By Leo Hellyer
Okay, men, it is 2023! As we open our eyes to what we will experience this year, where does your mind go? This can be a great time for strategic planning, or it can be a time of overwhelming stress and trepidation. How we perceive 2023, and how we handle the winding path that we will be on in the next 365 days, depends on what filter we will be looking through.
On the back cover of Max Lucado’s 2022 book titled, “Help Is Here,” there are two hugely impactful statements. The first statement is: “Bills pile up. Savings accounts go down. Marriages go south. Work goes off the rails. Stress goes off the charts. It’s all too much to take on by yourself.” This is a true statement, as you look at an entire year to come. This is a huge bite to chew on, all by ourselves. There is a much better way to proceed through this new year. The second statement points out the truth – that we have “Someone to walk with us, and guide us, to shoulder the load…the Holy Spirit is among us – help is here.” We are not required, or expected, to carry this load all by ourselves.
In the first chapter of the book we read that, “God does not want a bunch of stressed-out, worn-out, done-in, and washed-up children representing Him in the world. He wants us to be fresher day by day, hour by hour.” It also points out that if we will look through God’s eyes, we will see that, “The Spirit is the dove of peace who calms us, the gift giver who equips us, the river of living water who flows out of us to refresh the world.”
When we face challenges in our lives, we are not to allow them to overwhelm us. We are to seek God, call upon Him, and receive strength and guidance from Him. Throughout the book, Lucado implores us to seek out the truth of God. We need to communicate with our Heavenly Father in a frequent and clear manner. We need to search His Word for the answers to living an honorable life.
There are Scriptures that Lucado has placed throughout his book, just like bread crumbs to guide us through the journey. Paul writes in Romans 8:38-39: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We must remember, and truly believe, as we embark on our 2023 journey, that we are not on this journey alone. The Holy Spirit is with us all the way. The U.S. POWs that were held in the Hanoi Hilton and other prisons in North Vietnam were stripped of everything that the North Vietnamese could possibly take. When they gloriously returned to U.S. soil, the vast majority of the POWs stated that the only thing that got them through the ordeals that they experienced (including torture) was the presence, protection, and direction of the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit that was with the POWs will be with us in the midst of anything that we will experience, if we will only seek Him.
If we will seek out the Lord, and be obedient to Him, we can be a light in a world of darkness. We will not only be able to press through the challenges that we face personally, but we will be able to help those around us to do the same as they observe how we receive our strength through the Lord. We must be vocal with others about how the Holy Spirit is delivering us through our challenges. We must make it completely clear where our strength, wisdom, and direction come from. Not only do we need to let the Lord know our needs, but we need to take the time to listen to Him, as He communicates to us through the Holy Spirit.
Included at the end of this great book is a section of Questions for Reflection written by Max Lucado’s daughter Andrea. I highly recommend going through this section, in addition to the rest of the book, to really get the most out of the information provided. This is a book that is a must-have for every man’s toolbox. Immersing yourself in the truths presented in this book will brighten 2023 for you and those around you. And also, the full title of this book spotlights what the book is all about. It is: “Help Is Here, Finding FRESH STRENGTH and PURPOSE in the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT.”
God Almighty, the Creator of the Universe, has provided each one of us with the Holy Spirit to firm up our stand and to graciously and lovingly guide us through the challenges of life. Brothers, please remember, you face nothing ALONE. The Holy Spirit is right there with you through thick and thin. Call upon Him and see what awesome, wonderful, and powerful things He will do in your life. It is through the strength of the Holy Spirit that you can overcome any darts that Satan may send your direction.
Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a local church and has been married to his wife Norma for 50 years. The couple volunteered with the Boise FamilyLife Ministry Team for 20 years. Leo has also been serving with Boise Rescue Mission Ministries for 20 years and is currently serving at the River of Life Rescue Mission. He is president and chief firearms instructor with Helping Hands Firearms Training LLC. If you have questions about Real Man’s Toolbox, or need other assistance, he may be reached at [email protected] or (208) 340-5544.