1. What's one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
Pray regularly that my love for God would grow into what He desires.
Spend unrushed time with him.
2. What's the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
That my entire family would love Jesus with all their heart and be totally His.
Double our ministry at Washburn this semster
3. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
Plan and carry out evening meals in the midst of the craziness.
Turn off the tv.
4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
Prayer - without a doubt
Build prayer into my day in creative ways
Get up earlier
5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
Turn it off
6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
Pray for our new pastor
7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
John & Myrle
8. What's the most important way you will, by God's grace, try to make this year different from last year?
Stick with our accountablility all year K.
Obey the steps God brings from this.
9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in 10 years? In eternity?
Prayer for my family
Prayer for our ministry
But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you
There are a lot of bad things in this world I've never done. I have tried pretty hard in my 45 years to be a good person. As I get older, I realize that for me it's not about the bad things I've avoided, it's more about the good things I've not done by choice. My sins are usually things I know I should do, but do not. Things that God says are good, and I ignore or simply turn around and walk away. The harsh reality is that me not doing the good God is asking me to do is no different then someone acting on things they know are wrong. Doing bad vs. not doing good. It seems like they are at different levels, until you measure it by Gods standards.
Thats why I love the above verse in Colossians. We all need to be reconciled to God. Each of us has broken our relationship with God through sin. Some of us do bad...others of us don't do good. I am so grateful that God provided a way for me to be reconciled back to Him. He knew that it would take death because that was the price of the sin He knew I would do...or not do. He just chose to send his son to take my death...for the simple reason of love. He loved me enough to want reconciliation more than anything. And...in order for reconciliation to be true...He had to find a way to present me:
Grateful for reconciliation
For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
So...I have been enjoying Christmas. I have this week off work and have basically been thinking to myself "I will be disciplined when I go back to work". I will do what I need to do after my week off. I deserve this time to just take it easy. Then during my quiet time this morning, God used verse 5 to say "stop". He delights to see my discipline and to see how firm my faith is. Wow...He delights in me doing what I hate to do. So really the question comes down to "my way" or "your way God". It's a matter of the will. It's a choice. It's just a decision.
This morning I'm grateful for a God who takes time to speak personally to me. That blows my mind. He took the time to let me know that He loves to see me disciplined. I also love how he speaks positively. He reminds me so much of Craig. Craig ALWAYS chooses to speak in the most positive way about things. He will spin it positive...even when it's just not. He can't bear to be negative. I love that about my God. He could say "get with the stick Janene...I died for you and I deserve it". I'm getting sick of your mediocrity. But no. He just says "I delight to see your discipline.
So today I say yes. Yes to discipline. Yes to His way instead of my own. Yes to my God.
And it's a grateful yes.
12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father,who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
I am so grateful this Christmas that the God of the Universe chose me to be adopted as His very own. He has allowed me to share in His inheritance. I am a daughter of the great I Am. I am His treasured possession and precious child.
So many years ago when God made the decision to send His son to earth. He did so with me on His mind. He sent His son on a love journey to adopt me and my life has been forever changed.
I am confident because He chose me. Sometimes I forget, but that's one of the reasons I love scriptures like verse 12. I'm reminded of the lengths my Heavenly Father went to in order to choose me. That's a kind of love I'm grateful for this Christmas. It has made a difference in my life and I desire to pass that love on. Without a doubt, I'm most excited to pass that on to a precious little baby girl who will be joining our family in March. I have the privilege of teaching her about her Heavenly Father and the lengths He went to in order to choose her as His very own. I'm praying even now that she understands and knows the love of Her Abba Father in ways that surpass my biggest dreams.
Grateful for the choice of my Abba Father,
28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.
This verse in Colossians 1 spoke volumes to me this week. I have always read this verse and thought about proclaiming Christ to Washburn...to students...to co-workers. People that need Jesus. Well, God turned the verse upside down for me this week and reminded me that I need to proclaim Jesus to my family. I need to proclaim Him to Craig...instead of assuming He is already thinking it. I need to proclaim Him to Bethany...even if I think she might dismiss me. And, I need to proclaim Him to Joshua...before the opportunity is gone.
Sometimes I think I talk about eternity, God, Heaven, The Bible all the time. I ignore inner prompts to speak Jesus...thinking that it is overkill for them. I think God was saying that I need to not ignore those inner prompts from Him any more. I need to proclaim Him clearly whenever I can. It's my responsibility to speak Him over and over again...even when I feel I just did. My family's eternity depends on it. It might just be the most important job ever.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,
This week I've been pondering the verse above. Just thinking about what it means to live my life in Jesus. I think everyone lives their life in "something". When I was in High School, I lived my life in competition...trying to compete with the "in" girls and hope I did it well enough for them to like and accept me. When I was in early college, I lived my life in financial pursuit...trying to get a degree and a life that would provide me the money and success I desperately desired. When I was in later college, I lived my life in preparation...planning and getting ready to marry Craig and pursue a family, ministry, church and career. In our early marriage, I lived my life in myself...trying to get everything I wanted. When my dad died, I lived my life in regret...wishing I had been there at his last birthday...wishing I had not argued with him recently. When Joshua got cancer, I lived my life in fear...trying to prepare to lose him. When Bethany started struggling with her personal choices, I lived my life in self doubt...trying to kick myself for where I had failed her and God. And the list goes on. Now of course along with those times, I also had many times where I remembered to live my life in Jesus, in the pursuit of His heart and the hearts of those He loves.
I think I live my life in whatever or whomever I let occupy my mind, heart and soul that day. I make a daily choice...even if I don't always recognize it. What I love about the verse above is that I need to make Jesus my choice. I need to decide to live in Jesus and let the rest go. I need to fill my mind, heart and soul with Him and His desires. What a simple thought that would have a profound outcome. My world would change. I would become like Jesus and make the difference He desires in my world.
Looking to Live in Him,
This morning I was totally "schooled" by my Joshua. As we were getting ready for the day, I was thinking about not wanting to go to work and wishing I could stay home. I saw Joshua and commented to him "Joshua...shall you and I play hookey today"? His first comment was "mom, what's hookey". So I explained the outdated word and what we used to mean by that term:) Then, what came next out of his sweet mouth was "mom, but we are supposed to live life abandoned". I said quietly...Yes Joshua I am. I went to work this morning thankful that I have been given a son who teaches me how to live like Jesus wants me to live.
This past Wednesday evening we had our annual Doorholders and LIT Christmas Party. Each student brought a 1 pound gift for our exchange and we were set for a grand time. Some of the more creative gifts that night were 4 quarter pounders in a happy meal box, a canvas with a hashtag glued on it for pound, a gecko lizard and a number of others. Joshua happened to draw the last number of the night so he new he had a long wait before choosing his gift. One of the last gifts opened was a pair of glasses that also functioned as binoculars. Now if anyone knows Joshua, you know that he loves glasses. He loves silly glasses and crazy glasses and any and all fun glasses. So you can imagine how much he wanted that gift. I knew that when it was his turn, he would get up and make a beeline to steal those glasses.
When it was his turn, he got up and surprisingly made a beeline the other direction. To everyone's surprise, he went right to a previously opened gift which was a toddler leash in the shape of a monkey. He grabbed it without a word, went back to his chair and whispered to his dad..."I'll explain later". I knew in an instant what he was thinking...he saw a present for Bethany's coming baby and knew he wanted to get it for her to help them out. He put his own desires on the back burner and only thought of Amelia and his desire to love her first. Later he came to me and commented about how much he had wanted to pick the glasses...but the really beautiful thing is that his personal desire was second to the needs of his niece. Now, I expect that kind of decision from myself...being a mom...But, I don't expect that from a high school boy. I was so moved by his selflessness and realized that God made a similar decision so many years ago. I was the baby that wasn't born yet. I was the little soul that hadn't seen earth yet, but was loved fiercely by my God who put his own desires second to mine. It
10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.
That is Colossians 1:10 & 11. I love it because it tells me that all I have to do to please God is to:
1. Bear fruit in every good work
2. Grow in the knowledge of God.
3. Be strengthened with all His power which leads to endurance and patience.
Lately, I've been feeling a bit beat up. I am tired and feel like what I'm doing is only marginally mattering. I doubt myself and can get myself pretty worn down...primarily by my negative thoughts. Yes, God sets an unbelievably high standard for me, but then He gives me or at least makes His great power accessible to me to accomplish what He desires.
During the last few days, my Joshua has been dealing with a difficult loss. His closest friend is moving back to Canada and he has been so devastated. He, along with all of us, have been so grateful for the gift of this friend during these past 2 years and now it's going to change. I wish that I could take the pain away from Joshua and I would trade places with him in a heartbeat if I could. But...sadly he has to learn about pain and loss and sadness. I'm reminded that my responsibility is to teach him how to access the power and the strength that God offers to get through these difficult days. This weekend Joshua and I were talking and as he turned to go He shook his head and said "I never knew the 21st century was going to be so difficult". His comment makes me chuckle, but the deeper truth reminds me that life is hard and that I better be an example of getting my strength and power from Jesus. Perhaps that's one of the greatest gifts I can give my children.
Grateful for His amazing power and His remarkable strength,