Out with the Old . . . in with the New!

Here we are ... with less than 24 hours remaining in 2013. The new year of 2014 is staring us in the face. As to what it will hold for us, only God knows!  I always find it helpful in my own spiritual journey to take some time in both reflection upon the year that's passing and the new year that lies ahead.

For starters, I take a backward glance. I note the year's ups and downs. I look for God's faithful hand in both. I always discover that God has neither lied to me nor failed in any way in fulfilling his promises. Sure, life does not always go the way I would like. But who am I? I am a finite (read "limited" ... no read "VERY LIMITED") creature. God is the infinite (read "unlimited" or 'unlimitable") Creator. So when HIS providential plan does not unfold as I believe it should, guess what? I need to learn to trust him. He knows far better than I  do as to what is good for me. And I happen to believe that the Bible teaches us that God does ALL things for HIS glory. And that which is for his glory is also for our good!  Proverbs 3:5-6 is a passage we all need to learn to put into practice!

Also as I look in life's rear view mirror, I take time to thank God for his MULTITUDE of blessings with which he has so generously showered me. Everything in my life that has brought me happiness and joy is from his hand (James 1:17; 1 Timothy 6:17). Thanksgiving for 2013's blessings is certainly a God-pleasing and faith-strengthening way to end one year and begin a new one! And remember, nothing is as short lived as gratitude!

Finally, as I look ahead to a new year I find it fruitful to do some self evaluation (see the PowerPoint slides from my message this past Sunday on 7 key questions you can use to do this. You will find them as you scroll down). After evaluating where I am, then I set some goals. I encourage you do the same. Whatever needs done for you to grow in your faith .... make plans to do it! Don't make so many that you lose heart after the second week of January. Keep it simple. Focus on the area(s) of your life that need the most work. And then ... share those goals with someone who can "hold your feet to the fire." Our fallen human nature moves from the disciplined to the undisciplined. Like water, we seek the path of least resistance. And since discipline is required for spiritual growth (1 Timothy 4:7-8), we need help to stay at it! An accountability partner can provide that needed help.

As I close ... I encourage you to never stop preaching the gospel to yourself. We all need that daily reminder that were it not for Christ and his sacrifice for us ... none of us would be interested in pursuing a relationship with the one true and living God. All that we enjoy in life flows from God's grace. And the greatest expression of that grace is the cross! So ... if you want to boast about ... whatever, STOP and do as Paul did and boast only in the cross of Christ (Galatians 6:14).

I pray that God's blessings will move you ever closer to Jesus Christ in the new year of 2014!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

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