Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hearts Wide Open to the Goodness of God in 2017

"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
Luke 12:32
(KJV)

Happy New Year!!
God has seen us all through another year, dear friends.
Praise His holy name!
The same God Who has seen us through the "many dangers, toils, and snares" of the past year is still on the throne, and He has gone before us already into this brand, new year of 2017.
He is now, in the process of preparing GOOD things for each one of us.
I am thoroughly convinced of it.

"I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:
And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel."
Isaiah 43:2,3

He has once again, made all things new.
We begin again.
The date is 1-1.
A clean slate He has once more provided.

The old is gone; the new has come!

"Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: 
before they spring forth I tell you of them."
Isaiah 42:9

"Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert."
Isaiah 43:18,19


Looking back over 2016, I stand amazed at the power of God and how He has worked absolute miracles in our lives.
I can hardly believe it all, and my mind has a hard time taking it all in.
I thank Him from the depths of my soul, and, even then, it never feels like I am thanking Him enough for everything He has done for us.

And, do you know what?
The more I praise Him, the more I tell Him how much I appreciate all He has done,
the more I keep getting the feeling that He has only just begun, and that He truly WANTS to do so much more!

It's kind of like the way you feel when you have done something for someone,
and they show so much gratitude, in return.
It just makes you want to do more and more for them, doesn't it?

And, to those who are parents, let me just ask you this...
how does it make you feel to give good gifts to your child(ren)?
Imagine that your child has come to you with a request for something for Christmas.
You see the look of expectation in their eyes, and your heart melts inside as you think of how much it would mean to them for you to fulfill this request.
Love compels you, and everything within you wants to give them exactly what they are asking for.
It dawns on you that you have the money, and the item is available,
so you begin right away securing it, carefully wrapping it, and hiding it away until Christmas morning.
You aren't sure which one of you is more excited, as you bound towards the living room.
And, there it sits...its neat, attractive packaging waiting expectantly to be torn away, 
revealing the much longed-for gift tucked inside.
You watch, as your child rushes in and tears through the bow and pretty paper,
and their eyes fill with wonder, as, lo, and behold, there it is!
What they have so wished for!

I ask you...
whose heart is more filled with joy?
Yours, or your child's?

"I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."
Acts 20:35

"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?"
Matthew 7:11

Just as it fills the heart of a parent with untold joy and fulfillment to see the delight it brings to grant the desires of the heart of their child, You and I have a Father in Heaven Who takes sheer pleasure and jubilation in doing wonderful things for us.

I think we, far too often, have a very skewed perception of our Father.
It took me many years to get to really know Him and His true character,
and I still feel like I am only beginning to catch a glimpse of Who He really is,
but this fact...this reality...is finally starting to sink in.
It absolutely thrills God and fills His heart with unspeakable happiness to see His children smile.
I am finally learning that His great Father-heart longs to give us good things, and He actually wants us, His children, to ASK Him for the things we desire.

"...how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven give good things to them that ask Him?"

Do you know that, just as your heart is filled with compassion for your child,
God's heart is full of pity for you?

"Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him."
Psalm 103:13

He doesn't look at us as strangers, but as cherished members of His household,
just as our children are under our roof and covered by the umbrella of our parental protection and love.

"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God..."
Ephesians 2:19
(Emphasis added.)

"So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. 
Instead, you received God's Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. 
Now we call Him, "Abba, Father."
Romans 8:15
(NLT)

Though our sins had left us broken, battered, and paupers,
 you and I have been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb, Christ Jesus, 
and through the horrific price He paid by giving His life on an old, rugged cross,
we have been adopted by His Father, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

"The Spirit Itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ..."
Romans 8:16,17

Praise GOD!
Can you imagine how many privileges we are afforded by being elevated to the position of "joint-heir with Christ"?
We are God's adopted children, given full access to His throne room,
to enter into the fellowship of Him and His dear Son!

"To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
In Whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him."
Ephesians 3:10-12
(Emphasis added.)

Boldness and access with confidence!
How?
By "the faith of Him".

I repeat again the words of dear, old Papaw.
I can still see him sitting at our kitchen table in Ohio, watermelon juice trickling down his chin,
"God will be everything to us our faith will take Him for."

God's "scepter" is extended to us, His children, 24/7.
We need not fear.
Our Father has everything we need, within His grasp, and you and I are invited to ask.
He has given us an open, all-inclusive invitation to approach His throne, 
not sheepishly, or as the version above reads, as "fearful slaves", 
but He tells us to,
"...come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
Hebrews 4:16

Our Father created all things!

"For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him:  And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist."
Colossians 1:16,17

There is nothing on this earth that our Father does not own and control,
and just as you and I long to bless our children, so God yearns to pour out abundant, manifold blessings upon you and me.

"For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: 
no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly."
Psalm 84:11

No good thing will He withhold!

It is our own unbelief that holds us back, dear friends.

God wants to do GOOD things in our lives in 2017.
He wants to extend GOOD gifts to us.
His plans for us are GOOD plans.
It is time for us to stop being suspicious of Him.
God never does anything underhanded.
His blessings are never mixed.
They are always to-the-core good.
It is time for you and me to shake off our unbelief and step forward in faith 
and start accepting those good gifts.
Just as it would hurt us deeply to try to give our child(ren) something good, 
only to have them stubbornly refuse to receive it, regardless how bad they wanted or needed it,
it must surely break the heart of God to see us continuing to go along carrying so many burdens, when He stands waiting to gift us with exactly what we need.

2017 is the time for us to stop doubting.
It is the time to start taking God at His Word.
It is time to stop circling around the same mountain over and over and over again.
Remember when God's people did this excessively around the mountain in Seir as recorded in Deuteronomy 2:1-3?
Remember when there came that point when GOD spoke?
After watching His children go around and around in circles for many days, just read what He said.
"And the LORD spake unto me, saying,
Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward."

What mountain, in particular, have you been compassing endlessly, my friend?
What is the one thing that has impeded your progress for the longest time?
You name it.
Only you and the dear Lord know.

I speak to you, on the authority of God's Holy Word, 
that, you, my friend, have compassed this mountain long enough!
It is time for you to turn your heart and eyes northward...up, up, and away from the impossibility you have been fixating on for far too long.
Take your eyes off the mountain, and will yourself to focus on the Mountain Mover,
God, your Father Who wants you to prosper, Who loves you more than His Own life, and Who is saying enough is enough.
2017 is your time to "turn northward" and move in a positive direction filled with faith in His ability to be all you need Him to be.
It is time for you to speak to that humanly impenetrable mountain, with a new, bold assurance, 
commanding it to "MOVE", in Jesus' name.

"...verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."
Matthew 17:20

Remember Goliath?
For 40 long, torturous days, he taunted God's chosen people.
Morning and evening, he spat out defiance towards the living God Whom they served.
They were utterly terrified, rendered helpless, and left in a state of horror,
as they saw Goliath too big to bring down.
His words and threats wore down their faith, as day after day, they saw no way out.
Then, along comes a boy...a shepherd...a child who loved God with all his heart and soul,
someone who, in the words of Malcolm Gladwell, saw "Goliath not as too big to hit, but too big to miss".
David said, 
"Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and He will give you into our hands."
I Samuel 17:45-47

Did you ever wonder how David had such faith to stand in the face of the mighty warrior Goliath
and declare, with utmost certainty, that GOD would deliver him into his hand?
I'll tell you why.
David's faith in God had already been severely tested and proven...in the past.
He had already seen, firsthand, through his own experiences, what GOD can do!
While talking to King Saul and trying to convince him to allow him to fight the giant, 
David was looking back...recollecting the way God had come through for him time after time before.
"David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine."
1 Samuel 17:37

What giant, in particular, have you been cowering before?
What taunts you night and day and holds you paralyzed in the grip of fear?
What keeps you from walking forward with boldness and confidence in your God's ability to see you through?

I want to encourage you to look back over your life and see what God has already done for you
in the past.

"Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me..."
Isaiah 46:9

Recall the times He has come through for you and brought you through things you never thought you'd make it through.
Those experiences were sent to build your faith, my friend...
to take you from "faith to faith".
"For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, 
The just shall live by faith."
Romans 1:17

It is time for us to stop cowering to the giants of fear, doubt, and unbelief.
It is time to stop focusing on satan and his perpetual lies.
It is time to stop hindering God from doing what He really wants to do in our lives.
It is time to pray, along with the poor, tormented father of the child in Mark 9:24,
"Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief."

I believe God wants to do GREAT things in the lives of His children in 2017.
As we step forward in a bold assurance of faith, He will not let us fall.
His promises are sure.
I once read a quote that said you could take hold of any of God's promises and swing out over the pits of Hell, and His Word would never let you fall.

Dare to believe what He can and will and wants to do for you this year.
Make a list of the most pressing burdens and requests upon your heart.

Remember these A-B-Cs of faith.

ASK God boldly for the items on that list.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you.  Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full."
John 16:23,24

"And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it. "
John 14:13,14

"If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
John 15:7

BELIEVE that He hears you.

"For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers..."
I Peter 3:12

"And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him."
I John 5:14,15

CALL it done, in Jesus' name.

"Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before Him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were."
Romans 4:17
(Emphasis added.)

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Hebrews 11:1

Let's keep the faith, and press forward into the brand new blessings our good Father has for us in this new year!
God bless you all!



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12 comments:

  1. A wonderful and inspiring post, Cheryl...hoping your coming year is filled with so many blessings, you lose count....xo

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    1. Aww...thank you so much, dear BJ! Wishing the same for you, sweet friend. God bless you!

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  2. Thanks for the encouragement, Cheryl! Much love and many blessings to you. Happy 2017!

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    1. Thank you so much, dear Bethany. Sending much love and many blessings back to you for the new year. God bless you and your family!

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  3. I like your "A,B,C's! :-) How wonderful that we can come boldly before the Father!!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Abbi! Yes, it is quite a privilege to be able to approach His throne!

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  4. Thanks for the encouraging. This was such an inspiring post. I hope you'll come over and link and share it! The Fabulous Party is going on over here:
    http://ourholidayjourney.blogspot.com/2017/01/january-fabulous-tidy-up-link-party.html
    This was truely uplifting. Please share.

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    1. Thank you so much for the warm invite, Lynn! I just hopped over and linked up. So thankful to hear of your link-up. God bless you abundantly in this new year!

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  5. ABCs... YES!!! Great post! So glad I stopped by!

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    1. I'm so glad you stopped by, too, Karrilee! Your visits are always a welcome blessing!

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  6. I like what you said: "Take your eyes off the mountain, and make up your mind to focus on the Mountain Mover." So often we trudge around and around that mountain, not seeing a way through it. Yes, speak to the mountain and boldly declare that it be moved and cast into the sea of God's forgetfulness. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

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    1. Amen, and amen, sister! I so admire your faith. God bless you for the dear encouragement you are to us!

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