For most of my life, I shunned New Year’s resolutions. Then I learned to do acrostics. I look at them as goals for the year, not resolutions, because I’m too much like Paul in this respect and don’t do what I resolve to do and do what I don’t resolve to do. However, a “goal” doesn’t seem to carry the same onus for me.
I hope this will help some of you find the direction the Lord has for you to go this year. The acrostic at the top is for 2019, so I”ll tell you how it went. I made progress on nearly all the goals. I try to make the center goal the theme for the year and what I base the others on. I think I have poured out more in several areas. This blog was one of them. The “thoughts for the day” that I post on Facebook were another.
I made noticeable progress with gratitude, but the creativity and fear could have used more attention! However, pouring out got in the way of my study time and some other daily necessities like taking care of my health. I’m not real sure about the virtues in 2 Peter. They’d be hard for me to tell about myself, but I think I see some progress. On the whole, though, I think that the extra focus stating my goals gave me was very worthwhile. It helps me see wins and errors and evaluate 2019, so I have repeated the process this year.
These are my goals for 2020. Some are gone, some have been added, and some have been adjusted. The major change is the primary focus. I’m not sure how that will work out, but more balance is necessary to prevent burnout, It will probably take adjustment in some of the secondary goals. That’s OK. They are there as guidelines.
I hope you’ll do your own acrostic in a quiet time with the Lord. Listen to Him. He’ll point you in the direction He means for you to go in a way that’s much easier to follow than having no direction at all.
HAVE A BLESSED NEW YEAR!
IN A MANGER
Israel is a land of few trees and plentiful rocks. Stables were usually in caves or under rock ledges and the mangers were of stone like the picture of the replica above. The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem covers an ancient cave stall. The mangers were found wherever animals were kept or fed.
The following poem is one I wrote for my Christmas card this year.
Have a blessed Christmas!
In a Manger
My creator and Lord in a manger,
So I’d no longer be a stranger.
He leashed His infinite power,
From the sacrifice, He didn’t cower.
Because He loves me.
He really loves ME!
The King of Glory
Came to rewrite my story.
He redeemed His creation
Made me part of His holy nation.
I owe Him my all!
How will I answer His call?
Angels from the realms of glory, Wing your flight o’er all the earth, Ye who sang creation’s story, Now proclaim Messiah’s birth: Come and worship, come and worship, Worship Christ, the new-born king. shepherds in the field abiding, Watching o’er your flocks by night, God with man is now residing, Yonder shines the Infant Light.
“I love you! I love you!” the angels chorus rings out. I’ve come to you. I am here. Come and worship. The kingdom of our God has come to the earth. See how much I love you. I gave up all of heaven and all the power to come to you. To rescue you.
Close your eyes for a minute and imagine the scene. You’re just a shepherd. Nobody is much lower on the social scale. You’re huddling around the campfire trying to stay warm and awake to keep predators away from the sheep. Suddenly, there’s bright daylight all around, and you’re jerked awake. You blink and look at the other shepherds. They’re as confused as you. You look at the bright light, but it isn’t just a light. There are so many angels in the light and you hear them singing. Then the most magnificent being you’ve ever seen emerges from the group and you’re the most afraid that you’ve ever been. The angel speaks and says, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good tidings that will cause great joy for all people…A savior is born to you today in Bethlehem. He is the Messiah.” After he tells you how to find the baby, the great multitude of heavenly host begins praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.” The music is like nothing you’ve ever heard. It’s sweeter and clearer and it sends prickles down your spine.
Can you hear the chorus today? Are you rejoicing that He loves you so much. The King of Glory accepted all the restrictions of a baby’s body and life, just for you. Just so you could spend eternity with Him. Think about it and join the angels in their rejoicing. Taken from Luke 2:8-14
1 John 4:9 This is how God showed His love among us. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.
There was a story on the internet about a doctor who was treating an eight year old twin. She needed a blood transfusion, but the hospital couldn’t find any of her type. The situation was desperate, so the doctor asked her twin brother if he would donate his blood. He thought for a minute and then nodded his head. He got up, solemnly hugged each of his parents, told them goodbye, and walked out with the doctor. The doctor didn’t realize anything was amiss until after the blood was drawn and the little boy asked, “When will I die?” He thought he was sacrificing his life for his sister. This is love at its highest.
God’s love is sacrificial. The whole Christmas story is about sacrifice. Jesus loves me enough to give up all the majesty and glory of heaven to come into this world to die for me. He loves me! He loves ME! He really, really loves me! It’s a thought I have a hard time comprehending because…
I MIGHT, under just the right circumstances, give up my life for someone else, but I can’t imagine ever deciding to give up my child or grandchild’s life for someone else. Yet that’s exactly what our heavenly Father did. He. Loves. Me. He loves me THAT much! Can you even begin to wrap your mind around a love so strong? Amazing isn’t a strong enough word for it. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. Ephesians 1:4
Love that strong is the most awesome thing I’ve ever known! While I wanted nothing to do with Him, He still sent His Son specifically to die for me. He who did not spare his own Son…Romans 8:32
This Christmas season, meditate on how your life would be different if the Father hadn’t loved you enough to send Jesus to save you. This will be more real if you’ll journal some of your thoughts.