The Unmarred Gift of a New Year

Happy New Year 2015.jpg

Happy New Year, 2015!

It’s the time of year for wearing crazy party hats … for blowing ridiculous noise-makers … for counting down the seconds of the waning year … for lifting a toast or two … and for making unattainable, elusive, impracticable resolutions.

January 1 is the one day of the calendar year when making a new start truly seems possible, isn’t it?! The slate is clean and the calendar page is empty.  Dreams of heretofore unreached goals seem sure and certain.

A new year!  2015!

Every day is a gift from God but there is something bigger and more spectacular about the gift of an unmarred, exciting New Year.

Regardless of marital status, socioeconomic level, health concerns, behavior of children, academic degrees, stamps in a passport, or the tidiness of one’s home, we have all been given the exact same gift.

12 months of undiscovered possibilities.

52 weeks of being thankful.

365 days to unwrap with joy.

8,760 hours of His presence in our lives.

525,600 minutes of miracles!

What will you do with this rare and extraordinary gift that you have been given?

Will you make a decision to lose 50 pounds only to feel like a failure by January 12?

Will you determine to travel the world this year when you know that would take the financial provision that only winning the lottery provides?

Have you resolved to spend less … eat less … weigh less … and work less?

Is it within your heart to love more … live more … enjoy more … and sing more?

What will you do with these 12 untouched months?

Rather than making futile goals that will only frustrate the delight of life out of every day, I’d like to make a few suggestions that will enable you to wring the joy out of every day in 2015.  Because, after all, that is why God gives us 24 hours in a day … it is to experience His presence where there is always fullness of joy!

New Year’s Suggestions 2015

1 – Don’t allow one complaint to come out of your lips that were made for the sole purpose of praising the Lord and encouraging others.  Don’t complain about the weather, about politics, about the price of gas or about your mom!  Use your tongue for the purpose for which it was created … to encourage others and to worship the Lord!  Just think … by the end of 2015 you may have lost your ability to whine and complain!  How amazing is that?!!

2 – Memorize one Scripture verse every month.   That might not sound like a lot … but just think … at the end of 2015 you will have memorized 12 new Bible verses that will have enlarged your life exponentially!

3 – 15 in 2015!  What 15 people has God assigned you to in 2015?  Ask God to give you the names of 15 friends, family members or acquaintances who desperately need your prayers, your encouragement, your attention and your love.  Just think … by December 31, 2015, you will have changed 15 people’s lives for all of eternity!

4 – Read at least one book every month in 2015.  (Read my blog next week for a list of 15 books that you should read in 2015!)  Ask people whom you admire for a suggestion of a book or two to read this year.  Just think … by the close of 2015 … you could be a smarter and wiser “you” than you were in 2014!

5 – Become important in the life of a child.  So often, our human desire is to rub shoulders with the rich, famous and influential when it is children who actually deserve our attention.  Have some little girls over for an afternoon tea party … play kickball with the neighborhood kids … take a group of middle school boys to a baseball game … teach Sunday School … offer to babysit for a single mom.  Children are our greatest natural resource and have more treasure to add to your life this year than do silver and gold.  Time spent with a child is never wasted time. Just think … at the end of the coming year … there will be the imprint of new little fingerprints all over your heart.

6 – Read your Bible every day.  Go to www.justjoyministries.com and download the Daily Bible Reading Strategy.  The Bible has the power to bring out the best in you, to deliver wisdom to your life, to usher in peace to your days and to enable you to hear the voice of God!  What a divine possibility!  Just think … by the time a new year dawns … you might be thinking, talking and acting a whole lot more like God simply because you chose to read the Bible!

8 – Keep a prayer journal this year.  Write down the prayer requests that are shared at church, on Facebook, at Bible Study and from the hearts of your friends.  Don’t just pray for yourself and your personal concerns but pray for the people who God places in your life.  Just think … when 2015 ends … you will have an entire journal filled up with the miracles that prayer has accomplished!  You and God will have partnered in miracles too amazing for words!

9 – Do something kind for someone else every day.  Say an encouraging word to someone in your life every single day.  Do not let one day pass by without reaching out in kindness and in encouragement to friends, family members and even complete strangers!  What heavenly fun this will be!  Pay for someone else’s coffee … write an encouraging note … send dinner to someone who is in a health struggle … give that single mom at church a $20 bill … take donuts to the office … call your best friend from childhood and reconnect.  Just think … when 2016 begins … you will look back at 2015 and realize that when you give away kindness and encouragement that you are the one who is living a rich life indeed!

10 – Don’t waste one day in discouragement, anger or unforgiveness.  Remind your self that each new day is a gift from God with the expanse of heaven at its core.  Appreciate each day for the miracle that it is and partner with God in liberally splashing the joy of His presence everywhere you go!  Just think … when January dawns again … your life will be more than wonderful! Your life will be wonderful not because of things or stuff … not because of a number on the bathroom scale or the extravagant bottom line in your checking account … but you will be living a truly wonderful life because your life smacks of the purposes and plans of God!

Happy New Year, my friend!  Make it a great one!