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God’s way in ‘24

At the beginning of a New Year, it’s good to ask ourselves what does God have for us, how does he want us to grow and to change and what does he want us to do? As Christians we are born again spiritually (John 3:3-7), filled with the Holy Spirit, the power of God (1 Cor 6:19) and we are his children (John 1:12). God has an amazing plan for each of our lives (Jer 29:11). It’s only as we walk in all God has for us that we will find true purpose, fulfillment and peace. We all obviously need to hear from God. There are 3 main ways God speaks directly to us.
As we prayerfully study the Bible the Holy Spirit will open our spiritual eyes to God’s word that will guide us, grow us, encourage us and even discipline us (John 16: 10-15; Ps 1:1-3). God can also speak to us by his “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12b) in our hearts as he did to Elijah (1 Kings 19:11-12; NKJV). In addition, God can communicate with us by an inner witness or unction. The Holy Spirit will interact with our spirit with a sense, a thought, words or a scripture to encourage, direct, chasten and mature us (Rom 8:16;9:1). How do we know we are hearing from God? Quiet yourself with God and listen. If it is God’s wisdom in that inner witness or “still small voice”, it will line up with his word and come with a real peace and assurance (James 3:17).
If we want to have all of God in 2024, we need to let him have all of us! Let God speak to you and show you his way for you this next year; it will be glorious!

Keep it Simple

“For truly I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of cold water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward” (Mark 9:41; ESV). It doesn’t get much simpler than that! To do something as simple as giving someone a drink of water brings us a reward.
Jesus Himself led a simple life; He spent time with ordinary people, ate with them, taught them and helped them. There was nothing complicated about His life. Jesus chose uneducated fishermen to be His disciples and being a Christian doesn’t require us to be educated, accomplished or special in any way.
God requires us to obey His commandments but 1 John 5:3 tells us that they are not burdensome, in other words, they are easy to follow. Jesus said that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we could tell mountains (our problems) to move. Simple faith!
Prayer is simple too – it’s just having a conversation with God; we don’t have to use King James English, or say long repetitive prayers but just a heart to heart with God (Matt 6:7-13). Simple! Paul told the Thessalonians in 1 Thess 5:16-18 to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks.” There’s nothing complicated about that!
Let’s follow this advice and keep it simple!

How does God see us?

Do you ever stop and ask yourself; how does God see me? Well, the Bible is very clear on this question. Sin in our lives caused us to die spiritually and separated us from God. He saw us as sinners. As sinners our lives come under the evil and destructive plans of satan, such as sickness, poverty and disease. Christ redeemed us or paid that awful price for our sins by His sacrifice on a cross winning God’s forgiveness for us all (Col 1:14). If we repent of sin and ask God’s forgiveness, believe in Jesus and make Him Lord of our lives (Rom 10:9) we are born again spiritually (John 3:3-7; Eph 2:1). We become new creations (2 Cor 5:17) and our fellowship with God is restored. We become His children (1 John 3:1), Christians. We are justified (Rom 4:25) or made just as if we had never sinned, sanctified, set apart for God and made holy in God’s eyes (1 Cor 6:11). In addition, God sees us Christians as righteous, having right standing with Him (2 Cor 5:21). Jesus calls us His friends (John 15:15) and His workmanship (Eph 2:10). The Greek word translated “workmanship” has the sense of a poem, a work of art, a new creation produced by our creator, God. Finally, the apostle Peter refers to God’s people as “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people” (1 Peter 2:9a; NKJV). This is who we are as Christians, this is how God sees us and don’t allow anyone to tell you any differently!

The Word is Working

“The word of God which is effectually at work in you who believe (exercising it’s superhuman power in those who adhere to and trust in and rely on it” (1 Thess 2:13; AMPC).
“For the word that God speaks is alive and full of power making it active, operative, energizing and effective” (Heb 4:12; AMPC).
Wow! These verses are telling us that God’s word will produce change and bring results in our lives. It will do that regardless of our circumstances and whether we feel like it is or not. However, as we read in the first verse, we have a part to play. We need to trust and rely on the word; in other words, we need to spend time in it and put it into practice.
Proverbs 4:20-22 give us some important instructions regarding this topic. These verses tell us that we need to listen to the word, read it and also put it in our heart, (in other words, meditate on it); that means investing serious time into our Bible reading. If we do that then God will do the work of causing it to change us.

Spiritually Minded

“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom 8:6; NKJV). To be carnally or fleshly minded describes our human nature before we were Christians, spiritually dead (Eph 2:1), separated from God (Isa 59:2) and the influence of the Holy Spirit. When we believed in Jesus (Rom 10:9-10) and made Him Lord of our life we came under the influence of the Holy Spirit who came to live in us (1 Cor 6:19). However, we didn’t become spiritually or God minded automatically. We read in the Bible that we must decide to turn our backs on the ways of the world and allow the Holy Spirit to wash our minds from the ways of the world and regenerate them with the things of God (Rom 12:2).
Jesus came to the earth in absolute obedience to the will of His Father, to the extent that he died as a sacrifice on a cross to pay for our sins (Heb 10:9-10). Are we 100% sold out for God and spiritually minded or do our minds still need some work? Don’t be discouraged, renewing our minds is a process. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col 3:16; NKJV). As we spend time in His word, the Holy Spirit will take that word and use it to wash, renew and regenerate our minds. “To be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom 8:6b; NKJV). That’s the God kind of life and peace, a fulfilled life in Him “and the peace of God which passes all understanding” (Phil 4:7a). Does that interest you? It does me!