Ninety seconds … I did not think that sounded like a long time, certainly not long enough to renew my ministry calling and encourage my spirit. But it was! I will tell you about those 90 seconds in just a moment.
A big deal is made about the New Year as a chance to begin anew, but you don’t have to wait until January 1st. God has a better plan that involves opportunities for renewal every day.
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him.’Lamentations 3:22-24 NLT
Every day is a chance for a new beginning with God. Every day we have opportunities to be renewed and refreshed by the love and mercies of God. This passage was written during a very difficult time in the author’s life.
The book of Lamentations is filled with raw laments over the struggles the people of Israel were experiencing. Nevertheless, as the author sought God daily, they found God’s love and mercy to be a daily source of renewal.
Happy New Day
I know, I know. I am preaching to the choir. You probably know this verse by heart and maybe even taught it before. But how often do you take advantage of the Good News?
I have been reading a book on spiritual health with members of my ministry team. We all admit to spending more time doing for God than being with God. Sadly, many Christians and ministry leaders live in a deficit. We do more for God than our being with God can sustain.
We can get so busy with ministry planning and execution that we fail to drink deeply from the wells of God’s loving mercy every day. No wonder we often feel so exhausted and discouraged.
My point in telling you this is not to downplay the New Year. The New Year is a significant time to reevaluate, seek God’s direction, and make plans for the next semester of ministry. Please take advantage of this time with your team.
My point is to make sure you don’t miss the Happy New Day God offers you 365 days a year. You don’t have to wait until January 1st to be refreshed and renewed by the loving mercies of God. That can happen today and every day.
Ministry’s Great Blessing
You might be thinking, “That sounds great, but I just don’t have time in my busy schedule.” If that’s what you are thinking, I have two responses.
First, if you are too busy for time with God, then you are too busy. The New Year might be a time to delegate or eliminate activities so you can carve out time with God. Without this time, you will quickly burn out and miss the greatest blessing of ministry—a life-giving relationship with God.
Second, connecting with God does not have to take a lot of time. You can have a meaningful connection in only 90 seconds. I did.
I was attending a leadership conference when the host said we were going to take 90 seconds in prayer. My initial thought was, “90 seconds? That’s not long.” Perhaps I would be more accurate in saying, “That’s not long enough!”
I was in the midst of a very difficult season. Demands at home and at work were overwhelming. Family dynamics were challenging. Ministry numbers were not trending as well as I would have hoped.
I had recently received some very discouraging emails and comments. They made me feel exhausted, and I felt discouraged. I felt like a failure. I needed God, and 90 seconds did not seem like long enough. God surprised me with what He can do in 90 seconds.
Renewed, Refreshed, Encouraged
I closed my eyes in prayer. While I sat there in prayer, God brought to mind the image of a young baby. As the vision came into focus, I saw the baby was being held. The baby was in the strong arms of their father who was looking down with a big, loving smile.
My eyes began to well up with tears as I sensed God telling me, “You are the baby, and I am your Father. I love you and I’ve got you.”
My eyes are welling up again as I write this. It may or may not seem profound to you, but it was profound for me. My worth is not based on how well ministry is going; it is based on God’s love for me. My identity is not based on what others think or say; it is based on what God says.
The verse came to mind from Matthew 3:17 where God says, “This is my dearly loved Son who brings me great joy.”
Although my circumstances were difficult, God was there to hold me and help me every step of the way. Therefore, I could hope in the Lord! When those 90 seconds were over, I could not believe how renewed, refreshed, and encouraged I felt.
My Challenge for You
Here is an application challenge for you. Set a 90-second timer on your phone or watch. Whenever you are feeling down or discouraged, take a 90-second break. Close your eyes and picture yourself being held in the arms of your strong, loving Heavenly Father.
Remember your worth is based on God’s love, and your identity is grounded in what God says. Acknowledge God is there to hold you and help you every step of the way. Drink deeply from the wells of God’s faithful love and mercy. You might want to actually stop and do this right now.
You don’t have to wait until January 1st to have a Happy New Day!