I’ve taken my time in publishing this post because I wanted to be absolutely sure I only write about what the Holy Spirit wants me to write about. This is even more crucial for me given that I’ve just come back from Lagos, where the air was completely different and I had been residing a bit more in my flesh. But now I think I’m cleared up and ready to proceed into 2016 with full force.
Before I continue, I want to take a moment to say a prayer for those who crossed over to 2016 but as of today are either fighting for their lives in a sick bed or have unfortunately lost their lives. I pray that those fighting for their lives but still have a large portion of their destinies unfulfilled will receive divine healing to complete the race set before them, to the glory of God and I pray that the souls of the dearly departed find rest and perfect peace and not be eternally perturbed by the experience of having their destinies short-changed, especially for those who were quite young. In Jesus’ precious name, amen.
Barely two weeks into the new year, atrocities have happened and it’s a little wonder what point it was for some to start the new year only to end up not seeing anything tangible of it. In any case, we who are extremely blessed to be alive and well need to approach this new year with a deliberate focus on God all year long, by the divine help of the Holy Spirit.
One of my devotionals put it in this perspective for me: God would never have given you another chance if your destiny was concluded last year. You saw this new year because your best days are still ahead and God has not finished with you. Your testimony might be taking a long time but God didn’t bring you this far to leave you!
Side note: That’s not to say that all that have passed away had their destinies concluded, only God knows ALL things. But for as long as you and I are alive, let’s continue to place our hope in Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.
I didn’t enter 2016 with any expectations because, personally, I need time to seek God and hear what He has planned for me. Experience has taught me that it’s stressful to pave my own way and then spend the rest of the time trying to bend God’s hands to one’s desires. I have goals and prayers that I need answered and I have them written down in obedience to God’s word in Habakkuk chapter 2 verse 2 to 3 but I am expectant for a Word from God on every area of my life and how to proceed on them.
So rather than talk to you about resolutions or adjustments or any of that stuff that pretty much still screams “I, I, I”, I wanna talk about the most popular action (I hope) taken by most Christians around the world at this time of the year: Fasting and Prayer.
I thought it would be a good idea to share some tips as to how to make this time and in general your whole year, more effective for you in terms of setting yourself up to receive all God has in store for you. The goal is to do all you possibly can to attract God’s next level blessings for your life. Your relentless input will no doubt determine your glorious output:
1) Avoid distractions: This is the time where everyone is bogged down by what they want to change, what they want to achieve and all that good stuff. Don’t get distracted by all that. God can save you all that excessive brainstorming if you look up to Him and seek His face in this period. Open a new account with Him and give Him a blank slate of total submission to work with.
However, do not think that as soon as you decide to spend time seeking His face that you wont get all sorts of unnecessary distractions to throw you off course so you need to be spiritually vigilant.
I’ll give you a simple example of my own experience:
I got back on Sunday night from Lagos only to realize that my fridge had been turned off for FOUR whole weeks. I’ll spare you the details of what the inside was like but let’s just say it smelt like, as I described to my friends, someone had been pooping in there for four weeks straight. Pure rankness! Of course I had to throw everything away including all my precious Nigerian food ingredients that my mum brought for me only in November :'( including my grilled snails! Sad times!!
This year, I resolved to be on a financial diet because I have a lot of goals that need money to be achieved and I won’t be doing much socializing with you if it involves me spending my money, just a heads up! So in that vein, I didn’t bother being upset at my fridge because the enemy obviously wants me to spend unnecessary money so that those goals are hindered AND be upset about it too. I just went ahead and cleaned it up and went grocery shopping the next day much to the devil’s dismay :p.
In fact, I took it as a prophetic occurrence and used the opportunity to prophesy with my mouth that God has a brand new start in the pipeline for me and every old and rotten thing in my life will be traded up for the brand spanking new things. I even declared that, as I cleaned out the fridge, any stench of disappointment and discouragement that was looming will be removed from my vicinity in Jesus’ name. Thank God for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who gives utterance through our own spirit.
Yes, I am well aware it was my fault the fridge was turned off but in my 24+ years of existence I had never made a mistake like that and people know I’m usually quite meticulous with housekeeping most times but it doesn’t change the fact that it was a potential tool the enemy wanted to use to side track me because if I was too upset to clean the fridge up, I wont have gone grocery shopping and I wouldn’t have been prepared for my fast which will lead to me buying lunch every day of this week and I just couldn’t allow such disorientation. When I’m preparing for a fast, I’m used to the enemy trying to annoy me and I saw right through this one. Busted!
Distractions will come in all shapes and sizes during this period of seeking God’s face, including and especially through the people closest to you. It will come in both obvious and not-so-obvious ways but you have to determine to remain un-phased and taken off track by any pettiness. Also, Maintain a forgiving mindset and avoid arguments and other situations that will take your eye of the prize basically.
So resolve to, “Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping.” (1 Peter chapter 5 verse 8 MSG)
See [btn text=”Getting 2016 Off to a Meaningful Start (pt.2)” tcolor=#0000FF bcolor=#F2F2F2 thovercolor=#FFF link=”http://www.stephfaithfully.com/2016/01/getting-2016-off-to-a-meaningful-start-pt-2/” target=”_blank”] for more tips.