Saturday, December 28, 2019

Ready or Not

by Tim Howard
Are you prepared for 2020? Ready or not, it will be here in a few days! For me, the New Year will give birth to a new season of life as I officially retire on December 31, 2019.
As my career concludes after 46 years of ministry as a Pastor, I now have the privilege of serving God and people in a different capacity.
Preparing for the future can be overwhelming unless you have set goals and know what you are reaching for.
Listen to a paraphrase of what the Apostle Paul said as he spoke to the Philippian people and 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. 
Please notice the three specific things Paul did: He declared his goals, shared his goals and documented them for us! If you aim at nothing you will hit it! That’s right: You will hit nothing! What do you really want to accomplish in 2020? Speak it out. Write it down. Share it with someone. Paul did and it’s important for us as well.

It’s also imperative to let go of the past! You won’t be able to embrace tomorrow if you are still holding onto yesterday.

Here are three things you should leave behind as you exit 2019 and enter 2020.

1. Guilt

Remorse, regret and guilt grow when we focus on our mistakes, failures, inadequacies and sins. 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: It may have come from disappointments or failing miserably. Maybe someone abused us in some way or we made some terrible decisions on our own. Even though we’ve experienced pain, we don’t have to ‘hold a grudge.’ You can turn it over to God. It’s a better solution than blaming yourself or others for your current status. It’s amazing how much 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 2020 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 2020? 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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