The year of abundance… and hard work

There are two “words” the Lord dropped into my heart for 2016.

ABUNDANCE
HARVEST

He has given these words for my family and my church. This will be a year of provision. This will be a year of harvest. So much has transitioned in such a short time. For our church, we are out of our old building and into a smaller space, changing up our model of ministry, and awaiting final permits to build a coffee shop. It is a year where the Lord stabilized us and has prepared us for harvest. In 2016 he is speaking HARVEST for us.

That is not set aside from the fact of HARD WORK. There is much work to do, but the more valuable work, as always, is the hidden work. PRAYER.

Today’s Gospel reading is from Luke 2. Two of my favorite characters in Scripture, and we know so little about them: Simeon and Anna. They are easy to pass over. Not only is there not much said about them… but add in the fact they are OLD, and it’s easy to miss their stories. Even in that day, who would pay attention to a couple of old folks wandering around the Temple court day after day? What else did they have to do?

But they gave themselves to the HARD WORK: prayer. Who else had “time” for that?

Through their hard work of prayer, the Lord rewarded them. On the day Joseph and Mary brought the baby to the Temple, the Spirit alerted them both, and the reward of their perseverance was placed in their arms.

I love the words God has given me for 2016. I also know the BEST route to the fulfillment of those words is the HARD ROAD. It is the road of prayer. When temptation rises up and tells me I need to “work” in another way (and there IS work in other ways) I need to hear the voice of the Spirit. There is time for physical labor and there is is a time for spiritual labor. We need both.

2016 will provide plenty of opportunity for BOTH types of labor. We cannot neglect prayer.

There needs to be a daily calling out. Then, for me, there are specific times of “going away.” There are also times of “giving up.” Through all of it I keep a constant list with me. (I use an app on Android called “PrayerMate”.) The list keeps me at the task of intercession. I keep the Word with me, especially the Psalms, so I can hear the call of the Spirit more clearly.

Daily, I wait on the Lord. I lift up needs along the way.

Periodically, I need to withdraw to pray in silence. That is the way of new power in my life.

Then, I also need to “give up.” Periods of fasting and prayer. Lent is an opportunity for me.

Through all of it, as I “work hard” in prayer, the Lord WILL bring HIS WORD to me: Abundance. Harvest.

Let 2016 be an amazing year of abundance for us all! May we most of all have the abundance of his presence!

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