On the first day of January, my true love gave to me …
|New Year, 2017.
Just coming out of the snow, I tossed my hat on the bed and looked around… “Shoot-” I forgot my hairbrush. Running the three flights of stairs to my car at the curb of the old Monte Vista Hotel,1 a young man said, ‘Excuse me, Miss—can you tell me where I might buy some cigarettes around here?’ ‘Well – not really, but how about that bar right there … don’t bars usually carry cigarettes?’ ‘Uh yeah,’ his voice faltered, ‘but they just threw me out of there.’ Yup, he was drunk but there was more than that wrong with him, and it wrenched my heart. ‘Give me your money, I will get your cigarettes,’ and off I went.
I brought him his smokes and said, ‘now what’s really wrong? You’re a good guy, this isn’t about being drunk.’ I grabbed another coat out of the car, and then Tim began to talk to me. ‘It is 2017, and it is going to be another year just like last year,’ he said dejectedly. Interpretation: he felt hopeless. [more on Tim later]
The start of a new year should be filled with hope, friends!
Perhaps my new friend Tim, and more than a few of us, need to adopt the apostle Paul’s value:
“One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind
and straining toward what is ahead.
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which
God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” 2
What will this year hold for you? There will be smiles, sin, struggles, and satisfaction--the stuff our lives are made of. I'm not really so big on New Year's resolutions but I am partial to introspection and goal setting. As Paul indicated, we must not let the past cripple us or hold us back, rather we must press on. I love the imagery of the runner straining for the finish line, chest pushed forward so as to be the first to break the tape. Paul never took his eye off the 'forever' of Heaven or forgot the temporari-ness of life; his goal was the reward of Heaven. We must not forget either, or take our eyes off Heaven.
Where would you like to GO GROW in 2017?
Well, since we are body, soul, and mind--let's start there. . .
If you can envision yourself on December 31, 2017, what would you like your body to look/feel like? VISION is imperative to achieving our goals, and strides in our physical condition can only be made through training ourselves--
>taking a good look at our nutrition--do we fuel our bodies with the food and drink we consume, or something else? After all, we wouldn't attempt to run our cars on chocolate, beer, potato chips, or coffee (ouch)--
>taking a look at exercising the fine-tuned piece of machinery we inhabit for 75+ years--are we training our hearts, lungs, muscles to be strong?
>taking a look at rest--do we give our body enough sleep, or expect it to continue to run on a quarter of a tank all the time?
~Do you need to take a little better care of the one and only body you've been given? How so? __________________________________________________________
~What will be your plan to make it happen? ____________________________________________________________
How about your VISION for spiritual growth?
Strides in our spiritual condition can also be made through training ourselves--
>in the reading of Scripture, getting to know our Maker and his plans for us
>in prayer, talking with God like a friend, and seeking his direction
>in worship of God--including observing the Sabbath, my friends!
>in service and giving. . .
Would you like to grow in any of these spiritual areas this year? How so? __________________________________________________________
What will be your plan to make it happen? ___________________________________________________________
And if you really want to make strides, enlist an accountability partner!
Without a vision, the people perish, and like Tim, are oft without hope. So go ahead--enVISION yourself crossing the finish line, with your chest pressed out, breaking the tape! We must be excited, filled with hope and anticipation for what God has for us in 2017. Happy New Year!
1 – The amazing historic Flagstaff hotel opened for business exactly 90 years ago today – New Year’s Day, 1927. I will be here for a week.
2 – Philippians 3.13-14