It’s that time of year again – New Years! I love new years because it’s a fresh start, a new beginning, a time to evaluate the year before, time to see what God has to come and a time to reflect and be thankful for all God has done. There are five things I’d like to share with you as you prepare for the New Year.
1. Reflect and be thankful for all God has done.
Here are some good questions that will help you in thinking through the past year.
“What are some ways God showed me his love for me this year?”
“ Who is someone God brought into my life that encouraged me this year?”
“What was a Bible verse that stood out to me this year?”
“What truth about God did I learn this year?”
“What things do I adore about God’s attributes?
2.Evaluate your heart.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10. David wrote Psalm 51 after he was confronted with his sin, but as he faced God he knew that God’s grace was there to renew his heart. Evaluating our heart is refreshing because it is where God’s grace meets our need for renewal. Here are some questions to ask that will help you evaluate your heart; then turn to God in prayer knowing that He is faithful.
“Am I seeking God and keeping him first in my life?”
“Am I being a true disciple of Christ? Am I following Him out of love?”
“Am I sharing the gospel with the lost and praying for the lost?”
“What things do I need to confess to God that is hurting my fellowship with him?”
“What lies am I believing about myself that God’s truth needs to intercede?”
John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
3.Pray for the year to come. We cease to pray when we take our eyes off Christ, stop abiding in Him, and begin to believe it is up to us. When we pray God does a mighty work of realigning our heart to abide and trust in Him. Here are some ideas of things to pray for this year.
-Abide: pray that you will keep God first, and that you will abide in Him. (John 5:5)
-Top 10: write a list of the top 10 people you want to come to faith in Christ and pray for them regularly.
(2 Peter 3:9)
-Opportunity: pray that God will provide you opportunity to share your faith with your top 10 list and others daily and for missions opportunities. (Col. 4:3)
-Schedule: pray for God’s direction in your plans for this next year. (Prov. 16:9)
4. Prioritize time with God. Quiet Times are times where you spend alone with God reading the Bible and in prayer. Here are some ideas that might help you
- Read the entire Bible this year. There are many Bible Reading Plans. Chose one that works for you. Take your time though it’s more about spending time with God than just getting through a reading plan. If one day you can’t get through all the readings just pick up where you left of the next day. Even if it takes you more than a year keep persevering and don’t give up!
-Choose a few book of the Bible to really investigate. Examples would be John, and the other gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, also Isaiah, 2 Chronicles, and Judges. Chose a few books of the Bible that you have never read or don’t know much about and take your time to really understand it.
-Read a chapter of the Bible a day. Great books of the Bible to start with are Psalms, Proverbs, and Romans. Each day write one verse out of each chapter that stands out to you in a notebook by the end of the year you will have a notebook full of verses that mean a lot to you
5. Encourage others. Look for ways that you can be a blessing to others.Here are some good ideas that might help you.
-Go to a coffee shop and buy someone coffee. Also be intentional to really get to know them, ask them about themselves beyond just their name. Many people are looking for someone who cares and wants to know them, be that person.
-Write a letter of encouragement. Do you know someone who is having a hard time? Write them a letter and mail it to them affirming them and reminding them of God’s love.
-Open your home. Invite people into your home and host a dinner. Try to invite people you don’t know as well, or people who are new to town and don’t know anyone. If you can’t invite them into your home then make them cookies and bring it to them.
-Serve a need. Volunteer to babysit for a family you know. Build a fence for your neighbor. Shovel sidewalks for the elderly people at your church. Buy groceries for a single mom and leave it on the doorstep anonymously with an anonymous note of encouragement.
I pray that you grow deeper and deeper in love with God as you seek Him, and that He uses you to reach out to others this next year!
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