By Toni Ford
When I was just out of college, I started a personal tradition during the month of December which continues to this day. Each year between Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year, I set aside at least one to two day to put aside all work and social activities and have what I call a “mini retreat” with Jesus. I look forward to this time of the year, for it is during this time that I reflect or review the year coming to an end and begin preparing for the year ahead.
There are several reasons why I set aside this time each year. One is reflecting on the previous year, no matter how challenging it might have been. It always brings me to a place of thankfulness and deep gratitude to my heavenly Father for the numerous ways He has consistently provided for me. I might not have been able to see God’s provision for me in the moment of my challenging situation and His way of providing might not have been what I had in mind, but in the end, God allows me to see that His way and His timing of providing what I need is always the best way.
Another reason is that it helps center me by preparing me mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally for the year ahead. I’m reminded of Proverbs 29:18, which says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Helen Keller said, “The worst thing in the world is not to be born blind, but to be born with sight, and yet have no vision.”
Oh, the number of us that are blessed with sight, yet have no spiritual vision to see that God is not only present with us in all we have been through but that He has great plans for us in the year ahead. However, most of us never take the time to ask God and talk to Him about those plans. Remember that we will never be more than we can see and that seeing leads to being, and being is based on learning to see as God sees. This means that If I want to see the way God sees, I must make the time to seek Him and ask Him what He sees. What word, what verse and what truth does God want to speak over my life for the coming year?
The following are verses I refer to each year as I spend my time with the Lord reflecting and preparing. I pray that you would take time this year to do the same. I know you will be encouraged in our Lord as a result!
Philippians 3:13-14. “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Isaiah 43: 18-19. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
Proverbs 21:5. “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”
James 1: 23-25. “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it. He will be blessed in what he does.”
Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Proverbs 16:3. “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
Psalm 32:8. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”
Jeremiah 33:2-3. “This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it; the Lord is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’”
Lord, we thank You for Your faithfulness to see us through another year. As Your Word says in Jeremiah, we call out to You as we approach this new year and ask You to show us and tell us of great and unsearchable things we do not know. We commit this coming year to You alone!
If you would like continued prayer, feel free to email me at email@example.com. I would love to pray for you!