Looking Ahead

Dear Friends,

As we are coming to the end of the year, I find my thoughts going to the new year which will soon be upon us.  Over the last week or so I began to think about "What do I want for 2014?" What are my hopes, my dreams, my goals for the coming year? That is, until God showed me that was the wrong question to be asking.  You see, it's not about me and what I want, instead it's all about God and what he wants for me in 2014.  What does God want for me, for you, in 2014?

It's all very well looking ahead considering what goals and aims I may have for 2014, but if I ignore God in my deliberations then my goals and aims will come to nothing.  Proverbs 19:21 tells us "Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails." (NIV) and in Proverbs 16:9 "We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." (NLT) When we allow God to determine the direction we take then we will have success.

So, I've begun to set aside time over the next few weeks when I can be alone with God and focus on him.  I want to reflect on what's happened during the last year, and for this I'm glad I have kept a journal.  My journal reminds me of the things I have learnt, the direction God has taken me thus far and how he has been preparing me for 2014.  In the times I set aside to be alone with God I would like him to reveal to me the things he wants me to continue with and develop and the things he is telling me to let go of, to leave behind in 2013.

Paul writes in Philippians 3:12-14 "Yet, my brothers, I do not consider myself to have “arrived”, spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasped me. My brothers, I do not consider myself to have fully grasped it even now. But I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal—my reward the honour of being called by God in Christ."   (Phillips New Testament)

As I look ahead to 2014 I'm enquiring of God what is his purpose for me for this year?  What direction does he want me to go in?  How can I align myself with him, so that his plan for me becomes my plan too.  Is there something new he wants me to do?  Are there things he wants me to continue in, to develop and grow in certain areas?  What are the desires he has already placed in my heart?  What goals does he want me to focus on? While some goals may be achievable short term, others may be more long term before fruition is seen and it's important to know the difference. God has created you and me, and he has created us for a purpose, so if we want to know what that is we need to take the time to ask him.  We need a sense of direction which only God can give us.  When you know what it is God wants you to do then, when an opportunity presents itself, if it is something that takes you nearer to what God wants for you, you can embrace it, if it isn't then it's not something God wants you to do, no matter how good it may seem.

God is Lord of my whole life, not just a part of my life that's reserved for Sunday mornings.  Because he is Lord of my life I want to know what he wants for me in all areas of my life - in my relationship with him, in my roles of wife and mother and in my ministry.

As I mentioned earlier, I keep a journal, I plan to use it to record all that God has shown me, the plans, goals and aims he sets within me and what he wants me to do.  The time I spend with God at the beginning of 2014 will give me a sense of direction and purpose for the rest of the year.  Having these things written down means I can return to it whenever I want to.  It's about keeping my focus on God and his purpose for me.  This is what will help me to keep to the path he has set before me and it will help me to keep pursuing it even when it gets difficult or I doubt myself.  Hebrews 12:1-2 "And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith." (NLT)

One thing that has already come out of the time I have spent with God is that this coming year I want to read through the whole of the bible again.  It's been some years since I read it through and this year I want to read it in a chronological bible.  It will probably be a good idea to choose someone I can be accountable to, who will encourage me and also give me a nudge when I need it to keep going.   Telling you what I plan to do also gives me more incentive to do it (maybe that's why I've mentioned it!)  For those of you who know me, I give you permission to check on me to see how I'm doing!  Perhaps you may sense God telling you to try it too.  We could encourage each other then, and leave comments on my blog or message me on Facebook.  I plan to use the reading plan given by Bible Gateway.  Here's the link if you are interested in doing the same:  http://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/chronological/2014/01/01?version=NLT

To Think About:
 Plan in some time to review 2013.  What have you learnt about God this year?  What direction has he taken you in?  How has God shown you he loves you and is with you?

Make some time early this year to enquire of God what he wants for you in 2014.  Record it in a way you prefer so that you can refer to it over the coming months.



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