Monday, January 3, 2011

Making the most of your New Year

I love the New Year. It may actually be my favourite holiday...though I don't really think of it as a holiday so much. For me, the New Year is about a fresh start, a blank slate. Just typing those words makes my heart beat just a little bit faster. Do you have any idea how much I need a blank slate? What an amazing thing to be able to shake the dust off and run to Jesus for a do-over. THAT is what January is all about for me.This is the perfect time of year to stop and take stock of where you have been, where you are going, and where you want to be. It's so easy to get off track, to not be the person you want to be, to not live your convictions in the day to day. I was e-mailed some ideas for looking over the past year and I think they are worth sharing. These ideas come from Doug Phillips, the founder of The Vision Forum.
1.Out line and chronicle the many blessings of God
You might consider making this a family event. When I read through the Old Testament I see time and time again that God wanted His people to mark the ways He worked in their lives and share it with the coming generations. I know how easy it is to forget the ways God works in my life. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have family traditions of honouring the way God has worked in your life? Phillips suggested looking through your bills, paper work, photos, news paper clippings, calendars, blog and journals to help you think about the past year. He also gave a list he uses to consider the previous year. You might use it to come up with your own list.
  1. Where did I/we travel?
  2. What were the most important sermons I heard this year?
  3. What books/articles did I write?
  4. What significant household projects did we accomplish in 2010?
  5. What were the most important meetings of the year?
  6. What special friendships were made this year?
  7. Which children lost teeth, and how many?
  8. Who grew in physical stature, and how much did they grow?
  9. Who learned to read this year?
  10. What diet and physical exercise regimen did I maintain to honor “my temple”?
  11. What books did I read? Did we read as a family? Did my children read?
  12. What Scriptures did my family memorize?
  13. What loved ones died this year?
  14. What were the great personal/ministry/national tragedies and losses of the year?
  15. What were the great personal/ministry/national blessings of the year?
  16. What were my most significant failures/sins for the year 2010?
  17. What commitments have I made to overcome sin in 2011?
  18. What significant spiritual and practical victories did I experience?
  19. In what tangible ways did I communicate gratitude to those who have blessed me and invested in my life?
  20. What are the top ten themes of 2010 for my family?
2. Say thank you to the people who have invested in you life
Sit down and write them all a note. Be specific in your thanks. Pray over each note. Consider giving them something tangible as a thanks.
3. Forgive those who have wronged you

I'm hoping with the help of some child care to set aside some time to think over this past years in all its glory and failure, and to recognize the path I am on, and where I wish I was. 2010 has been full of mountain tops and deep dark valleys. God has certainly taken me places I never dreamed of going. I hope you to will be able to carve out a little bit of time to recognize what God has done in the past year and lay the foundation for a purposeful new year. I pray it will be glorious. c

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