• Beth Hildebrand

What A Blow To The Heart At The Beginning Of A New Year


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Everything is back usual.  Holidays are over, exam season for the kiddos, back to somewhat of a routine.  I’ve tried to spend some time reflecting and refocusing myself in the path I’ve traveled and where it leads in 2016.

One practice I’m still disciplined to is facilitating an online Bible study.  “Growing Through Prayer” is the focus of this 8 week study.  Do you need growth in your prayers?  I know I do.  Something one of the writers of this study stated,

“Prayer is the easiest and the hardest discipline for me. It is easy in that it does not require I have any special talents, sophisticated vocabulary, or a specific place I need to go. And yet it is difficult because I am easily distracted, lacking in faithfulness, and ignorant to the dangers of a prayerless life.”

I agree.

The goal of this study is to answer these questions (and whatever else the Holy Spirit teaches us!) Questions like, “How should we pray?”, “What should we pray for?” and “Does God hear our prayers?”.  It also includes prayers saturated throughout the Bible.

Excited to start this, I read Psalm 145:1-7

God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough.  There are no boundaries to his greatness.  Generation after generation stands in awe of your work; each one tells stories of your mighty acts.  Your beauty and splendor have everyone talking; I compose songs on your wonders.  Your marvelous doings are headline news; I could write a book full of the details of your greatness.  The fame of your goodness spreads across the country; your righteousness is on everyone’s lips.”  (Message)

What a blow to the heart to start 2016!  I wasn’t expecting my heart to instantly ache after reading that.  Although it’s beautifully praising God for his greatness in the first few verses, the words it ended with made me sad. But then hopeful anticipation.

“Your marvelous doings are headline news; I could write a book full of the details of your greatness.  The fame of your goodness spreads across the country; your righteousness is on everyone’s lips.”

I couldn’t help but think how in the world, including our nation, today, there’s so many people who don’t feel the same way as Christ-followers.  Compared to when David wrote that pslam, are God’s marvelous doings on the headline news on CNN or ABC Nightly News these days?  Is the fame of God’s goodness spreading across our nation like a wildfire?  Is God’s righteousness on everyone’s lips and talking about Him with joy and anticipation?     What has happened to the Biblical foundation of our country and world order?

There are so many lost people.  There are so many rebellions who need to be rescued.  I want everyone to see and know God’s goodness across our nation and the world and for it to spread like a wildfire!  We are here for a purpose.  We are here to bring God glory and to be Jesus’ disciples to live like Jesus.  Because of God’s glory we are to boast of His goodness and beauty.  Because of His sacrifice, we were given the gift of eternity with Him.  Because of His love, he wants ALL whom He created to experience it.

ALL people.  And that’s our job – or our gift – to Him.  We’re to BE disciples and MAKE disciples (Matthew 28:19) with the talents, abilities and resources He’s given us and to do those things with passion.  It is our role in God’s kingdom to direct the lost and point them to God.  Have you ever been given the question like Esther was given?  Mordecai asks Esther,

“Are you going to remain silent at this time?  What IF you’re here for such a time as this to make a difference and save your people?” (Esther 4:14 paraphrased)

What if you’re here in 2016 to share the gospel with your child’s friend’s mom, with your neighbor, with a co-worker, with your barista at Starbucks?  What if you take that bold step of faith and begin a new faith journey?  What if you invite a few women over to your house for a simple meal and be amazed how the Holy Spirit will direct your conversation about Him?

What if? 

On the Day that is to come, I don’t want to be looking Jesus face to face and hear him say to me, “Why did you remain silent and not tell others about Me or show your love for Me?”

The hopeful anticipation I also felt when reading about “marvelous doings” and “righteousness on everyone’s lips”, wells from witnessing thousands of people who have been making and doing those exact praises!  I’ve witnesses and read multiple stories, especially the past couple of years, of how God has been doing marvelous things through the lives of ordinary people like you and me, in this generation, who have been set free and then want to help free others from bondage.  I’ve seen people who that before were too shy, ashamed, scared,  or excuse-makers are now running after Jesus’ heart and wanting to give that holy passion to others who don’t have it.  This holy movement is by God’s grace and glory.

God, please forgive me for the times I’ve remained silent about You.  I want to be part of movement where Your Gospel, Truth and love will explode into a wildfire.  I want to write a book about your goodness.  I want Your goodness to seep from the lives of your believers as we serve You.  Let us keep in the front of our minds that such a time is this for us to do the work You’ve called us to do in Your Name and through Your power I pray!  Amen.

If you’re interested in joining our “Growing Through Prayer” online study, please leave me a message.

If you’re wrestling with some “What if” questions, there’s a place for you to do that February 5-6.  Get more information here about this amazing world-wide live simulcast.  There’s also an online Bible study about Jesus’ life that prepares us for this event.  Find more information about that here.  It’s become a holy movement.

God is working in mighty ways around the world.  Even though you have to look harder to find the ways in this world cluttered with evil-doing, “God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough.  There are no boundaries to his greatness.  Generation after generation stands in awe of your work; each one tells stories of your mighty acts.” 

#Hope #IF

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