January….Another year is fresh and clear before us with many opportunities for growth to happen in our lives if we only take advantage of them. Have you made a few resolutions that you are attempting to incorporate in your life in 2012? At the beginning of a new year is a great time to ask God what His desire is for you to change in your life. What are the goals that He is showing you that He would like for you to achieve? Spending more time with your children, getting out of debt, reaching out to others and becoming more physically fit are all admirable and lofty goals but your Heavenly Father knows you better than anyone and He knows how you could be the most effective and what the greatest struggles are that you need to have victory in. It may be a good idea to lose those extra 10 pounds but what truly is the most important thing that you cannot fail to do? I challenge you to seek your “Daddy’s” face and sincerely ask Him to reveal His new year’s resolutions for you.
One of the goals that we, as a family, have determined that God desires for us, is to study the 49 commands of Christ in a deeper way and then look for ways to apply them in our lives. The sermon on the mount is filled with Jesus’ teachings and Institute in Basic Life Principles have identified 49 basic commands that Jesus gave. We are excited to be able to see how God will give us many opportunities to apply these and to understand why Jesus’ commands were so important. (and still are!) I believe that this could be so foundational in helping us to become more Christ-like and a greater asset for His kingdom.
As I reflect over the various character focuses that we have had over the past years, there is one that vividly stands out to me. We had been focusing on making sure that each of us had a clear conscience and that none of the children would go to bed without taking inventory over the events of the day and seeing if they had an attitude, words or actions that needed to be confessed to each other. It brought so much freedom to each of us as we were practicing this. When God unexpectedly called our son, Austin, home to Heaven, we had no time to ask him for forgiveness for anything that had been wrongly committed. Although we have regrets for wrong words or attitudes, each of us felt such a relief that there were no strained relationships or hard feelings between any of us that had not been resolved. I would like to encourage every parent to help your children in this area. You will see a new level of peace in their lives and your children will appreciate the security this will bring them. (We have a whole chapter regarding a clear conscience in Austin’s book entitled, “I’m a Winner Either Way”.)
Are we, God’s children, being all that God intended for us to be? Do we find ourselves defeated with little victory against the onslaughts of the enemy? Have the sufferings we have encountered left us feeling bitter and confused? It is time for us to rise up with renewed determination and tackle those goals that will enhance who we are in Jesus Christ. Are we content to live like the people in coal mines, who never get to experience the sunshine? Are you content to suffer in a dungeon when you could be walking on a palace roof and viewing the lush valley? We have defeated faces and tears that frequently flow when we could be rejoicing with heavenly joy. It is time to wake up from our lowly conditions and get rid of the coldness, sluggishness, laziness or whatever the issue is that is hindering your true love and potential for Christ. Lets not be content to linger in the lowlands just because we are afraid to climb the mountains. Live life at your very best!
Still upward be your onward course: For this I pray today;
Still upward as the years go by, And seasons pass away.
Still upward in this coming year, Your path is all untried;
Still upward may you journey on, Close by your Savior’s side.
Still upward although sorrow come, And trials crush your heart;
Still upward may they draw your soul, With Christ to walk apart.
Still upward till the day shall break, And shadows all have flown;
Still upward till in Heaven you wake, And stand before the throne!