A New Perspective

January 2, 2015

“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 1:6)

This is second day of a new year.  A friend informed me that he no longer makes New Year’s resolutions.  When I asked why he said, “My willpower is nearly always out of power.”

The Apostle Paul’s favorite Church was the Church he planted at Philippi.  Having brought scores and scores of people to faith in Christ in that city, he finds himself in prison and unable to have any physical contact with them.  As their pastor he cannot use his powers of reason and persuasion or his spiritual gifts of wisdom, preaching and teaching.  Yet he has an unwavering confidence that they will continue in their faith until Jesus Christ returns.

This confidence is not based on them or on himself.  He believes his positive and upbeat perspective about them because he knows that the One Who began a miraculous work in them will complete what He has started.

The word “perspective” means “to look through to the end.” At the starting gate of a New Year it’s so very important to have healthy perspective.  I’m not thinking about willpower driven resolutions but spiritual goals that only the risen, living Christ can make doable.  I’m talking about what you would like to see Christ do in your life this year.

I have recently learned a new formula for setting goals.  In the context I have established, let the letters BHAG stand for Big, Hilarious, Audacious, Goals.  As you set goals for the New Year make them big enough to let Christ in.  Watch Him work because you have set goals that only He can accomplish!

Dick Woodward, 04 January 2011

Providential Perspective

December 27, 2013

“Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to his plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good.”  (Romans 8:28, J.B. Phillips)

“God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill
He fashions up His bright designs and works His sovereign will.
You fearful saints fresh courage take; the clouds you so much dread
Are rich with mercy and will break in blessings on your heads.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense but trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain;
God is His own Interpreter, and He will make it plain.”

If you ask me for my favorite hymn, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” by William Cowper is my answer.  If you ask me for my favorite verse of Scripture I will point you to Romans 8:28 which summarizes my faith journey with Christ.  As we approach the end of 2013 and cross the threshold into 2014 the combination of this verse of Scripture and the lines of this hymn express the thoughts of my head as I lay in my bed.

At this time of the year I like to look back with reflection, look in with a time of confession, and look ahead with resolution.  Applying the three perspectives these words can reveal what God has done, what God is doing, and what God wants to do in our lives and in our world through us.

A New Thing

December 28, 2012

“Then He brought us out that He might bring us in…”   (Deuteronomy 6:23)

Are you ready for a new thing?  God often wants to do a new thing in our lives but He has three challenges.  When He wants to bring us out of the old and into a new place He cannot get us out of the old because we are insecure and want to hold on to the old place.  He then has to blast us out of the old.  That’s why a call of God is often made up of a pull from the front and a boot from the rear.

His second challenge is that He has to pull us through the transition between the old place and the new.  Transitions can last for years and they can be very painful.  But He promises He can pull us through the worst of them.

His third challenge is to get us right so He can settle us into the new place.  We should no more resist that work of God than a baby should resist being born and coming out into life.

Don’t give God a hard time when He wants to do a new thing in your life.  We must believe that God is good all the time.  If we trust His character we should cooperate with Him when He wants to make changes and do new things for us.  A rut is a grave with both ends knocked out.  Our loving heavenly father does not want to see His children in the living death of a rut.

Instead of giving Him a hard time, make it easy for Him as He brings you out of the old place and leads you into the new places He has for you in the New Year.