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!
Carol fretzPosted at 13:13h, 07 January
I have enjoyed following your Caring Bridge updates…they are a challenge to me. We never lost a son in death, but our 45 yo son has pushed us out of his life…we have not seen him in over 7 yrs. (He has pushed other friends away, also.) Having him die would have been easier, I think. So, if the Lord brings us to mind, your prayers for this situation would be appreciated.
God bless you, as your family continues to serve Him, by spreading the Gospel in many ways.
Edna StoltzfusPosted at 14:40h, 07 January
I am looking forward to being one of the volunteers in the prison crusade in February. I hope to see you then and there. May God bless you. Yes I am writing in tears because Stephen will not be with me. I found Matt 17:7 this morning. I claim that today.
Sincerely and with love, Edna Stoltzfus
DuanePosted at 19:42h, 07 January
God bless you with His peace and comfort. You so well know the journey that we are on. We just want you to know that we are praying for you and also wish that Stephen could be at the crusade in Feb. He was always a vital part of it and really had a heart for the men. We also will miss him. This year him and Austin will be rejoicing with the angels in Heaven as they see men and women coming to Jesus.
DuanePosted at 19:54h, 07 January
Thanks for your encouragement! I can’t even imagine what the pain would be like to face this rejection from your son. Our prayer is that God would bring him to the end of himself and he would see the need for God’s love and your love in his life. Remember that as long as there is life…there is hope! Keeping praying that the enemy’s hold on him would be broken and that he would see the truth that will set him free.
Regina mariePosted at 00:23h, 08 January
May The Lord Bless you all in this New Year !
Your in prayers alot and on my mind alot as well and may
You keep Jesus in your lives as well and He will never
Leave you Nor Forsake you either.
Love,Regina Marie Coblentz