Praise our Lord for 2009. He provided a wonderful year. I praise Him for carrying me to a victory that just a few years ago seemed impossible for me. To give God due praise, I must back up and tell the story from the beginning.
When I was young, my parents taught me the value of a strong work ethic. As a child, others pushed and motivated me to accomplish and succeed. I never really relied upon myself or our Lord to set a goal and move toward that goal in victory. I even took credit for the things accompolished as if they were challenging, when truly I had not really challenged myself. I was displeasing to our Lord.
During my senior year of high school, I injured my back and pretty much gave up all forms of exercise. Over time, laziness took hold of my life. It gave the devil a foothold over my mind and my body. Eventhough I had a strong work ethic, I truly lacked discipline. I knew about God. I loved God. However, I didn't understand what God could do for me. I didn't really know how to listen to His Spirit or how to let His Spirit guide me. So, I listened to my flesh. I battled with my flesh. I gave into my flesh. I lacked discipline to delay gratification, and I indulged. I sinned. Eventually, like I stated before, it took its toll upon me. However, God wasn't finished with me.
God taught me lessons along life's road. He gave me several tutors. Some of the lessons didn't make sense alone. Over time, the lessons compiled and my God brought me to the "o, my Lord, I have sinned against you," moment that He desired. (This isn't something that happens just once. I am just speaking about a particular moment necessary in my growth as a child of God.)
He showed me how lazy and indulgent I had become. This isn't the life God wants for me. It tears away at my mind and breaks down my body with age and illness. God wants an abundant life for me. My lack of discipline and self-control was/is evident in my life and keeping me from the fullness God promises. God has plans for me.
I don't know what God plans for my future other than eternal life with Him (which is all I need to know). I do know that God plans for me to bear fruit. Galatians 5:23 states self-control as fruit of the Spirit. God wasn't finished with me. He gave me opportunities and His desire to learn self-control. I am still learning and will through out my life.
To move this story along (yes it is already too long ask me if you want the longer version).....in 2009 I set out to run/walk 1000 miles. God had me in training over the past few years with tutors like Gillian and Lindsay (as well as many others). These ladies reminded me of the statement Paul wrote in Philippians 4:13, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."
So, God and I set out on our journey together. He took me back to 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, a lesson I thought I had learned in 2007. (Oops, I guess I needed a review of that one.) Here, he reminded me that I am weak and only in Him will I find strength. God shows his power in weakness. Therefore, I had to proclaim like Paul, "for when I am weak, then I am strong."
God took me to other places in 2009. He took me to Hebrews 12:1-2. Again, this was another review lesson. This time it took on more meaning. I had known about the witnesses that have lived and struggled and walked with God before me. I had known about Jesus, the cross, and fixing my eyes. The new lesson here..."throwing off the sin that so easily entangles so that I can run with perseverance the race marked out for me." I've been learning about confession and repentance. A friend of mine recently wrote in his blog about the psalmist David and God's promise to forgive (Psalm 32:5). This scipture has a recent power in my life. I am beginning to understand 1 John 1:9. I am learning to trust God at His Word. "You really will forgive me Lord, me, a _______?" (I leave this line blank. God, my self and a few of my brothers/sisters in Christ have heard my confession. I have prayed. They have prayed. This blog isn't being writen as a confession.) I want to be forgiven. I firmly believe confession is the way of throwing off the sin that so easily entangles. God took it to the cross.
So on our journey in 2009, God lifted my eyes to Him so that I could see that my help comes from Him, the maker of heaven and earth (psalm 121:1-2). The Lord is my helper. He sent His Spirit to help me. He not only helps me to throw off the sin, but to lift my eyes. It is like I had been blind trying to feel my way around not really able to fix my eyes upon Jesus. Now, I can fix my eyes upon Jesus, "who endured the cross with the joy set before Him, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God."
My helper lifted me to new heights in 2009. Like the you read in Habakkuk 3:19, "The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights." Eventhough, you can see with your own eyes that I am not a fast runner, it is the Lord that carries me further than I can take myself. He receives all glory for the victory in our 1000 mile journey.
He taught me that "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." God gives me strength. God is my helper. God recieves all glory and praise.
He isn't finished. We have now entered into a new year, 2010. The Lord has given me a new challenge: to captivate everything that enters my mouth and to captivate everything that comes out of my mouth, so that I can give my mouth to Him for His good pleasure.
Yep, it's going to be an exciting year! I hope you will stick around. I will be blogging about this challenge. It isn't as tangible as 1000 miles, but it is the next set of lessons in learning self-control in my life. My next blog will explain the plans for this journey. I don't plan to be as lengthy next time. I should have another blog sometime this week. Check it out!