Monthly Archives: December 2013

Resolutions that Actually Work

2014

Most people don’t stick with their New Year resolutions. Many people no longer bother making them. A few of the reasons that they’re not as effective as we would like are:
They can be emotions based and therefore difficult to sustain long term.
We lack the necessary tools needed for follow through.
We get discouraged when met with resistance.
The New Year isn’t new for long – a week or two in and it’s “business as usual.”

So this year, I’m going with a better plan:
100 Days Resolution.
100 days from January 1 is April 10. I plan to do a few new things for the first 100 days of 2014. I figure they will be solidly embedded into my life by then. Because the resolutions are made for 100 days, I am careful not to overcommit or set some grandiose or unattainable goals. I think this will work!

A few things I am committing to for the first 100 days of 2014:
Take better care of myself physically. I’ve been too hit and miss recently. There will be changes for the first 3 months of 2014.
Read the Bible through with an emphasis on digging deeper. I’ve read cover to cover for many years but, admittedly, there have been times when it has become a project. Not next year. Until at least April, I will slow down and absorb.
Have more fun. I am scheduling in more days off. We have a nice vacation planned in February. I enjoy working a lot of hours but all work and no play makes me dull. The first quarter of next year, I’m playing more.

How about you? Going to make a list of resolutions? I suggest you set a timeframe of 100 days. If April 10 comes and you’re still going strong, the rest of the year will be a no brainer!

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Is Peace on Earth Possible?

manger-to-the-cross

John 20 recounts the resurrection of Christ after He had been crucified. He appears to His disciples on three different occasions. Each time, He greets them with the same phrase: “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19, 21, 26) I believe the reason for this is that they were very troubled by the events of the past few days. Their friend and leader had been killed; they were in hiding, afraid the same may happen to them. Jesus calmed them with His presence and His promise of peace.

I can’t think of a more appropriate greeting for today. If we’ve ever needed peace on earth, we need it now.

A significant statement is made when the angels appeared to the shepherds, announcing the birth of Messiah: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14) This is the message of Christmas – peace on earth.

The purpose of the coming of Jesus is to bring peace, to make a settlement between God and humankind. Clearly, those who are odds with Christ will not enjoy His peace. In fact, He once said, “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” (Luke 12:51) He was speaking of the necessity of choosing Him. Jesus is what separates good from evil, peace from war.

So the only way to have peace is to know Jesus; not just as a newborn baby, but as the resurrected Lord and King. You’ve seen the bumper sticker: No Jesus, No Peace. Know Jesus, Know Peace.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Peace be upon the earth, peace be upon you.

Photo: phillipgreene.wordpress.com


UnHappy Holidays

UnHappy Holidays

What if you are not merry at Christmas?

For so many people, the holiday season is not a time to celebrate. It is a lonely time. It is a sad time. January can’t come fast enough.

Unemployment.
Relationship issues.
Stress.
Broken families.
Not a very joyous Noel.

Before you label these folks as “Scrooge”, look beneath the surface. While some gather with families and open presents and enjoy partying, others are alone, are mourning the loss of a loved one or are otherwise hurting.

While I hope to be very careful so as not to minimize the pain of so many people, I also hope to offer some advice for those of you who are sad during the holidays.

Look around. It has been said, the best way to heal is to help someone else who is hurting. As much as you may be hurting, there is someone who would appreciate you as a friend. Many senior citizens are very alone. Organizations exist that help families of those who are incarcerated. Hospitals, rehab centers homeless shelters and soup kitchens are full of hurting people. Serving these folks is a great way to gain focus. If you look at the pain of someone else, yours may be put into perspective.

Connect with others.
Alone for the holidays is not healthy. College students who can’t go home should get together. Expatriates should unite wherever they are. Even people stuck in airports have the opportunity to make something special of a bad situation. You can reach out: A single parent or an immigrant neighbor who does not understand the culture may appreciate your goodwill gesture. Connect with someone on the holiday.

Focus on the spiritual aspects.
It is so easy to get trapped in the hype of the season. It seems like a lot of fun, until reality sets in. The truth is, no amount of shopping or partying can fix a broken heart. Only God can do that. That really is the idea behind Christmas. God sent His Son Jesus to be the Savior of the world. He became a human so He could identify with the pain of humanity and heal that pain. The Bible says, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).” (Matthew 1:23) Choosing to focus on the reason for Christmas should result in an increased awareness of God’s love for you. You are not alone for the holidays, or ever.

Do whatever is necessary to experience genuine joy at Christmas. I truly wish you a blessed and happy holiday season. Merry Christmas to you.