Listen BEFORE You Leap!

We made it–January 2022! Most of us couldn’t see these past two years go by fast enough–a global pandemic, social distancing, masks, COVID tests, remote learning for schools, remote church services, remote work for many companies, vaccines, boosters, political unrest, stress levels rising, uncertainty being a certainty, and people’s mettle being tested on a daily basis. As a believer, I have had to be on guard not to let the cultural climate cloud my outlook, my world view. Instead, when I take the biblical “high road,” I’m reminded of the certainty of God’s character in the midst of these tumultuous times. Here are just a few reminders:
  • He has been our rock, our shield, and our stronghold (Psalm 18:1,2).
  • He never changes (Hebrews 13:8; Malachi 3:6).
  • He is our strength (Isaiah 40:28-31).
  • He walks through the trials with us (Psalm 23:4; Joshua 1:9).
  • He will never leave us nor forsake us (2 Corinthians 1:3,4; Hebrews 13:5).
  • He is in control (Proverbs 19:21; 1 Chronicles 29:11; John 16:33).
Even through all this, I am well aware that anything we’ve gone through over these past two years pales in comparison to the hardship and persecution Christ followers before us have endured. And, as anxious as we all are to leap into the new year hoping for a brighter tomorrow, there’s something you need to hear (or should I say, read) before you jump into January that will allow you to truly enter this new year experiencing joy in Jesus.
Today, I’m sharing my blog space with a relative, my eldest niece’s husband. While visiting from Georgia, and during one of his quiet times of reflection while here in the beautiful north woods of Maine, he penned the following thoughts.

"Don't think for a minute that you can outsmart the coming year with your careful plans, or power your way through to your goals with the force of your will."

This week, most of us hung a new calendar (or in our day, more likely we'll "swipe" to it), and our thoughts naturally turn to plans and changes for the coming year, and what we'll "resolve" to do differently in 2022. For me, those thoughts tend to go something like this: 
  • "I really need to get better at ..., 
  • I should work harder to get more done on ..., 
  • My goal will be to change the way I think about ..., 
  • I am going to resolve that I will improve the way I ..." 
You get the idea. Then along the way, I may ask God for His help in those areas, and to bless the changes that I have deemed necessary in my life.
 
 Maybe you're a little like me. If so, may I share with you what the Lord has been impressing on me the last several days? I feel as if He’s saying this:
"I have a resolution for you, one so succinct and simple that it just requires one word: Listen. You don't know what awaits you in 2022; you don't know what decisions you will face, what skills you will need, or what accomplishments will be most needful. Don't think for a minute that you can outsmart the coming year with your careful plans, or power your way through to your goals with the force of your will. I didn't create you or our relationship to work that way. Just make this plan for 2022--come to Me each day, and let's talk. If you take the time to listen, I want to set your goals, to give you your plan, to make each decision clear, day by day, moment by moment. I'll walk with you each step of the way, but I can't direct your next step unless you listen for My voice."
May we resolve to be Spirit-led in our walk with Christ in 2022!
 
Shared by Nathan Buchan, Winston, GA
This message reminds me of a sermon I heard at summer camp once, in which it was stated, “God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we’ll listen twice as much as we talk.” I’ve often thought about this, and yes, I did use it on my children during their formative years. I also think about how He reminds us that we are “forgetful hearers” (James 1:22-25). 
So, here's the charge I leave you with today: Don’t just look before you leap, listen--really, intentionally, and thoughtfully. God may just surprise you with REST (See blog dated December 31, 2021.) and a plan that exceeds your expectations. One of the amazing things about His plans is that He promises to walk them with us. Yes, His resolutions are firm, unwavering, real, and won’t be broken. It’s up to us, however,  to join Him in seeing them come to fruition.

Remember, listen first, then leap!
To encourage and equip you in better understanding the magnificence and compassion of our great God, we encourage you to order our newest resource, Did Jesus Commit Suicide? And 27 Other Questions Teens Are Asking About the Bible (that adults want to know, too). To access our online store for this and other books, click HERE.
To have free access to our DeBunked videos and dozens of other Reasons for Hope* resources, download our FREE APP--Reasons for Hope (look for the blue asterisk). Click HERE.
Holly Varnum, Director of Curriculum Development at Reasons for Hope* joined us September 2021 to launch curricular materials to support many of our media resources. With degrees in education, curriculum and instruction, and educational administration, she comes with over three decades of experience in working with teens and adults in camp ministry, teaching and administration, and curriculum writing (A Beka Book, Focus on the Family, and Answers in Genesis to name a few). God has provided her with a well-rounded educational perspective through service in Christian schools, charter schools, public schools, Christian camps, and local church ministry. She has been a classroom teacher, instructional coach, administrator, camp counselor, Sunday School teacher, ladies’ Bible Study teacher, and conference speaker and looks forward to using her passion for God’s truth within the context of RforH*. 

Her hobbies include cooking and baking, hiking, camping, travel, and working on do-it-yourself projects. Holly and her husband, Paul, (RforH*’s new Director of Media Content) also enjoy any time they can spend with their three grown daughters, two sons-in-law, and two grandchildren (so far!). They live in the beautiful state of Maine, and yes, eat lobster (properly pronounced “lobstah”) whenever they get a chance!


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