I am not one who has a great prophetic anointing to forsee what God has in mind for the nation in 2016. Each year seems to bring new surprises, unexpected changes, and challenges that we have never met before. I suppose that if we all could forsee the many crises that arise in the course of one year, it would cause us to make some of our decisions out of fear rather than trust and faith.
Fear paralyzes our decisions and confidence to move forward. God never intended that His children live by fear. He intended for us to live by faith and trust in Him. Our plans should include moving forward and to keep dreaming God’s dreams and plans for our lives. He calls us to be fruitful. To give more, to serve more, to love more, to believe more, to work harder, and pray more.
Among the most important decisions we can make to prepare for the year 2016 is the decision to follow the Lord completely. Make up your mind that no matter what happens, you will not look away from Him. Scripture says, “let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith - -” Heb 12:2.
Jehoshaphat the king of Judah faced overwhelming opposition from enemy armies. Jehoshaphat was very fearful until he set himself to seek the Lord and proclaim a fast throughout all Judah. The word of the Lord came to the king and to the people telling them to not be afraid because it is God’s battle, not theirs. They knew that they were powerless to come against such overwhelming forces and didn’t know what to do. But they made this statement that all of us need to make when evil comes against us - 2 Chronicles 20:12 “But our eyes are upon you.”
Jennifer Slater delivered a message on “fixing our eyes upon Jesus” this past year. Here is a reminder of those thoughts from her:
Where are my eyes? - My eyes are on YOU!
The story of Peter walking on the water is found in Matt 14:22-33 The disciples are in a boat, fighting a storm that is threatening them. They become exhausted, fighting in their own strength to not sink. they see a from walking towards them but do not recognize that it is Jesus at first. Peter is amazed to see Him walking on water and his elevated faith propels him to ask Jesus to call to him so he can do the same. Jesus responds and Peter steps out on the waves and begins to walk on the water. However, after a few steps, he starts to look at the waves instead of Jesus and begins to sink. Jesus reaches out for Peter when he calls to Him, pulls him up and together they walk back to the boat. Storms in our lives could be relationship issues, health problems that compound, financial reassure, emotional wounds, addictions, or even the pain of change. (vocation, family dynamics, health, economy, government, culture. I have walked through many of these storms. In fact I am living in the storms of life daily, as we all are. I hear the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit asking me, "Jen, where are your eyes?" My response, "My eyes are on you Lord" and again He says "Jen, where are your eyes?" and my response with more clarity is, "My eyes are on you Lord." From the story of Peter, I found applications for our lives.
- How many times have we fought the storms in our own strength only to become exhausted.
- We are filled with fear
- Jesus is walking towards us but we don't recognize Him.
- We see God work in things in our lives or others around us and our faith is elevated and we are ready to have radical trust in Jesus.
- We take our eyes off of Him and we begin to sink. ("this world is a mess, I will never be free, how will I survive")
- Then Jesus calls to us to put our eyes on Him and He rescues us.
And here's the big eye-opener.......... Jesus walked with Peter to the boat and the storm stopped AFTER they were in the boat. We seem to keep our eyes on the storm and pray for God to fix the storms in our lives. The reality is, there will always be storms. The truth is, if we keep our eyes on Him, we will never drown!