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Will we finish the year well?

Will we finish the year well?

The days have quickly melted into weeks, and the weeks into months, this year. Today is the last Saturday of November and we have one more month to close this year.

We must keep our eyes on finishing well. And so, we look back and examine how things have gone for us in the year.

Have we met the key goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year? Perhaps, your first key goal was a closer friendship and a closer walk with God.

How do you measure that today? And what were the other key goals you set to grow stronger in the Lord Jesus?

For example, would you say you have daily, regularly, consistently done devotional reading of the Bible? You see, daily devotional reading of the Bible changes lives. The important point is, we read the Bible daily not just to merely add on more Biblical information into our heads. For God’s word to change our lives, we must obey it.

Yes, we must read it daily and meditate on it. We must memorise verses and portions of the Bible. But most importantly, what brings about transformation in our lives is when we seek to live according to the standard of God’s word. James writes: “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”. (James 1:22 NLT). How would you examine yourself in this? How has God’s word changed your life this year?

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Jacob Addo Mensah testified last Sunday in church about how God’s word has changed his life. He said that forgiveness was never part of his life. If a person offended him, he would find ways to retaliate very heavily.

He couldn’t put the offence away from his mind. His was a more severe mindset than “an eye for an eye”. But unforgiveness troubled him as a young believer. And so, he approached a senior Christian brother to help him.

The response he received was not a long and series of preaching at him on forgiveness and retaliation (That may be needful and helpful in other cases).

The advice he got was to go and read the following Bible verse; meditate on it; and use it as prayer words from his own mouth to God: “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”. (Romans 12:19 & 21 ESV).

In Christian conduct, he was not to take “the law” into his own hands, and “pay back people” for wrongs done to him. God knows all the information on both sides about the case, and the total context in which it has happened.

God is the righteous judge. He will do a better job in managing the case and the offence. Indeed, after a couple of weeks and some more time in doing the prayer on forgiveness, Jacob Addo Mensah was released from being a captive to unforgiveness and the strong response to always retaliate.

Have you too been set free from unforgiveness, slander, gossip, lying, pride and arrogance, corruption, sexual sins, or greed for money in church or in business; or any other stronghold of sin in your life?

 Jesus says, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. (John 8:36 NIV).

In our conversations, we see that at the beginning, and anytime in the year, people want to grow more and more godly and become spiritually stronger. But from the Biblical narratives in Genesis to Revelation, the people who have grown Biblically healthy, matured and strong – having power with God and people are those men and women in the Bible and in church history who have been devoted to “the study of God’s word and to prayer”.

 They studied God’s word diligently. They sought to live lifestyles of godliness with integrity, with the Bible - God’s word as their standard and guide. They are men and women of persistent, persevering prayer and God hears them.

Again, James writes: “Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results”. (James 4:8 & 10; 5:16b NLT).

I hear what James says here – the sincere and earnest prayers of godly believers, have great power and produce wonderful results, regarding the economy, climate change matters, crop production, and other sectors of human life.

He notes: “Elijah was as human as we are” yet we see in his lifestyle a man of powerful prayer with such amazing results.

Do you feel at this point like the disciples of Jesus Christ asking Him, “Lord teach us to pray”? Prayer is simply sharing with Jesus (our dearest, closest, and the most powerful friend) our joys and needs for everyday life; and our passion and concern for church life, company life, community life and country life.

Rev. Derek Prince says that, the Biblical records in Church history show that the earnest prayers of Christian believers change the history of nations.

But in your personal review, what has been the quality of your personal prayer pattern, this year? How can you finish the year better with set times of prayer daily, apart from group prayers or congregation prayers in Church?

Please, it is not enough to hire a personal Prophet or Prayer warrior to do prayers on your behalf. You can’t delegate all your prayer.

 Of course, mobilising intercessory prayer for life, ministry and business is essential. Are you in the habit of praying more regularly; and praying the Psalms and other scriptures?

 The men and women who most enjoy the great grace of God in their lives; and experience inner peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, are women and men who diligently read the Bible daily, live according to its teachings, and are people of regular prayer, and persevering prayer!

We are to finish the year well in regular daily Bible reading, and persistent earnest Prayers – and experience God’s divine presence, divine power, and divine provision and His peace.

 

(The author is a consultant in Authentic Spirituality and Discipleship and former CEO of  the Scripture Union)

 

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