It is the morning before New Year's Eve and all is quiet as I ponder the year that is soon to end. I am thankful for the many blessings God has bestowed on us -- good jobs, a quiet town in which to live, and a church where we can serve and feel at home. But no blessing is greater to me than restored relationships and the closeness I share with my immediate family.
I know of many people who have lost dear friends and family members this year, some tragically and unexpectedly, others after long illnesses. I pray for their comfort and try to imagine how different life is for them without their loved ones. I think of my own family and count myself blessed to still have my mom and siblings, though I know that the day will come when I too will suffer the loss of loved ones close to me. Rather than take them for granted I need to do a better job of keeping in touch and nurturing my relationships with loved ones while they are still with me.
There are some things I need to do differently next year. My doctor says I need to lose weight and lower my cholesterol level. While I don't plan to take up running or join Weight Watchers, I will endeavor to achieve better health by eating better and exercising more. I will also spend less time watching TV, though in our quiet neck of the woods there is little else to do. Instead, I will devote more time to writing, housekeeping, and serving others, perhaps as a volunteer.
With the dawn of a new year upon us the clock is ticking, and more than ever I feel a sense of urgency to make a difference in the lives of those who need the encouragement and salvation of the Lord. There is much work to be done in this out-of-control world before He returns.
I have said that my one word for 2016 will be "worship" -- not merely the singing of God's praises but the commitment to live each day fully surrendered to His will and to honor Him in thought, word, and deed. To worship Him I must change my focus, redirect my energy, and develop new habits, knowing that it will take the power of His Holy Spirit to effect positive change.
Making New Year's resolutions never works because it becomes all about us. In our own efforts we often fail. But what if in the coming new year we strive to live out the truth we profess to believe, relying on the grace and power of God to direct our lives and accomplish through us those things that are consistent with His Word? What if we actually treat our bodies as His holy temple and remember that the time until He returns is short? Perhaps then we will have a fighting chance to actually live healthier and more fruitful lives and make a real difference in our world.
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