Never Give Up!

ImageIt’s the middle of January!!  How are you doing on those New Year’s resolutions?  Are you still going to the gym?  Losing weight?  Being sweet to your husband and mom?  Have you kept those credit cards effectively hidden?  Are you purposefully reading your Bible every day?

If you are anything at all like me … this is the week that you lose the momentum concerning your New Year’s resolutions.  Mid-January is when our determination melts away into forgetfulness and half-hearted compliance.

Allow me to remind you that the word “resolution” comes from the word “resolve” which means: to come to a determination; to come to a definite or earnest determination about something; firmness or purpose of intent; to follow a course of action.

When you decided, the last week of December, to follow certain New Year’s resolutions, you came to a definite and earnest determination that you were not going to give up or be side-tracked.  You firmly purposed the solid intent to follow a particular course of action.

Don’t give up!!  If you have missed a couple of days … start again today! 

If you have said the wrong thing to your husband or were short with your mother … ask for forgiveness and move ahead into kindness and tenderhearted living. 

If you took those dastardly credit cards out of hiding and used them to fulfill some momentary desire, put them away!  Far away!!  Some of you may just want to cut up those credit cards and render them powerless in your life.

Unfortunately, our human response to losing momentum is simply giving up.  I have a few words for you today:  Never, never, never give up!

If you haven’t gone to the gym for the past 4 days, you can still go today and again tomorrow and surely for the rest of the week.  If you have blown your resolution to not eat sugar in the month of January, today is a new day!  Today is a brand new opportunity to pray for strength and to ask God to give you the focus concerning your new and healthier eating habits.

Will you join me in resolving to resolve again?  Will you search your heart, repent for your lack of discipline and then pray that God will give you the strength to be a healthier, kinder, more disciplined version of yourself in 2013? 

It has been my experience that my resolutions are never fulfilled unless I couple my annual resolve with daily and heartfelt prayer.  Every day, I pray that God would give me the strength to help me make healthy and righteous decisions in both the big things and in the small things in my life.

I believe that in your daily resolve lies your greatness.  It is up to you to pull out the weeds of compromise and weakness, of mediocrity and selfish thinking around that seed of greatness.  It is up to you to fertilize your potential of living a truly great life, which lies in your resolve, with big dreams and both short term and long term goals.

Every day is a gift … an extraordinary gift from heaven.  There is no such thing as a bad day or even an ordinary day.  Resolve today that your New Year’s resolutions will not fade into the cemetery of out-dated goals and dreams that never came true.

Determine with passion and with action that you will stay the course and be the person that you have always wanted to be!  Pray when you feel your weakest and try again.  Again and again and again.

Ask God to give you His strength as you set your face like flint to stay the course with determination and with the power of heaven coursing through your human veins.

The good news is this:  God didn’t promise that His mercies were only new every January.  God promised that every day was a new day … a new opportunity to try again … a new chance to be filled with His great power.

“The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease; for His compassions never fail:  They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness, Oh Lord!” – Lamentations 3:22 & 23.

The Miracle of The Season

Image“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” 

Now … if that ain’t the truth, I don’t know what is!!

What?!!  (She said incredulously and with disbelief in her voice!) You don’t agree?!!  You don’t think that it’s the most wonderful time of the year?!!

If you find yourself raging in religious disagreement with my heartfelt love of and for all things Christmas, then this blog is for you today.  I want to help you with your aversion to mistletoe, holiday cheer and with the decking of the holiday halls before you deck somebody!

It’s true … I am a Christmas-aholic.  The resounding reason that I love Christmas so utterly and completely has nothing to do with overfed octogenarians in red suits trimmed with white fur, snowmen that dance at street corners or cups of holiday cheer.

The reason that my heart stops at the thought of Christmas is because I am in love with the Savior of the world.

The reason that my eyes fill with tears every year the day after Thanksgiving is because I love babies.  Especially a certain baby Boy born in a manger.

The reason that my heart sings with heaven and nature is because my world was dark and hopeless and it has now been filled to overflowing with the Light of the world and the God of all hope.

The reason that I believe this season to be so earth-stoppingly spectacular is because I really do hear the song of the angels in my Christmas-infested heart.

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord.” – Luke 2:10 & 11.

The mistake that many Christian Scrooges make is that they confuse the magic of the season with the miracle of the season.  The magic of Christmas holds no eternal beauty or significance for me, either.  It is the miracle of the season that causes my flesh to stand in amazement at the Gift that I have been given.

The magic of the season centers upon toy-making elves, flying reindeer with red noses and presents wrapped in silver and gold. 

This is what I believe … either the manger should be placed in the same category as elves, jolly old Saint Nicholas and flying reindeer … or it is absolute, divine and eternal Truth.

Christmas is not about the holiday spirit that rushes toward us the day after Thanksgiving and compels us to shop, spend, and eat. 

Christmas is about the Holy Spirit bringing peace and joy through a Baby Boy to the mess that we have made of planet earth. 

It is about the power of heaven’s reality invading one life. 

It never ceases to amaze me that most of humanity pauses to celebrate the month of December.  That’s nothing short of miraculous!  School children have concerts … offices close their doors … neighbors decorate with lights … high school friends put long newsy letters in the mail … and grocery stores offer treats offered at no other time of the year.

Why?  It’s because built into each one of us is the desire to celebrate!  God made us to celebrate the miracle of Christmas!  And, as believers, it is up to us to demonstrate to this lost, dark world exactly what they are celebrating!  It is up to me and to you to reveal the joy of this season in extraordinary and miraculous ways!

It is up to you and I not to BECOME Scrooge but to OVERCOME Scrooge with the peace that was announced that night that stars exploded over the shepherds and their flocks.

It is up to us, with a smile on our faces, to shake our heads in agreement with the perky lyrics to songs that are sung only once a year, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

And then … it is up to you and I to live out the truth of this divine season … He came so that my life could be wonderful.

God sent His Son so that I would have something to celebrate.

My entire life has been changed because of the most miraculous event in all of recorded history.  God became man so that I could sing with the angels a song so victorious and hopeful that the world must listen.

It really is the most wonderful time of the year, isn’t it?

Christmas Favor

As you read the beginning of the Christmas story in Luke, have you ever thought about the word “Favor”? Have you ever wondered what the favor of God is all about? Christmas is about the favor of God invading your life today…