Welcome to 2019!   This is my first blog this year.  I am excited and looking forward with a confident expectation of what God has in store for me.  As we started this year, I wondered what the significance of ’19’ is.  In Hebrew, every number has meaning.  So 7 means perfection and 8 new beginning etc. The number ’19’ is associated with the preaching of the word and the faith-response to that word.

That actually perfectly sums up our Christian life.  It is always about that!

By Grace you are saved through faith (Eph 2:8)

It’s always about God’s provision and then our response to that.

What makes us ineffective as believers is two-fold then is

1)     Ignorance of what God’s word says and therefore of God’s provision

2)    Not mixing it with faith

Paul talks in many of his letters about being ignorant (lacking knowledge or awareness) of many things.  There’s a reason that we’re not supposed to be ignorant – because how can we respond if we don’t know what is on offer?

So, the first thing that we need to do is consider what God is saying to us.  And that primarily happens through his word.  Reading a single verse, isn’t enough.  The word is like our spiritual food.  We don’t usually eat once a week and nothing for the rest of the week.  Just as we need to eat every day (and more than once) the word needs to be part of our daily lives. We need to be meditating on what it says.

Once we have heard the word, our response to that word is faith.

Hebrews 4:2 says “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”

Sometimes we allow our traditions, feelings and experiences to get in the way of the bible!  We don’t mix what faith with what it says.

We all have what I call ‘sacred cows’.  A ‘sacred cow’ is defined as “a figure of speech for something considered immune from question or criticism’.  What I mean by this is there are certain things that we have our belief about and if anyone challenges that we take offence and refuse to slaughter that sacred cow.

But, how many of these beliefs are actually based on what the word says.  How much do we protect our comfort, rather than admit that perhaps we are wrong?

Sacrificing these ‘spiritual cows’ does a couple of things.  For us, it means that we can put in a foundation that is certain and sure, and we will personally enjoy the blessings and promises of God to a fuller degree.

But also, it gives us liberty.  (You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free – John 8:32).  When we have freedom we become more effective ministers of the Gospel; bolder and more confident.

So, this is really my challenge to myself and you for the new year.   Are we willing to bring those sacred cows into the light?  Are we willing to see whether the things we believe are REALLY based on the truth and immovable foundation of God’s word and if not, sacrifice that cow and rebuild something that is?

Basically, are you willing to experience more of God in your life in 2019 than you did in 2018?  Are we willing to let go of some of the ideas we have and study and learn what God has to say and live life accordingly?

I am sure we all say a resounding yes to that, so let’s act on that YES and see what 2019 can look like when we change to line up with God’s way of thinking!