A Clean Slate

It’s a new year, but if you are like millions of others who made some lofty resolutions, you may already be struggling to keep them.

Many of our resolutions are based on our desire to reverse unhealthy and unproductive habits. That is never a bad thing, but we often run out of steam not long after the Christmas decorations are tucked away.

This year, don’t let a set-back take the wind out of your sails. Here are a few suggestions that I have found helpful. Perhaps they will assist you along your journey in 2019:

  1. Set small, realistic goals with measurable achievements along the way. This is a much better plan than creating an overwhelming list of resolutions.
  2. Make sure you have an accountability partner or group to help cheer you on to success.
  3. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip now and then. Dust yourself off and keep moving ahead.
  4. Once you reach your goal, establish a reliable support system to help keep you on track so you won’t revert to old habits.
  5. Find a daily devotional or inspirational scripture to read each morning to uplift you as you start each day.

There was a great New Year’s message shared with our children during worship this morning. They learned that people often get discouraged when they fail to keep a resolution. Sometimes they even feel that they need to wait a whole year to start over again! But they also learned that God doesn’t keep a record of our mistakes or failures. Each new day He offers us a clean slate . . . a fresh chance to try again.

That’s a great message for any age! 🙂

Finding Forgiveness

My mind has been preoccupied this week with preparations for our upcoming vacation, but I’m not so distracted that I have missed the headlines.

I’ve never been one to hide from troubles or look for an escape from conflict. Still, I’ll admit that I will be greatly relieved to jet off to another part of the world for a bit. For two weeks I will be immersed in the history of Israel and Jerusalem — visiting landmarks, museums and holy sites. I will hear about ancient battles, and learn about some still being fought today. During this time, I will try to forget all the anger and division I am leaving behind. And I will pray.

I will pray for peace when tempers flare.

I will pray for courage that I might share.

I will pray for comfort when friendships end.

I will pray for grace and forgiveness again.

In the midst of all this anger and division in our nation, we need to find forgiveness, even when it is the hardest thing to do. Jesus taught us that forgiveness is not a quantity. It dwells deep within the heart. It is like an abundant and overflowing well that never runs dry.

Perhaps we can each find someone who is thirsting for forgiveness this week.