Godly Goals for 2020

“For this very reason do your best to add goodness to your faith; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add endurance; to your endurance add godliness; to your godliness add Christian affection; and to your Christian affection add love. These are the qualities you need, and if you have them in abundance, they will make you active and effective in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1:5-8 Good News Translation

This is the time of year when we think about making New Year’s resolutions…I will go back to school, search for a new job and the perennial favorite for many…I will lose weight this year. 2 Peter gives us a different spin on setting our New Year’s resolutions. Peter encourages us to set goals that will help us to grow our spiritual lives.

Let me suggest some practical applications:

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God’s Gifts for You this Christmas

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name.” (Luke 1:46-49)

Do you know what you are going to get the kids or grandkids for Christmas this year? Have you made out your own Christmas list yet? What would you like for Christmas this year? It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what we want for Christmas or what we want to give to loved ones for Christmas, we forget in the hustle and bustle that God has some wonderful gifts for us this Christmas.

Christmas is the ultimate good news from God. It’s a reason to celebrate with rejoicing because like Mary, God has done Great Things for us! Yet in our culture, the reality of Christmas looks more like scrambling to find a parking space at the congested shopping mall, over commitment of our time and financial resources leading to stress and worry, figuring out the complicated schedule that results from divorced or blended families, a car full of kids bickering on the way to grandma’s house, family members refusing to talk to each other due to an old family feud, deep sadness because a loved one has passed away and won’t be at the Christmas celebration this year. Disappointment, frustration, harried, and hurried, the reality of life, can easily block out the Kodak moment of Christmas we were hoping to experience. We get so wrapped up in all the Christmas hoopla, all the specials sales, and deals, that God’s gifts to us get overlooked.

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“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” – Ephesians 1:3-7 NLT

November is a great time of year to check the gratitude meter in our hearts and to express our thanks to God for all his awesome blessings in our lives. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 Paul reminds us as believers in Jesus Christ to “pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

I want you to take note that the verse does not say give thanks for all circumstances; rather it says give thanks in all circumstances. We don’t have to be thankful for all our circumstances, but we can be thankful in the midst of hard circumstances, because God still loves us, God still gave Himself for us, God is still Emmanuel, God with us in the midst of our hard circumstances.  And God can even use those difficult circumstances to make us more Christ like, and to draw us closer to Himself.

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