26 Reflections on 2016

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In my own personal walk with God, I have found little more helpful than journaling and writing down some of my prayers. Doing this allows me to openly and honestly express my thoughts and my prayers and direct them toward God, but it also allows me to look back at them in the future. For the past several years, I have read back through my entire year of journaling and written prayers at the end of each calendar year and compiled some of the highlights of what God taught me and revealed to me throughout the year. As believers, we are called to remember our past and what God has done for us and give praise to Him for it. Some of the things that I agonized over in early 2016, had completely left my mind by September. Prayers from January were answered slowly but surely throughout the year – but I was only able to see that in retrospect. Here are just a few of my reflections on what God did for me and taught me in 2016:

  1. Never underestimate the value of getting away for a few days in order to spend time with friends/family & focusing on spiritual matters.
  2. In the race of the Christian life, some people are just trying to finish – but we should all be trying to win. In other words, we should be training ourselves, disciplining ourselves, and striving for holy, obedient living every minute of every day. No one stumbles into a life pleasing to God.
  3. When we return to sinful living after being saved, we are like pigs returning to the mire. In doing so, we re-crucify Christ, spurn his sacrifice, and forfeit the sacrifice for our sins. God takes sin seriously and we need to constantly remind ourselves of that.
  4. When it comes to making major decisions, God will always provide a path forward. It may not be clear and we may not be confident, but God always takes us the way he wants us to go.
  5. Practice and make it a habit to try to turn every conversation with a stranger into one that discusses God, church, or spiritual things.
  6. Sometimes remaining faithfully where God has you is harder than moving on.
  7. We must lay down relationships (even with friends and family) that are harmful to our walk with God. It isn’t easy, it causes pain, but it is always worth it in the end.
  8. Never stop praying – sometimes it takes months, years, even decades for us to understand how God answered our prayers.
  9. Humble confession of inability and weakness is God’s launching point for progress and growth.
  10. Churches have life cycles. Not every church is meant to last.
  11. God cares infinitely more about the holiness and love of a church than its numbers and programs.
  12. When God calls you to something, scout out the landscape and have enough trust to obey and follow Him.
  13. Sometimes God makes us wait for his timing in order to strengthen us and build up our faith in Him. This is way more valuable than getting what we want when we want it.
  14. Every believer is called to use 100% of their money and resources for God and His mission. We don’t just give 10% to God and get to keep the rest and spend it however we want to. Whatever we give to the church is simply the money we relinquish control of to God’s church for ministry use. The rest is to be used by us for the same general purpose – building God’s kingdom and doing ministry. Find ways to use your home, your car, your TV, and everything else in  your house for ministry.
  15. It is important to take stock and evaluate every area of our lives and of our churches on a regular basis. Not just the weak spots, but the strong spots as well.
  16. There is no where we can go where God is not. Even the most remote corners of the earth are filled God’s presence.
  17. The world is vast and there are billions of lost people in our world that desperately need to encounter God. We must never cease praying for nations and people around the world and seeking to share the good news of Jesus with them.
  18. God is calling every single one of his children to something specific – to serve him in a unique way that only they can. Seek God, find his desire for you and how he has designed you and then obey his calling.
  19. You cannot possibly have a healthy relationship with God without regular prayer and scripture reading.
  20. As Christians, we have submitted ourselves wholly to Christ. He has authority over our lives. Obedience is therefore not an option for us. OBEY him, even if it is hard, scary, or illogical.
  21. Would your church be healthy if everyone prayed, read the Bible, and evangelized like you did?
  22. Gut up and stop making excuses – talk to people about God. Sometimes all we lack is courage.
  23. The amount of time we spend in prayer and Scripture reading directly correlates with how often and how clearly we hear from God.
  24. 5,000 thoughts on engagement, marriage, and the spiritual truths surrounding them. Here are a few of them.
  25. Stop. Breathe. Pray out loud.
  26. Fight the good fight. God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of boldness and courage. Stand firm and be a strong and mature ambassador for Christ.

I would strongly encourage you to reflect on your 2016 and remember what God has done for you. What are some of your key reflections from the past year?

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