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2017 – the year of ‘the SUDDENLY’!

First, let me wish you a Happy New Year!  For many, 2016 will be remembered as the year of surprises!  We had Brexit, a new Prime Minister, Theresa May, a new President elected, Donald Trump and we also saw many acts of terror and a growing refugee crisis.   For UCB, it was a year of distractions on many fronts, but I sense that as we enter 2017, it will be a year of God’s ‘suddenly moments’.

The verses which keep coming to me are:

“You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.”  Psalm 65:11

“I declared the former things long ago and they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them. Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.” Isaiah 48:3

However, as we each begin this new year, I believe we need to be expectant and ask ourselves, what are we hoping for?  What are we waiting for?

Much of life is waiting for something to happen. Minutes turn into hours, hours into days, days into months and months into years.  Sometimes it feels as though the clock on our lives is standing still, and we are waiting for whatever will come next.  If you are in that place at the moment, waiting to see a word fulfilled or for God to move in your circumstances, you are not alone.   It can feel as though things will never change, but the Word of God is full of people who had ‘suddenly’ experiences.   Here are just a few examples:

  • Abraham was a very old man when he was ‘suddenly’ told that he would be given a much-longed-for son
  • Joseph went from being in jail to standing before Pharaoh. One minute, no one would listen to him. The next minute, the most powerful man in the country was asking his opinion.
  • Moses had raised a family and was content to stay hidden in the desert when God ‘suddenly ‘called him to the greatest of adventures.
  • Elizabeth and Zacharias! The Bible says they were well advanced in years and she was barren, when ‘suddenly’ an angel appeared and announced that they would have a son – John the Baptist.

God has been in the ‘suddenly business’ for years.

So, you might be asking, what about my ‘suddenly moment’?

Maybe you know and believe that God can do anything, anytime, anywhere and that there are no limitations to God’s ability, but you’re frustrated as to why it’s not happening now? We may become frustrated in the waiting, but God’s timing is perfect.  He is never too late and certainly never too early, but it surely comes! And I know that His timing and will are much better than mine!

How to pray as we wait.

Be specific

I really believe God wants us to be specific as we pray.  Sometimes we can feel as though we don’t need to tell Him the detail, but in any relationship, you share the detail, your thoughts, your hopes.  It is the same with God – when we pray, let’s be specific about what we see and about what we are asking God to do.

Dream big!

We need to be specific when we pray, but we also need to be open to God doing something different.   It can be easy to use our prayer to ‘shape’ what we want God to do, rather than be open to whatever it is He wants to give us.

The shape, size, colour and features of our destination may not be in the package that we have been describing to God… or to ourselves!   I often wonder if we have spent so much time focused on ‘telling God what to do’, that we might have missed a suddenly moment, or something unusual He wanted to bless us with?  God’s answers don’t always come in the way we expect and it can be easy to overlook His blessings, because the answer, he, she or it did not fit into our formula? It is something to ponder on!

Trust His timing

Allow God to set the timeline.  And instead of clock-watching,  let’s count every sorrow, every joy, every longing, every heartache as a precious gift that God is allowing to come our way to prepare us for the joy He passionately wants to share with us.   Be confident that He does have a ‘suddenly’ for you too!  The question is whether or not you will be ready to see and experience it.

For UCB, I believe our ‘suddenly’ moment is rooted in a Word I felt God gave us last year, which I wrote about in a blog post, Look to the future – what do you see? 

I continue to wait, believe and pray expectantly for a great move of God which will change the landscape of the world!

Therefore as we launch into this new year, let’s not forget the words of Jesus to His disciples (John 4:35), “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’?  Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”

Time is of the essence – can you join me in believing that 2017 will be the year of ‘the suddenly?’

dlh-blog-jan-17

Christianity

In a world of change – trust God

We are in a season of political change.  We saw the UK begin to change in May with the surprising results of the EU Referendum and we saw this shift again recently when Donald Trump was voted in as President-elect of the United States.  In France, we are seeing political change too, as my home country prepares for its own presidential elections next year.

I am pleased that we live in a democracy and that we each have the ability (and responsibility) to vote, but now we need to consider how we should respond to the outcome of the decisions made.  How can we ensure unity in the church and keep positive relationships when our opinions can be so different?   The same applies to the decisions we’re confronted with on a daily basis.

Choose who you will serve

We must remember firstly, who we serve.  In Joshua 24:15, Joshua commanded the people to, ‘Choose you this day who you will serve’.  He told the people that the choice was up to them, it was their decision, but he ended by saying, ‘As for ME and My house, we will serve the Lord’.   Although as believers we ultimately serve the Lord, He gives us the choice and allows us to decide who we are going to serve.   I believe this is a very intentional verse, it encourages us to make our choice and then have the courage and commitment to stand by what we believe.

Agree to disagree


In life we are confronted by having to make choices on a daily basis and the choices that we make today will affect our tomorrow.

There will always be disagreements among friends and family over the choices we make.  But I believe some of these disagreements could be avoided if we tried to listen more.  Too often in discussion, we are set on persuading the other person to see things as we see them and we do not stop to listen.  If we don’t listen, we won’t hear others’ views.  And who knows, perhaps the opposite side might have a good point to make?   If we all agreed on everything, it would be a very boring world.  It is fine to say, ‘I don’t see it, I don’t understand it, but I respect how you feel’.  For me, my relationships with family and friends are more precious than my argument.

Who should have the final word?

We all like to have the final word, however, the final Word comes from God.

The Bible is God’s divine instruction manual and it tells us how to live our lives according to God’s will.   As I have said before, if we bought a new phone or gadget, we would always read the instruction manual, so that we knew how to operate this new gift in the best possible way.   The same is true of our lives and God’s Word – it tells us all we need to know about how to live a life aligned with God’s plan.

Even if we make wrong choices in life, and create mess through those choices, then our failures are not fatal – provided we are willing to acknowledge them.  God will always be there to help us.

Whatever situation you find yourself in today, and however you are feeling, whether it is fear or excitement, it is important to remember that God has a plan: “A plan to prosper you, not to harm you, a plan to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).