Exercise Faith: What is faith? Faith is when you take God at His word. It is when you believe that you will receive those things which you have been praying for. What are you hoping to accomplish in 2016? Do you want to live a healthier lifestyle? Is there an illness that has been plaguing you for years? Does your financial situation seem hopeless? The good news is, God can do exceedingly and abundantly more than you could ever ask or think. Whatever it is that you long for, big or small, it is going to take faith to receive it. In 2016, be open to allowing God to do it His way. There is nothing too hard for Him. You must be determined to walk by faith and not by sight. Do not be moved by your circumstances. In Matthew 14, Peter defied the laws of gravity and walked on water, for as long as his eyes were fixed on Jesus. I wonder what monumental feats you will be able to accomplish and overcome through faith in 2016. Remain steadfast and keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, who is the author and finisher of your faith. Make 2016, the year that you believe God to do the impossible.
Fear Not: We are commanded numerous times in the Bible to fear not. Why? In John 16:33, Jesus warns that trials and tribulations will come, but to be of good cheer. Why? Because He has overcome the world. We live in a fallen world with an enemy who is after our souls. In fact, it is his job to steal, kill and destroy, but do not give in to fear and panic. Perhaps you would like to start a new business venture, but you are afraid to take the risk. Or maybe you would like to start a new relationship, but you fear getting hurt again. Maybe going back to school is your plan, but you are afraid of failure? My advice concerning these possibilities is for you to just do it. Do not allow the “what ifs?” to hold you hostage. Live your best life unapologetically in 2016, with no regrets. When challenging circumstances arise and try to paralyze you, stand on this promise from Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed. For I am thy God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” That means whatever you face in 2016, God will be there with you every step of the way. He will protect you, give you peace and will calm your heart in the midst of the storm. Do not be afraid.
Fight On: Whether you realize it or not, you are a fighter and you were born to win. You are an overcomer and more than a conqueror. But being victorious is not going to be easy. You will need to fight. So ready yourselves for battle, now. Put your war clothes on and refuse to waive the white flag. Fight for your marriage, fight for your children, fight for that business, fight for everything that is valuable to you and keep fighting until the battle is won. Choose your battles wisely. Ask God for wisdom. Some battles you will win without saying a word. Allow God to fight for you. Do your part by praying, believing and standing on the word of God. Be still and trust that He is working behind the scenes on your behalf. It is through faith and patience, that you will receive the promises of God.
Follow Jesus: It seems simple, but it really isn’t. Following Jesus doesn’t mean that you simply know Him. It means that you know him intimately. It means that your heart is in sync with His heart. It means that you obey Him, you trust Him, and that you allow Him to lead you, even when you don’t understand the way. You will never go wrong by following the One who will never lose His power, credibility or popularity. He is the same today, tomorrow, and forevermore. Allow Him to be your spiritual navigation system as you learn to discern His voice. Let His Word be a light unto your feet and a lamp unto your path. Do not worry about making unplanned or unexpected detours. God has a way of getting you back on His divine path. And when the road gets hard and lonely, He promises to never leave you or forsake you. When you feel too weary to continue the journey, let Him carry you. Trust in Him with all your heart, do not lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and watch Him make your paths straight.
Forgive Daily: We have all been hurt and betrayed at one time or another. In fact, as long as we are on this earth, there will always be an opportunity and need to forgive. Extending forgiveness is not easy, but it is necessary. It is a difficult and sometimes painful process. However, you must find room in your heart to forgive. No, that person does not deserve your forgiveness. Yes, they were wrong. But how much more do we deserve to be forgiven by our heavenly Father? Let us not forget that we are not perfect. We all have fallen short in the eyes of God. By refusing to forgive, we are unintentionally agreeing to keep ourselves enslaved to the past. And if, remaining in bondage is not enough, there is another consequence for holding on to unforgiveness. In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus says that if we forgive others their trespasses, our heavenly Father will forgive our trespasses, but if we do not forgive, neither will the Father forgive us.
- Forgiveness is not just for those who have trespassed against us. We must also be willing to extend an olive branch to ourselves for our trespasses. Have you truly forgiven yourself? Let 2016 be the year that you walk in total freedom from guilt, shame and blame. Stop reliving your mistakes. Stop replaying those memories. You cannot change the past. But you CAN live with it and learn from it. As long as you have given it completely over to God, let it go. Move on and make it part of your testimony. God has forgiven you. He loves you. End of Story. Your past does not define you and it will not dictate your future. Forgive yourself, today. Psalm 103 tells us that God is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. Learn to love yourself enough to forgive and make it a daily occurrence in 2016.