As we journey towards a new year, what will you take with you and what will you leave behind?
Sometimes we won’t see the result of our good intentions and actions during the year. What’s important is that we move forward knowing that we have been faithful to God’s will for our lives.
Stephen, the first known Christian martyr, died while proclaiming the Good News and graciously crying out to God to forgive his persecutors. Stephen did not live to see the conversion of Saul – later Paul, who became the mighty man of God.
Stephen put to death Acts 7:54-60 Amplified Bible
54 Now when [k]they heard this [accusation and understood its implication], they were cut to the heart, and they began grinding their teeth [in rage] at him. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit and led by Him, gazed into heaven and saw the glory [the great splendor and majesty] of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; 56 and he said, “Look! I see the heavens opened up [in welcome] and [l]the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57 But they shouted with loud voices, and covered their ears and together rushed at him [considering him guilty of blasphemy]. 58 Then they drove him out of the city and began stoning him; and the witnesses placed their outer robes at the feet of a young man named [m]Saul. 59 They continued stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive and accept and welcome my spirit!” 60 Then falling on his knees [in worship], he cried out loudly, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them [do not charge them]!” When he had said this, he fell asleep [in death].
- (k) Acts 7:54 This would include the members of the Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court) and those witnessing the proceedings.
- (l) Acts 7:56 The vision acknowledged Stephen’s right standing with God.
- (m) Acts 7:58 At this time Saul (later known as the apostle Paul) was an active and devoted Pharisee.
Even if we are bearing the wounds in the aftermath of our good intentions and actions in 2021, we must be unwavering in our commitment to God’s plan for our lives. There comes a point when we must stop analysing what went wrong, and ask for God’s grace to heal our emotions, adjust our perspective and close the door on futile attempts to change the past.
As I write this and as you read this, I am asking you, like me, to make today your Day of Declaration.
The text below is an empowering affirmation that a friend sent me on my birthday a few years ago:
Say to yourself: “I will let nothing, or no one upset the calm peace of my soul,” and mean it.
To declare means “to state officially or formally with emphasis or authority; to affirm, to reveal, manifest or prove.”
Declare your freedom from hurt and sorrow.
Direct your attention from outside influences and place your confidence in the Power of God within.
Quickly rid yourself of any hurt of unforgiveness by dismissing any and all reminders of hatred, injustice, disappointment or rejection.
Stop comparing who did what and who didn’t.
Cast aside reminders of the actions of those who passed by without one backward glance.
Who cares now?
Release unpleasant reminders of the past and allow them to disintegrate into the cleansing waters of nothingness.
You want to be free.
Declare your independence today and for all tomorrows.
“On the day I called, You answered me; And You made me bold and confident with [renewed] strength in my life.”Psalm 138:3 Amplified Bible
Christ in you, the hope of glory. That’s why glory matters.