Reflections on Week 1 of January, 2011: Beholding the New in the New Year

The first week in the first month of the New Year, 2011, was particularly significant.

On January 2, the first Sunday in 2011, Apostle Eric Warren of Equip U Ministries of Columbus, Ohio delivered a message “Behold, I Do a New Thing.” He discussed the significance of the number 1 and its relation to the number 11. He went on to talk about “new things” which bring with them “first things.” He said, “First things become critically important in the season of new things.” While he focused primarily upon Romans 8, he began with Isaiah 43:19:

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

In reflecting upon the first week of the first month of the New Year, I noticed that a number of significant events took place, having particular importance to Equip U Ministries and beyond, to the Body of Christ in Columbus. The week began with a meeting of our Intercessory Prayer and Prophetic Cell Group known as Issachar, named for the “Sons of Issachar,” who in the Old Testament not only observed the times and seasons but explained the meaning behind what occurred. This meeting, held on New Year’s Day, was a powerful time of prayer and intercession for our church and for the city and beyond. We concluded with a most enjoyable meal with each member contributing.

The Sons of Issachar did not just know the times and seasons but understood what to do.

The first Sunday service was held in our new facility, which in itself is noteworthy, and the message focused on the first 14 verses of Romans 8 and emphasized “The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.” As is often my custom, I reviewed my notes and wrote a poem that captures the essence of the message from my perspective.  That poem was the first that I composed in the New Year:

The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus                                                                                                                                                 has made me free from the law of sin and death

                              Romans 8:2 

As I move into the New Year to see just what it brings,

I must learn that the life in the Spirit is where I should be.

As I press toward the mark of the prize set before me,

I have been brought into the new to do new things.

 Though my desire is to please God, to succeed and to excel,

I know that I am saved by grace, not by my own merit.

I covenant with God that I will walk in the Spirit

And provide a place where the Spirit of God may dwell.

Ever aware of God’s loving kindness and faithfulness,

I embrace the Seven Spirits of God and understand

That to walk in the spirit, not in the flesh, is God’s command.

As I mature, I attain a measure of Christ’s fullness.

The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set me free

To walk into the true fullness of God in Christ in me.

The emphasis on the “Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus” became even more relevant when I learned that “Celebration of Life Week” is the first week in January, which is also known as “Celebration of Life Month.”  As a writer for Examiner.com, an Internet publication, I published my first article in 2011 regarding these two celebrations occurring in the first month of the New Year. Click here to learn more about their significance to Columbus, Ohio.

Located in downtown Columbus, the "Celebration of Life" sculpture shows a mother holding up a child in love.

Following the admonition from Apostle Warren, I noted specifically some of the events that took place during the first week of January. Monday began with the amazing story of Ted Williams, the homeless panhandler, who quite providentially was interviewed regarding his “God-given gift of voice” and became an overnight celebrity who demonstrated the grace of the God of, not just a “second chance,” but of “another chance.” To read my observations and comments regarding this occurrence right here in Columbus, click here.

The week began on an astoundingly high note and continued to go even higher on Tuesday when the Buckeyes of Ohio State defeated Arkansas, 31-26, to win the Sugar Bowl. The final score and other aspects of the game clearly revealed “the grace of God.” You can read more of the details connected with the number five, as symbolic of grace, in the article “Ohio State enjoys sweet 31-26 win over Arkansas in Sugar Bowl.”

Buckeyes defeat Arkansas 31-26 in the Sugar Bowl--How sweet it is!

The Sugar Bowl win was, in actuality, a repeat performance of last year when the Bucs defeated the Oregon Ducks to win the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Faith the size of a mustard seed reveals what God can do with a little.

The culmination of the week occurred on Friday in a most unusual way for me personally, in that it was a “doubly lovely day—a payday” for which I thanked God. When I noticed the amount that had been directly deposited to my account, it was unusually low. I then realized that I had not worked during the week of Christmas and that I did not return to town until late on Monday, meaning I missed another day of work. As I looked at the small amount, I thought of a poem I had written at the end of last year. Pastor Michael Bivens made a casual remark which I transformed into a prayer which came to mind on Friday:

“Take My Meager. . .”

To  Pastor Michael T. Bivens

For a casual remark that resonated to the depths of my soul

…it may be that the LORD will work for us.                                                                                                                                                    For nothing restrains the LORD from saving                                                                                                                                                    by many or by few.”

                    1 Samuel 14:6b

“Take my meager and turn it into something mighty.”

Increase my meager faith like a tiny mustard seed.

Magnify my mite beyond anything I can see.

Replenish my supply, far above my greatest need.

At times I can’t surge ahead, no matter what I do,

But little is made into more than enough in Your hands.

With Gideon, You vanquished armies with only a few.

The widow’s oil did not fail, according to Your commands.

I must remember that one can put ten thousand to flight,

And that You multiply without measure the least amount,

That the smallest candle overwhelms the darkest night

 And fruit from a single seed no device on earth can count.

I know that the almighty hand of God will reveal

Great power, like leaven hidden in three measures of meal.

The magnitude of these events occurring in first week of the first month of 2011 is only a prelude to even greater victories ahead in the New Year that has just begun to unfold. For believers, we go from victory to victory, faith to faith and glory to glory.” Starting off the New Year with the situation regarding Ted Williams reveals the strong arm of the Lord God, the God of grace, the God of another chance, and likewise, the Bucs’ sweet 5-point Sugar Bowl victory—also demonstrates the overflowing grace of God. I think of Acts 4:33 which summarizes all that transpired during the first week in 2011:

And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. (KJV)

And with great strength and ability and power the apostles delivered their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord

Jesus, and great grace (loving-kindness and favor and goodwill) rested richly upon them all. (AMP)

 

The events of Week 1 of January, 2011 are sealed with the lyrics of “Great Grace” sung by Mary Alessi.

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