In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”- Genesis 1:1,26 ESV
IN THE BEGINNING! Our first introduction to God is as CREATOR! The Bible starts with the assumption, the understanding that GOD IS! There is no selling God, there is no laying a foundation that there is a God…it is just THE REALITY! God treats us as children of wisdom and knowledge because all throughout the Bible, He makes it clear that ONLY A FOOL would NOT believe in Jehovah, Yahweh, the King of Kings, and the LORD OF LORDS, Lord of the Heavenly Hosts, the GREAT ‘I AM’! The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. (Psalm 14:1, 53:1) After God introduces Himself as the GREAT CREATOR, 25 verses later He tells us that He made MAN IN HIS IMAGE. In other words, we are made in the GOD CLASS and we were made TO CREATE! As we begin a BRAND-NEW YEAR, we must decide what we will create this year, 2023?
Leader, in his book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey introduced us to 2 Circles: the circle of CONCERN and the circle of INFLUENCE. Covey used it as a way to distinguish between the FOCUS of proactive people – who focus on what they can do and can influence – and the FOCUS of reactive people who focus their energy on things beyond their control. When we add our WALK WITH GOD to the ‘2 Circles’ concept, we CREATE FOR OURSELVES a way forward that is honoring to God and useful in our LIVING OUR LIVES LIKE THEY MATTER! Our God is a God of NEW BEGINNINGS, of NEW OPPORTUNITIES and of NEW MERCY AND GRACE. The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23) When we combine this with a clear understanding of God’s desire in our lives; To prosper us and NOT TO HARM US. Plans for a future and a hope- then we can truly focus on; OUR LORD- FIRST, and then on the CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE- those things we can control, or influence!
Conduit, it is tough sometimes being the MESSENGER for God, telling the truth to a world and a church that does not want the TRUTH, they want to FEEL GOOD, because they have ITCHING EARS. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” (2 Timothy 4:3) Itching ears is a term used in the Bible to describe individuals who seek out messages and doctrines that condone their own lifestyle, as opposed to adhering to the teachings of the apostles. Jeremiah experienced this concept when He was sharing the WORD FROM THE LORD, and people didn’t want to hear it, and wouldn’t believe it- they wanted to believe that everything was going to be ok, that they wouldn’t be in Babylon long. See Jeremiah 37:12-38:28. And Jeremiah said, “It is a lie; I am not deserting to the Chaldeans.” But Irijah would not listen to him, and seized Jeremiah and brought him to the officials. And the officials were enraged at Jeremiah, and they beat him and imprisoned him in the house of Jonathan the secretary, for it had been made a prison. (Jeremiah 37:14-15) This is the proverb, “Do not kill the messenger because of the message”. No matter what the WORLD does in 2023, no matter how destructive a BIDEN presidency is, in 2023 will you focus FIRST ON GOD, then on your CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE! You bring the gift of life, when you share the WORD OF GOD, the LOVE OF GOD and the WAY OF GOD! No matter what happens is 2023, let us be mindful of Jesus’ words when He was required to SOCIALLY DISTANCE HIMSELF. Jesus asked, “Do you finally believe? But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 6:31-33) To make the MOST OF 2023 we must KEEP OUR FOCUS, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2) Make it a GREAT 2023 by keeping your focus! Merry Christmas! 🙂