Sunday, December 31st, 2017:  “Making it Through the Middle” • Pastor Mike Zizolfo

 

Read: Hebrews 12:1-3

 

READ: Devotional

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! The new year is such an exciting time that brings so much potential and endless possibilities - a clean and fresh start. New year, new me! However, our lives don’t transform just because a number on the calendar changes. Real change and real growth must be intentional...and let’s be honest, change is hard.

Real, authentic change happens when we can figure out how to make it past the start, persevere through the middle and finish out strong in the end. Unfortunately most of us never make it past the second week of February in our new diets and workout routines. But that doesn’t have to be the case with our faith.

Most of us read the bible and witness dramatic acts of faith - like when David, a scrawny teenager defeats goliath, a enormous philistine soldier - and think we’ll never measure up. We get bored simply starting yest another bible reading plan or starting a new prayer journal that we know will end up on the shelf or under a pile of bills in just a few weeks.

While goliath’s death was a heroic faith moment for David, I believe the battle was already won before any stone was thrown. Why? Because of his faithfulness. David would have never defeated the giant had he not been faithful in tending sheep. He thought he was using his slingshot to protect these dumb, boring sheep. But God was training him for a battle he never knew was coming. Tending sheep isn’t very exciting. In fact, it stinks (quite literally), but David’s faithfulness in the middle of a sheep field led him to one of the greatest victories for the Israelite army.

I spoke this past Sunday about how to make it through the middle, and I would love for you to take a listen if you missed it. But the best way to really persevere through the middle - whatever situations, temptations, trials, circumstances, hardships that 2018 might throw at you - is to be prepared before you even get there.

We do that, not by rising to some momentous occasion when the situation presents itself, but by being faithful daily. Your circumstances might not drastically change this year. Your finances might not look like what you had hoped. Your challenges might continue to get worse, but STAY FAITHFUL through it all. God is at work and He is with you, even in the middle of a crap filled sheep field. Though reading God’s word, praying, and serving might not seem heroic, they are slingshot practice preparing you for the battle that lies ahead. They may not seem like exciting goals for the new year, but trust me -  God will bring His extra to your ordinary at just the right time if we remain faithful - at that my friends will not just get you through the battle, it’ll leave you standing victorious holding the head of a giant that dared to defy the armies of the living God.

 

 reflect:

  • What routines do I need to change in my daily schedule to truly impact my faith?

  • How do I prepare myself for the middle as well as protect myself from the enemies attacks?

  • What have been the “fault lines” in my faith revealed during the middle? How does recognizing this help me grow?

 

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