Monday I will continue writing about choosing good counsel but today being the last day of 2010 I thought I would review what I have learned this year.
1. Persevere! I began this year rather depressed due to my circumstances. Having recently lost my Mom, being in a new State, having no friends here, and working at a job I detested with a person who was to say the least, unbalanced. I also had no ministry connections with the exception of this blog at that time.
While the temptation to simply give up and wallow in misery was strong, (and very tempting) by God's grace I applied the counsel I give to others to myself- Persevere! I got up every day and went to work, prayed I would bring glory to God at my job and fulfilled my obligations.
God's blessings have been evident as the fog of depression lifted and my aching heart has really healed over this past year. I miss my Mom for sure but God has truly applied His healing balm to my heart.
I got a new job and left all that craziness behind me. This alone has made a wonderful change in my life. In addition, we have begun to teach Biblical Counseling to many in our church family and started a small group in our home.
God abundantly blessed our counseling center this year as we achieved non-profit status in Missouri and have applied for the federal aspect of non-profit. This will allow us to accept donations and apply for grants, making biblical counseling and training accessible to those who desire it in person or on line. We continue to persevere in making all these things a reality.
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Revelation 3:10 (NKJV)
2. Be Thankful! Oh how I struggled with this in the first half of this year! At times I had to be reminded (admonished) to be thankful in my circumstances. What I have learned is how important thankfulness in the midst of difficult circumstances truly is.There were times I prayed that God would help me to be thankful for the things in my life, and He was faithful to do that.
Being thankful for what comes your way is an admission that you understand God's sovereign workings in your life. Nothing happens to us that is not a part of His perfect plan for us. I know that is very difficult to accept at times (believe me, I know!) but each thing is being used by our loving heavenly Father to shape us and reshape us. You and I are never going to be done being changed while we live here on earth, and all these things are conforming us to His image and likeness.
I understand your sorrows and difficulties may be terrifying you, and things may be so bad you have absolutely no idea how they will ever work out, so the thought of being thankful for them seems ludicrous to you right now. Please, trust God and obey His Word (1 Thess. 5:18) because HE is trustworthy!
Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. Hebrews 13:15 (NASB)
3. Have Hope. Having hope is directly related to persevering and what I have learned is that it is difficult to have one without the other. I regularly pray that God would keep hope alive for me in the area of finances and this ministry. Hope is a mainstay of life and there is not one of us who does not need it.
There have been times that I have searched for any shred of hope in a given problem, and I have always found some! There truly is always hope for the believer and beloved of God in Christ.
These three things, perseverance, thankfulness, and hope have been my constant companions this year in various measures. I am thankful for all the experiences I have had in these past 12 months and I believe they have made me a little more like Christ in ways I can and cannot see. They have also revealed areas of my heart that still must be conformed into His likeness so that I can bring Him glory.
I hope and pray that this new year, 2011 will bring to you many opportunities for growing and changing, greater ability to serve and minister to others, and will bring those we love and do not know Him into a salvific relationship with Jesus Christ.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12 (NIV)
See you next year!