I’ve decided I want to approach the coming New Year with a “Today” kind of attitude.

Goodness knows 2010 has been a challenging year for me personally, for family, friends and even our nation. 

As I passed through some difficult waters one thing that helped was to take it just one day at a time.  When I was uncertain about what tomorrow would bring…I was able to say, “Thank You Lord for what I have today.”  When faced with overwhelming demands…I asked, “What do I need to accomplish today?”

When I have troubles or trials…it’s helpful to know that it’s for today.  I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  But by God’s grace I can get through today.

I can be grateful for what I have today and not be presumptuous and demanding on the goodness and grace of God for tomorrow.  I’m not guaranteed tomorrow…but I do have today.

May I be dependent upon the Lord today.

May I pray for what I need today.

May I praise and worship God today.

May I confess and repent of my sins today.

May I be ready for the Lord’s soon return today.

This is the day the LORD has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

Leaving Some Things Behind

On Sunday I made another trip up to the cross. I persuaded Danita to make the trek with me because I needed pray and leave some thing behind at the foot of the cross. Things that I need leave in 2007 and not take into the New Year. Be done with it…and move on.

Things like holding on to a hurt which allows me to nurse a wound of unforgiveness. Or how about doubting God…and seeing Him as inadequate, unable or unwilling to answer my prayers. Seeing my problems as much bigger than my God.

Or how about misplaced priorities…and putting things before God. Not making Him a priority…and giving Him my leftovers.

Maybe I should leave behind disappointment in others…because my hopes and expectations are not being met. That they are not acting as I would have them to act. It might be good to say goodbye to the attitude it’s about me.

I’d be wise to jettison the tendency to attribute impure motives to other’s actions…instead of walking in grace and mercy.

How about that tendency to go to others and seek their advice…before I go to God in prayer…or looking for a word of encouragement or thanks instead of being confident that my work was pleasing and glorify to God.

Seeing my past and what was…as indicative of what will be instead of going to God in prayer…and trusting Him and His perfect timing to answer my prayers.

Oh Lord…how might I be different in the New Year?

Saying, “I believe and thank You”. Trusting God and what His word says…instead of my doubts and unbelief.

Instead of a pity party…look around and help someone else who is hurting.

Take a few more risks…and reaching out.

Dare to keep loving even when it’s not returned.

Not keep pounding on doors God has closed.

Praying for those who have hurt me or annoy me…or even those I just plain don’t like.

See those lost in their sin…as God sees them. Reach out to them with love…and share Gospel message.

Walk in such a manner that I cause others to seek after and want to know Jesus Christ.

Jesus…you know the hurts of my heart…the things I can’t even say out loud or to another living soul. I leave them at the foot of Your cross…knowing that You will know what to do with them. I don’t want to carry them into the New Year. We’re about to head into a New Year…but You already know what it holds. Thanks for not giving up on me…and sticking by my side when others fall away. Help me to do that which You would have me to do. Help me to stay on track and go forward. Help me to see my future as You see it.

To Resolve or Not to Resolve…

Now I’m not normally one to make a New Years resolution. In fact…I’d say I’m an anti resolution person. Why? Because…I don’t like setting myself up for failure. Think about it how many New Years resolutions have you actually kept? How many resolutions have you made that transformed your life…or made a great impact?

Some folks are very disciplined. They make a resolution…and by golly they keep it…no matter what. Then there are a lot of folks that desire to make change or self improvements. They start out with good intentions…but if by the end of January…they are still maintaining that commitment…it’s an unusual year. There are few folks out there that seemingly make no effort at self improvement whatsoever…and overwhelmingly succeed by staying the same year after year.

But this year…God laid it on my heart the desire
to read through the Bible in a year. Even for one who attends church weekly and is involved in Bible study…I find this commitment a little intimidating. It means that for the next year…I will need to plan and carve out time each day to fulfill this resolution. My days, like so many, are already filled to the brim and overflowing. Getting five hours sleep a night feels like a luxury. But mostly…I hate to fail.

Even with all the possibility of failure…or knowing that I may not live up to this commitment…I believe that reading through the Bible is important. So many people that I greatly admire are rooted and grounded in the Word of God. It’s central in their life. It’s transformed their lives and defined their character. God has been able to use them in a mighty way to make a difference for the kingdom of God.

What am I hoping to gain from this adventure?

  • Keep God first and foremost and central in my life.
  • Daily washing of the Word…washing my mind, heart and soul in the Word of God.
  • Know God better…His character, attributes, mind and heart.
  • It’s harder to sin when I know clearly what God defines as sin…what He hates and what He loves.
  • When I do sin…I’ll be quicker to repent, ask for forgiveness and get back on the right track.
  • Grow in wisdom and knowledge.
  • Make better choices.
  • See clearly God’s hand in the lives of His people…and His ability and desire to care for His people, transform them, change circumstances and even perform the miracles.
  • See God’s hand in my everyday life…and comprehend that He cares for me.

So with some reservations that I might fail…I’ve decided to read through the Bible in 2007.

As if to confirm in my own mind that this is what God would have me do…one of the first callers on Dennis Prager’s radio show on New Years day…was a caller named Susan. This will be her eighth year in reading through the Bible. Dennis was encouraging callers by saying that it is important to make a resolution. Ideally in the areas of Health, Happiness and Character. He maintains that it is better to start and fail that to not try at all. Just to firm up my commitment…I called the Dennis Prager radio show while I was on my morning walk. I was able to get on the show and share my resolution. I was inspired by the earlier caller named Susan and comforted by Dennis’ assurance that it’s better to at least make an attempt then do nothing at all.

I’m also hoping that God will use the daily feeding of His Word in my newest venture “Susan’s God Stops”. What I’m hoping is that this will be a daily blog. With short entries recording God’s work and those times where I can plainly see God’s hand in my life. Perhaps as I record it daily…I will be more sensitive to, see and hear God in a more personal way in my life.

Today’s God Stop…was God making it clear that He desires for me to read through the Bible this year.

Tears of Reflection

This morning as I lay in bed listening to my alarm wake up song “I Can Only Imagine” I didn’t anticipate that this Sunday would be any different from others before it. I didn’t foresee that I would soon be moved to tears. After all…I’ve been looking forward to this year ending…and the promise and hope of a New Year. But God had a different plan.

This past year has been filled with trials and tribulation…disappointment and hurt…even anger and bitterness. Thankfully the Lord did not leave me there in a turbulent ocean where waves of emotion threatened to swamp me. Instead He never left me, nor forsook me. He walked with me each step and each day. In doing so…He brought a healing to my hurting heart.

Yet…I so look forward to this year ending. In so many respects it feels like it’s been the worst year of my life. So many areas of my life were touched. Very little of what I had esteemed and valued last year at this time remained. But God had a purpose and a plan…to refine and purify my life, heart, mind and soul. This refining process can be very painful…thus I want this year to be gone.

I so look forward to a fresh start in the New Year. Taking with me the wisdom from the painful lessons I’ve learned. But moving on…proceeding forward nonetheless. Decisions made…on necessary changes that will enable me to grow and improve.

Perhaps my heart was made tender after listening to Charles Stanley’s message “The Power of a Personal Relationship with God”. Or perhaps I had been thinking too much about this past year…but soon Pastor Bob Kraning’s message not only challenged me but beckoned me to choose.

Choose to live like Elijah when he was weary, spent and fearful…following his great spiritual victory. Wallowing in despair and ask the Lord to take my life. Or look expectantly to the Lord, my great God and Savior, for what He will do in my life in the coming year. I choose the later.

Joshua 3:5 is my scripture verse for 2007…my focus…my mission.

“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” – Joshua 3:5

What might my Lord do in my life? That I don’t know…but I do have desires, hopes, dreams and prayers. I want to be prepared for His leading in my life.

Following his message…Pastor Kraning invited whosoever desired to come forward as he prayed for us in the coming year. It was there on the steps, in the shadow of the cross before me that my tears flowed. Grateful for the arms of friendship that stood beside me. Grateful for the pure, unified voice of our congregation as we closed our service. Thankful to God that He will continue to work in my heart…and plant a seed of hope. A seed that will come to fruition in the coming New Year…2007 and beyond.

Lord’s blessings to each you…and I pray a wonderful New Year for you and your families as you seek Him and draw close to Him in the coming year.