Tag Archive | persevere

Resolutions

Garden Path and Gate“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” Luke 9:51 (NIV)

I’m looking forward to what this new year will bring and what new resolutions I will be making. I so often feel like I don’t accomplish my resolutions and I wondered how I had done on those I had made this past year.

As I looked back at two of my posts transitioning from 2011 to 2012, I realized I had really only made two resolutions. One was about getting rid of the old. This included old stuff as well as old attitudes. The other was to be resolved to know Christ more.

They are both hard to measure. Have I ever really reached the end of getting rid of bad attitudes? Somehow they creep back and settle on in. I continue to accumulate stuff so at some point it will all be old as well. When do I know I know Christ more? There will never be an end to what there is to know so how do I move forward in what I do know trusting even in what I don’t?

As I type this blog, my youngest daughter is cleaning out her room. For anyone who knows her, she is organized, responsible, and diligent. What they don’t see is her room: the one place she doesn’t care to care about. Her comment today about the amount of stuff in her room, on the floor and taking up space was, “If I have a bed to collapse on, I’m good!”

Unfortunately, I care about the state of her room so over the school break she is dusting, vacuuming and reorganizing which includes going through every piece of clothing and memorabilia she has. In the process of just doing it, she has found “the zone” and is ready to get rid of anything and everything taking up space without a purpose.

It’s fabulous! I’m grinning from ear to ear!

As we have drawn closer to the end of the year, I realize that there are many attitudes and behaviors I want to be rid of. It isn’t that there is no purpose in the attitude, the purpose just isn’t a good one.

Did I fall short of past my resolution? Did I not really care about this resolution? I have over this past year felt irritated, judgmental, critical, prideful, and unloving. I have said things I shouldn’t have and not said things I should. I have left things undone and done too many things I wish I wouldn’t have. I did not clean out the closets, clean up my house or put myself through an extreme makeover.

But, I did grow closer to God and have come to know Christ more. I backed off a bit on blogging but did write a new Bible study which taught me about the resolution of Jesus.

He had one mission: to reconcile the world to God. In order to accomplish this, He had to be resolved to follow every leading of His Father. Jesus was resolved.

I also realize that the only way I can truly be resolved to shed the old is to know Jesus more.

“Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (GW)

He is the “zone” I need to be in so that I can let go of the old. If I want my old attitude to be made new, I need to be in Christ. I won’t be perfect, but He will continue to work in me. My willingness to be resolved begins with my willingness to abide and stay close to Jesus.

That is my first resolution for this year, to abide in Christ.

Something to Consider…

Resolutions are not just wishes we hope will come true. They are decisions we make based on a firm purpose and determination. We know it matters even if we don’t always know why it matters. We choose to do, not just wish.

Be resolved to abide in Christ. What does this mean in your life? What does it look like? What can you do to draw near to God knowing He will draw near to you?

Be resolved to follow His leading in your life. Every decision results in an action; even inaction is a choice. Because you are abiding, you will be able to better recognize when God shows you an area of your life that He wants to make new. Decide to do what He says and follow His lead.

Victory in Jesus

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the LORD, because you know that your labor in the LORD is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

Have you ever purchased an item that you just had to have only to get rid of it a year or so later? You didn’t use it as much as you thought you would or it didn’t work the way it said it would. I’ve done this way too many times. Usually, I’ve been looking for something that would make life easy and convenient. Sometimes, we just want the hot new product so we can be part of the “in” crowd. Sometimes, we just want to prove we can have it.

I recently saw a restaurant menu that said, “You can have it all!” The truth of that statement is you can have it all…eventually. It comes at a price. And then, you will be empty again because it does not last.

This is the way of the world. We can have it all. All the world has to offer, that is. And the lie the enemy wants us to believe is that it’s worth the price. You can satisfy your every desire. You deserve it, you’ve earned it and without it, you won’t really be happy.

The truth of Jesus says you don’t deserve it, you can’t earn it but with Him, you will have unending joy. In Jesus, there is joy and satisfaction like you’ve never experienced. No food or drink can feed your hunger or quench your thirst like the love of Christ.

When we live like we believe this, we are not distracted from our work, our purpose in the LORD. God has something for each of us to do for His world, His kingdom. The enemy loves it when we don’t complete our missions, don’t live out our purpose and are completely ineffective for Christ. He throws material possessions, status, and conveniences at us hoping to distract us. He uses struggles, troubles and temptations through our circumstances and people in our lives to try to get us to give up. We may begin to think we will never really be able to do what the LORD has called us to do. We can’t really have victory in Jesus here and now in this time and place. It’s just too hard, too much work.

We allow the perishable things of this world to keep us from a life of victory in Christ. Once we accept the gift of Jesus and His salvation, we know we will be with Him in heaven some day; but, we do not need to wait until then to live in that victory.

Something to Consider…

Where do you go to find satisfaction? Do you look to the people and things around you to fill you and bring you happiness?

Do situations, emotions and others move you? Do they cause you to doubt your faith or why you do what you do?

If we stand firm in our faith we cannot be moved from the purpose God has set before us. And what is that purpose? To share Jesus with others. What does the way you live your life say about what you believe about Jesus?

Ask Him to show you any areas of your life where you do not believe victory in Jesus is really for you right here, right now. He has overcome the world. In Him, so have you.

Inspire and Respond

I started out my day reading Psalm 119. It speaks of God’s unfailing love, truth and promises. And throughout all 176 verses, the author responds to God’s goodness with love and obedience.

God gives and I receive. How do I respond? I obey out of love. Or at least, that’s the goal.

I began thinking about my wedding vows and wondered if I was really doing what I said I would. We didn’t use the traditional vows, no obey to be found, but I could remember that I was “to inspire and to respond.”

I kept a copy of our vows, along with a copy of the program, invitation and the like so I would just find them and review what I agreed to 20 years ago.

I was on a scavenger hunt for just over one hour. Found my dress, shoes and bouquet. I also found an unfinished wedding album with our invitation and response card. I found journals, notes, cards and pictures from our courting years. Prom items, newspapers, Sports Illustrated magazines, report cards, and yearbooks fill one of the heaviest bins in our home. But, our vows were nowhere to be found!

Then I remembered, we have it on tape! Yes, I said tape – VHS to be exact. And the hunt began again! I only had to look three places before finding it. Luckily, we still have a VHS player hooked up to our TV so I was all set. Do you know how bad good quality VHS plays on a high-definition TV?

The video begins with beautiful music and our guests entering the sanctuary. Oh my! It may have been 1991 but we were definitely living in the 80’s. Big hair and mullets, shoulder pads and tapered pants. There were family members who have passed away: my dad, Craig’s mom, all of our grandparents and many aunts and uncles; some good friends, too. And so many friends! We truly enjoyed our day!

Our wedding was all about love. We had the traditional 1 Corinthians 13 “Love never fails” reading. The message was about true love, not balloon and teddy bear love but self-sacrificing love. And the songs expressed that the foundation of our love was planted in God’s love.

So what words did we choose to express how we would love each other?

“I take you to be my husband/wife from this time onward, to join with you and to share all that is to come, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond, and in all circumstances of our life together, to be loyal to you with my whole life and with all my being until death parts us.”

I admit I have given – I’ve also dished it, threatened it, and taken it back. I’ve done a lot of talking but have not always listened with a desire to understand. I’ve responded quite often and it has not been pretty. There are times I have not been loyal with my whole being, desiring my will more than his, or God’s, and bad talking him for it.

In all of this, could I have possibly inspired or encouraged? Is he better today for having been with me?

 “The union of your spirits here has caused Him to remain, for whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name, there is love.” Wedding Song (There is Love)

As I think about where we’ve come from compared to where we are today, it could only be because of God’s great love for us. He has inspired us to be more than we could’ve been without Him or each other.

Something to Consider…

“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 (ESV)

Love is an action. God gives, speaks and inspires. How do you respond to God’s love for you? Do you receive His love with a willing heart? Do you listen with a heart set on understanding His truth? Do you respond with obedience out of love for Him and others?

Out With the Old

“Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it!” Ephesians 4:22 (MSG)

My daughter has made it clear – we will wait until January 1st to put away the Christmas tree and decorations! Personally, I have the time today so I would rather do it and get it over with. You see, when we put away the decorations from the season, we do a thorough cleaning before putting back the everyday décor. Cleaning up is never as much fun as decorating and to see it sitting there, needing to be done, is difficult.

Another piece to the switching out of décor is the decision of whether we pack the item away for next year or get rid of it. Some items are old and don’t really fit our style anymore. Some items have a story or memory so we wrestle with the emotional attachment to the item and have to decide if it’s worth the space in our storage room. What’s the easiest thing to do in this situation? Pack it and decide to decide next year. So it sits, packed away, taking up space and waiting for us to deal with another day.

“Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won’t let go.” Hebrews 12:1a (CEV)

Unfortunately, I know I do this same thing too often with my attitude and behavior. I know the things in my life that I need to change because they really don’t fit who I am anymore in Christ, and yet, there is a memory attached so I choose to hold on a little longer.

There may have been good friends and fun times associated with certain behaviors and to, once in a while, pull them out, dust them off and relive the old is a way to reconnect to some people I miss. Maybe there is someone with whom I am still upset and to consider forgiving and throwing away the anger seems to justify what they’ve done and I’m not yet ready to let them off the hook. Maybe my future in this new way of life just seems uncertain, bigger than me, so it’s easier to stay in the comfort of the old, holding back because I know once I choose to go forward there really is no going back. Getting rid of the old feels like it will leave a big empty space.

But God in His goodness will fill that space if we turn to Him.

“And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.” Ephesians 4:23-24 (MSG)

Once we choose to rid ourselves of the old ways, we make room for God to fill us with His ways. That empty space is a clean slate for God to reproduce His character and attitude in us. He will not leave us empty. On the contrary, He will fill us to overflowing!

Something to Consider…

Is there something new you want to do but you’re not experiencing success? Do you want to move forward but for some reason you feel stuck? There may be something in your life still taking up space, not allowing the new to take hold.

Ask God to help you recognize those attitudes and behaviors that need to go and then allow Him to fill that space and do a new work inside you.