New Year

“You know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:3-4

Read these verses over and over. What is the Holy Spirit whispering to you?

Happy New Year! I’m sorry I didn’t post last week but we went to visit my oldest Daughter and Son-n-law and helped them get settled into their new house doing some finishing projects. Thanks to my other daughter and my other Son-n-law who kept the waters working for the cattle while I was gone. It is good to see a new year.

I have seen many posts on face book cheering the end of last year and praying for a better year this year. To be honest I could be one of those. The end of 2017 was a rough one for me. But it was a roller coaster year. My wife finished her Chemo last March. We were told things looked good and she has a strong chance of it not coming back. I had trouble planting with break downs and then we celebrated my oldest daughter’s wedding with a blessing service and reception. We won a car and then I had all kinds of trouble with the combine. A lot of ups and downs but God’s blessings were there. Of course, I would love to have a year in which everything went as I wanted it to. But I can’t think of ever having such a year. The key is focusing on the blessings and then we will see how good our year has been.

Our verse today talks about our troubles. When things go wrong it isn’t a time to stop believing but a time to further develop our faith. When we see it this way then our bad times become blessings. I wish the blessings didn’t hurt so much but that is life in a sin filled world. Things would be easier if we would learn the lesson of letting go and allowing God to be in control.

Patience isn’t something that we are born with. It is something learned. I’ve prayed the prayer of give me patience and give it to me now. But it doesn’t work that way. We must experience times of trial in which we must trust God’s timing. We must learn to endure the struggle until it passes.

Testing is a trial of trust. It involves our trust in God. How much do we trust? The more we trust the easier the trial. The less we trust the harder it will be to endure. During testing we learn that some of the things we trust in aren’t trust worthy. The world can’t be trusted. We can’t trust in our own abilities because they will fail us. God is the only place we can put our full trust. Where is your trust?

I want my trust to be in God but sometimes I end up trying to do things by myself. In my pride I try to go it alone. That is when the testing comes in. I can’t do everything by myself. I must let God handle most things. He gives us responsibility. He gives us things that we are to do. We must do those things and trust God in the things outside of our control. That is the hard part. Which parts are mine to do and which parts am I to rely on God? I can’t control other people. Well, some of us can manipulate others but over time they will learn to resent you and then you will have problems. We can give directions. We can teach but ultimately it is between them and God. We can pray for them. We can guide them. We can try to sell our vision to them. But we can’t run them like puppets.

I can’t control the weather. As a farmer the weather is the most important factor in determining our yield. I can’t control it. I can only control the type of seed I plant. The way I work the soil. The inputs I put into the soil. That is my part then I must trust God with the other. Go when He allows me to go and wait when the weather doesn’t permit me to work. Sometimes I struggle with that especially when the equipment breaks down. Some of the breakdowns are my fault some seem to be flukes. All I can do is fix it and trust that God will allow me time to get what needs to be done.

What are you trying to control that we should allow God to control? In what ways do you trust in yourself instead of God? How can you trust God more this year over last? The best thing we can do is pray. Spend quiet time with God, reading and studying His Word and listening for His guidance. Make this year a new year of spiritual growth.

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