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We love you! Yes, you! We hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas with friends and family.
In my family, our New Year celebration carries the tradition of writing down resolutions and sharing them with each other. Something about new things spark hope and excitement in most of us. Our culture searches for "the Voice" (a TV show about finding musical talent), about music "coaches" (who are stars themselves) on a mission to find an undiscovered and untapped prodigy. Media tells us to try these new diets, new haircuts/styles, new outlooks, new attitudes as the key to unlocking our dreams for success.
I also embrace the atmosphere of "newness" at times. I strive to change the less desirable parts of my character, my body, my intellect, my finances, my social status... I desire to be more like those people I admire. Some of my ambitions may be unrealistic, some are merely difficult. But the new year offers new hope that maybe I will trump the odds and find balance in a state of "higher" living. There is nothing special about January 1st that makes it an easier day to begin the uphill battle of inner discipline, except the mere cultural fact that it marks the end of the past and the beginning of something untouched, undiscovered, and full of mysterious potential.
This year will hold some changes for us. We expect to leave for Kenya before the end of April (see our newsletter for more information about that!); and we will also be celebrating a lot of first anniversaries as a couple. Who knows what this coming year holds!
Since Christmas, I have been dwelling on what my New Year resolutions should be and how I can achieve them. Two I have brainstormed so far:
1) Read through the New Testament within the first 40 days. (You can find reading plans like this online if you want to do the same! Approximately 7 chapters a day.)
2) Develop in three ways: as a Christian, as a wife, as a person. This includes the plan of reading one book geared at the above every other month (a total of six books), and implementing my learning into practice the following month. I am still in the process of collecting potential books to study, so please feel free to offer suggestions!
..... Do YOU have New Years resolutions?
I would like to take this opportunity to share something else, on the off chance that anyone is encouraged by this simple truth.
New Years resolutions are great because for a short time they offer us the hope of change. But you don't need to wait until the first of the year, or the month, or the week to experience change. Jesus Christ, whose life embodies every good thing we seek to have and be as human beings, has already come to this world to SAVE us and make us NEW. You CAN be NEW right now simply by believing that Jesus has the power to change you and accepting Him as your change. The Bible says that if you believe in Jesus, and love Him with sincerity, then you are already in the process of becoming new from the inside out.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17
I encourage you to read ONE chapter every day, starting today, of the book of John in the Bible. If you don't have a Bible available to you right now, you can access it free online here. (You can also find the Bible on several other websites if you type "free bible online" and search). Read the Bible as if God meant it specifically for you, because that's exactly true. And email us if you have any questions! We are just ordinary people in love with, and searching to be obedient to an extraordinary God. We may not have all the answers to your questions, but we will do our best to serve you and direct you to someone or something that can provide the answers you need.
God bless you! Happy 2013!