Great Men of Faith had to go Through a Wilderness too!

Happy New Year! Hope each of you had a Merry Christmas as well! Most of us are beginning to think about our new years resolutions. But may I suggest before that happens, that time is set aside to reflect on the coming year?

A wise person once told me that, “If you don’t know the past and study history, then you are destined to repeat it”. Each of us has a year filled with both good and bad events. Some things we’d like to erase from history if possible. Sadly it can’t be erased and we can’t redo anything, but it can be learned from while all the filth is washed under the blood of Jesus!

There is a story about a famous sheep who ran away from the shepherd for over 6 years. His name was Shrek, and he was just another sheep who lived in a country that outnumbered humans in the rolling hills of New Zealand. Eventually this sheep was found in the caves on that farmland, and sent to the shepherd. Shrek had been carrying 60lbs/27kgs of wool during that time! Can you imagine carrying a 60 pound backpack on you every day for years?

Like Shrek, many of us carry around baggage that we don’t need to carry. If we return back to the Shepherd, then He can shear the load off our backs. For He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matt 11:28-30

It’s God’s desire that we are filled with peace, hope and love. He desires “that none shall perish, but have everlasting life”. The Bible is a book of promises and curses. We must read it to know what they are!

If you’ve been spending time away from the Shepherd for whatever reason, then now’s the time to return. Another wise man told me something so powerful, that I find myself saying it often. “Do you wash your feet before you enter the shower? No, likewise, we don’t have to clean up before we go to God” Have you been longing for peace and joy in your life, but haven’t found it yet? Then lets not repeat the history of 2013, but instead start now to follow God’s plan for your life in 2014, so that it may be filled with purpose and joy!

As for this missionary’s life, it’s been tough being in a wilderness season. Always having to wait upon one thing or another. I do not despise this season, but look forward to a true season of harvest when I’m able to return back to the Philippines! They have had so many terrible events take place, that the entire world knows about. Cebu is in the Visayas region where that massive storm came through. It only clipped the northern end of Cebu, and for that I’m grateful. Had it actually hit the city the numbers would be in the hundreds of thousands of deaths. Very soon Assemblies of God will release me to raise up funds to return to my second home; the Philippines.

After my previous newsletter I spoke about having been able to purchase a car…well it blew up just like the truck! Glory to God my waiting period for another vehicle was shorter this time, as I only had to wait 2 months for transportation. God impressed on somebody’s heart to give me a car nicer than any I’ve ever owned! I’m incredibly grateful for how God has continued to walk me through this wilderness. It’s been an incredible time of learning, both through life’s experiences and through seminary.

One last word that I leave you with for the new year. Attain a vision for your life, not just a new years resolution to go on a diet. Though a diet is great, it’s no substitute for a plan for your life! Pastor Jason this Sunday put it so well into words saying, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit nothing”. He also challenged every individual to write down their vision, and place it somewhere they can read it each day. I’d like to pass on that challenge to you as well. Right now…this very moment… go and write down your vision! The Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Pro – 29:18

God bless and happy New Year!

Because they haven’t heard,
Justin Gilpin

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