Can hardly believe the year is coming to an end. But with an end comes a new beginning.
Happy New Year! What will this year hold for you? There will be smiles, some satisfaction and certainly struggles--the stuff our lives are made of. While not everyone uses a paper calendar anymore, I do . . . visual, hands-on person that I am. Of course, nothing magical happens when we turn the calendar page, but it represents the passing of time . . . something about which we can sigh, and something we are meant to contemplate.
We hear talk of New Year's resolutions but they are not really my thing because too often they land in the scrap pile; however, I am partial to introspection and goal setting.
Paul's words challenge me: "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.1
We must not let the past cripple us or hold us back, and yet we must go into the future mindful of it—the past, that is. Consider 2023--is there something you should change, let go of? __________________________________________
How would you like to GROW in 2024?
Is there something you have been doing that you want to keep going?______________________________________________________
Next December 31st, when you look back at the 364 days you logged,
what would you like to see?
How will you feed your soul and your spirit, so as to finish 2024 well? Again Paul: 'Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.'2
Therefore studying the life of Christ and the disciplines of Christ are invaluable.
Disciplines, spiritual and otherwise, learned and practiced, free us to become who
we are meant to be.
DISCIPLINE involves training, whether for physical or spiritual growth. Our favorite apostle also eloquently wrote, '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.'3 The Corinthian people were very familiar with the Olympian games, including foot races where the prize was a perishable wreath. Paul continued, '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.'4 Training and discipline are good.
>Discipline frees us to become who we were meant to be.<
What do you think God would envision for your growth in 2024? Purposing to consume a healthy diet, get good exercise, and rest well are all parts of physical training. Strides in your spiritual condition are also made through training. Now, here‛s the funny thing—some of you want a ‘get spiritually mature in seven days or less‛ kind of plan. I am sorry, but it doesn‛t work like that. Your body didn‛t become mature in seven days, it won‛t get ‘fit‛ in seven days, and neither will your soul.
Just how might you go about spiritual training? Simply:
>Read and study Scripture, like these Morning Briefings and more! Pick up the Word—read the psalms, read the Gospels, etc. Get to know your Maker and his plans for you. **Nothing will revolutionize your life like a steady intake of the words of God.
>Pray - talk to your Father, like you do a friend, and seek his wisdom and direction daily. **Don't leave home before you do!
>Do you worship God? Oh, how he loves that! Worship involves meeting together with other people seeking to know and honor God in a set-apart place, but it also includes doing all we do to the glory of God - yes, that is worship too!
>Serve God by serving others, (not just your mate or your family, but outside your home as well), giving of yourself to them.
Would you like to grow in any of these areas this year—study of Scripture, prayer, worship or intimacy with God? How so? ____________________________________________________________
What will be your plan to make it happen? ____________________________________________________________
Without a vision, the people perish . . . so live your life on purpose. Let's do some thinking and praying, and then determine how we want to finish this new year we have been given. Go ahead--enVISION yourself crossing the finish line, with your chest pressed out, breaking the tape!
Let's make it a Blessed New Year, let‛s embark on a path of spiritual intention.
Change in Me, the song - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8TCZiy5A2A
Here's to a Life-Changing New Year!
1 – Ephesians 3.13,14
2 - 1 Corinthians 11.1
3 - 1 Corinthians 9.24-25
4 - 1 Corinthians 9.26-27
**if you have ever considered supporting this effort, it would be much appreciated! Checks payable to Pastorwoman Corp., a 501-C-3, non-profit.
Thank you so very much.