Upgrade your life in 2024!
Note from Pastor Kristi Graner
Wow – 2024 is here.
As we begin this year, I am grateful and dissatisfied at the same time.
God is so good. He cares for us and leads us. I am grateful for all the Lord has done and is doing, and at the same time I have a growing sense of dissatisfaction with the state of things in our lives and our world. There must be more than this.
I often think about Jesus telling us that those who believe in Him will do greater things.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” – John 14:12
Yes, Lord! Teach us to follow you more honestly and to learn to do the works you did and more.
This is a year to learn how to walk more fully in all that Jesus gives us.
Here are my suggestions and encouragements for you:
1. Practice being confident in Jesus, not myself.
I can tell when I am too focused on myself and my shortcomings – these are the times when I prefer to go through someone else to access the Father, when I want someone else to pray for me. When I am self-focused, I look for an “anointed person” to go to the Father on my behalf.
None of that is evil or sinful. It’s simply immature.
It is like in Junior High when I wanted to know if a boy liked me. Instead of going to him, I asked my friends to find out if he liked me.
We can be like this. We want the Father’s love, but in our immaturity, we go to other people who we see are “more anointed” and ask them to go to the Father for us. We ask them to find out if He really does love us as much as He says He does and to see if Father God will really meet us right where we are. (Spoiler: He always does!)
January is the perfect time to practice personally going to the Father’s Throne of Grace – just us and Jesus. I encourage you to intentionally spend time with the Father this year!
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16
2. Intentionally encourage yourself with God’s goodness.
I am beginning this new year by recalibrating my life with God’s plan for me.
During the first week of the year, I read through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. It is a short six chapters and an easy but impactful read to start out the new year. As we head into 2024, will you join me in reading Paul’s letter to the Ephesians?
As you do, I invite you to submit your life, your goals, your plans and your future again to the God who created you.
I also invite you to tune in to this recent conversation I had with Pastor Jeff Collins about the goodness of God. As you listen to our first podcast of the year, I pray you’ll be encouraged.
3. Tune up and upgrade your prayer life.
We all recognize the importance of prayer. I find that my prayer life can be a lot like “spiritual exercise.” If I don’t purposefully plan to exercise, it just doesn’t happen. Unfortunately, atrophy also happens with my prayer life if I fail to purposefully set aside time to pray.
Do you deliberately set aside any time to just talk to God? This is simply a regular conversation with a Father, Friend and Comforter you love and respect. Putting time on my calendar consistently and daily to talk to God helps to ensure that I am keeping my heart connected to heaven.
I encourage you to schedule your prayer time on your calendar. You could choose 10, 25 or 60 minutes – whatever works for you. It is worth the effort!
Of course, I also encourage you to join Gary and myself in blocking out one hour each week to pray with our 24/7 Payer initiative with Dare to Believe Ministries. I guarantee this will strengthen your prayer life.