It was a dusky cold first day of January when I left my hotel room and ran outside to get something from my car, parked in a downtown lot. A young man said, 'Excuse me, Miss-can you tell me where I might buy some cigarettes around here?' 'Well - not really, but how about that bar right there ... don't bars usually carry cigarettes?' 'Uh yeah,' his voice faltered, 'but they just threw me out of there.'
Yup, he was drunk but there was more than that wrong with him and it wrenched my heart. 'Give me your money, I will get your cigarettes,' and off I went.
I brought him his smokes and said, 'now what's really wrong? You're a good guy, this isn't about being drunk.' Tim began to talk. 'It is New Year's, and it is going to be another year just like last year,' he said dejectedly. Interpretation: he felt hopeless. [more on Tim later]
The start of a new year should be filled with hope, friends! It is a great time to do what Paul did -
"One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which
God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.*
How are you looking at this New Year you have been given? I pray that you are looking forward with optimism. What will this year hold for you? I'm not really so big on New Year's resolutions but I am partial to introspection and goal setting. As Paul indicated, we must not let the past cripple us or hold us back, rather we must press on--even with the uncertainty that hangs around because of Covid! I love the imagery of the runner straining for the finish line, chest pushed forward so as to be the first to break the tape. Paul never took his eye off the 'forever' of Heaven or forgot the temporari-ness of life; his goal was the reward of Heaven. We must not forget either and we must not take our eyes off Heaven.
What great things do you envision for 2022?
VISION is imperative to growth, looking first at the gift of life~
>consider your nutrition--do you fuel your body with the food and drink you consume, or something else? After all, you wouldn't attempt to run your car on chocolate, beer, potato chips, or coffee (ouch)--
>take a look at exercising the fine-tuned piece of machinery you inhabit for 75+ years--are you training your heart, lungs, muscles to be strong?
>how about rest--do you give your body enough sleep, or expect it to continue to run on a quarter of a tank all the time?
~In total, do you need to take a little better care of the one and only body you've been given? How so? _________________________________________________
~How will you do it? (your plan) _________________________________________________
How about your VISION for spiritual growth?
Strides in your spiritual life can also be made through training--
>in the reading of Scripture, getting to know your Maker and his plans for you
>in prayer, talking with God like a friend, and seeking his direction
>in worship of God--including observing the Sabbath, gathering with other
>in service and giving. . .
Would you like to grow in any of these spiritual areas this year? How so? __________________________________________________________
What will be your plan to make it happen? ___________________________________________________________
And if you really want to make strides, enlist an accountability partner who also wants to grow.
Without a vision the people perish, Scripture says, and then just like Tim, are oft without hope. So go ahead--enVISION yourself crossing the finish line, with your chest pressed out, breaking the tape ~ at the conclusion of 2022 and also at the end of your life!
Come on, Celebrate the New Year! Be filled with hope and anticipation for what God has for you and wants to do in 2022. God weaves all things together for your future and for your good . . . just listen: Canvas & the Clay - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puDttOmbq2Y
Step into the New Year confidently with God,
I am . . . so let’s go!
* - Philippians 3.13-14