon series in conjunction with our 40 Days of Prayer campaign, that will encourage us to remove distractions so we can hear God. You can also listen online at newspringlive.com.
Believe, Activate God’s Word, Connect to God through Prayer and live your best year in 2018.