Each year we begin a fresh year. Recently I read an article about how the New Year was not new. It brings with it all the stuff of the past.
Personally I think the observation is fatalistic. No matter what we bring into the New Year, whether by choice or necessity, it is still a fresh year and often what we make it.
I like this poem, called "A New You for a New Year," by Jeffery Anselmi:
"I am the New Year. I am an unspoiled page in your book of time.
"I am your next chance at the art of living.
"I am your opportunity to practice what you have learned about life during the last 12 months.
"All that you sought and didn't find is hidden in me, waiting for you to search it but with more determination.
"All the good that you tried for and didn't achieve is mine to grant when you have fewer conflicting desires.
"All that you dreamed but didn't dare to do, all that you hoped but did not will, all the faith that you claimed but did not have these slumber lightly, waiting to be awakened by the touch of a strong purpose.
"I am your opportunity to renew you allegiance to him who said, 'Behold, I make all things new.'"
I have developed a number of habits over the years that help me freshen the year. Although I am not always successful in achieving them all, I do make the effort.
Clean my desk, office and house. If it is not essential or critical, clean it, stow it or throw it. Start my year with my desk top and living areas manageable.
Clean my life. I do the same thing with my heart. If it doesn't belong there, I give it to God. I start the year with communion and recognize the file of failures, sins and feelings are under his grace and his ability to remove my debts. The bill is paid, the file empty.
Review my personal mission and my goals. I do this by setting aside time to fast, to think, and to wait on the Lord's direction. Some years it is a generalized sense of keep on keeping on, but sometimes I have had detailed outlines for my year. One year he told me I would move, change jobs and get out of debt. I did.
Harvey Mackay said, "Do what you love, love what you do, and deliver more than you promise."
Over the years, I have collected a number of verses and axioms that I live by. They all reflect the wisdom of God. Each year I review them and quiz myself. How do I improve? Where am I slipping?
Here are a few:
Seek God's kingdom first.
Love God first and others second, then myself.
In crisis learn to act rather then react.
Keep your word.
Live within your income.
Have fun and enjoy life.
Zig Ziglar said, "What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals."
Then I deal with negative emotions. They are the seed bed in which sin grows.
Depression, resentment and bitterness are thieves that rob us of life's potential energy. The Bible tells us that hope deferred makes the heart sick and that bitterness dries the bones.
These things literally affect our immune systems and can lead to illness.
Finally, I pledge to live in today. Yesterday is over and tomorrow has not yet come.
There is a place of peace and rest in living in today. Each day I pledge to live in today and to keep it fresh.
With God as my guide, my counselor and my friend, his energy always is directed in today.
"This is the day the Lord has made and I will be glad and delight in it."
I hope that in some way these collected tidbits might help each of us freshen our new year and therefore brighten someone else's day.
Pastor Bob Reasner is senior pastor at Abundant Life Assembly of God Church in Sterling, a community church with a heart for restoring and helping people. Among the many ministries are children's and youth programs, the Prayer Therapy Center and a dynamic music ministry. For more information call 262-7266.
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