Anyone who knows me knows how much I value journaling. I often recommend it as a therapeutic practice to write out insights, feelings, circumstances and the corresponding prayer requests. I try to write every day at least a little bit and it has been enlightening to go back through a particular year and see how those prayers from that time have been answered. I also see growth patterns and places where I continue to be stuck.
This year, it feels like a brand new notebook is being given to me. Pages crisp, clean, white. The cover without dog ears and smudges. The empty pages extend a welcome to me, and I’m eager to see what will transpire between my heart and mind and hand.
It’s that time of year again, when a person can feel like they can start a new chapter in their life, putting their chaos back into order with anticipation of personal growth. Marie Kondo household organizational books may get a second look in days to come, and the yearly Bible reading plans are dusted off, readied for another chance. (Congrats to those who completed reading the Bible through in 2019!)
All this feels very hopeful and right and good. I want to feel that hope rising up within me, expecting the Lord to continue to show me His ways and teach me things I long to learn. That’s why to me an image of a brand new notebook symbolizes the beginning of a new year. I want to capture the moments that I know 2020 will bring to my life so that I can remember the things the Lord intends to share with me this year.
I wonder which of the seeds planted in previous years, months, days will begin to sprout with life, which prophetic promises whispered to my heart will begin to show themselves in the daylight? And which prophetic scriptures will the Body of Christ see come to pass as well?
Luke 21:25-31 (New Living Translation, NLT)
“And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”
Then he gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near.”
“When you see all these things taking place…” Whether in the world, in the Body of Christ, or in your own personal life, notice what is taking place in regards to the Kingdom of God coming near. Keep a running record of what you are noticing, and I believe you’ll begin to recognize an expectancy building up within you for the will of God coming to pass.
I have witnessed an example of what I’m talking about. Recently a very young child died in her sleep. Her parents asked their church family to stand with them for her to be raised from the dead. This particular church fully believes what Jesus said in Matthew 10:7-8.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
Thousands joined their hearts and prayers with this family through social media and stood on the Word of God for a little more than a week. Other media also got involved with the story and there were criticisms and judgements made as well as encouragement and faith from those who loved this family.
The little girl did not “wake up,” but what did awaken was a portion of the Body of Christ that has decided to continue to pursue full heartedly the fullness of what Jesus has given to us through His own death, burial, and resurrection. From what I’m observing through writings and messages from people in the middle of this situation, I see a revival rising. A natural, understandable disappointment coupled with a bit persecution is not deterring a pursuit of “on earth as it is in Heaven.”
I’m making note of all of this and joining in my own heart the “awakening” as they are calling it. Could it be that we are seeing Romans 13:11 happening before our eyes?
“And do this knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken out of sleep; for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” (Berean Literal Bible)
I am starting this new year with my new notebook in my hand, awake and ready to write down what I see as I look up, knowing that the Kingdom of God is nearer than ever before.