The following is a devotional that I read today and really puts things into perspective for the New Year. I so need to take inventory of my spiritual life.
This is a New Year...a blank page that has not yet been written on...
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 (NIV)
Friend to Friend
The tree is down, the decorations are packed away and the company has all gone home. I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and have emerged, relatively unscathed, ready to face a New Year. If you have ventured out into the malls, you have discovered those stores that were crammed full for a solid month are now almost deserted in comparison. The store clerks that just days ago welcomed you with open arms and flashing smiles now ignore you as if you were an intrusion. There's a reason. They are busy taking their yearly inventory. We need to do the same.
A spiritual inventory is an important tool of growth in our walk with God. How can we know where we are headed if we don't know where we have been? What lessons did we learn during the last year? What do we want to keep and what needs to be tossed aside as we face a new year? What changes need to happen and what needs to remain the same? What new choices do we need to make in order to achieve new goals -- the right goals?
It is often so easy to keep on doing "the next thing." We put one foot in front of the other, casually drifting through a life without purpose, only to wake up one day to discover that we have wasted much of that life on the "unimportant." I don't know about you, but I have reached the point in life where I absolutely refuse to live in survival mode. I want my life to count ... to make an impact.
For several nights, I have found myself lying awake for hours, pondering the "next step." I am on my knees asking God for His direction, and trusting Him to make those steps clear. I have decided that when I can't understand the plan or see what's just ahead, I will choose to trust God. It is a decision I make continually.
This New Year, 2009, is not just another year; it is another chapter of life, filled with opportunities, challenges and fresh purpose. I choose against my "old nature" that wants to just sit back and rest in the warmth of yesterday's victories or hide in the darkness of yesterday's defeats.
Instead, I choose to strain both victory and defeat through the promise of Romans 8:28 that all things work together for good, learning the truths and lessons that need to be learned while embracing God's highest plan for my life. We do not have to settle for anything less than knowing God and pursuing all that He holds in His hands for each one of us. Right now, pick up that pad and pencil and get started on your own personal inventory. May this be the most God-honoring year of your life.
Father, thank You for all that You have done in my life this year. There are so many times during the past year when I would not have made it through the day without Your power and presence. Help me to apply the lessons of 2008 in this New Year so that I will grow and become more like You, leading others to seek and know You. I love You, Father, and praise You for all that You have in store for me in 2009. May my life be a trophy of Your grace, mercy and love.
In Jesus' name, I pray
Now It's Your Turn
Set aside a few hours this week to review 2008.
What lessons have you learned? How did you learn them?
What new truths has God given you? How are you applying those truths in your daily life?
What new perspective has God given you this year? In what way will that perspective change habits and behaviors in your life during 2009?
Make a step-by-step plan for implementing a daily quiet time alone with God. Choose the place, gather your materials and select the time of day when you will most likely have a few minutes of uninterrupted time.
When you fail, begin again. God will honor your commitment.
More From The Girlfriends
Around our house, the "after-Christmas" activity of choice is what one of my friends calls "purging". Every year, she packs up the Christmas decorations and begins a diligent room-by-room, closet-by-closet, box-by-box search for anything she did not use during the past year. Family heirlooms and items of sentimental value are the only treasures excluded. Everything else is fair game, and if she hasn't used it in a year and doesn't foresee using it this year, out it goes! We should apply the same tactic to the attitudes, behaviors, habits and disciplines of our spiritual journey. We have hopefully learned valuable lessons, gained fresh truths and molded more godly perspectives during the past twelve months. Now is the time to plug each truth and perspective into daily life.
Each year I plan on writing a letter of our year in review but as you've noticed it never happens. I am not very good about writing letters at the best of times. Things get busy and it is too easy to procrastinate and say "I just didn't have time...". So even though it is AFTER Christmas and the end of 2008, I'm going to attempt writing a summary of our year in review and send it to my family and friends that we rarely, if ever see and would appreciate hearing about our year. I'm also going to post it here for those of you to read once I get it done.
I've been reflecting a bit on the questions above and must admit I've had some difficulty in finding answers to them. What lessons have I learned? A rather general lesson but very important all the same is to appreciate our friends and family and not take them for granted. We are all here for a time and do not know when our Lord will call us home. Also I need to keep myself a devotional journal. I'm sure I've learned many things but find it difficult to recall later.
New truths and perspectives? God's love is unconditional and He loves us and accepts us just as we are. He wants us to come to Him just as we are. As much as we may try, we can never be like Him until He works through us and changes us to be like Him. Changes in behaviours and habits? Change me Lord and make me less judgemental of others. Step-by-step plan for implementind a daily quiet time alone with God? I'm making it my goal to spend atleast 15 minutes each day alone with God. I have so many materials but don't use them. I plan to use the Girlfriends In God devotionals and the weekly online Bible Studies "Life For The Journey". Also, for Christmas I got a Message Bible. As for the place, I'm thinking probably in the livingroom after the kids have gone to bed. So often when I've tried in my room I get distracted by the tv or get comfortable in bed and....well you know.
Anyway I should get going and get kids to bed so I can start writing my year in review letter which you will hopefully be able to read soon.