A Prayer For The New Year

“Especially would we make mention of the goodness of the Lord during another year. Each believer here has trodden a different pathway to some it has been a very smooth road, to others a very rough climb: to some a deep descent into the valley of sorrow and humiliation. But Thou hast led Thy people by a right way. With all the twisting of the wilderness march, we are persuaded that when Thou leadest us about, still we go the nearest way. Thou knowest best, and oftentimes to retreat is to advance, and to be beaten back is to make surest headway. We would again in the recollection of the whole year, whatever it may have been, lift up the song of grateful praise, raise another stone of help to record the loving-kindness of our God.

“And now do we hoist sail and draw up anchor to sail into another year. O Thou blessed Pilot of the future as of the past, we are so happy to leave all to Thee; but in leaving all to Thee we have one wish, and it is that Thou wouldst in the next year glorify the Father’s name in us more than in any other year of our lives. Perhaps this may involve deeper trial, but let it be if we can glorify God. Perhaps this may involve the being cast aside from the service that we love; but we would prefer to be laid aside if we could glorify Thee the better. Perhaps this may involve the ending of all life’s pleasant work and the being taken home—well, Thy children make no sort of stipulations with their God, but this one prayer ascends from all true hearts this morning, ‘Father, glorify Thy name.’” —Charles Spurgeon

Poetry Saturday—A Private Litany Of Humility

From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of comfort and ease, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being criticized, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being passed over, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being lonely, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being hurt, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering, deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like Yours.
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, strengthen me with Your Spirit.
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, teach me Your ways.
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
help me put my self-importance aside
to learn the kind of cooperation with others
that makes possible the presence of your Abba’s household. Amen. —Rafael Cardinal Merry Del Val

5 Quotes For The New Year

cto-low-expectations“God, forgive us for expectations of You that are too low.” —Craig T. Owens

“I am the God of unlimited creativity; expect Me to do surprising things in this year that stretches out before you.” —Jesus (from Sarah Young’s Jesus Always)

“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.” —Benjamin Franklin

“Of all persons the Christian should be best prepared for whatever the New Year brings. He has dealt with life at its source. In Christ he has disposed of a thousand enemies that other men must face alone and unprepared. He can face his tomorrow cheerful and unafraid because yesterday he turned his feet into the ways of peace and today he lives in God. The man who has made God his dwelling place will always have a safe habitation.” —A.W. Tozer

“Real peace is knowing that no matter what I do, God will never stop loving me. Real peace is knowing that no matter what happens, God will never leave me alone. He’ll always be with me. Real peace means that no matter what happens in the New Year, or in the years to come, I know that God is going to give me the strength to handle it. Real peace is living by God’s Word, the Bible, so I can avoid a lot of the needless hang-ups and hurts and habits that mess up my life.” —Rick Warren, in On This Holy Night

Your Anti-Porn Plan

The Porn CircuitPerhaps a New Year’s resolution you made was to stop viewing pornography. That’s a great first step! I like these tips from CovenantEyes for helping you stick with your no-porn goal.

  1. Develop a game plan. Instead of retreating to porn, have a book to read or another activity planned.
  2. Get outside of yourself. When you focus on your circumstances, the temptation to escape comes calling. Serving others is the best antidote to a self-induced pity party. Ring a bell for the Salvation Army, visit a nursing home or work in a soup kitchen.
  3. Burn off steam and calories. Go for walks. Get some exercise in. Hit the gym with a friend.
  4. Reach out. Call a friend. Be open and honest about your feelings and temptations. (Keeping secrets breeds failure.)
  5. Avoid Facebook and social media. Comparing your life to the façade on Facebook only leads to more stress and loneliness.
  6. Don’t throw in the towel. If you have a setback, get back up and start over!

And I’ll add one more of my own:

7. Learn your triggers. Do you usually feel the urge to look at porn at night? when you’re tired? when you’re lonely? Know when your temptation is at its strongest, and be ready with one of the above strategies before the temptation flares up.

CovenantEyes has some great ebooks and other resources you can check out here. You also might want to add their accountability software to your devices.

YOU CAN DO THIS—YOU CAN BEAT YOUR PORN ADDICTION!

New Year New Attitude

New YearIf you’re looking to challenge yourself to be a better person in the New Year, you couldn’t go wrong with this list—

  1. Hate what is evil
  2. Cling to what is good
  3. Love others with real compassion
  4. Honor others above yourselves
  5. Work hard
  6. Keep growing spiritually
  7. Find new ways to serve the Lord
  8. Be joyful in hope
  9. Be patient in hard times
  10. Be faithful in prayer
  11. Share with others who are in need
  12. Practice hospitality
  13. Bless those who persecute you
  14. Laugh with your friends when they’re happy
  15. Cry with your friends when they’re sad
  16. Live in harmony with everyone
  17. Make friends with those others call “nobodies”
  18. Don’t try to be somebody you’re not
  19. Don’t respond to insults with insults, but with love
  20. Try to do what is right in the eyes of everyone
  21. Live at peace with everyone
  22. Don’t take revenge, but let God handle it
  23. Don’t let evil get the best of you, but get the best of evil by doing good

(Hat tip: Apostle Paul in Romans 12:9-21)

2015 Year-End Review

Theme for 2016The last Sunday of each year I take some time with our church family to look back to review what we’ve learned. Then we look forward to a theme God is impressing on us for the new year. Check it out here—

Thursdays With Oswald—God Is Love

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Oswald Chambers

God Is Love 

     In the future, when trial and difficulties await you, do not be fearful, whatever and whoever you may lose faith in, let not this faith slip from you—God is Love; whisper it not only to your heart in its hour of darkness, but here in your corner of God’s earth and man’s great city, live in the belief of it; preach it by your sweetened, chastened, happy life; sing it in consecrated moments of peaceful joy…. 

     The world does not bid you sing, but God does. Song is the sign of an unburdened heart; then sing your songs of love unbidden, ever rising higher and higher into a fuller conception of the greatest, grandest fact on the stage of Time—God is Love. 

From The Love Of God 

Here’s to a new year filled with a greater revelation in your heart of God’s amazing love! May 2014 be full of your love songs to the Greatest Love Of All!

The 13th Resolution (book review)

The 13th ResolutionAlthough The 13th Resolution was originally written by Charles Sheldon in 1928, it’s an excellent book to read (or re-read) if you are thinking about making New Year’s resolutions.

This book is short, but Sheldon’s writing quickly endears the Blaisdell family to us. We get to listen in as Mr. Blaisdell is reading his list of resolutions to his family. Some of the resolutions pertain just to him, and some involve the entire family. We then get to see a brief glimpse as these resolutions are put into effect in their first couple of days, but quickly the story jumps to the family gathering on New Year’s Day one year later. We hear the Blaisdells telling what changed over the past year, what resolutions stuck, and what resolutions flopped, but we are left to fill in the details of how that transpired.

You can read this book aloud to your family in less time that it would take to watch a sitcom on TV, and then see what sort of discussion it sparks in your home. Very enjoyable!

Year-End Review (2013 Edition)

Year-End ReviewThe Apostle Peter wrote this to the church—

I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live. (2 Peter 1:12-13)

On the last Sunday of each calendar year I like to take time to remind myself and our congregation about what God has taught us in the year that has just past. This is not only healthy for us to remember together, but it is also beneficial for us to be able to step forward into the new year in unity.

If we don’t look back to remember where we’ve come from, it will be very hard for us to remember where we are going and why we are going there. And as an added bonus for those who weren’t with us for all of 2013, you will get caught up to speed with everyone else.

Please join me at 10:30am this Sunday as we not only review 2013, but we get a glimpse of what God wants to do in us and through us in 2014.

Thursdays With Oswald—The Vices And Virtues Of Vowing

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

The Vices And Virtues Of Vowing 

     The vices of vowing outweigh the virtues, because vowing is built on a misconception of human nature as it really is. If a man had the power to will pure will it would be different, but he has not. There are certain things a man cannot do, not because he is bad, but because he is not constituted to do them. We make vows which are impossible of fulfillment because no man can remain master of himself always; there comes a time when the human will must yield allegiance to a force greater than itself, it must yield to God or to the devil

     Modern ethical teaching bases everything on the power of the will, but we need to recognize also the perils of the will. The man who has achieved a moral victory by the sheer force of his will is less likely to want to become a Christian than the man who has come to the moral frontier of his own need. It is the obstinate man who makes vows, and by the very fulfillment of his vow he may increase his inability to see things from Jesus Christ’s standpoint….

     It is not our vows before God that tell, but the coming to God exactly as we are, in all our weakness, and being held and kept by Him. Make no vows at this New Year time, but look to God and bank on the Reality of Jesus Christ. 

From God’s Workmanship (emphasis added)

When considering your New Year’s resolutions (or vows, as Chambers calls them), remember these sobering words: “It is the obstinate man who makes vows, and by the very fulfillment of his vow he may increase his inability to see things from Jesus Christ’s standpoint.”

Don’t let your resolutions blind you to seeing how Jesus Christ wants to work through your weaknesses.

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