Happy New Year! I pray that this year will be as much of a blessing for you as you can possibly stand. Last year, I stood firm on the affirmation, "It shall be well in 2012." I did so after embracing the fact that the number 12 represents order. As such, I took it personally and seriously that God would use the year 2012 to place the vital matters of my life in their rightful order. While I am still very much a work in progress, I am grateful for things lining up as well as they did in 2012.
Looking forward, it was natural for me to wonder about the spiritual significance of the number 13. Thus, the journalist in me decided to conduct a little research. What I discovered was a bit different from what I expected because my first instinct (for some unknown reason) was to believe that 13 is an evil number. But if you look at the story of Abram and Sarai as found at a glimpse in Genesis 16:15-17 and Genesis 17:1-22, you will see that Abram was 86 years old when Hagar bore Ishmael. Remember now, the promise or Abrahamic covenant had already been given to Abram in Genesis 12:1-3. Because nothing had happened, Abram and Sarai took matters in their own hands; thus the birth of Ishmael.
Nevertheless, we still gather that Abram was 99 years old when the Lord appeared to him again and stated the promise again. He told him, once again, that He would give him a son by his wife; that He would bless her, that she would produce nations and that kings of people would come from her. So, how does the number 13 factor into all of this, I am sure you are wondering. Simple: there were 13 years between the promise and the manifestation. Thus, I would say that it is fair to adopt the number 13 as the number of promise. As it relates to our outlook for the New Year, I am inclined to embrace the year 2013 as the year of promise.
I'm not sure what the thought processes of others are, but I have noticed that a few of my colleagues/fellow encouragers in the Lord have claimed the year 2013 as the year of destiny. I am surmising that they are probably on the same page as I am. What I've learned from this discovery is that while it's good to get excited about receiving the promise of God, it is just as good to get excited about the contribution that we must make toward the promise. Consider this thought from Stephen Gola (Christian author, teacher and seminar speaker), "The Number 13 Promise is a 'two-fold' promise. It always involves man and it always involves God. It always has seasons, times and circumstances in which God and man participate." We know this to be true because when God initially spoke to Abram, He told Him what the manifestation of what the promise would be, but there were things Abram had to do first.
For those of you who have followed me for a while, whether here or on Facebook, you know that I am big on clichés/quotes as I endeavor to continue as an instrument of encouragement. One such saying is that God will ALWAYS do His part. Therefore, He expects us to use what He's given to help play our part in receiving His promises. As we embark upon what I have personally declared and decreed to be the best year ever, I would like to offer these nuggets of encouragement as you contribute to the promise God has made to you:
1. Don't get discouraged if others don't see the vision God has given you.
2. Don't plant seeds where your gifts are not recognized or appreciated.
3. Don't waste time with those who only have negative deposits to place in your life.
4. Stay prayerful.
5. Stay focused.
6. Stay determined.
7. ALWAYS seek and trust God.
Remember, a promise isn't only about receiving. It's a give and take. Be blessed in this New Year, my friend. I look forward to sharing with you more in the coming months!