I wasn’t planning on having a “theme passage” for 2012. The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. But I guess that just goes to show, that even on this first day of the new year, we can plan for what’s ahead, but God determines our steps (Proverbs 16:9).
And to think I almost missed it! You see, I stayed up most of last night with a group of high school students and other adult leaders celebrating New Year’s. We had gone to early service and so I was thinking that I might use the second half of the late service to finish cleaning up from the lock-in so I could head out as soon as I could after church to get home for a nice long nap. But as I walked to my office, instead of cleaning up, I ended up picking up my Bible and going back into church.
- What one thing do you desire from God?
- What one thing do you lack?
- What one thing do you need to let go of?
- What one promise do you need to claim?
Somewhere in my attempts to stay awake I found myself thinking more about a passage Pastor read from Isaiah that talked about leaving the past in the past and looking forward to the new things God would do. I started looking at other verses with the word “new” in them and landed in one of my favorite Psalms… Psalm 40.
As I somewhat alluded to in my post from yesterday, amidst the many joyous parts of 2011, last year also included a lot of struggle and letting God pull me out of the “junk” of life. Psalm 40:1-2 puts it this way:
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and the mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
I wish there were words to explain how much this fits with last year. The year itself was great but as I tried to experience all the joyful things in life, I kept finding myself standing in the mud pit of the past. Time and time again he came and lifted me out, cleaned me off, and gave me a firm place to stand.
I continued reading and realize that as 2011 ends and 2012 begins, God is calling me to live out verse 3:
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in God.
Last year God truly did give my heart a new song to sing. Now it’s just time to SING!!!!
The sermon continued as did it’s connections with Psalm 40.
Question 1: In your prayer time, what one thing do you desire from God?
Psalm 40:8: “I desire to do your will, O my God…”
Question 2: When it comes to your spiritual life, what one thing do you lack?
As Pastor talked about the rich young man in Mark 10 and ask him to give up his riches, I think God’s asking me to give up putting trust in myself.
Psalm 40:4 “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.”
Question 3: What one thing do you need to let go of?
In two words: the mud. As I said before, last year was a year of me learning to wait patiently for God to pull me out of the mud and the mire. And while I’m sure this year will have mud and mire of it’s own… as I step into 2012, God is asking me leave behind any old mud and simply sing the new song He’s put in my heart. (Psalm 40:1-3)
Question 4: What one promise do you need to claim?
God is for me!
Pastor used Psalm 56:9 to talk about this promise in the sermon, but I see it all through out Psalm 40. As I walk into this year, there are bound to be things that come against me in my pursuit to know God deeper. Verse 12-14 of Psalm 40 talk about this too:
“For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me…. “
But even when everything is against me, my God is for me and his love and truth.. “always protect me” (vs 11).
You are my help and my deliverer (vs 17)
So there you have it… a theme passage for 2012. I can’t wait to see what all God will teach me through these 17 verses over the next 366 days (Happy Leap Year).
God is doing something new in your life too… do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:18-19)