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Tuesday 30 December 2014

The Resolution of 2014

So, 2014 has approached the end of its short life and we're going to be welcoming in 2015 shortly. And this generally provides a great opportunity for looking back at a whole year in retrospect. Which is precisely what I plan to do in this blog post. But rather than just reflect and make a resolution I wish to share some of the key adventures in 2014 and the lessons God has taught me.

I don't really believe in 'New Year's Resolutions'. While I do understand that the end of a year provides a great opportunity to try and resolve to do something new or different, I believe that everyday should provide us that opportunity. God is always doing something new: or rather he is always redeeming the old to make it new once again. And that is what 2014 will stand in my memory as: a year of redeeming the old to make it new. I hope for 2015 to be an even greater year of following and serving him.

So then, what have I learnt...

2014: The Year that Was

In 2014 life continued on its merry way. I finished my third year of university, watched as many films at the cinemas as ever, and read over a hundred books once again. But 2014 also had its unique ups and downs for me. First there were some downs with people deciding that they needed to return home for a season (my good friends John and Redj in particular) and the loss of close loved ones (my Grandma) or family friends. Further down moments included my best mate Victor decided he needed to head off for a time, meeting many friends at YWAM who also needed to return to their homes and seeing a moment of antagonism towards my pastor at Uni. 

However God is always good and despite such let downs he also raised me up and showed me more about my leadership potential with my Life Group and the ability he has given me to counsel friends and speak prophetically into their life. He also enabled me more and more to use my communicative abilities for Him while gave me a position with my friend Martin in a revamped club. This enabled us to be able to build community on the University campus and give hope to students who want that sense of unity and friendship love! 

I won't deny also that God answered some secret hopes and prayers of mine, bringing special people into my life in this moment and time. I love you very much and I cannot wait to see what the future will hold for God's desires here but I know it's a great and beautiful thing he is doing in my life. 

Knowing God Truly

Hosea 6:1-3 
1“Come, let us return to the Lord.He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us.He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds.2 In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence.3 Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him.He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.”

This is probably the biggest, truest thing God has taught me across this year. I may have only started to properly grasp it in the second half of the year but it was something He was teaching me from the beginning. All of my hopes, desires and dreams of love, outreach, finding my role - I hadn't realised that in the past so many of these things I had tried to do in my own strength alone. But as God showed me that I was doing this, he prompted me to return to gifts that I knew he had given me: prophesy, teaching, encouragement, positivity etc. and use them for his glory.

But more than just this he provided mentors who could point me in the right direction and remind me that God is not meant to be just another aspect of my life of our lives: He is the center. And I learnt through this such an important thing that I want to hold onto more and more: knowing God is different from knowing about him. There is a power that comes in true intimacy with God and that has lead me on to discovering other love, finding outreach and becoming more and more the man I know he wants me to be.

You Gotta Have Faith

To be fair he began teaching me this in 2012 when I needed work to get me on a trip I believed he wanted me on. He taught me more and more about this throughout 2013. But again He continues to remind me about the importance and power of faith.

This year He has taught me about the practicality of faith: about living in faith and not by sight. It's been a real encouragement for me to help me overcome various minor fears and worries, and it's been powerful for me as I have talked, prayed with and counseled friends.

You are going to get things in life wrong. You might get them so wrong that you fear you've lost the opportunity - that you've hurt someone beyond resolution. You might have worries and doubts that threaten to crush your dreams. But you have to life by faith - because something that God has given you or put before you? He won't let that slip away and when you have faith and step out despite circumstances: well He will be even more faithful for you.

It's easy to believe when everything is going well. It's easy to love when there's no adversity. But it's hard to follow when you can't see something going on in the natural though and when life is tough and that's what God has taught me about faith: to have it no matter the circumstances.

God's Timing And Will Are Perfect

There are things that have happened this year which have made me doubt God's timing. For instance the loss of my Grandmother and then the loss of a family friend within a short space of time. Add to that the various issues of friends and myself and I was starting to wonder...

But God told me quite clearly when I was questioning if His timing really was perfect, or whether my heart was just being its deceitful attracted self, He reminded me first about living by faith and not sight and then told me clearly to 'Seize the moment.' That is something I want to continue to do.

And sure, following and trusting Him that the moment is right, that what He is doing is right can be tough. I've had to have a few tough conversations as a result, but they were what was needed and they were beautiful in the end. So yes...I guess I'm seeing that God really is good all the time.

And One Final Lesson: The Future Is Now

If you're like me then you probably had things in 2014 that you put off or that you couldn't commit to like you wanted. God has shown me throughout this year that even if His promises and plans for your life are not being met this year then they are being prepared this year for the next year or the year after.

It's hard to be patient. Particularly when you really want something and you know it's right there. But God has everything worked out perfectly for the right time. The most important thing as I have learnt is to come to know Him more and more intimately. As that happens everything else falls into place as it has for me this year with work, uni, love, family, friends etc.

And though I say falls into place that doesn't mean that everything just becomes easy. Not at all. In fact sometimes the things God does makes your life harder. It's hard to be a Christian in a secular society where so many people have hurt deep within their hearts. It's hard to love someone who hates you for your beliefs. But just because it may be difficult doesn't mean it's not right. It is more than right because in the end, this time on Earth that I have right now is only short and in the end God will redeem it all for an eternity to be with Him,

1 Corinthians 4:20: "For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God's power."

That's what I want to do in 2015 and onwards more and more: live by God's power fully, knowing that I have the authority to live life on the edge for Him and with the people He places around me. I'm looking forward to that in fact. And it's that perspective that makes all the little ups and downs truly worth it: the knowledge that in the end everything will work out. Here's to an even better 2015 with some new adventures for us all!

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