When did I stop? Can’t really remember when I gave up the practice, 'just know I have not really made a New Year’s Resolution for some time. Guess I believe most resolutions wind up in a scrapheap, without much but frustration left behind. On the other hand, the start of a new year is a sort of clean slate, an opportunity to stop and take stock. Why, it is just the third day of January for goodness' sake! So as we launch into the waters of 2023, may I ask you a bigger picture kind of question, for whom or for what will you live each day?
I am challenged by my beloved apostle Paul’s simplistic life view: “For to me, living means living for Christ.”1 As this New Year begins, perhaps like Paul, you will narrow your focus and choose a life that matters … a life filled with meaning, living for Christ! Paul challenges us, 'Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ'2 … 'Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.' (Like the Corinthians to whom Paul was writing, he was very familiar with the Olympian games, including foot races where the prize was a wreath of leaves) 'So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.'3 I really love these last three sentences! In truth, I love the word 'discipline' as it frees us to become who we were meant to be, and that the very best! What do you think God would envision for your personal growth in 2023? Personal growth? yes - how might you discipline yourself for optimal health, physically and spiritually? Purposing to consume a healthy diet, exercise vigorously, and rest well are all parts of physical training; doing these things honors the God who created us, gave us life and sustains us daily with his breath. Now, just how might you go about spiritual growth? Also takes training; I should like to highly four areas. >Read and study Scripture, like these Morning Briefings--Get to know your Maker and his plans for you. [These writings can be used over two days--read/listen the first day; look up scripture references contained the second day. Look to apply them to your life] >Pray - talk to your Father, like you do a friend, and seek his wisdom and direction daily--do it in the morning; it sets the tone for your day. The psalmist wrote, “Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in him, and he will do it.4 >Do you worship God? Oh, how he loves that! While worship includes keeping the Sabbath and meeting together with others in a set-apart place to lift up the name of God, it is not limited to that. We are meant to live each day with worship in mind, doing all to the glory of God. >Serve God by serving others, give of yourself to others. Where/who are you serving, Friend? ‘But, but … my life is so messed up, I am going through such trials,’ you say. That, my dear friend, is all the more reason to find some place, someone else to serve, so as to honor God, get your mind off yourself, and frankly, live with perspective. Would you like to grow in any of these areas this year? How so? _________________________________________________________ You must be intentional, and make a plan, to M A K E it HAPPEN … What is your plan to make it happen?_______________________________________ ‘Without a vision, the people perish,’ Proverbs says, so live your life on purpose, with vision. Do some thinking and praying, and then determine how you want to finish this new year of life you have been given. EnVISION yourself crossing the finish line of 2023, with your chest pressed out, breaking the tape . . . what several things will you implement on the new day? Now, it is kind of exciting, isn't it? Let's bust a move, and grow! Christine "I Surrender" song by Tasha Cobbs Leonard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnZnxrVoKnI 1 Philippians 1.21 2 1 Corinthians 11.1 3 1 Corinthians 9.24ff 4 Psalm 37.5