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Happy New Year’s!

New Years Resolutions…

Almost everyone has an opinion on them or at least some thought toward them. Some get all geared up to make huge resolutions, change of habits, altering routines, plans to transform their health, appearance, attitude and lifestyles. Some get just as amped up at the declaration to NOT make resolutions, because (in their opinion) “those never really work anyway!” I’m not here to argue either point, but I am here to tell you, TODAY is the day to make a definitive decision and tomorrow may be too late. My pastor has this phrase, “You will never become tomorrow what you’re not doing today.” Whatever you put off till tomorrow, you will just as easily put it off again the next day and the next.

Let me bring this point home to our hearts by a question or two … what is a goal you set or maybe something you thought at the beginning of 2017 that you planned to accomplish? Did you accomplish it, and if so, how long did it take? What if your reality for tomorrow was only determined by what you did today? What if you were going to be blessed tomorrow by what you give today? Or better yet, What if you were guaranteed to get blessed in 2018, and that blessing was going to come in the form of a pay raise in the exact amount of the giving, blessings, or accomplished things you did in 2017? What would that blessing look like??

So, if you’re plan is to lose weight, stop smoking, start eating right or even go to bed at a better hour, don’t wait for the clock to strike midnight tonight to change your ways. Do it today! Do it NOW!! As the old adage goes, “There’s no better time than the present!”

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There’s no better time to start than right now, and if you’re one of those who are adamantly opposed to setting resolutions, there’s still something to be said about setting goals and doing a little self improvement. Start there for yourselves.

Set a goal.

Chase a dream.

Start TODAY!

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Moving Forward

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The New Year can often be filled with regrets and remorse over the things of the past. Sometimes, it can be filled with so much trepidation that it might even impede you from moving beyond it. Yet, can I tell you? With God, all things are made new. 

Knowing Christ and surrendering our lives to Him can give us a fresh new start. He simply washed away all sin, as if we have a brand new, clean slate. Isn’t that awesome? 

Now, please understand. Committing your life to Christ doesn’t mean your relationships are instantly made perfect or that traffic ticket is somehow demolished or even that your past due bills are miraculously paid off with no effort from you. No, sometimes, the consequences to or wrong actions are still there, and we have to walk through those painful experiences still. However, as we commit our lives to Him, all of a sudden, we are not alone anymore. We don’t have to be fearful anymore, and we don’t have to dread the future or lament over the past. Our past no longer defines our future when Christ is at the center, because He now defines it. 

He gives us a second chance, a chance we don’t deserve, and we can’t earn. He gives us grace, meaning we have unmerited favor simply because He loves us. He shows us His mercy, not because He needs us, but because we so desperately need Him!

Now, that is something to look forward to. That is something that should make your New Years a pretty good one! 😉

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Wednesday’s Ode #47

I love the time of New Years! I know that may sound funny when I just said last week that I love Christmastime, but it’s true. The new year is such a refreshing and exciting time of year. 

The New Year’s Resolution 

New Year’s Resolutions. We all make them every year. So many of us start on January 1 with a long list of all the things we need to change. You know the list… Lose weight. Exercise more. Be more organized. Reach out more. Be more kind. Be more diligent. Remember special dates better. Eat better. Just simply, Be better. Too many stores make a lot of money this time of year with all the diet plans, gym memberships, organizational books and storage totes that are bought during this month.

Then, long about March 15, all of that money becomes a waste, and the commitments slowly fade away, as we slip back into our old habits and routines, because it was simply a vocalized pledge with no foundation laid for success. It was a mental note with no accountability or standards set for true inner change…because after all, it’s so much more comfortable to remain where we are than to take the necessary steps for long term resolutions.

When we make commitments simply to make ourselves feel better, or to make us look better to other people, or simply because we think it’s the “right thing to do at the time,” we may never be able to fulfill those lofty promises. I’m sure there are plenty of wise advisors today who can give you great input on how to achieve your New Year’s Resolutions; but if you’ll allow me, I’d like to give you three points which I have found to be true…

1. The new commitment must be based on Truth not just a good feeling or a common thought. Just because it feels good, doesn’t mean it will last, and just because it works for someone else, doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. Too often, we set New Year’s Resolutions, because someone else is doing it or  because “it’s the trendy thing to do in January!”

Just as serving Jesus only because “someone else is doing it” isn’t going to get you into heaven, making those New Years Resolutions simply because of someone else isn’t going to turn out so well either. The Word says in John 8:31-32, “Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Basing your commitment on truth will set you free from the expectations and the results or failures of others. Truth sets you free to learn and grow as is best for YOU, and it allows you to hear clearly the path you are to take. Truth sets us free from the trends, which come and go as the evening tide, and Truth is the door through which we will find our very best future.

2. We must build a foundation for the change. When a good builder builds a house, he doesn’t throw some walls together, slap a roof on it and call it good. No, he thinks about it, he carefully makes out his plans, and he usually gathers a team to assess the plans. After they have made their suggestions and given their advice, he then makes the necessary adjustments before he carries out those plans. Planning before making those commitments will help you to actually think about that to which you’re committing. Stopping to think allows you to not only realize the veracity of your commitment, but also, the depth of sacrifice you’ll need to make to carry out that commitment.

3. We must set boundaries in place and have strong accountability to sustain the change. When a professional MMA fighter, like Holly Holm, decides she is going to challenge the Ronda Rousy, she doesn’t simply step in the ring and say, “Bring it on.” She has a trainer; sometimes, she has a team of trainers who not only help her to work out and train for the big day, but they also help her study her opponent. They give her advice and pointers on how to be better, and they keep her accountable to her original goals and commitments. They work as a team to accomplish the goal set before her. Having a team around you who can help you, advise you, and even rebuke you at times, enables you to stay consistent to your commitments for a longer period of time. Having someone there to show us when we’re in error helps us to avoid the pitfalls and distractions that, too often, cause us to give up in despair before the goal is ever realized.

So, no matter your commitments and resolutions for this new year, if you can put these three little points into action before making them, you will find, later on in this year, those New Years Resolutions are here to stay!

Happy New Years to you and yours! 😊