Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The One Thing Consistent

“The one thing consistent about me,” I told my wife early in our marriage, “is my inconsistency.” Well, looking at how long it’s been since I’ve added to this blog, I have to admit that I’m still basically that same inconsistent guy. I also have to confess that I’m a bit overwhelmed. I could go in lengthy discourse about my battle and subsequent victory over chronic Lyme disease as well as vocational demands added to the challenges of raising teenagers, but the reality is that I haven’t felt much like writing for several months… and I didn’t have much to share. At least I didn’t have anything healthy to share. 

If despair is the absence of hope, then I was despairing. Whether by sheer force of will or through the muscle memory of repetition, I plodded through the motions in 2014. But if on the other hand Tolkien’s definition of hope is accurate (i.e. – refusing to despair), then I kept hope. I kept moving. I kept adjusting… all through the grace and strength of my God.

I pressed into Jeremiah 29:11-13 as a personal promise from God to me: 
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
And I held onto an earlier promise He made to me through Scripture in Psalm 40 as I prayed a simple prayer 25 years ago: “God, be the God of my life.” He has indeed, set my feet upon the Rock and made my footsteps firm… and many will see and fear the Lord. 

As we head into 2015, many are proclaiming a year of prosperity. Maybe it will be, and it’s certainly my hope for that to be the case. But I believe it will crash suddenly, greater than anything we’ve seen in my lifetime. The “greatest generation” is passing away, and our current culture in America is callous to the truth. Lies are not only common place; they are expected. More than ever, America and Europe have slipped into post-Christian societies, revering the power of man and respecting all things spiritual, excepting the One True God.

Yet there is hope and there is a remnant, a people both saddened by the state of the world and fearful that they will become like it. There is a God, Who remains in control, Sovereign over all things and continuing to work everything together for good. He hears the cries of His people and continues to provide for and protect them, strengthening and preparing them for times of great tribulation with an eye on the eternal. 

If I am wrong about 2015, which I certainly pray I am, then may I encourage everyone reading this to use whatever prosperity He gives you to the advancement of His Kingdom. But if I’m right, be encouraged that God is still in control and will use whatever pruning is needed to draw His people into greater intimacy and make them more fruitful. In either case, our job is to be faithful in both times of triumph and trial. That faithfulness begins with having a plan to draw close to God, which includes continual studying of the Bible. If you make only one resolution, then choose the one that offers eternal value, and set your feet upon the One Who is Eternally Consistent. 

Also, if you have found it difficult to find solid and balanced teaching material, I want to encourage you with a resource I’ve come to trust: http://livingontheedge.org/.  You’ll find podcasts as well as many free resources for both personal and communal growth.

Peace, grace, blessings and strength to us all in 2015!

copyright ©2014 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)