Saturday, 31 December 2011

Songs for the new year

And so, another year down (another year closer to seeing Jesus face to face!) I find myself looking back over 2011, which has been full of work and play. Highlights have included New Word Alive, turning twenty one, Dorset Venture, a month in London, new housemates, holidays and hundreds of cups of tea.

Although I’m done with new years resolutions, I do have hopes for 2012; all being well, this is the year that I finally graduate, take my driving test and start a grown up job. I’m both sad and scared about leaving the university bubble behind, but I am also genuinely excited about the future. I often struggle with this, (finding a fine line between expectant hope of heaven and absolute flat out apathy), but I’m forced to recognise that God has good places and plans for me.

When I think about 2012, if I’m honest I’m excited about finding the dream job, the move to Nottingham, the prospect of possibly getting my degree, improving my baking skills, extending my glassware collection or buying a car. However, what I want to want more than anything else this year is this; to love Jesus wholeheartedly and to align my priorities with the kingdom of God.

Yesterday I stumbled across Psalms 70 and 71, finding myself both captivated and challenged. The writer fully trusts God as a mighty, righteous, redeemer – his exclamations so accurately describe the awesome combination of God’s love and perfect justice displayed to us at the cross! In a hymn I’ve been enjoying recently, there is a line that proclaims; ‘Jesus, all my trust is in your blood!’. I love it - but inside my head, I have to ask ‘-Jesus, is all my trust really in your blood?’, ‘Am I really wholeheartedly aligning all of my priorities with the kingdom of God?’ The Psalms present a similar challenge – can I really sing from the same hymn-sheet as a writer who says to God ‘I have no good apart from you’ (Psalm 16)?

In answering these questions, inevitably, I realise that I fall so far short. I don’t want God more than anything ever, but I want to want God more than anything ever. However, I was helpfully reminded recently by a visiting speaker, that Jesus is the perfect psalmist – he is the one who can truly say that his priorities are in line with the kingdom of God. What’s more, it is his righteousness I inherited when he cancelled my sin and paid for my unbelief at the cross. We can praise God then, that he is our mighty, righteous, redeemer!

Knowing Jesus, we are free before God to join in with the awesome words of Psalm 70 and 71, in which God is refuge, rock, salvation, mighty, righteous and worthy to be praised for all of our days. Here is an encouragement to forget everything else and proclaim, in the strength of the Lord, His righteous deeds alone.

Note to self - forget shoes, baking, degree classifications and moving house. Here are some resolutions for 2012 and beyond. Happy New Year!

Psalm 71 verse 14
But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.

Psalm 70 verse 4
May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”

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