Keeping Your Resolutions

2 Thessalonians 3:13: “Dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good” (NLT).

It’s hard to believe, but we’re already almost a full week into 2022! How have your resolutions been going so far?

I’ve been putting forth all my effort into recognizing God’s presence in even the simplest and most ordinary of everyday tasks. It’s been a beautiful and edifying practice that I’m grateful for.

The resolutions you have made are good things. You made them because you want to improve your life, and that’s admirable! There’s always room for us to grow, and we should never settle for staying stagnant in life.

The truth of the matter is that God has created you with unlimited potential. There is a purpose deeply rooted within your identity that God has placed there. To fulfill that divine purpose, you must be at your best in every way possible. Our New Year resolutions can help us to get there!

How? Let’s look for example at one of the most common New Year’s resolutions: to get in better physical shape! At first glance, this may not seem like it’s anything that has to do with our purpose or identity in Christ. But when we dig deeper, we find out that couldn’t be further from the truth!

The truth of the matter is that God has created you with unlimited potential. There is a purpose deeply rooted within your identity that God has placed there.

1 Corinthians 6:19 says. “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?” To truly comprehend this verse and its deeper meaning, we must look back at the design of Solomon’s temple in ancient Jerusalem.

The temple was a marvel of architecture and beauty. The temple was built with such staggering attention to perfection as a testament to the Israelites devotion to God. Solomon’s temple was built to reflect the glory of God Himself, for in that temple is where they believed God’s Spirit to reside.

The temple was made up of many courts. As you proceeded further into the temple and through the courts, you entered more holy ground. The innermost sanctum was the holiest of all, known as the Holy of Holies. This room was deemed so holy that only the High Priest could enter it, and only on one day of the entire year.

Why was that? Because that’s the sanctum where they believed God’s Spirit dwelled.

When Jesus died on the cross, the Bible tells us that the veil in the temple was torn in two. This symbolizes the truth that the Holy Spirit now resided within every believer instead of the Holy of Holies.

That’s right: If you are a believer, God’s Spirit is within YOU!

That makes your body sacred space, something to be cherished, respected, and taken care of. Just as you wouldn’t defile a church, don’t defile your body either.

See how the New Year’s resolution of committing to better physical health can carry with it deeply spiritual significance? This is just one example of how our resolutions can be so important to keep!

That’s right: If you are a believer, God’s Spirit is within YOU!

But did you know that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail? With those staggering kinds of statistics against us, where are we to find the encouragement, strength, and wisdom we need to see our resolutions through?

The Bible

The Bible is our source of all wisdom, knowledge, and strength. When we need the extra insight or motivation to crush our goals for the New Year, we can find it in God’s Word! Through the Bible, God shows us the deeper meaning behind everything that we experience in life. This helps to instill purpose and identity in us. That purpose and identity will lead us to naturally experience the motivation to better ourselves in every way so that we can be more like Jesus!

Your Relationship with Christ

Our faith centers around our personal and intimate relationship with Jesus. Jesus loves us as we are, but He also leads us on a journey of discovering and unleashing the fullness of the potential that God has placed within us. Jesus wants nothing more than to see us accomplish God’s purpose for our lives, and it’s through our relationship with Him that it happens!

Fellowship

God didn’t create us to go through life alone. Being a relational being Himself, God created us in His image to thrive off of relationships with each other. Our brothers and sisters in Christ can provide unmatched support when we need it most. Having a fellow believer to hold you accountable for your New Year’s resolutions can make or break you sticking with it!

Don’t give up on your resolutions. God has placed them upon your heart for a reason. Remember your powerful identity as a child of God, and never stop growing!

Continue reading “Keeping Your Resolutions”

New Year, New Life in Christ

Psalm 23:3: “He restores my soul” (NLT).

2022 is upon us. The last couple of years have been challenging in unique and scary ways. More than ever, we are looking for the comfort of the fresh start we receive at the dawn of a new year.

In preparation for this, many of us have made resolutions. We make these resolutions because they are things that will better our lives. We desire that these resolutions would become the pillars of our new year, signifying the deep change we yearn for in 2022.

While all of these resolutions can be good and helpful to our lives, they mean nothing if we don’t embrace one simple truth: Jesus must be the foundation of our lives! If He is not, every resolution is destined to fail. If He is not, 2022 will not be the year of fulfillment, new life, restoration, and healing that we pray for.

Let’s make some resolutions together. These resolutions will lead us to new life in Christ this coming year!

Invest in God’s Word

The Bible is our manual for life! 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right” (NLT). The Bible is essential for our personal growth. God’s Word has enriched and changed the lives of countless people generation after generation. It can do the same for you!

No matter where we find ourselves in life, we need wisdom, encouragement, and strength. There is no greater source of these things than in the Holy Bible. Through God’s Word, He gives us everything we need to embrace positive change in our lives and step forward into our role as His children. A vibrant relationship with God’s Word will be just the catalyst you need to make true and lasting changes in your life.

No matter where we find ourselves in life, we need wisdom, encouragment, and strength.

Make Time for Prayer

Prayer must also be a daily practice in our lives if we are to further ourselves along our path of spiritual maturity. Ephesians 6:18 says, “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion” (NLT). God gives us this commandment through His Word because He knows that prayer will make us thrive in every way.

Prayer goes hand-in-hand with our daily Bible reading plan. Communication makes relationships thrive, and prayer is how we talk to God! As we read our Bible, we can bring to Him all of our questions and ask for His insight. Doing this daily is an incredible relationship builder with God that will set fire to your connection with Him! Your relationship with Him will be the foundation of the new life you will experience in Christ.

Communication is what makes relationships thrive, and prayer is how we talk to God!

Commit to Fellowship

God is a relational being, and we were created in His image! That means that we were made to do life alongside one another. God never intended for us to go through life alone. Fellowship brings an abundance of blessings to our lives. Going through life with fellow believers brings us encouragement, strength, and spiritual insight, the likes of which we can’t receive anywhere else.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (NLT). Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ can help us become the best versions of ourselves. Let’s conquer our goals for the new year together!

Make the Most Important Resolution

We make resolutions in the new year in order to bring positive changes to our lives. There is no better change that all of us can make than committing to growing closer and closer to God in new and exciting ways!

What’s incredible about this resolution is that when you live it out faithfully, you have the increased ability to tackle the other powerful changes you wish to make in your life. Your invigorated relationship with God will give you the strength, wisdom, and motivation you need to walk in new life in 2022!

While we’ve all experienced challenges in the past couple of years, God is calling us into a season of restoration, healing, and renewed perspective. Are you ready to follow Him on this grand adventure?

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Peace Through Prayer

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you (NIV).

God convicted me yesterday. You see, I had my day all planned out. I was going to get 100% caught up on work. Then I was going to write my blog post while enjoying a cup of coffee. My baby daughter was going to nap when I expected her to. I was excited about this day. There were goals to conquer, and I was ready to do it.

It turns out things didn’t go as I had planned. As I failed to follow the worldless directions while building a piece of IKEA furniture, my dog attacked the parts I had organized on the floor. My daughter, who I thought was napping, started screaming out of the blue. The work that I had set goals to accomplish for the day never got done. It was a circus.

At first, I felt frustration taking hold of me, but God stopped me at that moment and asked me to pray. I did. He flooded me with a peace that I didn’t think I would find amid the chaos. 

God stopped me in that moment and asked me to pray.

We grew up believing that we have control of things. Yes, we have free will and can work hard to make things happen for us. Ultimately though, curveballs are thrown at us that no amount of preparation or hard work can help us dodge. 

These are life’s tragedies. We will all encounter them in varying degrees. How we respond to them will dictate the course of our life. They will make or break us. We must find refuge in God’s peace. But what is that peace, and how are we to capture it?

Peace is the acceptance that we are not in control. Achieving this is challenging because we want to have a tight grip on our fate. Not having that causes us great anxiety. But we have hope because we have faith in the One who is in control! 

Peace is the acceptance that we are not in control.

The kind of peace that God offers reassures us that everything will be ok. It pierces through even our darkest moments. It doesn’t mean that we won’t grieve, and it doesn’t mean we won’t feel pain. It is the difference between being broken and having the strength to carry on. It’s the mindset that reminds you of God’s promise that He will redeem all.

Isaiah 26:3 reminds us that all we need to receive this peace is steadfast trust in God. Through our faith, He will continually renew our minds and grant us peace as we’ve never known. This peace will not only carry us through our most challenging trails but also through stressful days, like the one I had yesterday. 

He will continually renew our minds and grant us peace as we’ve never known.

Saturate your day in prayer, and ask God for the peace that only He can provide. Ask Him how to teach you how to keep your mind steadfast on Him, so that you can tackle everything the day brings. 

Why is Prayer Important?

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (NIV)

I remember as a child I never liked to sleep. My parents would put me to bed, and the second they were out of the room I was out of my bed and right behind them. When I finally did decide to stay in bed, I’d often just lay there awake, completely absorbed in my own thoughts. I have a peculiar mind, and to this day can never get bored as I can find endless things to ponder the intricacies of.

In my bedroom as a child, I had a picture on the wall that my mother cross-stitched for me. It has a prayer on it: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” When I was anxious, I would read this over and over again. It soothed me, and was one of the few things that helped me get to sleep.

What sort of imagery comes to your mind when you think of prayer? For me, it was always kneeling at my bedside, hands folded, repeating one of the classic prayers, like the one I grew up with on my wall as a child. If this is still all that comes to your mind when you think of prayer, I am here to tell you that prayer is astronomically more than this!

In our present day and age, we live in a constant battle against anxiety. We live in a constant pressure to preform, and keep up with the ever-changing world around us. There are deadlines to meet, bills to pay, and work to get done. We are in desperate need of peace, but peace is so hard to find.

We are in desperate need of peace, but peace is so hard to find.

In Philippians 4 Paul writes about prayer. He tells us that prayer, when spoken with an attitude of thanksgiving, will give us peace which “transcends all understanding.” He continues on to say this peace will guard our hearts and minds.

How do we achieve this kind of result in our prayer? While the prayer I repeated as a child helped to soothe me, its impact ended there. Life is more complicated now, and we need more than simple soothing. The Bible tells us that we need to pray in “every situation.” Does this mean we are to be on our knees, hand-folded and eyes closed in every moment of our lives?

No, that is obviously silly. What we need to do is cultivate an attitude of prayer in our everyday lives. Think of prayer more as an overall mindset that determines your actions rather than a particular action you take in a certain moment. Practically, this means striving towards taking each and every thought that passes through your mind, and presenting it to God in conversation. Ask Him to shape all that you think about. As you grow in this discipline He will teach you about Him, yourself, and the world around you in ways you never imagined before. He will also shape your attitude and mindset towards one of peace and thanksgiving in all circumstances.

Why is prayer important? Because it can change our world, one life at a time.