Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:17
2 Corinthians 5:17
My dad’s voice still echoes from my childhood every January. It was his tradition to announce his yearly motto to our family on the first day of the year. If he were able to today, I’m sure he would be shouting something like, “There’s more to do in 2022!” Although this year started with the all-too-familiar covid shut downs, I believe we can still push forward with a purposeful and hope-filled vision. We may need to be a little more flexible and creative as we consider what we can do, but let’s move around the obstacles and consider what God wants to accomplish through us this year.
Whether you are a goal-setter or not, you can still create a plan to use your God-given gifts and talents in a positive and productive way. The turn of a new year gives you an opportunity to look for areas of growth, potential and improvement, as well as determining a few bad habits you need to ditch.
I like to apply the 333 Principle to my planning for the year.
Simply put, I prayerfully choose three areas of focus for the year. I thoughtfully consider where God wants me to devote my attention for the year and where I can best serve using the gifts He has given me. Then at the beginning of each month, I not only review my three “focus areas” for the year, but I also write out three goals I want to accomplish during that month. Finally, every night I make a plan for the next day, writing down my schedule and the three priorities for the coming day.
The 333 Principle keeps me moving forward in a positive and purposeful way. It’s a simple routine and easy to apply to my life without getting frustrated by failed goals or unmet resolutions. It also keeps me from needless distractions or saying “yes” to every fun-sounding idea.
What about you? How can you implement the 333 Principle into your personal and/or professional life this year?
If you are looking for a place to volunteer and serve in your community, please prayerfully consider joining our volunteer team at Engage Positive Parenting Initiative. Go to www.EngageParenting.com for more information.
Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked,
“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?
The Magi traveled a great distance to find the King of the Jews and worship Him. They brought gifts fitting for a king; gold, incense and myrrh. The Bible does not tell us much about these mysterious Magi, but we do know one thing, they sought out the king and when they found Him they were overjoyed. They bowed down and worshiped Christ the King of the Jews. Isn’t that a beautiful picture of a believer’s journey? God puts in our hearts a desire for Him. We seek Him, and when we find Him we are filled with joy, for at last we have found the only King who can satisfy our souls.
What gifts can we bring to the King of the Jews? It seems so often we are seeking what we can get, not what we can give, yet we all have gifts to give Him. As we love and serve others, even the least of these we are serving Him. Let’s honor the King with our words of thanksgiving and deeds of kindness this Christmas sesaon.
This devotional is an excerpt from Pursing God in the Quiet Places
I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you. Genesis 12:2
God not only blesses us, but he blesses us for a purpose. He blesses us so we will be a blessing. The word bless means, “to benefit.” It implies abundantly or greatly. In the Bible we are reminded that God blessed Abraham abundantly by building a great nation through his seed. He made Abraham’s name great.
God’s blessings are different toward each one of us. Sometimes our blessings may come through the most difficult of trials. The purest gold comes through the most intense heat, and the most beautiful gems are formed through immense pressure. Other blessings may be in the rich joy of family members or friends in our lives.
Everyone can look at unique ways God has blessed their lives. The question is, “Are we focusing on the blessings God has given us or on the frustrations?” Let’s thank God each day for the wonderful ways He blesses us, and then let’s be diligent to use our blessings to bless the world around us.
How does God want to use your gifts and talents to benefit others today?
Currently the word “crisis” is becoming an everyday term, as we see devastation both here and abroad. Our hearts go out to the people who were hit hard by Hurricane Ida, as well as the those who are attempting to flee the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. If you are like me, you wonder what you can do to help and bring hope to those facing such daunting challenges.
First and foremost we are called to pray. Paul wrote to the Colossian church, “Be devoted to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Let us pray without ceasing, asking for God’s comfort, care and strength for those in need. We can thank the Lord He is present in the midst of the storms of life, and He can do far beyond what we can ask or imagine.
Second, we can look for opportunities to help. Being “watchful,” means we search out ways that we can make a positive impact. There are trustworthy organizations which have “boots on the ground” in places of disaster. Two organizations I recommend for hurricane relief are Samaritan’s Purse and Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief.
As far as helping abroad with the crisis in Afghanistan, there is an organization that is committed to helping persecuted Christians around the world. They are currently aiding those in Afghanistan. The Nazarene Fund’s mission is, “To liberate the captive, to free the enslaved, and to rescue, rebuild and restore the lives of Christians and other persecuted religious and ethnic minorities wherever and whenever they are in need.” They are currently working to help believers in Afghanistan find safety.
Thirdly, consider one step you can take to help those in crisis, whether it is donating to the needs of a national crisis or taking a meal to a family in personal crisis or joining a relief team to provide hands on help in a crisis. We can’t do everything, but each of us can do something. Take one step forward as you consider ways you can make a difference.
Let’s not sit on the sidelines, rather let’s step into action by praying, searching and taking one step to offer a cup of cold water to someone in need.
The LORD had said to Abram,
“Go from your county… to the land I will show you.”
God is not a silent god; He is a God who speaks. In the Old Testament God spoke to His people through prophets, through visions, and sometimes He spoke directly to His servants. He spoke to Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Daniel, Isaiah and Jeremiah to name a few. Does God still speak to His people today?
One of the ways He speaks to us is through His written word, the Bible. We learn who God is and how He wants us to live as we read His word. His Spirit speaks to us. Often He speaks through that still small voice within us, lovingly prompting us to follow His direction and gently convicting us to turn from sin.
Now we must be careful not to think that every thought we have is from Him. We must test it against scripture. The more we get to know Him through scripture and prayer, the more we recognize His voice. Just as sheep recognize their shepherds voice, so we recognize our Good Shepherd’s voice as we grow to know Him and trust Him.
Father, open our ears to hear and our hearts to understand. Help us to follow your ways and honor you in everything we say and do.