Standing on The Rock

Standing on the Rock!
By Cindy Holmes
Welcome to 2021!

I hope that you are coming into this new year with an expectation of growing closer to God.
I pray that you have tuned your heart into asking the Lord to be your constant companion this year and that you have asked Him to guide the steps of your day.

I want these things for you because last year was hard and there's no guarantee that 2021 will magically become any better. I mean, what a year 2020 was, and it's not completely over yet, huh? That's the sad thing about January 1st. It doesn't just magically cancel out the previous year. No. What was happening on December 31st will most likely bleed over into January 1st and beyond.

But, that's not the point of looking at the New Year as a New Beginning. The point is to take January's arrival as a chance to review last year and see what you want to improve on, remove or change, or add in your life. It's a chance to give yourself an emotional, physical, financial, relational, and spiritual checkup and see where there is room for improvement.

And, it's also a chance to look back on any progress or victories you saw last year and then spend time rejoicing in what has happened for your benefit or the benefit of those around you.
So, you may be asking yourself, "What does any of this have to do with this blog's title of, 'Standing on the Rock'?" Well, I am so very glad that you asked! I specifically picked that title because I firmly believe that the only way we will have true joy, hope, life, Light, victory, or progress in this coming year is if we stand upon what God offers our lives during 2021!

I believe that we need to be reminded early in this year that He so deeply wants to walk with us in the moments of our days. And, I believe that we need to be reminded that He will fill absolutely any space we open to Him with His goodness, love, mercy, grace, and Truth. He will use any and every square inch that we give Him and will faithfully pour Himself into wherever we make room for Him to occupy.

Because, you see, the problem ISN'T whether or not God is able or willing to help us and work in our lives. Nope!
The problem is....

Many of us suffered needlessly in 2020 because God wasn't our Rock! We didn't access what He offered. And, because of that, we ended up wandering, feeling frantic or alone, or we ran to things that offer only temporary comfort in an attempt to deal with the stresses going on in the world. You see, our life becomes overwhelmed with pain, loneliness, anxiety, fear, worry, shame, regret, anger, bitterness, and even sin because of one simple fact...God hasn't been the Rock upon which we have built our life! God offers us a place where we can access stability, hope, wisdom, and even joy to help us when we are in need or in trouble. And, we gain access to them when we make Him the Rock of our lives.

In Psalm 18:1-2 (The Msg), we find an amazing set of verses which say,
I love you, God—
you make me strong.
God is bedrock under my feet,
the castle in which I live,
my rescuing knight.
My God—the high crag
where I run for dear life,
hiding behind the boulders,
safe in the granite hideout.

Do you see the benefits of depending upon God in your life?
He make us strong-He makes you strong enough to weather the storms and heartache of life
He becomes the castle in which we live-He gives you support and a place to rest and He is strong enough that you can depend that He will survive and still be available for you no matter what else goes on outside of that castle where we run for dear life- He is a safe and dependable place where you can go anytime you need Him-when you are struggling with sin, when you are being hurt by others, when your body is in trouble, when your life is a mess, or when you need help to face the day. He is a place to give you access to a DEAR life, a life where hope can be found and sincere joy experienced.

And, you will find that He causes you to be safe in the granite hideout! Safe! What a wonderful word. He becomes a shield and a stronghold or fort around your heart. It doesn't stop bad things from happening around you or to you, but it gives you access to His help to see you through them and become stronger in the process.
But, how does He do those things? Well, I am so glad that you asked!

**First, He becomes the foundation of our lives when we enter into a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. Look at the verses below:

Jesus the Great High Priest
Hebrews 4:14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

When Jesus becomes our Lord and Savior, we gain access to the "Throne of Grace," which means that we gain access to God's ability to help us. What are the benefits of this Throne of Grace? We receive mercy (God's ability to forgive us even though He could rightly condemn us since He is the only true Judge in the universe.) And, we find grace (God's loving help and guidance) to help us in our time of need!

**And, second, He becomes our Rock when we give Him access to our lives and let Him come in and be the main source of all things for the moments of our days.

Look at the verse below:
Joshua 24:14-15 (KJV) 14 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. 15a...choose you this day whom ye will serve;

He becomes our Rock when we CHOOSE to give Him access to the spaces of our lives...our thoughts, our actions, our daily choices, our habits, our plans, our hopes and dreams, our futures, our relationships, and even our identity.

As we open up the spaces of our lives to Him, He will come in and fill them with what He offers. And, He will interact with our hearts and minds by literally speaking to them through His Holy Spirit and will become a teacher, guide, leader, and example of how to make choices and live life!

--Look at this other verse, now, to back up what I just said:

Deuteronomy 30:10 (ESV)
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.

Can you see that He is giving us a choice? He is giving us the chance to open up our lives to what He wants to do in, for, and through us!

He becomes our Rock when we choose to give Him the space to do what He so dearly wants to us, guide us, heal us, and grow us into that which only He can do!

Wouldn't you say that 2020 was a "time of need" for pretty much every person on this planet?

It was for my family. My husband lost his job due to the pandemic and we were in a very dire situation for almost 5 months. My oldest daughter, who suffers from a chronic migraine disorder, had a scary reaction to a new medication and we were faced with many fears as we waited for the medication to level off in her system. And, our middle child who already deals with anxiety on a regular basis started having regular panic attacks trying to adjust to wearing a mask daily while also having asthma. My mother-in-law caught the virus and we had a few weeks of deep fear and frantic prayers as we were helping her recover and not wanting to see her pass from this earth. And, on top of all of that, we launched a ministry and moved into a new house which was both deeply stressful and amazingly exciting. 2020 was rough for us, as it was for so many, many people around us.

We had friends who lost loved ones, we had a dear young mother in our church who died suddenly right after giving birth, and we saw so many others who are still struggling with physical challenges after surviving the virus. It was ROUGH, y'all!!

So, how do we handle things like a global pandemic, job loss, health challenges, financial stress, hurt, or temptation to run to sin as a place of escape from all of those challenges?

We STAND ON THE ROCK OF OUR SALVATION! We stand on what God offers!

Look at what happens when we stand on Him, even in times like the whirling storm of 2020...

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (Living Bible) 7 But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord his hope and confidence. 8 He is like a tree planted along a riverbank, with its roots reaching deep into the water—a tree not bothered by the heat nor worried by long months of drought. It's leaves stay green, and it goes right on producing all its luscious fruit.

3 things start happening in your life when He becomes your Rock:
1. You become a deeply-rooted person who sees beyond any storm to the One who will help you weather it.

2. You are watered even when others are becoming thirsty in their hearts, emotions, spirits, and attitudes. You keep getting filled with hope, faith, life, and even joy because you have access to the One who is the Living Water!

3. And, you bear fruit when others are drying up. When they are abandoning their faith, running to sin for comfort, stepping on others to make themselves succeed, or becoming broken, you will still be a strong, vibrant, hopeful person because you have access to the One who calmed the storms, parted the seas, and made Peter walk on the water! You have access to the One who exactly knows how to handle any and all situations. And, because you are listening and following Him, you will keep going, keep hoping, and even keep progressing (even though it may not look like it in the "natural" when you lose jobs or having emergencies happening) because you are standing on your Rock and He helps you see that He is right here with you and will not forsake you even in the darkest times of your life.

So, are you seeing that it may be a good idea to start 2021 off with making sure that He is your Rock?

Are you seeing that having Him as your Rock is a great decision?

And, are you seeing that having access to what He offers could be the very thing to make 2021 a better year for you than 2020 was, even if things around you don't immediately change?

Let me wrap up our time together by giving you a chance to make Him the Rock of your life. I will see you back here next month with a new blog. In the meantime, I am praying that you will stand firmly on God as your Rock.

So, will you please pray the prayer below with me?

Dear Lord,
I come to you today and ask you to be the Rock of my life. I need you, Lord. I need your help and your presence each and every day. I believe that you want to give me access to all that you offer. So, I come to you through your Son, Jesus, as my Lord and Savior. I ask you to build my life as only you can so that I have something strong to stand on when storms swirl around me. I ask you to build my life so that I have a place to run to when I am in trouble. And, I ask you to build my life so that I can have you in it. I want what you offer, Lord. So, please come and be my Rock.
In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen!