Happy New Year everyone. Rob here.
The transition from holidays to work is always a difficult one, isn’t it? On holiday you slow down, you spend time in God’s glorious creation, you get away from commercialism and noise, you give your heart and mind time and space to connect with God. Well, I hope at least part of your holiday was like that. There’s always the reality of children’s needs, meals to prepare, packing up and packing down, travel and relatives! Work is often about other people’s agendas, busyness, making things happen, commercial realities and the heart barely get a look in if we’re not careful. Then we add in school and sport for the children, church commitments, community involvement and family needs and we see the heart and connection with God being left further behind. What can we do in 2020 to live a wholehearted life, connected to God in all aspects and areas of our existence?
Here are some quick thoughts and tips that I think may help us.
- Make time for silence. My wife is an early riser. Every day she enjoys silence as the sun rises. I’m a night owl. I enjoy silence at the other end of the day. Silence allows us to catch up with ourselves and bring that self to God. In silence thoughts, hopes, fears, worries and joys arise and we can offer them to Jesus and allow him to validate, correct, convict, encourage and love us as we do that. Do not fear the silence!
- Download the Ransomed Heart App and the One-Minute Pause App. The RH app is great with podcasts, prayers and readings to encourage at any time during the day. The one-minute pause app they designed to help busy people take time out for God through the day. It is literally a led one-minute pause and very, very helpful.
- Buy Coming Home, the book David and I wrote on the Prodigal Son story. I don’t just say this to get more sales but because I believe it will really be helpful to you. It’s short, cheap, readable and rich in helping you grasp your identity, your worth and your God.
- Stay in Scripture. I have studied Scripture for much of my life. I encourage everyone to do it but study is not enough. We don’t master Scripture, Scripture has to master us. Spend time meditating over small portions. Gravitate to the Gospels. Get to know Jesus’ beautiful humanity, even as his life reveals God to us. The Word became flesh and all of life changed. Soak in Paul and his glorious reflections on our identity and hope. Please don’t put Scripture on a shelf.
- Ask God to help you love. Trying to love in our own strength while being busy is a recipe for disaster. God is love so it would make sense to ask him to increase our capacity for love, our ability to love and our willingness to love.
- Take time to be in his creation. Quite frankly for most New Zealanders this is easy. For some of you city dwellers stuck in a Northern hemisphere winter it’s harder. Do what you can but be intentional about it. Here we can take beauty for granted. May it never be so. May the eyes of our heart be opened so that God’s beauty can always pierce our souls.
That will do for now. May 2020 be a year where you dwell closely with God as he dwells closely with you. May you run into his arms even as he runs towards you. May you know Father, Son and Spirit as you share the life and love that exists among the Trinity. May Jesus be the older brother who trains you as a son and daughter, the friend who walks with you, the Saviour who rescues you, the King who reigns over you and the Lover who has your heart. May the Spirit dwell in you richly and give you life.
Grace and peace everyone.