Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Make It A Year About Him

The countdown is on. The ball drops and a new year begins. We ponder the last. We go over the good times and bad. We dream of yesterday and hope for a better tomorrow. While we were busy making memories did we remember the legacy we are creating? Did we think to add others to our lives or did we set all aside and live for just me and now?

My pastor once shared that we should take time and reflect asking ourselves, "Am I closer to the Lord today than this same time last year?" That's a great question to ponder. It should stir our heart. It's the beginning of a journey. In seeking where we are with Christ is a heart longing for Christ.

Grace. Sweet grace is what I am so thankful for. Grace is a treasure we often take for granted.

I can look back over this last year and see areas where I was closer to Jesus and times where I moved away from Him. There are days I wake and I am searching His plan for my life. I'm singing His praises and I feel so sincerely close to Him. Those are the days I'm soaring. But then, yep, you guessed it. There are those days that Satan is riding my back and instead of standing up to Him and giving Jesus the victory, there I am in my pity of my day, giving in to Satan's misery lying in wait for me. I give in to self and that can destroy us quickly. Oh, the flesh is wicked.

I can wake with a sunny attitude and in just a few minutes get a call and my spirit is squashed like a bug. Things can be going just grand and then I hit a bump in the road and there I go, swerving off the road and I land face first in the ditch. Well, of course that just makes the day worse, doesn't it? Why? I lose my focus and instead of Jesus being at the center of my all, I place myself there. I think each and every day I wake should be perfect or near perfection. I think it should go the way I wish it to be. Nothing should be out of place. All should be right on time to make me smile. Think about. Isn't this exactly what we do? If the day isn't going as we wish we end up painfully angry. We wonder what has gone wrong and what in the world is wrong with all those people around us.

Just last week I had my 46th birthday. I can be honest and tell you my birthday stunk huge. I felt so let down. We always envision those who love us making our day special. We want to feel appreciated and valued. My husband was out of town. He knew I was having a bad day. I can tell you, I have the most amazing husband. He wants to make every day of my life special. Friends, that is one loving husband. There I was all alone on my birthday and it hit me hard. It was just one of those days where the pity crawled in and took a seat right in my heart. Isn't that how it starts? All it takes is one thing and we get totally off focus. I wasn't thinking about my sweet Sunday school teacher who called me and sang happy birthday to me. I wasn't thinking of the sweet words from my husband or all the wishes I received from friends. I focused on that one thing that seemed to break my heart. From there on out the day just kind of took the wind of out of my sails.

We take our circumstances and base our day on them. If all is good we are happy little fireflies fluttering about, but let it be a bad day, and man, we think the Lord has left us and all has hit bottom. Why do we do this? I can tell you why. We are selfish peeps. We really are. Let me put it this way. I'm selfish. I have a heart issue. We all do. So many times we place our value on what others think of us and what others do for us. But we have it all wrong. The first One we should thinking of is Jesus.

That night of my birthday I had great time of reflection. I took time in prayer. Just me talking with my Jesus and me listening to all He had to share. It was then I was reminded that there are times He allows things to happen to draw us nearer to Him. Don't you think He does? I mean look at His life. It was just His birthday and do you think the entire world was thinking more of Him or more of what was under the tree for them? I look at the birthdays He has had and I wonder how many of them He has given to tears. I wonder how Jesus celebrates His birthday. I can't imagine Him in sorrow, but in praise of His Father! He celebrates each and every one of us. His precious creation. All He wants is to be accepted. He wants our love in return. He loves us no matter what. But yet, where is our love and devotion to our Savior? It rests at times on what we receive and when we receive it. We base our relationship with Him on give and take. We give so we expect Him to give in return. So, you could say it's a give-give kind of relationship. The more we give the more we expect. The more we serve, the more we attend church, the more get the picture. We simply expect Jesus to give back because of what we give. Oh my, just who do we think we are? It's not about what we give. It's about what He gave and He gave ALL.

I want to love Jesus no matter what happens in life. I want a relationship with Jesus simply because He is my Savior. I don't want to have a weekend relationship with Him. Not a Sunday service kind of relationship. Not a sunny side up kind of love, but a no matter what kind of love. I want to walk with Jesus every single day and on those days I go sailing off course I want to be so in tune with Him that I not only hear Him guide me back, but that I follow in obedience to where He is calling me.

I don't want to live another year wondering at the end of the year what I missed out on because I was focused on self. I don't want to live a life of regret, but one that holds value in each decision I make. I want to live a life determined. One that shines a reflection of my Savior through me.

See, I could have spent my birthday praising Jesus for all He has done for me. I could have just spent the day in His grace. I could have set my focus on Him and that would have lead me to a wonderful day of celebration. But instead I focused on those not near me. Those who chose not to celebrate my day with me. I know you understand. You have been there too. We all have.

So, this year I'm setting a new course. I want to be more determined and more disciplined in my time spent with Jesus. I don't want to just live the day, but truly set out to make the day all it can be. I want to see the best in every situation. I want to see the purpose in the small. I want to look out at the world and see His grandeur. I want to see all the opportunities before me to share Him. I wanna dive in and not just go toe deep. I wanna let go of my fears and simply say, "Yes, Jesus".

The great thing about a new year is it's a time to start new. It's a time to look back and let go. It's a time to find forgiveness and to seek grace. I want to live my life in an honest and pure way. I wanna take those mistakes and give God room to turn them into blessings as only He can. It's through my time spent with Jesus that I find my self worth. It isn't found through others or anything this world has to offer. All I am and am to be is found in Jesus Christ. The One who created me.

I don't want to celebrate another birthday having a pity party, but looking at my Savior and praising Him for the sweet life that He gives me daily. Sure, it's great to have others share cake with us, but that isn't always going to happen. In the end, we must realize that there is nothing more important in our life than our relationship with Jesus. In Him we can have joy when no one else is around. In Him we can find peace in the midst of hurt. In Him we can find reason to celebrate life each and every moment.

I'm not going to focus on the bad. I refuse to do so. There is enough of that in our lives. I want to focus on the good and take this year to make a difference. I want to serve with a willing heart. I want to walk with a pure intent and I want each step to have purpose. I want to be that example for my grandchildren and for my children to follow. I want to spend more time in prayer and more time seeking the life Christ has for me.

This year isn't about me. It's about Him.

"By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the One who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence."
2 Peter 1:3

"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth."
Colossians 3:2

"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit."
Romans 8:5

My Heavenly Father, forgive me of my selfish attitude. Make me more aware of You. Create in me a heart that is Christ-like. A heart that is always seeking You. A serving heart. A forgiving heart. Most of all, a loving heart. Lord, show me the way to a path closer to You. Remove the selfish attitude of my heart and replace it with a heart that is totally on fire for You. May I find blessings each and every day of this new year. May I uncover your gifts and may I use each one for Your glory and honor. Empty me of self and fill me with all of You. Amen


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