A New Year: Thrive 2/4

a-new-year-thriveAnd let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
(Galatians 6:9)
That time of the year has come where we approach setting goals and try to change a habit or two. Looking and feeling lean has always been a goal of mine, and it will take determination to get there. I have had success within the first 21 days and I tell myself it’s not just for my appearance, but also for my overall health. But now that February has approached, I notice that I’m not progressing on my New Year’s Resolution as I would have hoped. So, I try different eating habits and exercise routines hoping the end result is not that I end up back where I was before I made this commitment to myself to make myself healthier.
We are stewards of this vessel God has given us and it is our job to nurture it. Our hearts are idol-making factories as Augustine once said. We fail because we focus on ourselves. We place ourselves as the goal.
Imagine if we focused on what God wanted us to do? We could use that same drive, determination, and motive behind our resolution and direct it toward God’s will and purpose for our lives. Will we be perfect? No of course not. We are sinners after all. Paul says not even he has achieved the goal, but presses on (Philippians 3:14). We should have a daily RESOLUTION to pray and study the Word of God. Just as my 21-day Fix videos tell me to take it one day and one pound at a time, we should daily ask God to keep us on track.
John Owen says we should be killing sin or it will be killing you. Let us press on toward the goal, the upwards calling of Christ Jesus.
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop and look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do the one thing you think you cannot do.
(Eleanor Roosevelt)
Jessica Statler
TVBC Youth Minister’s Wife
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A New Year: Thrive 1/13

a-new-year-thrive“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure, buried in a field, that a man found and reburied. Then in his joy he goes and sells everything he has and buys that field.”

Matt. 13:44

Several times a year, my family embarks on a massive purge of stuff. This purge usually precedes birthdays and Christmas because we need to make room for the highly anticipated new gadgets. A few years ago, I gathered the kids together, passed out garbage sacks to everyone, and prepared myself for the occasional whine and complaint. To my surprise, my then 7 year old joyfully exclaimed how excited she was! She said she loved getting rid of things in order to make room for the new. A few hours later, I peeked in her very full bag of to-be-discarded items, and realized her excitement may have run away with her. Ironically, I had to convince her to keep a few sentimental items.

A few months later, I was reading the parable of hidden treasure in Matthew 13 and saw the simplicity of the principle through the eyes of a child. This parable indicates that when the man found the treasure, the kingdom of heaven, he realized its value was more than anything else he had. Selling his other possessions was not an act of sacrificial, obligatory obedience, but an act of joy. In fact, Romans 14:17 defines the kingdom of heaven as “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” The man’s former possessions were completely irrelevant in light of the beauty of this newly found treasure. In selling all in order to make room for the new, he clearly revealed what he treasured in his heart.

My house can quickly accumulate stuff, some of which might be considered valuable. In the same way, my heart tends to involuntarily hoard that which I treasure. And often times, that which I treasure would be considered by most to be beneficial and not destructive. But no gift God has given me compares to the value and worth of the kingdom of heaven, the rule of Christ in my life. Some seasons I do well with treasuring Christ above all else. Other seasons, a de-cluttering session is needed to purge that which I have begun to hold too closely. To lose these things is not a sad loss when I gain the kingdom of heaven in return.

Sara Burt

 

A New Year: Thrive 1/12

a-new-year-thriveIt occurred to me while writing this piece that every year we make a big fuss…almost in a panic. Oh no?! It’s New Year’s Eve!! How am I going to enhance or improve in my life?

Let’s see: I’m already in church, read the Word…oh wait…only a minute on Sundays during church. (Shhh…did I say that out loud?!) I need to work on doing that everyday.

Ok, what is my New Year’s resolution?

Because I never keep the resolutions anyway, my solution is no resolution. I need to just take inventory of my life, write down what I need to do, should do, and can do.

My plate is always full: kids, relatives, work, errands…my work is never done. Sometimes I need to write a note to find the note that it seems I have lost and can’t find. Sometimes after taking care of what seems like everybody else, I seem to have lost myself.

One thing I’ve learned is a new year is just a new date. If you are serious about getting yourself together you wouldn’t wait until a new year starts. You would say the Nike logo to yourself…JUST DO IT…and move toward change.

We have all been through trials and tribulations. We have all had days when we wish we could pull the covers over our head and hide from the world, or wish we had a magic wand to make everything right.

So, I’m asking you to commit to a 21 day jump start to improving yourself and your life. Choose a devotional plan. Here’s a few examples I saw online that caught my attention: 21 day devotional plan for busy women, 21 days of powerful breakthroughs, a 21 day challenge-Made to Crave, 21 day devotional to beat depression, 21 days with the Holy Spirit, and 21 days of prayer…just to name a few.

Remember, Philippians 4:13 says,

“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”

In Mark 9:23 Jesus said,

“If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”

Finally my personal favorite from Ephesians 6:11.

“Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

No one is perfect, but YOU must perfect what you want in your life. Here’s to New Year’s solutions for 2017!

Trisha Williams

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For The Honor

For the honor of the Father

Who reaches out to us

That we might live inside His love

He gave His only son

For the honor of the Savior

May the cross be lifted high

The great exchange of love and grace

Came down to give us life

For the honor of the Spirit

Whose power lives in us

That we might see greater things

As we embrace Your love

For the honor of Your kingdom

Whose reign will never end

We’ll give our lives in sacrifice

Until you come again

Forever…We’ll honor You Forever

As many of us are formulating personal goals, marital goals with our spouses, and possibly guiding children to do the same, may we remember all is sacred. Our children are educated for different fields to build the kingdom, to spread the gospel. We maintain jobs working as to the Father (Colossians 3:23), and we commit our work to the Lord so our plans will be established (Proverbs 16:3).  As you set your goals and your resolutions, may we all remember our purpose, our ultimate goal. For the Honor. (video link of “For the Honor” by Elevation Worship below)

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http://www.releaselyrics.com/3231/elevation-worship-for-the-honor/