Summary: God's promises to meet our needs when we fully place our trust in Him,
As I began to preach to you in the beginning of the year, I reminded you that you can begin the New Year however you choose. You can begin the New Year hopeless because of the past year or hopeful because of the power of God. You can begin expecting something better or look for something worse. You can do that because you have in your care the power of choices that you can make. Remember, choices are the hinges of our destiny.
Your future is not determined by your conditions, it's determined by your faith, your choices, and your efforts.
In the first sermon, I suggested that Job really taught us something in his own life story. The canvas of his life was filled with grief, pain, tears and conflict. Yet Job made a very powerful and personal choice in Job 10:12, he chose to Praise God anyway. I am learning that, in the face of fear, failure or friction, praise Him. He is still God and a good God even when life is not good.
You have to learn that, that is a spiritual discipline. You can not praise God according to the thermometer of your life, or the sunshine that is upon your life. You can not limit your praise and thanks to God in just those seasons, it has to be transcendent.
It has taken me these many years to understand the full meaning of the passage, I will bless the Lord at all times, and His praise shall continually be in my mouth. That is to say in good times or bad times, I will bless Him (praise Him), for what He has done and for what I am hoping He is going to do. And for preserving in times when life and all around me is perishing and problematic.
It’s not as easy to praise God when life is upside down and that all you can see and sense is a ball of confusion and the only thing you see is darkness. But Job did, thou have granted me life, favor, and the visitation of His spirit had kept him. Job decided to Praise God in spite of the happenings of his life. He did not praise Him for what had happened, he praises Him that in the midst of all that had happen, that he still had life. And having just the flicker of life can be the very spark that ignites hope, healing, and help.
In that second sermon in I Chronicles 4:9-10, I suggested that you begin the New Year with an increased Prayer Life (intentionally). Jabez really taught us that. Lord, bless me indeed! Jabez whose name meant pain refused to live his life by being known as pain. He refused to live what he was called, he refused to accept the negative label that he was named. While he was specific in asking God to enlarge his territory, he equally wanted God to make him better and not just bigger. I suggested that you might would ask God to bless you indeed with Peace, a peace that passes all understanding.
A peace that when the ground you are standing on is crumbling and cracking, God gives you stability even in a crumbling and shaking situation. Pray for peace, presence, and provision of God.
So this morning, I want to invite you to claim these promises that we hear God making through Isaiah to the people of God. It’s God’s declaration of His full and faithful ability to honor His word. This section of the book of Isaiah is a part of what is called the chapters of comfort. God gives the prophet words of comfort to the people for the days of pain, punishment, and pressure that will befall them for their sins. The chapter of comfort really begins in chapter 40, and it opens with those words. Comfort, comfort for my people. He encourages them in that chapter to be still and wait upon the Lord. In verse 31 we hear, they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and faint not.
Then He gets to chapter 43 and there He gives the Prophet the words of revival, renewal, and refreshment. In this New Year perhaps all you can do is to walk in the promises of God. And it’s the promises of God that keeps our head up when all the signs would indicate it should be bowed, it’s the promises of God that keeps us pushing down the right path when it seems that the wrong path is easier. It’s the promises of God that helps you to hang on and hang in when letting go appears to be the rational thing to do.