Every year about this time I begin what I like to call “Remembering My Altars”. Most people will determine what their New Year’s Resolutions are going to be for the upcoming year, and will make a goal to meet them. For me, however, resolutions never seem to stick. Over the years I have tried them and about half way through February the resolutions become regrets. So I gave up New Year’s resolutions year ago. Instead, I remember the altars of the past year, and take time to reflect upon the work of God in my life. As I do this, the Lord God usually gives me a word to focus on for the following year. The end of 2012 brought the word “diligence”, and 2013 proved to be a year in need of diligence.
In the Old Testament, whenever God would speak, His people would build an altar. The first mention of this is found in Genesis. Noah had just come out of the ark safely, and God had made the waters go back into their places. So Noah built an altar to the Lord God and gave Him praise and sacrifice for His faithfulness. (Genesis 8:20) That is what I do each and every year. I look back over all the trials, troubles, praises and sacrifices that happened in my life and I reflect on the faithfulness of God through it all.
The year 2013 was a crazy year, and diligence is what I needed to keep moving on the path the Lord had set before me. The plans that I had made for the upcoming year were not the plans the Lord had for me. By the spring, the Lord God had thrown a “Monkey Wrench” (http://proverbs3110-hiswoman.blogspot.com/2013/08/monkey-wrenches.html) into all my plans and took me off onto a completely different path. I struggled with it. I fought against Him and tried to make it work out to my advantage. But the Lord, in His diligent love for me showed me that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who called according to His purposes” (Romans 8:28). Even though the path that I had set my feet upon was not the path He wanted me to continue on- His faithful love and care never left me. And for that I build my altar and I praise Him for His faithfulness.
This past summer the Lord God put it on my heart, as well as my dear sister in the Lord’s heart, to open up my home and lead a women’s bible study. This has been a huge blessing to me and to all the ladies who come. The Lord spoke to my heart and told me back in May when we started that He wanted us to go “Back to the Beginning”. (http://proverbs3110-hiswoman.blogspot.com/2013/08/back-to-beginning.html). This bible study has caused me to be diligent in my time management, and prioritizing of my day, my study time with Jesus, and my personal walk with Him have also become more diligent. Through the book of John, I and all the ladies who come have found a deeper, more passionate love for Jesus Christ. And all of this was made possible, because God threw a Monkey Wrench into my life.
When I look back on my altars of 2013, I see my God. I see His diligent love for me, His constant care for me. I see and know that His love, faithfulness, peace, hope and the undying, unwavering grace was there the whole time, even when I felt like He was far away. I have learned so much this past year. I have learned that diligence is needed to press through the trials and the troubles, to keep pressing through when all you want to do is give up. I could have given up easily back in the spring when the path that I was on was taken from me, but instead, I kept pressing through as He showed me and I sit here today in wonder and praise for His diligent love and care for me.
If I had to choose one scripture to define 2013 it would be, Romans 8:28. Even though my life took so many different turns, even though the Lord God threw a Monkey Wrench into my path- one thing will always remain true; “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes.” All means all, no matter what. Not only was the Lord God diligent to keep me in His hands, but through it all He showed me what it means to be diligent; to be diligent in my walk, diligent in my marriage, diligent in my daily life with Him.
I have already been given my word for 2014, and we shall see what the Lord has in store for me. I look forward to what is still to come for 2013, and I look with hope for the coming of Jesus Christ- maybe 2014 is the year! I want to encourage you, if you have not remembered your altars, take some time this month, before 2013 is gone and go through them with the Lord. Our Old Testament examples made altars to praise God and to remember that moment where they talked with Him and walked with Him. We can do the same, we can follow their example. We can walk through the altars of our year and see the faithful love and care of our God who never leaves us, nor forsakes us. If the Lord God gives you a word, then I want to encourage you to study that word, and find out what it means to you personally, so that we can be the children He desires us to be. Remember your altars. Remember His faithfulness and His love. And may you all have a blessed Christmas and a Christ-filled New Year. Amen and Amen.