Preparation for What is to Come

Genesis 1:14 (NKJV) 14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years;

In my next post I will continue talking about the parable of the sower from Mark chapter 4. Today I want to share one more “holiday” post as we enter the new year. When I was pastoring our local church, I always asked God for a theme for the year to come. I am traveling most of the time now and the local duties have fallen to my son, but I still believe God has a plan for each year of my life. I want to share what I feel God is saying to me for 2019. Maybe it will apply in some measure to you as well.

Genesis 14 is a verse that validates the idea of dividing time into years. Some would say that one year is the same as the other in God’s eyes. He has one plan and that plan never changes. We see it in Ephesians 1.

Ephesians 1:9-10 (NKJV) 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth–in Him.

That is what God has been working towards since the fall of man. In truth, since Jesus was “slain from the foundations of the world”, it has always been God’s plan. There will come a day called the fullness of time when the God of the universe is going to bring all things together under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. That is an inevitability.

That said, it is God who set the lights in the heavens for “signs and seasons, and for days and years.” God lives in an ever-present now. He is the “Great I am”, not the great I will be nor the great I was. It is always today for God. That is not true for us. We were placed in a physical world. God built time into this physical world. He divided time into days, weeks, months and years when he set the heavens in motion the way he did. God is still working toward “the fullness of time.” He has a plan that will accomplish his purpose. I believe that each day, week, month and year has a purpose in God for us and for his plan.

I think our purpose for the “days and weeks” is fulfilled simply by knowing him and walking in harmony with him to the best of our ability. To a degree, the same is true about years, but I am convinced that God has a purpose for me to fulfill in every year that I live. As I have sought to find that purpose, it has helped guide me in my day to day destiny.

2018 was a bit of a mystery to me when it began. My wife and I were beginning the second year of a whole new chapter in life. My wife is fond of saying that it is like the progression of chapters in a good book. A good writer knows how to bring an end to one chapter by building anticipation for the next. You may think you know what comes next, but you are not sure. You cannot wait to find out! That is the way life has been for us the last few years.

The second segment of anything is often difficult. When you launch out, you have certain things you expect will happen. You also know that there are many things you have no idea about, but you look forward to seeing what they may be. The second year, you find out that a good part of what is new you do not like. There are adjustments that must be made. You must reconcile the reality of the new thing with what you thought it would be. This can be a most difficult thing to do. It was for me. Not everything is the way I want it. It is, however, the way it is. This made 2018 a year of stabilization and settling into the reality of what is to come.

2018 was the first year in more than thirty years that I did not have a theme. I think God knew that if he gave me too much information on what 2018 was going to be about, I might have said, “Thanks but no thanks.” That would not have changed God’s mind, but it might have made it even harder for me. At any rate, we are where we need to be.

Whatever your 2018 was like, you are where God needs you to be now. If things were not what you wanted, you cannot change the past. If you made some mistakes, join the club. God is bigger than your mistakes. If you have a bad attitude right now, repent. You cannot change God. You cannot change other people except as you influence them in Christ. Most of the time you cannot change circumstances and certainly not overnight. You are here. 2018 ends today. The question you need to ask is, “What does God want for me in 2019.”

I really had not thought that much about this question until a few days ago. I believe God dropped something into my heart that will help guide me through 2019. As someone who has occupied a leadership position in the church for many years and who has the privilege of speaking to church leaders around the world, I submit it for your consideration. Remember, this is what I believe God is saying for the 2019 division of time. The days, weeks and even months will still flow according to how God unfolds them for you. Each of us must walk in our personal relationship with the Lord daily to get to where we need to go.

So, years were God’s idea. What is his plan for 2019? God said to me that 2018 was a year of stabilization and positioning. Once we are positioned, we go through preparation. We cannot be prepared for something we are not in the position to fulfill. When a person goes into the military he or she is first positioned. What branch will they serve in? They are inducted into that branch. They are now a soldier, sailor, airman or marine. Once positioned, the preparation really begins.

I believe what God is saying to me is that I got settled into my new position in 2018. Not that I fully understand what that position is. It is more that I have come to accept it as the will of God. I am what I am now, not what I was in 2016. Now I am ready to be prepared. The next question is prepared for what?

2019 will be filled with the steps of preparation. My last child to never have been married is getting married in 2019. My oldest son, who has endured the pain of divorce, will probably be moving back to our area from Nashville. All of these things are adjustments and preparations. There are too many more to list here and even more than what I know about, but I believe such family milestones are important indicators. However, that does not answer the question of what are we being prepared for.

I think it is important to know as much as we can about what we are preparing for so that we will cooperate with the preparation. However, we never fully understand until the preparation is done. That means that 2019 will still be filled with as many questions as answers. Nevertheless, the key to preparation is to trust the one preparing you. He knows where you are going. He will tell you what you need to know. Just understand that everything he is doing has a purpose. This is always true, I just believe it is more true this year, at least for my wife and me.

So, what is 2019 preparation for? 2020! If each year has a purpose, each decade also has a purpose. If you look at history, the change of decades almost always signals significant change. I believe that is true for the church as well. 2019, like every year you have lived, will have ups and downs. It will have great times and difficult times. There will be some significant changes and a lot of “boot camp” experiences. Boot camp changes a civilian into a soldier. God is always changing us. I believe we are going to mature and change this year to an even greater degree. What does 2020 hold. I do not know. I believe it will hold great things in God. I do know that we will have to cooperate with the preparation of 2019 to be fully affective in the next decade. I want to hit the ground running. How about you?

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