At the end of a year, it is wise to prepare for the new year so that we can move forward into our destinies without hindrances. On Tuesday night at sunset, the last month on the Hebrew spiritual calendar began. It is called the month of Adar. In an ordinary year there is only one Adar, but this is no ordinary year. It is a leap year! The Jewish calendar is a lunar one. There is a difference of 11 days between the lunar and solar calendar. Without a leap year about every three years, the 11 days would accumulate and push Passover (Pesach) into a different season. The Torah (First five books of the Old Testament) requires that Passover be a spring festival. This year we get a double portioned of Adar—twice as much time to prepare to move forward into the new year. The preparation allows us to leap towards our destinies.
It is so appropriate that the tribe of Naphtali is the one associated with the month of Adar. Jacob's last words to his son Naphtali were, "He is a deer let loose; He uses beautiful words." (Genesis 49:21 - NKJV) What does a deer do when he has been let loose? He leaps for joy! The meaning of Adar means strength. And how do we get strength? We get it through the joy of the Lord. (Nehemiah 8:10) The Lord wants to increase our strength so that we can leap forward with power. Habakkuk 3:19 gives us a picture of what this looks like: "The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to tread on the heights."
Our goal for this month should be to accumulate strength that will allow us to leap forward into our new season and God's plans for our lives. Chuck Pierce, pastor and leader of Glory of Zion in Denton, Texas, gives us five ways to respond:
(1) Make a choice to rejoice: "Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob." (Psalm 81:1) Rejoicing reinforces strength as we can see from Nehemiah 8:10. "...For the joy of the Lord is your strength." When we look to the Lord for strength, He pours out His goodness upon us. "Blessed are those whose strength is in You, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka (tears), they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength till each appears before God in Zion." (Psalm 84:5-7)
(2) Root out depression: Our times are difficult; however, we must be intentional about fighting depression. Our faith will help us to breakthrough to joy. God makes a promise to the children of Israel in Jeremiah 31:11, 13. "For the Lord will deliver Jacob and redeem them from the hands of those stronger than they...'I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.’"
(3) Develop a war strategy: We must remember to be alert and of sober mind. "Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8) We must refuse to walk in fear and take up our spiritual weapons to defeat the enemy and breakthrough to victory. "You arm me with strength for the battle; you humble my adversaries before me." (2 Samuel 22:40)
(4) Break wrong decrees: I always try to remember that there are only two kingdoms: Light and Darkness. Everything we say agrees with one or the other. It is important for us to denounce anything we say that agrees with the kingdom of darkness and replace it with words that agree with the kingdom of light. John 8:32 tells us, "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free."
(5) Discover your true identity in the spiritual realm: God gives spiritual gifts to everyone. We must find our sweet spots and practice using the gifts God gave us. Paul told the Corinthians, "Each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that." (1 Corinthians 7:7)
Adar I and II are before us. Let's use our extra time to follow these recommendations for success in the new year. Our lives are meant to reflect the glory of God. He has plans and purposes for us and stands by ready to empower us to leap into the new year with joy and strength. Here is a Scripture we can depend on: "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him..." (2 Chronicles 16:9) Let us look to the Lord for strength and leap forward into our destinies.
Joan E. Mathias