Happy New Year, and welcome to what I believe will be a year of exceeding abundantly beyond what you can ask or think! So, it’s 2016, and I’m sure many of you are wondering just what the New Year brings. Listen to this podcast and get inspired as you face not just another year, but a year of exceeding abundantly more than you can ask or imagine!
We live in a world that lacks hope, that is fearful going forward. But hey, I’ve read the book cover to cover and I know who wins! It’s not the devil, and it’s not sinful man, despite what you might think looking at the news!
As we face a new year, if you believe the media, there are terrorist threats everywhere, the economy is failing, militant Islam is gaining strength and gays are directing policies.
But I believe 2016 is shaping up to be the best year for many a year. Why?
Because God has given me His promise, and a text for the year…
Ephesians 3:20 (KJV)
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Ephesians 3:20 (ESV)
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
Ephesians 3:20 (Message)
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
The Greek word used here is hyperairomai; which means “the regions lying beyond your country of residence.” In other words, it is super abundance, beyond anything you have seen or experienced before, almost like a foreign country… Exotic, new, fresh, exciting, beyond your comprehension.
2016 is going to be another land! You won’t believe you’re there! But not everyone will experience this. So how will you get to experience the best year ever in 2016.
How can we get there? How can we be assured we will travel there? How can we experience Exceeding Abundantly in our lives this year of 2016?
I am going to show you 5 ways to make 2016 the best year ever!
MAKE THE PAST PAST AT LAST
“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 wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
These verses are important… The Hebrew word for to dwell is “bin”, which means to discern or concentrate on. It is saying that we must not focus in on the things of the past, good or bad.
So many Christians, even mature Christians, are influenced and even controlled by their pasts. Maybe it’s your upbringing, maybe it’s something someone said last month, or last year. Listen… You’ve got to let it go! Let the past be past at last.
Maybe you’ve had some successes, but you can’t dwell in those either. It’s easy to think back on previous success, but this is counterproductive if it limits your success in 2016. Looking back does not promote exceeding abundantly more in your life!
GET CLOSER TO THE LORD
This is the key point, upon which the entire year of 2016 hangs for you… Get closer to God. If you determine right now to press into the Lord, to read His Word and pray, I guarantee you this year will become exceeding abundantly more than you can ask, think or imagine!
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Get clean, get holy and get serious with God. The Greek for double minded literally means double souled, having your soul in 2 places, the world and the Kingdom. You cannot serve 2 masters,
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Make that God and anyone, or anything!
So who do you choose this day? At the start of 2016, who do you choose?
Israel faced a similar choice as they entered the Promised land…
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
Choose life in 2016! Choose Exceeding Abundantly Life in 2016
Remember James 1:8, Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
If you want to be stable, not blown around by every little circumstance, not tossed to and fro by each wind of adversity, not experiencing life as a roller coaster… Get into God. Trust me, it really works!
My Bible reading plan is a great place to start. Read the entire Bible, minus the dull bits, in one year reading only 2 chapters a day. Do this, friends, and you will experience God as never before.
Couple this with daily prayer, and you have the best year of your life at your fingertips. Life abundantly, exceeding abundantly.
So how do you do this every day?
- Get the Bible reading plan… It’s free
- Set aside a time to do it. Try and make it the same time every day. Morning works best for me. What about you? I once committed to no Bible, no breakfast… Can you?
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.
- Set aside a place to do it. Your favourite chair, a nice pleasant spot. I have our sunroom, or my favoured chair.
- Pray… Remember the acrostic…
- Read, study, underline
- Journal, takes notes. I use my iPad, I copy and paste.
HAVE A GRATITUDE ATTITUDE FOR AN EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY LIFE
The best years of your life are not the ones you strive and fight and claw to get ahead in. Joy is being content with whatever the Lord brings your way.
The greatest sin of the Western world is an ungrateful spirit. We need to change and have a gratitude attitude.
Look at your life. Look at all you have. Money, even if you don’t have a job, a home to live in. A car. A TV. Friends, family, this church.
According to the world bank, Over 2.1 billion people in the developing world lived on less than US $ 3.10 a day.
Probably 7/8ths of the world’s population would gladly change places with any of you and live here in paradise. Yet I hear Aussies whinge and whine so much about what they haven’t got, rather than rejoice at what they do have!
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Philippians 4:12, Paul shares his testimony…
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
So how do you get this contentment?
The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
If you want 2016 to be the best year ever, start being content with what you do have rather than striving for what you do not have. Funny thing is, if you are truly grateful and if you truly seek God, most of what you are striving for comes your way anyway!
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Seek God’s face in 2016, not just His hand!
Set your mind on the things of God. Turn off that TV show, and start filling your mind and heart with godly, worthwhile things. As Paul says,
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
MAKE WISE CHOICES
William Jennings Bryan once said, “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.”
Your choices determine your destiny. Stop blaming others for what happens to you, make wise choices.
More than that, make Godly choices.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
God can and will lead your steps in 2016, if you take your hand off the steering wheel and let Him drive.
So this year, take a chance on God. I dare you!
A survey in an old people’s home asked, what one thing would you change in your life. Number one answer… I would take more chances.
Humans love being secure, but if you want to get ahead, taking calculated risks is part of the deal. Question is… Who do you trust in? Yourself, investment advisors, so called experts… Or God?
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.
God says take a chance on me. He says it in the tithe, and it applies to every aspect of life. He literally says test me, take a chance on Me. So to make 2016 the best year, take a chance on God.
I’m not suggesting that you start gambling. Listen to the Lord, have quiet times daily, seek godly advice, make wise and well thought out decisions, research, be informed and pray like crazy. But take some chances guys! Don’t just sit and wait. It is easier to steer a moving ship.
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
So to take a chance with God, take up your cross daily. Not every Sunday, every day! If you play it safe and try to save your life, you lose it. If you lose your life for Him, you save it!
So do it now! Don’t look back with regret on 2016 with would’ve, could’ve, should’ve. No, 2016 is the year of stepping out and trusting God, taking a chance on Him and seeing Him provide exceeding abundantly.
Are you ready to choose life in 2016? Are you willing to step out and take a chance with God?
STAY THE COURSE FOR AN LIFE EXCEEDING ABUNDANTLY
This is the hardest of my 5 points, because it takes the longest!
New Years resolutions are only followed through by 8% of people. That means 92% of people fail. They only fail when they give up.
In other words, they start with a bang, but soon crumble. If you are going to make 2016 the best year ever, start with God and, as Winston Churchill famously said, “Never, never, never give up.”
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.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Let’s run with perseverance in 2016, and let us run together as one body, one family in unity!
So where do you start?
Start the Bible reading and keep going. Start praying every day, and don’t stop. Start coming to church every Sunday, and keep doing it all year. Don’t get distracted, don’t go to the beach, don’t sleep in. Make a commitment and see it through. The Sunshine Coast has a tremendous amount of flaking into and out of church, so let’s get serious in 2016, and let’s see it through together to make 2016 the year if exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or imagine!