It’s a New Year – Kinda Foggy? Consider This.

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We went through a course at work many years ago on Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. One of the habits was: “Begin with the end in mind.” In the postscript, beyond the business aspect, of his book, he explained the life aspect rather starkly. What do you want people saying about you at your funeral? Figure that out and live toward it.

Along those same lines of thought, my Uncle Ivy once told me he had spent a night in his recliner praying and meditating while considering much that same question—what kind of man did he want to be? He concluded that he wanted folks to think of him and say, “Ivy Spivey is always willing to help in any way he can.” (And he always was.)

In another course at work we were required to develop a personal mission statement. I didn’t think a lot about it and just took the Boy Scout Oath as mine. That is a great statement and living by it is certainly a good “mission.”

But, through the years I’ve thought more about my life’s mission, as Steven Covey suggested and as Uncle Ivy did. My latest rendition is:

  1. The only things that really matter in life are God and other people – so live like it. (You may recognize this is a paraphrase of the two great commandments Jesus gave – Love the Lord, and Love your neighbor. I was thankful when I realized that.)
  2. Do the right things – for the right reasons. (It’s obvious The Bible tells us to do the right things and not do the wrong things. But 1st Corinthians chapter 13 (“the love chapter”) makes it clear that without the right motivation, particularly love, doing the right thing means nothing. See also the Sermon on the Mount and what I call the “woe” chapter—Matthew chapter 23)
  3. Pay Attention (If we don’t, we’ll miss opportunities to do the first two. Isaiah chapter 42 mentions looking but not seeing and listening but not hearing.)

I’m not writing those points here because I’m always successful in following them – The older I get, the more I realize how pitiful my results often are. And, I’m not saying you should take them as yours. I’m just suggesting as we go into this New Year, along with making resolutions like eating healthier and exercising, which are still good resolutions, we also spend time in prayer and meditation and, as Jesus said, consider the “weightier matters of…justice, mercy and faithfulness.”  (Matthew 23:23)
Micah 6:8  “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

 

The Towers Crossed, It’s a New Year, And God is In His Heaven

Radio Tower

If you’ve driven Interstate 16 in Georgia between Savannah and Macon (on the way to Atlanta), you know the signs of civilization are sparse in some sections. You should have seen it forty plus years ago. Back then, it was so sparse you had to check your gauge before heading out because the gas stations were nearly non-existent.

Back then, I attended Georgia Tech in Atlanta. I drove the highway most Sunday nights because I went home every weekend I could, in order to see my future wife, Sharon. (We had already decided she was my future wife and me her future husband, we just hadn’t told anyone.) Sunday night was the sad time of the weekend, when I left her and headed back to Atlanta.

It was a lonesome drive and I spent much of the time trying to find decent radio stations to listen to for a few minutes before they faded away. But, as I neared Macon, I could always pick up WMAC—a good radio station with a strong signal that stayed with me for about an hour.

Also, as I neared Macon, (Mile Marker 9 on I-16 , measured from Macon) there were two radio towers off to the left. I watched each time, and near the spot where I passed the mile marker, the towers lined up and looked like one tower for a split second. As I continued, they would start to visually separate, and then over a hill and around a bend they were out of sight.

Although I never measured it, I took the point where they looked like one tower as the middle point of the journey. On the Savannah side I was leaving Sharon, and on the Macon side I was going to school. My thoughts would go to what paper was due or which test was coming up. But, of course, Sharon and the big picture of the two of us eventually being together remained uppermost in my mind.

It’s a new year. At midnight, New Year’s Eve, two towers in our personal journey appeared to be one for a split second, but they’re already farther apart and will continue to separate. We may or may not feel we are leaving something behind, but, now we should focus on what we need to do as we go forward. And, of course, the Lord and the big picture of us eventually being together with Him in Heaven should remain uppermost in our mind.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” Revelation 21:4

10 New Year’s Resolutions from the Psalms

English: Scroll of the Psalms

Scroll of the Psalms

I usually post once a week, but thought I’d add this one since it deals with the New Year:         

            As many people do at the New Year, I was thinking about resolutions. I realized that many of the Psalms contain “I will (or shall)” or “I will (or shall) not”. That sounded like resolutions to me, so here is a list of 10 New Year’s resolutions from The Psalms.

 Psalms 4:8 – I will lie down, both in peace and in sleep. For You alone, Jehovah, make me dwell in safety.

 Psalms 5:3 – My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Jehovah; in the morning I will direct my prayer to You, and I will look up.

 Psalms 18:2 – Jehovah is my strength, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my rock; I will trust in Him; He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower.

 Psalms 26:1 – Judge me, O Jehovah; for I have walked in my truthfulness. I have trusted also in Jehovah; I shall not slide.

 Psalms 42:5 – Why are you cast down, O my soul, and moan within me? Hope in God; for I shall praise Him for the salvation of His face.

 Psalms 44:6 – For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.

Psalms 56:4 – In God I will praise His Word; in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do to me.

Psalms 62:6 – He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my strong tower; I shall not be shaken.

Psalms 119:33 – Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.

Psalms 119:34 – Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your Law; yea, I shall observe it with all my heart.

Christmas is Past, New Years is here – What now?

           We just celebrated Christmas. We sang “Joy to the World!” as we should – joyfully! Hopefully, that joy remains, but with Christmas past, and a new year before us, what comes next? As always, we can look to Scripture to give us an example.

            In the second chapter of Luke, we read the Christmas Story – the census that brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem; Jesus’ birth and His being laid in the manger because there was no room at the inn; the angel revealing the good news to the shepherds; the shepherds running to see, and then glorifying and praising God.

            Then, we read of Jesus being taken to the temple when he was 8 days old. Simeon and Anna were there and both recognized, by the Holy Spirit, that this baby was the Messiah.

            The next specific thing we read about is a trip Jesus’ family took to Jerusalem for the Passover. After the feast, Joseph and Mary started home and unknowingly left Jesus behind. When they discovered He wasn’t with their relatives, they hurried back to Jerusalem. They found Him in the temple, talking with the teachers.

            Mary confronted Jesus and asked why He had worried them so. Jesus replied: “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”Luke 2:49 NKJV

            As we leave Christmas, 2011, behind and look forward into 2012, we can consider Jesus’ example recorded after the Christmas Story. We can “be about our Father’s business.”                

            I’m going to try something different this week. I’m not going to tell you what I think that means, but I’ll ask what you think. Please take a few seconds and leave a comment on how you think we should “be about our Father’s business” in 2012. As we get some comments (hopefully!), that should give us all more to think about.