Personally, I like January because it feels like a fresh start. As we begin the year, we all need renewed hope. Whether our circumstances are pleasant or difficult, God has not forgotten us or forsaken us. When we draw near to God, he draws near to us. In my life, there are two new habits that I am working on this year.
Being Conscious of God's Presence
First, I am practicing being conscious of God's presence every moment of every day. The truth is: God is with us whether we are aware of it or not. My goal is to be consciously aware that he is my constant companion and guide no matter where I go or what I do. When I do that I experience less worry and greater peace.
Secondly I want to be responsive to God's initiatives. God is always at work around us. His providence is arranging circumstances for his glory and our good. I want to be conscious of the doors that he opens and the direction he takes me. Sometimes I fall into the trap of praying a little, planning a little, and then looking for ways to make things happen before the time is right. I know that one way God asserts his sovereignty is in the timing of events. Being sensitive to his guiding presence enables me to slow down and leave the timing to him.
God is With Us
The Lord is teaching me to not expect an easy path. But he is my ever-present helper. Furthermore he is all loving, all knowing and all powerful. In the words of A. W. Tozer, "With the goodness of God to desire our highest welfare, and the wisdom of God to plan it, and the power of God to achieve it, what do we lack?"
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them (Isaiah 42:16).
Happy New Year!
Author: Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com
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Discussion questions for your Sunday School class or small group:
1. How does knowing that God is near give you greater peace?
2. Tell of a time when you were responsive to God's initiative.
3. What is the danger of leading our lives without praying and listening to God's promptings?
4. How does the above quote by A.W. Tozer give you courage?