Week Five: God's Leading

The start of the new year is always a great time of reflection and planning and new beginnings. It is a time to dream of what this next year will be like. For some, it is a long-awaited fresh start, a time of new commitments, a time to cast off the old. For others, it might be overwhelming as a time to worry about the unknown things the new year might bring.

Recently, I was faced with situation that could potentially shift some things in my family’s life, forcing us to make some unwanted changes. I immediately started to think about all of the areas that this change would affect and what I could do about it; I worried about the things I have no control over. For a couple hours I really wrestled with God about this and asked, “Lord, why would you bring us this far if this was not what you have for us?” During the times of uncertainty or unwanted change, it can feel like you are alone or without guidance. I was then reminded of the story in Matthew where Jesus is walking on water. He calls to Peter to be brave, step out of the boat and join him; he even reaches a hand out to him. Peter steps out of the boat and onto the water. I would imagine that Peter was pretty nervous at this point, as he has never walked on water before. When he starts to doubt and therefore sink, Jesus reaches for him and pulls him right back up. What is interesting to me is that Jesus was already out in the water calling to Peter. He wasn’t sitting the boat telling Peter to just trust him and jump in; He was already out there and holding out his hand to Peter. He was showing Peter by his example that He would be with him on this unknown journey. It is so easy to look back on my life during those moments of uncertainty and see God’s hand all over it. Like Peter, I felt scared to take big steps and afraid of what the cost would be. I was afraid of the unknown and worried about things I had no control over. While it felt like I was alone and that no one else could relate, it is now clear that just like Jesus was walking with Peter, He was and is walking with me. He actually goes before me.

During this new year, my hope is that I will take time to remember where God has led me so that I can trust where He is leading me. May I always remember that He goes before me and walks with me.

Mallary Malwick

God, thank you for taking me on the greatest adventure. Thank you for faithfully walking with me through life, for guiding me and challenging me. Thank you for picking me up when I fall and for reassuring me when I worry or doubt. Lord, help me to trust you fully this year as you have always been so faithful. Help me to be brave and bold and to take those next steps toward where you are calling me. Lord, may I always remember that I am a follower of Christ and, therefore, I am to be an example of Jesus to those around me. 


DAILY — PRAYING SCRIPTURE:

Day One: 

The Holy Spirit has always been the more difficult part of the trinity for me to wrap my brain around. I think of the Spirit as our constant communication with God. It is those stirrings you feel inside you when you just know something is right or wrong. How amazing it is that God has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us. In times of uncertainty, where we need direction, the Spirit intercedes on our behalf and gives us direction that is straight from God.

1Corinthians 2:10-13—God, you reveal yourself to us through your Spirit. Your Spirit searches you and knows all things, even the deepest things. Just like my own spirit knows me, your Spirit knows you well. In a world where we can so easily be swayed by false spirits, thank you for filling us with your Spirit where we can fully understand what you have freely given us. Because of your Spirit, we can give wisdom that is from you rather than worldly wisdom. Thank you for giving us a way to speak your truth to others. Amen

Ask yourself—How do I view the Spirit of God? Do I first seek The Lord when I need advice or do I search for answers in other places? Do I first ask the Spirit to give me the words to say before I give someone advice? What steps do I need to take in order to be mindful of The Spirit of God throughout my day?

Prayer:  God, thank you for taking me on the greatest adventure. Thank you for faithfully walking with me through life, for guiding me and challenging me. Thank you for picking me up when I fall and for reassuring me when I worry or doubt. Lord, help me to trust you fully this year as you have always been so faithful. Help me to be brave and bold and to take those next steps toward where you are calling me. Lord, may I always remember that I am a follower of Christ and, therefore, I am to be an example of Jesus to those around me.


Day Two:  

Our God is a God of redemption and restoration. Despite God’s first covenant with man, we still chose to disobey and turn our backs on Him. God, however, loves his children so deeply that he came up with another plan, a New Covenant in which He would send His only son Jesus to rescue us. This plan, one of true sacrifice, is flawless. Through this new covenant, we are rescued and found faultless.

Hebrews 8: 6-13—Lord, thank you for sending Jesus to mediate for us a better covenant with you that is based on better promises. You found fault in the first covenant because you found fault in us. Therefore, you declared that you would make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. Thank you for giving us another chance. This new covenant would not be like the one you made with their ancestors when you took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt. They did not remain faithful to your covenant so you turned your back on them. But in this new covenant you made with the people of Israel on that day, you put your laws in their minds and wrote them on their hearts. You are their God and they are your people. They do not need to teach their relatives saying, ‘You should know the LORD.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know you already. Thank you for forgiving our wickedness, and forgetting our sins. When you speak of a new covenant, it means that you have made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear. Amen

Ask Yourself— How hard do you think it must have been for people in that time to accept this new covenant? Is it hard for you to accept God’s grace? Why or why not? Do you feel like it is easier to follow rules?

Prayer: God, thank you for taking me on the greatest adventure. Thank you for faithfully walking with me through life, for guiding me and challenging me. Thank you for picking me up when I fall and for reassuring me when I worry or doubt. Lord, help me to trust you fully this year as you have always been so faithful. Help me to be brave and bold and to take those next steps toward where you are calling me. Lord, may I always remember that I am a follower of Christ and, therefore, I am to be an example of Jesus to those around me.


Day Three: 

Sometimes I wish I were right in the middle of the meetings Jesus had with his disciples. This is one of those times. Here we see Jesus starting to reveal who he really is to his disciples. It must have been surreal to finally hear Jesus agree that He was the Messiah. He even speaks to Simon Peter and calls him “blessed.” Jesus tells him that the church will be built on him and it cannot be broken. I love how he describes the church here. Jesus then tells the disciples how he must die but will then be raised from the dead. Peter confronts Jesus and says that this cannot be so. Jesus rebukes him, calls him Satan, and basically tells him that he is not seeing God’s plan. Somehow, I find this comforting that the guy that Jesus calls “the rock,” the one that he is going to build his church on, is shown to be imperfect and human here. It shows how God always uses ordinary people to do his great work because in him, we are extraordinary.

Matthew 16: 13-24—Jesus, when you came to Phillip, you asked your disciples who people thought you were. They listed off John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or other prophets. It seems that people still weren’t quite sure who you were. You then asked your disciples who they thought that you were, and Simon Peter said that you were the Messiah, the Son of the living God. You tell Simon that he is blessed because he did not learn this from other men but from the Father in heaven himself. You tell Peter (whose name means ‘rock’) that on him you will build the church and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. Thank you for building such a strong church. You tell Peter, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.” You then tell your disciples not to tell anyone that you are the Messiah. From then on, Jesus, you start to explain to your disciples that you must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teacher of the law, and that you must be killed and on the third day you will be raised to life. This must have been hard for your disciples to hear because Peter took you aside and began to rebuke you saying, “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus, you then said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Father, help me to be mindful of you and your plan. Let me never be a stumbling block. Help me to fully understand your next words “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” May I take up my cross daily and follow you. Amen

Ask Yourself—Why do you think that Simon Peter understood who Jesus really was but others did not clearly understand? What is your take on Peter and Jesus’s disagreement on the crucifixion? What does it mean to you to “deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus?” Do you feel like you are doing this? If not, what is holding you back?

Prayer:  God, thank you for taking me on the greatest adventure. Thank you for faithfully walking with me through life, for guiding me and challenging me. Thank you for picking me up when I fall and for reassuring me when I worry or doubt. Lord, help me to trust you fully this year as you have always been so faithful. Help me to be brave and bold and to take those next steps toward where you are calling me. Lord, may I always remember that I am a follower of Christ and, therefore, I am to be an example of Jesus to those around me.


Day Four: 

When I think of being made into something new and beautiful, I can’t help but think of pottery. I love working with clay. Making pots on the wheel is probably my favorite part, but it is not easy. It takes patience, time, creativity and skill. It’s an art. You take simple, ugly clay and, through molding, forming, gently smoothing out imperfections and then through refinement in the fire, it becomes something beautiful that you would display. This is how it is with us and Christ. If we believe in Him, we are transformed from our dirty, clay selves into something beautiful and new.

2 Corinthians 5: 17-21—Jesus, we cling to that new hope that if we believe in you, we are made new. Our old selves are gone and our new selves are here. This is only made possible by you, Lord. You reconciled us through your son Jesus and no longer count our sins against us. Thank you for committing your message to reconciliation. God, we now hold the honor of being Christ’s ambassadors as though you are making your appeal through us. Father, help us to clearly spread the word that you sent your son who had no sin to be sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Amen

Ask Yourself—Do you view yourself as an ambassador of Christ? Are there people in your life that you feel called to share the message of Christ with? If so, write their names down. Consider praying for them right now and for God to open opportunities for you to share.

Prayer:  God, thank you for taking me on the greatest adventure. Thank you for faithfully walking with me through life, for guiding me and challenging me. Thank you for picking me up when I fall and for reassuring me when I worry or doubt. Lord, help me to trust you fully this year as you have always been so faithful. Help me to be brave and bold and to take those next steps toward where you are calling me. Lord, may I always remember that I am a follower of Christ and, therefore, I am to be an example of Jesus to those around me.


Day Five: 

When you are a follower of Christ you are set apart. A disciple. A witness to who Christ is. This is what I think of when I think of the church. I think of a group of people doing the things Jesus did, feeding the hungry, giving godly advice to those in need, healing the sick, spending time with the lonely, giving people life, making people feel special, serving people by doing things no one else wanted to do, and putting everyone above themselves. In this way, Jesus let them know that they are loved and cared for. Jesus is present.

1 Peter 2: 9-10—God, you chose to love us and call us royal priests, a holy nation, your very own possession. You love us enough to claim us despite ourselves. Father, because of this we have a responsibility to show others your goodness. Thank you for calling us out of darkness and into your wonderful light. Amen.

Ask Yourself—Do you remember a time when you were in darkness and God pulled you out? What did that feel like? Take a moment to think about it and journal about this moment. Consider sharing your story with someone.

Prayer:  God, thank you for taking me on the greatest adventure. Thank you for faithfully walking with me through life, for guiding me and challenging me. Thank you for picking me up when I fall and for reassuring me when I worry or doubt. Lord, help me to trust you fully this year as you have always been so faithful. Help me to be brave and bold and to take those next steps toward where you are calling me. Lord, may I always remember that I am a follower of Christ and, therefore, I am to be an example of Jesus to those around me.


Day Six:  

It is pretty clear that salt’s purpose is to make things taste better. It is also used to preserve something so that it stays good. Light is what gives us the ability to see. A spot light on a stage illuminates what the audience is supposed to be focusing on, and a lighthouse gives boats boundaries so the captain knows where the shore line is and where the ports are. Keep this in mind when reading this next verse.

Matthew 5: 13-16—Father, you call me the salt of the earth. But what if salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. Lord, help me to remain in you so that I do not lose my saltiness. You call me the light of the world. A town on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, may I stand tall, and let my light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify You, Father in heaven. Amen.

Ask Yourself—What can you do to bring the flavor of Christ into the world around you?  What are some ways you can bring Christ’s light of truth and love into the lives of people in your sphere of influence?

Prayer:  God, thank you for taking me on the greatest adventure. Thank you for faithfully walking with me through life, for guiding me and challenging me. Thank you for picking me up when I fall and for reassuring me when I worry or doubt. Lord, help me to trust you fully this year as you have always been so faithful. Help me to be brave and bold and to take those next steps toward where you are calling me. Lord, may I always remember that I am a follower of Christ and, therefore, I am to be an example of Jesus to those around me.


 Day Seven:

Prayer:  God, thank you for taking me on the greatest adventure. Thank you for faithfully walking with me through life, for guiding me and challenging me. Thank you for picking me up when I fall and for reassuring me when I worry or doubt. Lord, help me to trust you fully this year as you have always been so faithful. Help me to be brave and bold and to take those next steps toward where you are calling me. Lord, may I always remember that I am a follower of Christ and, therefore, I am to be an example of Jesus to those around me.

As this new year begins, let us stop and think about the journey that we have had with Christ thus far. Let us also think about where we are headed and what God might be calling us to do. Think about the names that the Lord has called us in His Word these past few days: God’s people, disciple, new creation, ambassador, royal priests, holy nation, God’s very own possession, and the salt and light of the world. Keep these names in mind as you think about what God’s calling you for in this next year. Look over your notes/ prayers for the past week. What was meaningful to you? Did you receive any insight, inspiration or challenge? Does something require more prayer of discernment? We don’t decide when God will “show up;” instead, we want to be ready and aware when He does. Whatever your experience this week, stay committed. God is!

Catherine HortonComment