Well, here we are. Today is Thursday, December 31st.
The very last day of the year 2009. And what a year it was.
It seems like only yesterday that many of us joined up with millions of people across the nation this time last year to gather inside of our respective local churches for some form of New Year's Eve or Watch Night Service. And although there are times when the variations of our church annual themes and proclamations can make God sound a bit schizoid to the ears of the unbeliever, for the most part, many of us heard a message that evening about the significance of the year 2009.
2009. The year of (yep, that's right)...
From areas of relationships to finance, issues of health and areas of leadership, the hope for a New Beginning was indeed high on the hearts and minds of believers both young and old this year.
Now I am not in any way what you call the greatest practitioner of biblical numerology, but last year around this time, I remember doing a little research about the significance of the number nine (9).
What I found was actually very interesting. The number nine (9) literally means: to bring to an end. In fact, in one instance, I found that the number (9) means: to bring a judgment (or conclusion) to. I think I'll repeat that one more time...
To bring to an end.
To bring to a conclusion.
To bring a judgement to.
Those aren't exactly the kind of words people pack out a sanctuary or tear up a few pews in order to hear at the beginning of a new year. New Year phrases like 'the year of divine favor,' or 'the year of a new beginning' tend to have a better ring to them.
About a month or so ago, I heard probably one of the most powerful faith statements I had ever heard in my life. It is one that I pray becomes a staple for every believer reading this devotional today as we prepare for the beginning of a new year.
"God's sovereignty does not excuse our apathy."
While I realize we all are looking forward to a great harvest in 2010, please know that this harvest in many respects will be a result of the seeds we have sown throughout 2009.
2009 (for many of us) should have been a year to put an end to our excuses. A year that you and I should have ceased from blaming any oppressor (spiritual or natural) from hindering us from accomplishing the goals and dreams we set out for earlier this year.
2009 was not a year to be lazy. Or vulnerable. This year (for many of us) should have been a year that many of us for the first time in our lives became (sorry for the dirty word here)... responsible.
On tonight, be careful not to become too consumed with asking God (yet again) to begin some new things in your life, without examining the things He has also told you to bring to an end this year.
You still have a few hours left to cancel some of those credit cards you know you need to stop using. A few hours left to 'unfriend' that person you know God has told you to stop chatting with online. A few hours left to email that proposal you've been sitting on now for weeks to your boss.
In fact, there's even a few hours to call that relative of yours you know God has told you to apologize to and mend the relationship. It may be tough to do, but it is time to get it done.
I realize there are a plethora of scriptures many of us will probably be given on tonight concerning what God may have in store for us next year, but I want to give you one that my wife and I have already taken on as a personal challenge for our family throughout 2010.
It's a dangerous one, so please don't write it down if you're not prepared for it just yet.
"If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with the horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?" Jeremiah 12:5-6
Ladies and gentlemen, whether you and I are ready or not, 2010 is here. For many of us, this will be a year that many of the things we have prayed for throughout this year will come to pass. However, for those of us who are still holding on to things (and people) God has told us to get rid of, and for those of us who have allowed 2009 to be a year where our apathy and discontentment for where our lives are right now get the best of us, then what in the world are we going to do when the 'horses' arrive?
If God decides to bless you in 2010 with that 'new job' you've been asking for, are you prepared for it? If God decides to bless your business or church with incredible growth in 2010, did you position yourself properly this year to receive it? Or perhaps for some of you reading this today who are still waiting for God to send you a spouse, will you be able to identify him or her when they come, or is your focus still on holding on to those 'safe alternatives' from your past?
Family, enough is enough. No more excuses.
To be quite honest...I am tired of making them. And if you're like me, tired of hearing them too.
The horses...are here!! SADDLE UP.
Happy New Year!