Almost Always

I almost always love fresh starts and new beginnings. I almost always look back at the year gone by and think…”Whew! I made it through another one without any major health issues, deaths in the family, etc.” While last year was still a blessing as far as health, that death in the family thing…well, I didn’t get through the year without that issue. I lost my biggest cheerleader, my most faithful pray-er and intercessor, my best friend…I lost my Mom.  She went to be with our Lord a few months ago. 

In January, when my inbox overflowed with emails telling me to—“Begin this year…say yes to a fresh start now…change your life“…yada, yada, yada…this almost always girl wasn’t ready yet. I wasn’t feeling it. I felt left behind. Grief does funny things to your personality. So, here I am in almost February wanting to say “Happy New Year!” I’m ready now. Joy and anticipation have come forward and grief has taken its proper place at the back of my mind. 

So…HAPPY NEW YEAR!

If you have had an almost always kind of beginning to your new year, please join me in a symbolic flip of the calendar to 2015 today. Be encouraged. Be joyful. Be ready. Be renewed. This is the day the LORD has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

We were made by God—for God. HE is our biggest cheerleaderHE is our most faithful pray-er/intercessorHE is our best friend.  I may have lost my Mom, but I will always have Him! May we all be reminded of that today!

Prove It!

A simple wedding reception. That’s how it all started. Over three decades ago. Surrounded by hope, joy, and anticipation. I felt only despair, sorrow, and dread. My marriage was over. Didn’t they know how it would all end up? Part of me wanted to charge forward and frantically warn them…“It’s not what you think. This won’t end well.” Fortunately, I kept my thoughts to myself. I had enough going on just trying to cover the big “D” plastered on my forehead. On the way home, I blurted it out–“I want what they have.” There. I said it. It was out of my mouth. I looked at my Mom and admitted it. Yes, I wanted what “those people” all had. There was a common, obvious thread among them. What was it? One simple, life-changing answer. They had God in their lives and it showed. They looked good. They even smelled good. More importantly, they loved good. I was treated like “one of them” (even though we all knew I wasn’t). They were living proof. Walking and breathing testimonies.

They made me want to be like them. They made me want what they had. They made me want God. “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:16, NLT)

More than 30 years later, I know. I know God uses His people to call others to Himself. I know God uses His people to show His love. I know God uses His people to repair broken lives. I know…because they proved it. I know…because God was faithful to do it. “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.” (Matthew 3:8, NLT)

We were put on this earth for only one reason—to glorify God. We are here to show who HE IS, not who WE ARE. “He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.” (Psalm 23:3, NLT)

So, today, let’s honor His name by our lives. Let’s honor His name by our love. Lord, may we be a people to cause others to say…“I want what they have.”

The LORD is my portion…

Portion control.  OY!  For this ONE or TEN girl (I have no FIVE), this is a huge issue.  I have always told people….”I do much better practicing total abstinence.  I can’t just eat one donut, so I have to go without!”

Hmmm…. actually, this adage has always just been my excuse for a lack of control and discipline.  I don’t think I am alone.

This way of eating keeps us in a perpetual state of roller coaster dieting.  Bad for your body, bad for your brain, and really bad for your confidence and self-esteem.  Way too much time is spent beating yourself up for over-indulging and patting yourself on the back for a job well done. Personally, I am more bruised from the beatings than the pats! This inconsistent living gives Satan a foothold in our lives.

While researching “portion control” for this post, I ran across more than a few websites touting their “small plate systems” for losing weight.  They actually sell plates or plate systems (for $99) that will prevent us from overindulging.  Wow!  I was shocked.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  But, I did come away feeling like I shouldn’t need to be tricked into eating a healthy diet.  Time to buck up and buckle down.  No more excuses…and no purchasing $99 plate systems.

The Lord did not create our bodies to be treated like a teeter totter.  He created us with balance.  We are His masterpiece.  Created by the Master.

So, this year, I have deemed my
“YEAR OF LIVING IN THE 5-ZONE.”   No more extremes. Time to exercise some self-control and self-discipline. (1Thess. 4:4)  Time to exercise some moderation. (Phil. 4:5)  Time to live a holy and honorable life for God.

The Lord is my portion…

Want help honoring God and controlling portions?  Click HERE for some guidance.

Ready–Set–Go!

I love new beginnings! What a blessing to ring in the new year with you!  I always look back and think…”Whew!  I made it through another one without any major health issues, deaths in the family, etc.”  I know.  Sounds like it’s all about me, right?  Sorry about that.  Actually, it’s all about HIM!  What a joy to anticipate all of God’s goodness, mercy, and faithfulness ahead.  We can be confident that God’s decisions and ways are greater and wiser than ours and that we will see His glory in 2014 and beyond!  (Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways! Rom. 11:33)

Let’s not just blindly flip our calendars. Let’s enter into this new year with excitement and new hearts and minds.

Let’s not just wander from month-to-month. Let’s enter each month searching for ways to be more obedient, kind, faithful, joyful, and active in others’ lives.

Let’s not just live from day-to-day with no direction.  Let’s run at life equipped with our Bibles, our faith, and our God.

Let’s press on and run to win (1Cor. 9:24).
Let’s be finishers–not just starters. (Phil. 3:14).
Let’s release those things in life that are slowing us down and keeping us from a mighty pursuit of God (Heb. 12:1).
Let’s remain faithful to the end (2 Tim. 4:7).

He is worth it and, as children of God, our lives are worth it.

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