Monday, 2 January 2017


Have you been reading the very many memes and ads and thoughts being presented on blogs, social media, the news, TV as to how to step into this new year - 2017?   I think I've seen it all - 3 steps to get fit, 4 ways to improve your health, 5 things to learn this year, 17 great thoughts for the new year, 21 people to emulate, 13 hoops to jump through, 10 new ingredients to cook with, 5 things to quit, and so it goes on.    There's nothing wrong with any of it, really, but it's not where I'm heading this new year, as tempting as they all sound. 

Have any new year thoughts or plans grabbed your attention over the last few days?   Did something ring true with you or inspire you or make you feel guilty enough to listen, to take notice?    Some of the thoughts I've seen have grabbed my attention, so I'll share them with you in no particular order. 

"Actions flow from values. That’s why resolutions usually fail.”   The blog writer suggested assessing what you value by writing down your activities and expenditure for a month and see what you were busy doing and spending money on.  That's a worthwhile task, probably more effective than  making resolutions you won't keep, because unless your values change, you won't see lasting change in your actions.   You can read more of that blog post here. 

Another one was this one-liner:    ‘Don’t go into 2017 with a rolling stop.’  I had to think about that one, but it was basically saying we shouldn't roll through a stop sign, but actually stop and look before we move on.  It's a good thought.   And we shouldn't just roll into another year.   Yes, the first day of the year is just another day, but God marks times and seasons and so should we.    If you have Facebook, you can read more here.

This is a quote I found with a picture of a chick, fairly newly hatched out of its egg.   
'If an egg is broken by an outside force, life ends.   If broken by an inside force, life begins.   Great things always begin from the inside'. 
That one resonated with me, because God has been speaking to me about honesty on the inside, and that transformation has to start there - in our inmost being.   We can't be transformed if we keep pretending what's in there isn't really there or isn't as rotten or painful or complicated as it is.    We can't be transformed if we keep 'behaving ourselves' on the outside and ignoring the inner mess and pain.   God sees it, we need to let ourselves see it, and let Him touch, heal and change us. 

And here's another one.   'Christ's example helps me see the value of doing small things with great love.'   This is just a small part of the Queen's Christmas address for 2016, where she talks of being inspired by ordinary people doing extraordinary things.   God has been speaking to me about being more concerned with being Jesus to those in whose lives I am or could be 'big' or very significant, than striving to be big in the opinion of others. 

And here is another one that I am reminded of - 'So that's what I'm going to do. No goals. No timeframes. Just day by day,'    This lady was speaking of just taking one day at a time, one challenge at a time, one victory at a time. 

So, I take all these thoughts with me into the new year, and many more besides.     These thoughts, and more that are not mentioned, have grabbed my attention and I am tempted to write them all down, in different colours, and stick them up somewhere.  

But, Someone keeps grabbing my attention and reminding me of His thoughts for me for this year.     And it isn't about a ten-point plan to do better, be better, do more, try harder, nor is it about making goals.    Instead, He keeps asking me to journey with Him, one day at a time, to listen to His heart's desires, His goals, daily or even hourly, to get really honest with myself and Him, to be transformed from the inside out.  

Something He grabbed my attention with just last night while reading the book, Sensible Shoes, was this verse about Hagar. 

'...where have you come from and where are you going?'  Genesis 16:8  

I thought that was a pretty appropriate question for the first day of the year.   I have been pondering on that one all day.   It will probably take me the whole year and beyond to answer those questions.  

I was listening to a sermon last night that spoke of how Jesus grabbed Peters' attention when the fishing boat became so loaded with fish it was in danger of sinking.  I've heard this story many times, often in the context of not expecting enough of God, not asking for enough, being immensely blessed, reaching more people for Christ, etc.  But last night, I got something else out of it.  

The preacher suggested that Peter and Jesus knew each other before that incident, that they had perhaps grown up in the same town, attended the same synagogue, knew the same people.   Jesus had been preaching to people before this incident, and it was not long after Jesus was baptised and infilled by the Holy Spirit.    So, did something other than Jesus' words and His miracle grab Peters' attention that day?  That day,  why did Peter suddenly understand his own sinfulness and Jesus' Lordship? 
Did He suddenly see Jesus in a new light, suddenly understand something of Jesus' power and His purpose, experience something of His anointing that day?  We don't know, we weren't there, but something changed.   Jesus grabbed Peter's attention to the point that Peter dropped everything to follow Him.

Could that same Someone grab our attention as we head into this new year with our goals, our resolutions, our lists, our plans, our budgets and our burdens?  

Can we stop and look before we roll into another year? 

Can we stop and listen and be overawed, once again, at who Jesus is and just start anew the journey with Him? 

Can we be led by Him, taught by Him, challenged by Him, changed by Him, as Peter surely was those three and a half years and well beyond?   

Can we drop our plans, goals, resolutions, lists right there on the beach like Peter dropped his very full nets?   His nets were full of provision and future and goals and normal, but something about Jesus caused Peter to leave it all behind.

Can we just follow Him into this new year?   

Can we stay close enough to listen, learn, love and absorb who He is this year?  

Luke 5:11  So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed Him.

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