Tag Archives: Happy New Year

Happy New Year

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     Several years ago my husband and I were in a small group. One guy in that group was a militant goal setter. He persisted in pushing us to set goals, and really slid into high gear around New Years, challenging us to set goals in all sorts of categories, including spiritual.

     Spiritual goal setting—I’d never before considered that.

     I’m not a big long-term goal setter because I’m not a very diligent long-term goal keeper. I’ve rarely kept a New Year resolution going from January 1st through December 31st. However, this possibility piqued my imagination, and I decided to do what the small group guy proposed.

     I don’t remember a single one of the multiple goals I set that year except the one focus I desired to pursue in the spiritual category:

“I want to be a better pray-er.”

     This one sentence was powerful. It guided me through that entire year…and beyond. It motivated me to explore prayer in fresh ways. I read a number of books about prayer that year. When I heard about a prayer workshop coming to our region, I registered.

     My understanding of prayer expanded. I became a student of prayer and felt freedom to practice various prayer models. I discovered what methods fit my unique spiritual design. Guilt I’d felt most of my life about not praying enough or not praying in the right way dissipated. My communication with God became more meaningful, more natural.

     I learned journaling prayers works well for me. This makes total sense since I’m a person who loves to express herself with written words. I also found praying Scripture resonates with my spirit. I started personalizing and journaling Scripture prayers. Today, praying Scripture feels as organic as breathing.

     This experience showed me I’m more likely to implement a principle or expand a value than I am to keep a resolution. Actually, science supports what I learned seemingly by coincidence. Scientific evidence reveals people have a psychological limit to the amount of willpower we possess. When we attempt to change too much at once, failure is the result.

     Now, each year in October or November, I start thinking about and praying for one word or short phrase to become my next-year theme.

     The phrase I’ve chosen to guide me through 2017 is “Soul Care.” This emphasis came into focus after reading Soul Keeping by John Ortberg. I’m excited to see where the phrase leads. Already, I’ve placed an Amazon order for books to read. I’m sure as 2017 progresses, I’ll write posts on the topic.

Until then, blessings to you and yours as we journey together through this New Year!

Sue Reeve

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Happy New Year…..

Our Journey Continues…

Sue Reeve

     The day after Christmas I awoke feeling poorly, and for several days fought a nasty ‘bug.’ While I wasn’t able to accomplish the myriad of tasks on my to-do list, I did spend quite a bit of time searching Scripture and contemplating new-year strategies.

     I know there are those who say our world is ‘going to hell in a handbasket,’ [1] but in spite of all the bad things that are happening, I have a keen sense of excitement about 2016.

     Perhaps, part of my optimism is because I was around a lot of little children at Christmas. I love children—their innocence, their authenticity, their honesty, their wonder! One of the reasons I love Jesus so much is because He valued children as illustrated in these verses found in Matthew 18:1b-6 (TLB).

…the disciples came to Jesus to ask which of them would be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven!

 Jesus called a small child over to him and set the little fellow down among them, and said, “Unless you turn to God from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.  Therefore anyone who humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. And any of you who welcomes a little child like this because you are mine is welcoming me and caring for me.  But if any of you causes one of these little ones who trusts in me to lose his faith, it would be better for you to have a rock tied to your neck and be thrown into the sea.

     So, while I anticipated what God has in store at the dawning of this brand new year, I decided to welcome some little children into my new-year planning. (Note: These pictures of my grandchildren, great niece and great nephews were taken by my husband during a joy-filled family Christmas celebration at my brother and sister-in-law’s beautiful home. Two of the little boys are my sister, Myrna’s, grandsons. Since today, January 4th, is Myrna’s birthday, I hope she’ll consider seeing these sweet boys’ faces part of her birthday gift.)

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Reeve in his car seat, ready to ‘hit the road,’ reminds Grandma that as we journey through life, we will do well to remember the words of the wise King Solomon…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.

Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
(Proverbs 3:5 & 6 NLT)

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Little Miles. Oh, may we never lose the wonder of a child, and may we never fail to pass on the truth of the wonders of God’s great love to those precious children whose lives touch ours!

Praise the Lord,
for he has shown me the wonders of his unfailing love..
(Psalm 31:21 NLT)

We will not hide these truths from our children;
we will tell the next generation
about the glorious deeds of the Lord,
about his power and his mighty wonders.
(Psalm 78:4 NLT)

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Charlie’s wide-eyed gaze, while held in the arms of her daddy, reminds me it is through the eyes of our hearts that we will be able to see our Heavenly Father’s goodness and good plans for our lives.

Open my eyes, so that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law
. (Psalm 119:18 NRSV)

… I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength! (Paul’s prayer for his friends Ephesians 1:1:15-19 MSG)

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Raiden, a picture of peaceful perfection! This portion of Psalm 139 is one of my very favorite passages of Scripture. The words brought me an incredible sense of security during a particularly tumultuous time in my life journey!

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it. You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion! You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! (Psalm 139: 13-17 NLT)

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Emmi, in a rare moment of shyness, helps me remember the Bible’s assurance…

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NLT)

 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV)

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Finally, Cooper’s happy smile reminds me that even when life gets tough, we can remain joyful as we place our hope and trust in God.

“… the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10 NIV)

 Be full of joy in the Lord always. I will say again, be full of joy. Let everyone see that you are gentle and kind. … Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. And God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7 NCV)

Wishing you a new year filled with trust, wonder, vision, security, courage and joy!!

Sue

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  1. Meaning: To be ‘going to hell in a handbasket’ is to be rapidly deteriorating – on course for disaster. http://www.phrases.org.uk/