Let THIS be the YEAR

 And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. 

   2 Corinthians 8:10-12 (NKJV)

I have been trying to think of a smooth way to introduce this verse, but I can’t. All I can think to tell you is how this verse means the world to me right now. I actually marked in my Bible sometime last year, and I remember it pricking me then. When I quit my job a couple of years ago to stay home, I had things I wanted to do. Some things were of a strictly practical nature. I have kitchen and bathroom “remodels” that have been going on for a long time and a yard that has needed attention for many a winter. Other things are ones I truly believe God has put within me the desire to do. When I went back to work this year, many of those things remained undone. They had been talked about and toyed with, but nothing has come of them. They have not been completed. I can not tell you how frustrating that is for me, but I bet for many of you, I don’t have to. You know.

The New Year rolled around and you were very aware of what you had meant to do, what you had started to do, and yet somewhere along the way had neglected to complete. Maybe for reasons you had no control over. Maybe, like me, because you talked yourself around it or out of it. Paul offers a stiff challenge in the first couple of lines of this passage. Sure, he is talking about money, but good advice can be applied to many areas.

It is not enough for us to just desire to do something and start. We must finish. As eager as we were when we first thought of it and as excited as we felt at the mere mention of it, we must choose to maintain that excitement and eagerness in seeing it through. In our own flesh that can be a very daunting task. The boldness I originally felt waned as my flesh and my enemy spoke doubt to me and made a point to make sure I was aware of my of my many shortcomings. Good thing Paul covered those as well.

For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.

My list of have-nots doesn’t matter a hill of beans to the Lord. He desires what I have.

In the practical things.

In the dreams He has tucked away in my heart.

In the future He has only shown me glimpses of.

In all of it.

He wants me to give what I have with a willing mind. He will gladly make up the rest. I can’t tell you how many times He has provided inspiration and wisdom  in the practical areas of my life as well as the spiritual ones.

To echo the words of Paul –  And in this I give advice– let’s finish what we started. Last year. Ten years ago. Whenever you started it, let us finish it this year. Together.  It may be the very thing the Lord is waiting on before He starts that new thing we have been asking Him for.

* And now for some accountability. I, we, would love to hear what you are starting, how and when. You can be as general or as specific as you like. Then we, along with you, can follow-up with one another, encourage each other and spur each other onto good works.

I’ll go first. I have a project that needs finishing. It has been sitting on the back burner for two years now. It is time to pen to paper and get at it. Phone calls need to made, so as my accountability partners, within two weeks please ask me if I have made those calls. Knowing you’re checking up on me might just be the shove I need.

Be sure to let us know what you’re doing.

After all, it’s only fair that I get to shove back.

With Christ’s great love and you in mind,

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Confetti in the Air

The past couple of weeks, I have been sitting in a pile of thankful confetti. I pick up each piece of life from this past two years with mixed emotions. All in all, I come away from a very hard 2009-2010 with a more thankful heart than I have ever had before…so I wouldn’t trade it. In fact, I celebrate the difficult as well as the good from this past year. And right now…this very minute..I am taking every single piece of confetti–motley and colorful–and I am tossing it in the air with great, exuberant joy!

For the year is over.

And I have grown.

What I feared did not kill me.

What I anticipated did not always happen.

When I was needing direction, the Lord always gave it.

When I was trembling and scared, He held me.

When I was confused, He led me.

When I felt bereft, He filled me.

When I hit a wall…and I most certainly did…He caused me to scale that wall, baby.

And I cannot tell you how much I love a new day, a fresh page and wide-openness…I am running through fields of joy to it! I am throwing off the weight that hinders-physically (I have lost 50 pounds!), mentally (shedding those old tape recordings), emotionally (clinging with happiness to the great renewal that Jesus has done in my life) and spiritually (not getting caught up in the rules, but practising the Presence of God every moment and thrilling to the fact that as much as I want to get to know God, He wants me to know Him! Relationship without the fear of rejection…now that’s what I’m talking about!).

I have asked the Lord to give me some Words for the next year and these are what He gave to me: Resolve to Journey. Can you picture it? Moving forward with His motion, pressing on and deciding, daily choosing to be under God’s authority. Seeking and finding Jesus…staying in His Yoke.

I want resolve and not resolution. For resolution carries with it the present connotation of “I hope to do this!” But not really doing anything or going anywhere or growing.

Resolve, however, holds the original intent of a strong, determined, decision–a will to be willing.

Journey is the choice I have to go with God, wherever He leads. In that, I choose not to limit Him in my estimation by saying what I will not do, thus believing that He could not carry me through that place. For I know He can! For He has carried me through some places that before I would have said, “I could never do that.” Well, now I have. And He came with (as my friend Cassie used to say!).

Journeying with God is a choice to fully release control to Him and let Him lead me–for my good and because He has good intent towards me and for me. So I resolve to journey.

Resolve to Journey is a willingness to be soft clay in the Hand of God–desiring above all to become who God created me to be and fully realize that I am here for a purpose. That purpose is in partnership with my brother, Jesus, who calls me to journey with Him. And the best part of all? He likes me! He thinks the world of me. He is cheering me on. He is running the race by my side. He will not forsake–for any reason.

And that my friends is worth celebrating! Grab your confetti with me, consider the moments and times, and make them an offering to Jesus. Throw them all in the air! For a new year is on the march. And Jesus? Well, He’s right beside us. Happy New Year everybody. And thanks! Thanks for journeying with me. I cannot say it with enough emotion here, but I am thankful for you.


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