Tag Archives: Resolutions

A new year – things to do…someone to become


The past three years have been the most challenging of my life. It’s been a time of testing and brokenness, followed by restoration and renewal, a sequence repeated over and over. This season has been marked both with tears and shouts of joy.


Joy? Yes, because at the same time, these years have been filled with blessings. People have been generous with practical supports and prayers, even from strangers across the nation (friends of friends who keep on praying). Having been on the giving end for many years, it’s humbling to be on the receiving end of the blessing exchange; humbling also to be so limited physically, mentally, and emotionally.


I’ve had to also fully embrace what I knew was true and to really take God at his Word. Knowing the bible is true is one thing. Surrendering our response to life’s curve balls and daily frustrations with the truth and power of God’s Word is quite another. But that is the epicenter of transformational change. Surrender never sounds appealing to our old way of thinking. But there are terms of surrender  that are appealing if we can bring ourselves to accept them: Surrender pain for promise, anxiety for assurance, fretting for faith, bitterness for better relationships, and sorrow for simple joys. I’ve become accomplished at the first set of harmful behaviors and now am ready to completely trust God for the ones that heal and fulfill.


As I reflect on resolutions of New Years Past, most were to-do or wish lists, filled with ambitious fervor, hopes and dreams and plans for achievement….what I would DO. As I look to 2016, year four of this unexpected journey, I realize that our best resolution always comes down to BEING true to ourself and God, one day – one moment – at a time, not just trying to DO more. Do you agree?


One day at a time. All that remains within our sphere of control is the decisions We make about what thoughts we focus on and what actions we take. Will it be business as usual or will I determine to become all I was meant to be, a person of purpose and passion living moment by moment, firmly secured to the faith to which I cling?


One specific thing I am resolving to BE, by the power of God’s Spirit, is a person of peace and reconciliation. I am not going to turn away or disparage a friend who thinks differently than me, one whose political believes differ from mine, one whose financial setting is in contrast of mine, nor one whose faith isn’t the same as mine. I will not mock, ridicule, demean others or be quick to jump to conclusions based simply on what others say. Peacemakers hold firmly to faith but realize their role is one of loving influence, not one of control. Peacemakers open doors to reconciliation (with each other and with God). But ultimately each individual makes their own Choice of whether or not to go in.


In as far as it is possible, I want to live at peace with all, not compromising my core values and beliefs, but not alienating others in the world who are different. (The bible has something more to say about unity and division within the church.) What value is it to view one as a “conversion target” unless I first care for them?


Peacemakers remain committed to the Prince of Peace who empowers them to be a vessel of truth and peace, and only to the degree they are filled with his very essence – God’s own Spirit. From this, all else flows. It impacts our influence, our vision, our perspective and our ability to endure.


There is a real war fought with deadly force against those who would rob us of our freedoms and kill us. But there is another real war raging within use, threatening the harmonious relationships between us and others; us and God. Victory demands resolution not only of what we do, but also the person we become.


Here’s to resolutions based more on being all who God intends us to be!


Stop grumbling – Give thanks instead!



The new year is filled with resolutions of things to START doing. Start to exercise more, eat healthier, read the bible, pray more…you get the idea. But the secret to starting something new is often found in STOPPING something you are presently doing that is working against your better behalf. The reverse is also true: stopping a negative behavior requires replacing it with a new appropriate one. The secret to keeping your resolutions is to pay attention to incompatible behaviors.


Let’s say you want to stop grumbling and complaining. That’s a worthy goal for a year lived well! You can resolve to not complain. You can write notes to yourself to prompt you to be more positive. You can wear a rubber band on your wrist and give it a painful snap whenever you catch yourself grumbling. But I guarantee you will be pushing a very heavy stone uphill all year, only to have it come crashing back down on you.


Instead of vowing to stop complaining, choose to replace it with something that is incompatible with grumbling. GIVE THANKS. As long as you are cultivating a thankful heart, your grumbling withers away.


Consider the story of a young mother whose young daughter loved to wear frilly things decorated with sequins. Every day the little girl would play all around the house in her sequined clothes. And everywhere the girl romped, sequins would leave a messy trail. Every day the young mother would have to stop what she was doing in order to pick up yet another lost sequin. “Why can’t she be more careful when she plays?” grumbled the frustrated mother. Then while picking up another sequin, she realized how thankful she was to have a delightful and happy girl. At once, she resolved that every time she picked up a sequin, she would give thanks to God for the gift of her precious little girl.


See how it works? Replace grumbling and complaining with an incompatible behavior: giving thanks. Instead of grumbling about that person who always rubs you the wrong way, you can thank God that they help to knock off your own rough edges. Instead of complaining about the weather, the economy, or the way you look, think instead of what you are thankful for and let your speech and behavior reflect that.


How important is this? Consider this. For thousands of years God’s people grumbled and complained. They were never happy. They rebelled against God and sought after other false gods. I wonder if God was even more upset at their grumbling than their sinful deeds. A complaining heart is an ugly thing.


Let your story of 2015 be one of giving thanks, not grumbling and complaining!


“He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me.”  Psalm 50:23


“Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.”  Hebrews 13:15



Resolve to read a good book



New Year’s Eve is almost upon us and with it, the starting of making resolutions for the new year.  As always, losing weight and increasing exercises will top the lists of most people. Resolving to read a good book may make the resolution list too. What about reading THE good book?


Have you ever read the Bible? I mean the whole thing? You can get the job done in a year, reading only 15-30 minutes a day. Marcia and I have done this individually a number of times and last year did the reading together. It was a great experience. This year we’re going to concentrate on the New Testament, but still plan to work our way through the Old Testament again through daily devotions.


Why should you read the bible? Marek Zabriskie came up with a list of twenty reasons why. Here are some worth considering:

• It’s the No. 1 best-selling book of all time.

• No book has made a greater impact on the world than the Bible.

• The Bible magnifies our ability to love others and to love ourselves.

• No book reveals more about God than the Bible, and God rejoices when we read it.

• Daily Bible reading centers us spiritually.

• Taking time to read the Bible for 15 or 30 minutes each day transforms our lives, our marriages, our relationships and our families. It helps us to be better parents, spouses, neighbors, Christians, workers, citizens and human beings.

• The Bible is the best understanding that we have of Jesus — the person who has had the greatest impact on history.

• People constantly debate what they believe the Bible says without having read it. It’s worth reading it to find out what the Bible actually says.

• The Bible will speak to you in a different way each time you pick it up and read it.

• Reading the Bible will push you to explore what it means to be created in God’s image, and it will help you understand God, your life’s purpose and why you were put on earth.

• The Bible offers the most sustained and vital value system in history.

• The Bible is like a mirror. Reading it regularly develops our conscience, helps us to arrange our priorities and encourages us to make significant improvements in our lives.

• Reading the Bible keeps our heads and our hearts in the right place, develops compassion and good judgment within us and prepares us to spend eternity with God.


Isn’t time to see what God has to reveal to you through his Word?
For a bible reading plan that suits you: