There is instinctive programming in me that hopes for better things and brighter days in a new year. Whatever messes and challenges dogged me in the past year, I like to believe those things will improve. I dream of lush meadows instead of shadowed valleys, lofty mountain tops instead of sheer cliffs. The wonderful news for every believer in Jesus Christ is that he already exists in our year to come, whatever it may hold for us.
He knows every step of our 2020 journey and already made plans for us to be successful travelers. Hope, grace, mercy, strength, healing, provision and every other heavenly blessing is already placed along our roads, strategically. Every step of our pilgrimage on earth is monitored by our Father. Inspired by one of my favorite childhood books, “Pilgrim’s Progress,” I invite you to become a modern pilgrim with me this year.
There are timeless struggles and dangers that the classic Pilgrim faced in Bunyon’s book. I also believe we are living in a unique time in church history that will require believers to step up in ways previous generations could not imagine. Each week, on this blog, let’s explore together the challenges, trials, dangers and victories of the journey every pilgrim believer might face this year. There are things God will be doing in 2020 that will be unique and fresh, just for this time in history. Will I be prepared and ready? Will you?
Although the specifics of our individual paths will vary, God is amazingly able to customize his Word and promises for the needs of each of our hearts. He is the answer to every question and the hope of every longing. This year, like every year, he invites us to join him at the front of the battle lines between light and dark. He is an ever-moving God and those who refuse to move with him are unintentionally helping the cause of darkness through their disobedience or apathy. Dear God, I don’t want to be counted in that number and if you’re reading this, you probably don’t either.
So, let’s begin by deciding to take our God-ordained journeys. Some of us started 2020 already facing sorrow and trials. Others are beginning new jobs, moving to new homes and such. Wherever you are today, on the mountain of joy or in the valley of the shadows, your journey has started. The choice remains, how will you make the journey this year? Are you committed to go where God guides, no matter what? Will you choose to be faithful in prayer and Bible study, gaining direction daily, from our perfect Guide? Will you come alongside others and help them when they are faltering or lost?
My goal is to be a resource of encouragement, hope, teaching and exhortation for those who want to climb to the high places with the Good Shepherd. For many of us, the journey will become more difficult than we could have dreamed, and we will need each other to make it victoriously to the end. Oh yes, there are the giant situations like death, disease, addiction, financial setbacks and such that will catch us unaware and attempt to sideline us. More often though, we lose our way due to choosing wrong sideroads, clinging to old roads that used to work, or finding ourselves under pile ups of smaller challenges that come all at once.
God provides everything we need for a victorious 2020. All. The. Time. And my victories won’t look anything like yours, but we can celebrate them together and encourage each other to even higher places of devotion and faithfulness.
Here’s a starting verse and another key verse for the year which turned up in my devotional this morning, “Sparkling Gems 2,” by Rick Renner.
“Show me the right path, O Lord;
point out the road for me to follow” Psalm 25:4 (NLT).
David implies there’s choices when it comes to roads and paths. We need God to point out the ones we are supposed to use. Sometimes that means leaving familiar places and plunging into the unknown and uncertain.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right” 2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT).
The Bible is our definitive guidebook. God will use it heavily to communicate directions and specifics. If we are not committed to a daily dive into scripture, we can plan on becoming sidetracked or lost. We will wind up in the wrong places at the wrong times and miss parts of our destiny. I want to share with you Rick Renner’s literal translation of this verse, from the Greek, so you will understand the importance of being faithful in your Bible reading.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is a mandatory, essential and absolute requirement for those things we affirm and believe to be true. It brings reproof, conviction, and censure into our lives. It can take anyone—including those who have been knocked flat on their backs in life—–and it can set them back up on their feet again, regardless of how long they have been down and out. The Word of God will make them once again stand erect and upright. It will put them back on level ground, fully equipping then to successfully live life by a higher standard that leads to upright, godly clean living.”
Wow. Isn’t that powerful? Making your 2020 journey without consistent Bible reading is like trying to get to a new location with no directions, map or navigation technology.
Are you ready? If you haven’t already, take this week and find your new devotionals or Bible study plan so you can make sure you are where you need to be and doing what you’re supposed to be doing.
Feel free to dialogue back with me on my Facebook page “Pastors Feisty Wife,” or in the comments section of this blog. Suggestions for good devotional and Bible reading plans would probably be greatly appreciated by other readers.