2016, Here We Go!

December, the month Santa makes his list and checks it twice to find out who's naughty and nice doesn't even come close to our own January list-making, when we can check in daily with God to clearly catch His vision for our lives.

By Rusty Burns Published on January 4, 2016

RUSTY BURNS — 2016, here we go!

I don’t know about you, but I suspect I’m not the only one who is glad to have 2015 in the rear view mirror! It was downright rotten. There was a lot of negative stuff going on that I couldn’t control; and a fair amount I could’ve and yet didn’t for a number of reasons, all seemingly good at the time. So with 2015 thankfully done I find myself thinking of the time-honored ritual of making New Year’s resolutions. I say “time-honored” because the time I actually honor this albatross — I mean list — every year lasts closer to about … um … three weeks?

Okay.  Let the lying to myself, er, list-making commence:

Lose weight. Check. Read my Bible more. Check. Save more money. Check. Spend less time on Facebook. Check. Call my mother more. Check. Stop _________ (fill in the blank: procrastinating, gossiping, cursing). Check. Check. Check. Etc., etc, etc.

Are your resolutions anything like that?

Now, before you accept that irresistible chocolate cupcake from that well-meaning co-worker, or life gets busy and your Bible gets buried under magazines on your nightstand, or you just have to see the new pic your high school friend just posted, don’t despair; don’t burn your “resolutions.” Remember Jeremiah 29:11 is not just a favorite verse — it is truth. “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope” But let us also note what God says next in verses 12 and 13: “Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart,.

When we partner with God in our resolutions, there is no such thing as failure. And get this! One of God’s most amazing promises to us is that His mercies are new EVERY morning. (Lamentations 3:23) That means to Him every day is a new start. Think of it! No matter how far we’ve fallen short on our list during the day because we’ve been weak or foolish or ill-tempered or lazy, when morning comes we get a do-over. A DO-OVER! Did I just hear your inner child cheer?!  I’m not talking about wiping away all consequences here. Obviously our actions or inactions have consequences, but each day is still a fresh start, a blank slate. That means if we accepted that delectable offer containing the miracle of cocoa, or if posting a prayer request online turned into one or three hours of funny cat videos, it’s just ONE day. Tomorrow is a new one.

So when we throw back the bed covers and our tootsies hit the floor, let us turn our thoughts to God. Then “our” list becomes His list. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, let us realize our strength lies in Him and His Word, not within ourselves. Can I get a holla’?

And here’s the really cool thing: He loves us. I mean, really loves us. Not because we’ve attained the perfect physique or higher tax bracket or our mom brags about us to all her friends, no. His love for us is pure. Truly. It’s beyond our comprehension. When we make our lists with Him, the goals will be based on love and right thinking. The motives will be clear, inspirational and pure. And give us purpose.

You may be thinking, “If we are conferring with God should we forgo list making altogether?” I say no, but more importantly God says no. In Habakkuk 2:2 the Lord instructs to, “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets.” Writing it down gives it power. It helps our vision to become clear and provides us direction.

When we make our resolutions, let us also remember the advice God gave us in Philippians 4:8“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

So it follows we should be navigated by positive outcomes. For instance, instead of writing all the negative things you shouldn’t do, declare the positive goals you aspire to. It makes sense that being nice to ourselves is more fruitful than being negative. And honestly, sometimes there is great value in the laughter those crazy kitties bring. Laughter, after all is the best medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

Alrighty then. Let’s put prayer and pen to paper and bravely write down our God-inspired resolutions and fulfill His purpose in  2016!

Summary

  • Pray and ask God what His 2016 plans are for you.
  • Write them down.
  • Talk to him every morning for any updates.
  • Do your best, and if you fall short, don’t quit and start fresh in the morning.
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