One thing I love to do toward the end of the year, usually the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, is to pull out a few old journals and smile at all the good things God has done, shake my head at my own unbelief, and revel in His amazingness. I like to revisit the past and see His hand at work, to read requests that I made in the dark, and see His answers which are always beyond what I could’ve imagined.
Reading those requests in the present (now that I’ve seen how He’s answered them), is a huge faith builder for me. I can walk in the wonder of His answer!
For those of you who are considering joining me in tackling a specific spiritual focus for the year, I thought I’d tear out the first page from this year’s journal and share it here (well, not literally, actually I’m digitally copying it for you).
My Goals, Prayers, and Perspective for 2016
Goal: Conformed to Christ-likeness
[box]“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son . . .” (Romans 8:28–29)[/box]
Perspective: Eternal rather than temporal
[box]“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:16–18)[/box]
Assignment: Beholding Him; keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus
[box]“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18)[/box]
Spiritual Growth Focus: Surrender
[box]“And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word . . .” (Luke 1:38)[/box]
“Let it be my concern to devote myself and all to thee. Make me more fruitful and more spiritual, for barrenness is my daily affliction and load. How precious is time, and how painful to see it fly with little done to good purpose! I need thy help: O may my soul sensibly depend upon thee for all sanctification, and every accomplishment of thy purposes for me, for the world, and for thy kingdom.” (Valley of Vision)
Below are a few personal notes I have on the page:
If I truly desire God’s glory, I will embrace every affliction God appoints for me. So, it begins. The new year: 2016, the year of surrender. The year of yielding in order to glorify. I know that because God’s character is good, His heart is kindness, and His disposition is mercy, then all that He has stored up for those who take refuge in Him is—abundant goodness (Psalm 31:19).
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