Unknown Blessings

7 01 2013

Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way. ~ Native American proverb

How is God going to bless you this year? It seems like a silly question. We don’t know what the future is going to hold. We aren’t sure how things are going to unfold, what challenges we will face, or what lies just over the horizon. How can we give thanks for what we can’t yet imagine?

Here is the truth about our God. He has seen tomorrow. He knows what each one of your minutes will hold. He knows the struggles you will face, the troubles that will scare you, the potholes that will jar you, and the exhilarating moments that will make you smile. There is no unknown where God is concerned.

There is great peace in knowing that each one of our days is fully known by God. His promises take on an added richness when we understand that He stands ready to help us face what is ahead. He assures us that His presence will be with us through the thin and thick. He guarantees sufficient grace to meet any need. He posts peace as a sentry around our hearts. His power and His provision are as close as a prayer.

Learning to give thanks in advance reminds my heart to be confident that God is on my side. He is already working on my behalf. He is preparing to move in each one of my moments in order to bring about His purpose and fulfill His glory. Being thankful relieves the worry and tension that often fill my thoughts when I look into the future. It allows me to greet each morning with worship and joy as I praise Him for the way He has already filled the day with blessings.

My Jesus Resolution today is to give thanks in advance. Being grateful encourages me to anticipate His hand on my day. When I give thanks for unknown blessings, it calls me to keep my eyes open and my heart ready. It allows me to face each situation with peace because I know that God has already seen and provided exactly what I need. Being thankful in advance changes my posture and my perspective. I don’t know how God is going to bless me today, but I know with absolute certainty that He will. Discovering those blessings is the gift that makes this day worth living.

Resolution One

4 01 2013

“Resolution One: I will live for God.

Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.”

                                                                    – Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)

The resolution of American theologian Jonathan Edwards are words worth pondering. Simple words. Deep words. Words that ring with conviction and challenge me to examine my heart.

Resolution One: I will live for God. Five words that have the power to shape a life. These words, this resolution, contain direction, inspiration, focus, motivation, and conviction. Living for God is more than a nice statement. It defines a purpose, molds a mindset, establishes boundaries, and becomes a filter through which everything must be measured. Living for God means not living for myself. That is harder than it sounds. It requires me to choose worship over whining, sacrifice over selfishness, holiness over hunger, and dedication over desire. Living for God means breathing God in with every breath, listening to Him with each heartbeat, becoming aware of His presence with each blink of an eyelid, and walking in His way with every step.

Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will. We tend to think of these kinds of statements in sweeping terms. If there is no one else on the planet who lives for God, I will be the lone voice of praise. There is truth in that, but narrowing the focus reveals my struggle. Will I live for God if I am the only one at work to do so? At school? In the neighborhood? At the party? Will I live out the integrity and intentionality of Jesus even when I am by myself? It is difficult to walk in the other direction, turn the other cheek, or step away when everyone else is moving forward. This is a resolution of commitment over compromise.

My Jesus Resolution today is to let these resolutions soak deeply into who I am. They are at the heart of The Jesus Resolution. Living for God means to live in Christ. My life finds its best expression in living out the likeness of Jesus where I live. When I live for myself, my life has fewer colors, less flavor, and weaker substance. Living for God allows His brighter, fuller, deeper, and richer blessings to bloom in my heart. “I still will” is an anthem that compels me to live out the image of Jesus among the people who touch my days. It is a determination that every person I meet will be offered a glimpse of Jesus, no matter who they are or where they stand.

The Jesus Resolution

2 01 2013

Are you a resolution person? I am. I like the idea of setting goals, stretching myself, and imagining new opportunities. For me, there is hope in resolutions. It means that I am willing to explore the possibility that who I am today isn’t all I am stuck being tomorrow.

Statistically, resolutions don’t have a good track record. We start out with high hopes and good intentions, but studies show that four out of five people will give up on their resolutions, many before the end of January.

According to the dictionary, a resolution involves coming to a definite and earnest determination to follow a particular course of action or pattern of behavior. Are you smiling? Here is the secret. Resolutions are more than once-a-year opportunities to think about losing ten pounds, saving a few dollars, or starting a new hobby. Resolutions are at the heart of God’s desire for our hearts.

Resolutions open the door to transformation, and transformation is God’s great purpose for you. He wants to take you where you are today – no matter where that is – and create something new, beautiful, healthy, strong, and amazing in you. He is willing to take what is broken, bankrupt, banged up, and beleaguered, and change it. Change you. He resolved before the beginning of time to give you as much of Himself as you were willing to take in. Now He wants you to make a resolution that will give Him full access to your heart.

My Jesus Resolution today is to make The Jesus Resolution. The Jesus Resolution is an earnest determination to follow Jesus. It is a resolution to allow God to remake His image in my life, to open my heart to His heart, and live fully in His presence. It isn’t fueled by will power, but by the Spirit’s power. It isn’t grounded in my strength, but in His grace. It won’t find its completion in my effort, but in His faithfulness. Today, I once again find myself on my knees resolving to “know nothing…except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2). It will be a journey that will take me to new places. He will ask me to trust more, dig deeper, pray harder, smile bigger, worship with more awe, study more diligently, give more sacrificially, experience more joy, and invest myself in Jesus, and Jesus alone. In living that resolution, God promises hope, grace, joy, peace, and more of Him than I can possibly imagine. Will you join me in living The Jesus Resolution this year?