A New S.T.A.R.T. for a New Year

Isaiah 43:18-19
Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in bad lands. (From The Message)

LCA-picture-in-suitI love to hear the innocent comments from children that reveal deep spiritual truth. Recently I read the comments of a little girl during the end of the year holiday season. She said, “Merry Christmas and a Happy New You!” Of course we know that she meant “year” instead of “you” but that doesn’t sound too bad does it? Wouldn’t it be great if 2010 could be the year of a “Happy New You?”

We get the word “January” from the pagan Roman god “Janus.” He was depicted with gates and doors and with two faces pointed in the opposite direction: one looking forward and the other backwards. This concept is still very appropriate for us today because January is a “hinge” month. We look backward over the past year and forward to the new year.

We have to glance back but only briefly; we cannot live our lives looking into a rear view mirror! Someone said, “We must take our hats off to the past but our coats off to the future.” Let me suggest five simple steps for a new START in 2010 that will make possible a “Happy New You.” (Click below “for more information” to see these.)

Five Steps for a New S.T.A.R.T. in 2010

1) S — Stop Making Excuses

Some people spend their entire lives just making excuses for hurtful or wrongful behavior. Consider this example. It is the story of a young man arrested for stealing a car. When confronted by the police and asked for an explanation for his actions he had the year’s most novel excuse. He said, “I found the automobile in front of a cemetery and thought the owner was dead.”

There is an old saying that there is an I in every accident and a U in every excuse. Proverbs 28:13 says it this way: A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance. TLB

The next time you feel like making an excuse for any inconsistency in your life consider some of the great heroes of the Bible. Here are some of the “excuses” they could have used for not being all that God wanted them to become.

Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
Elijah was suicidal
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
John the Baptist ate bugs
Peter denied Christ
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
Zaccheus was too small
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer…
Lazarus was dead!

What do you have that’s worse than that? So no more excuses!

2) T — Take stock

Perhaps your present circumstances do not reflect the true purpose of God for your life. We have to be prepared to go onward and upward for Christ. Sometimes the biggest miracle can be in the smallest opportunity. God’s best blessings sometimes come in “surprise” packages.

In Galatians 3:4 Paul says, Did all your experience mean nothing at all? Surely it meant something! (TEV). At the beginning of this new year, perhaps you should ask some questions about where you have come from, where you are and where you are going. Here are some examples:

o What have I learned?
o What are my assets?
o Who can help me?
o What is God doing in and around my life?

3) A — Act in faith

Matthew 9:29 According to your faith will it be done to you. We get what we expect. Our expectations affect our future. If we act in faith, we must do something. We must make preparations for the new year but trust God to do His work in our lives. Proverbs 16:9 says, We should make plans counting on God to direct us. (LB). Here are some examples of goals that we can set for 2006.: personal (physical, mental, spiritual), relational (family, marriage, children, friends), professional, church and personal ministry, and financial.

4) R — Refocus

As you set and reach new goals for 2006, you will notice that your mind as well as your behavior will change. Let the Word of God renew your mind this year. Proverbs 4:23 says, Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.(GN). In Romans 12:2 Paul says, Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is. (NLT).

Have you ever wondered why a pigeon walks so funny? According to an interesting article in the Detroit Free Press, a pigeon walks the way it does so it can see where it’s going. Because it can’t adjust its focus as it moves, the pigeon actually has to bring its head to a complete stop between steps in order to refocus. This is the way it walks: head forward, stop; head back, stop.

In our spiritual walk with the Lord we have the same problem as the pigeon. We have a hard time seeing while we’re moving. We also need to stop between steps — to refocus on where we are in relation to the World and the will of God. Our walk with the Lord needs to have built into it a pattern of “stops,” which enable us to see more clearly before moving on.

5) T — Trust God

A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was leaving the room after paying a visit to the patient’s home, and said, “Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.” Very quietly the doctor said, “I don’t know.” “You don’t know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is after death?”

The doctor was holding the handle of the door, and from the other side of door came a sound of scratching and whining, and, as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness. Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice my dog? He had never been in this room before. He did not know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing: I know my Master is there, and that is enough.”

We may not know what is “behind the door of 2010” but we know that God is there and that is enough.

Here are 10 things you can count on in this new year:

10. Bible will have the answers you need.
9. Prayer will still change things
8. Holy Spirit will still be active in our lives.
7. God’s praises will still abound
6. The anointing of God will still be available.
5. Church will still continue to grow.
4. Blessings of God will still be abundant.
3. They will still be room at the cross for you.
2. Jesus Christ will always love us.
1. God will give anybody a new START.

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