Saturday, December 27, 2014

Ready or Not

by Tim Howard

Are you prepared for 2015? Ready or not, it will be here in a few days! Listen to a paraphrase of what the Apostle Paul said as he prepared himself for his future.

I want to know Christ in a very real way. I’m on the right path but haven’t arrived yet – far from it!  There is a goal that I am pressing on to obtain and that goal is to live a lifestyle honoring God. I am focusing on what is ahead and letting go of that which is behind. I encourage all of you to do the same. Philippians 3.

The first thing to consider as you prepare for 2015 is the importance of declaring and verbalizing your desires! If you aim at nothing you will hit it! That’s right: You will hit nothing! Sometimes my wife and I will sit in the car and say: “Where do you want to go? – I don’t know where do you want to go?” “Where do you want to eat? – I don’t know, where do you want to eat”? This goes on until someone breaks the cycle by declaring his or her desire. What do you really want to accomplish in 2015? Speak it out. Write it down. Share it with someone.
Second: Let go of the past. All of us accumulate baggage over the years as we travel on life’s journey. It may come from disappointments and hurts. Maybe we failed miserably and carry memories that bring on depression. Before you know it the pain piles up and we carry a suitcase full of anger, resentment and bitterness. Baggage that needs to be released! Paul recommends that we leave behind those things that will detract us from a bright future. Here are three things you should leave behind as you exit 2014 and enter 2015.   
1. Guilt
There’s always someone around who loves to point out your mistakes, failures inadequacies and sins. They make you feel guilty. When you have received the gift of forgiveness from Jesus through confession of your sins, however, your guilt gives way to God’s goodness and your past gives way to freedom!
2. Grudges
We’ve all been hurt by others but you don’t have to ‘hold a grudge.’ You can let it go. Turn it over to God. They aren’t getting off the hook for what they have done to you – they are simply being turned over to the One who can judge properly. It’s amazing how lighter and brighter you feel when you let a grudge go.
3. Grief
Jesus came to help us with our grief. In this world you will have trouble, the Bible says but Jesus said: “take heart! I have overcome the world.” According to Isaiah the prophet, Jesus came to help us find the gold in the midst of the dirt we find ourselves mired in at times. He can help us praise instead of grieve.
Last of all, to be ready for 2015 you must change your focus. Paul said: I press on – I focus on what is ahead and commit myself to reaching the goal. What is your goal? What do you need to do in order to become a better mom or a better dad in 2015? What do you need to do in order to be a better friend – a better employee? Focus on that and go full steam ahead.
The New Year is full of opportunities and challenges. Ready or not, here it comes!

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