Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thankful Thursday - Looking Back

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

As Iris mentioned in her Thankful Thursday post, looking back can be painful. This has been a year of joys and trials for me. In January I was blessed with the knowledge that we were having another grandson. Later in the year I was frightened to learn my uncle's melanoma had returned. In May he underwent brain surgery and it was successfully removed. In June we got a pool and swam all summer long. September brought news of my father having heart problems and he had pacemaker surgery on my birthday. In October we welcomed our grandson, all 5 lbs. and 3 oz. of him, into this world one month early. In November we gathered for a Thanksgiving that was wonderful. Jimmy's cancer returned and he underwent a second brain surgery in December and the cancer was removed again. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day our whole family was together. Not a soul was absent and all were healthy. Hours before the end of 2008, my uncle texted me and said the results of his most recent PET scan were all clear.

Looking back has left me thankful. God was with me every step of the way, sometimes carrying me, sometimes prodding me along, sometimes pulling me while I stubbornly refused to move, heels dug in, and sometimes simply walking with His precious hand in mine.

This Thankful Thursday, I rejoice that God has hopeful plans for me, and a future I cannot even begin to imagine! He is so faithful.

The Hebrew word for welfare in Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) is shalowm, which means:

1) completeness, soundness, welfare, peace
a) completeness (in number)
b) safety, soundness (in body)
c) welfare, health, prosperity
d) peace, quiet, tranquillity, contentment
e) peace, friendship
1) of human relationships
2) with God especially in covenant relationship
f) peace (from war)
g) peace (as adjective)

I love that God desires and has plans for us indivdually for these things as mentioned above. My heart echoes David's declaration below.

"How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!" ~ Psalm 139:17 (NIV)

I love the promise that a new year brings. As in Jeremiah 33:3, we can call on the Lord for all our needs. This is one year I will be growing even closer to the Lord in prayer. I have always been a strong advocate of prayer, but this year I want to go deeper, seeking God more closely and spending time more closely with Him in prayer.

I love the promise that if we call to God He will answer us. The Hebrew word for call is qara', which means:

1) to call, call out, recite, read, cry out, proclaim
a) (Qal)
1) to call, cry, utter a loud sound
2) to call unto, cry (for help), call (with name of God)
3) to proclaim
4) to read aloud, read (to oneself), read
5) to summon, invite, call for, call and commission, appoint, call and endow
6) to call, name, give name to, call by
b) (Niphal)
1) to call oneself
2) to be called, be proclaimed, be read aloud, be summoned, be named
c) (Pual) to be called, be named, be called out, be chosen

I want to call out to God and to be called upon by Him. I want to proclaim praises to Him and cry out the desires of my heart to Him in such a way that honors Him.

The Hebrew word for answer is `anah, which means:

1) to answer, respond, testify, speak, shout
a) (Qal)
1) to answer, respond to
2) to testify, respond as a witness
b) (Niphal)
1) to make answer
2) to be answered, receive answer
2) (Qal) to sing, utter tunefully
3) (Qal) to dwell

I look forward to hearing God's actie response to the prayers I share with Him. I am anticipating His dwelling with me as He answers my prayers according to His perfect will.

I love how He says in the verse above that He will tell us great and hidden things that we do not know.

The Hebrew word for tell is nagad, which means:

1) to be conspicuous, tell, make known
a) (Hiphil) to tell, declare
1) to tell, announce, report
2) to declare, make known, expound
3) to inform of
4) to publish, declare, proclaim
5) to avow, acknowledge, confess
a) messenger (participle)
b) (Hophal) to be told, be announced, be reported

I look so forward to hearing from Him and hearing His Holy Spirit guiding me in His truths.

The Hebrew word for great is gadowl, which means:

1) great
a) large (in magnitude and extent)
b) in number
c) in intensity
d) loud (in sound)
e) older (in age)
f) in importance
1) important things
2) great, distinguished (of men)
3) God Himself (of God)

Oh, the important things He has for us to know! The intensity of this knowing of things of importance and Him revealing Himself to me is mind-boggling but definitely something I'm clinging to.

I believe I can honor Him more by keeping my heart's ears open for what He has to say to me this year.

In the past I have thought of these things as hidden. The Hebrew word for hidden is batsar, which means:

1) to gather, restrain, fence, fortify, make inaccessible, enclose
a) (Qal)
1) to cut off
2) fortified, cut off, made inaccessible (pass participle)
3) secrets, mysteries, inaccessible things (subst)
b) (Niphal) to be withheld
c) (Piel) to fortify

To know that He has been ready to reveal these things to me all along is what makes my desire to go deeper in prayer with Him.

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." ~ Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

Have I sought Him with all my heart in the past? I believe that a part of me has held back. I have wanted to know Him more intimately, but I admit that there are so many things I don't understand. I thought if I didn't ask I wouldn't be disappointed not to know. I believed that there were some things that were to remain a mystery. I still believe that we are not to know everything, but as I have read His Word so closely this year, I know that He is a God who loves me and wants to be known by me. Surely I will not know the fullness of Him until I am with Him in Heaven, but while I'm here on earth I do not want to miss a thing! I'm ready to seek Him with all my heart and hear what He has to tell me now.

Looking forward, I am thankful for the opportunities He has placed before me, making Himself available to be such a personal God and Father. He has given you the same opportunities! Let's grow in prayer together, shall we?

Thankful Thursday is hosted by Iris at Grace Alone... Please be sure to visit her, link up and post your own thankful post.


Mandey said...

thank you for this! I'm so glad to know that my family and I aren't the only ones who study the Bible like this! You really encouraged me. Thank you.

LAURIE said...

Wow. What a year you have had but no doubt that God has been with you thru it all. We have so many blessings and I am reminded that we need to count them daily. I am so glad to have made a friendship with you this year and look forward to a new year of new opportunities of new ministry to new blogging friends. Now that's alot of "Newness" ...huh? (ha ha)

love ya, Laurie

bp said...

Happy New Year. What a year you have had in 2008, God has been with you through it all though and you are giving Him the glory for helping you through it. God bless you!

Melanie said...

I am right there with you, Laurie Ann! Growing in prayer is one of the things I have on the top of my list for 2009. Yep... let's do it together!

Happy New Year!

Jennifer said...

Happy New Year, Laurie Ann!

Isn't it amazing how much our Father loves us...enough to carry us through all of life's mud and muck, carrying us through His Refining Fire and carrying us on to victory! I had been watch it or I'm going to have a "glory spell" right now at 12:55 AM...2009!

Praise The Lord for your uncle's clear PET Scan!!! That is awesome.

God is faithful and He is so very, very good to us!

Have a happy and safe New Year, my dear friend.

love & ((hugs))

Denise said...

Praying many blessings for you in 2009. I love you.

Homesteader in Training said...

Laurie I loved this part:
Looking back has left me thankful. God was with me every step of the way, sometimes carrying me, sometimes prodding me along, sometimes pulling me while I stubbornly refused to move, heels dug in, and sometimes simply walking with His precious hand in mine.
I have felt the same way!
Hugs to you my friend and Happy New Year.

Stacy said...

Loved your post! I started reading a new book last week and it talks about Jer. 29:11 and how the key is to look at the next two verses because about how we will find God when we seek Him with all of heart. IOW, the "key" to Him giving us a hope and a future is first to have that close relationship with Him and diligently seek to know Him. It was very insightful to look beyond that oft-quoted verse. :-)

May you have a blessed and joyous New Year!

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

Praise God that we can (and have) grow together as sisters in Christ even if we don't meet this side of heaven. Happy New Year!

Tammy said...

I too want to grow closer to the Lord especially in my prayer life. I have been trying to wake up in the morning talking with Him & going to bed at night doing the same. But I want & need more...thank you for sharing with us. I love your word studies! :-) Blessings, Tammy

He And Me + 3 said...

My desire this year is to grow closer to the Lord in every area of my life...on a daily basis. Thank you for always posting from your heart. Happy New Year to you and your family!

Jill said...

Laurie Ann,

Looking back has been a blessing to see all that the LORD has done for each of us.

Happy and Healthy New Year to your family!


Grammy said...

I am so glad 22008 was so good to you and hope 2009 brings you many blessings.

Bonnie said...

What an insightful post. Thank you for the meanings and the reminders of all God is and how much He longs to speak with us through prayer. Have a blessed 2009!

Melinda said...

Another beautiful, faith-affirming post. Happy New Year!

Cheryl said...

Love your thankful post. God is good! You have used my favorite verse today. I enjoy reading it again. Thanks for a great post! Happy New Year~

Susan said...

Happy New Year Laurie Ann!

What a blessing it's been to jouney with you this past year. You've been so steadfast in your faith, and your study of the word. You are a true brerean.

I've gleaned so much each time I stop by.

Praying God's mighty blessings on your life this new year.

Love you♥