Makes me think: Am I still usable by the Lord? As I approach my 70th birthday this coming Groundhog’s Day, I am more determined than ever that I make my days and months and years count for Him! I don’t want to collapse under the weight of the world and become only a sight of failure and brokenness. You?
Tag Archives: goals
Friends: We are thinking about the incredible possibility that awaits us as we anticipate a brand new year — 2020. The expression “2020” reminds me of my first eye exam in high school — when I memorized the eye chart before going to the doctor’s! (I don’t know why). As we face this new year, we have the opportunity to use our EYES to become more like the Lord Jesus. We can study His life in the Scriptures. And, by God’s grace, become more conformed to His image.
Secondly, I want to focus on the truth that I am not to be conformed to the world! The expression “the world” is used in three ways in the Word: the planet, the people of the planet, or the pagan system opposing God and the things of God. It is in this third sense that the Jesus-follower should determine, “I will NOT let the world around me determine my life, set my priorities, rule my heart!”
The classic passage on this issue, of course, is Romans 12:1-2 where we read —
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.“
The third priority that should shape my vision for 2020 is a deep desire to get into God’s Holy Word! I’ve been recently going through the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119. It extols God’s Word in many ways. As the apologist Francis Schaeffer put it, “God is there — and He is not silent!” He has communicated a great deal of information in His Word — and we neglect it to our peril!
Would you pray this prayer with me for 2020? “Lord, help me to love Your Word, to read Your Word, and to study Your Word much more intensely this year. Forgive my laziness and lack of discipline, Father. Guide me in setting specific goals for getting into Your Holy Word this year. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Praise the Lord, my soul.
2 I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
3 Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
8 the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The Lord reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy peace and prosperity.
12 The wicked plot against the righteous
and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he knows their day is coming.
14 The wicked draw the sword
and bend the bow
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose ways are upright.
15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts,
and their bows will be broken.
16 Better the little that the righteous have
than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken,
but the Lord upholds the righteous.
18 The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,
and their inheritance will endure forever.
19 In times of disaster they will not wither;
in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.
20 But the wicked will perish:
Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field,
they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.
21 The wicked borrow and do not repay,
but the righteous give generously;
22 those the Lord blesses will inherit the land,
but those he curses will be destroyed.
23 The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
25 I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely;
their children will be a blessing.[b]
27 Turn from evil and do good;
then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the Lord loves the just
and will not forsake his faithful ones.
Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed[c];
the offspring of the wicked will perish.
29 The righteous will inherit the land
and dwell in it forever.
30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,
and their tongues speak what is just.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts;
their feet do not slip.
32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous,
intent on putting them to death;
33 but the Lord will not leave them in the power of the wicked
or let them be condemned when brought to trial.
34 Hope in the Lord
and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land;
when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.
35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man
flourishing like a luxuriant native tree,
36 but he soon passed away and was no more;
though I looked for him, he could not be found.
37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright;
a future awaits those who seek peace.[d]
38 But all sinners will be destroyed;
there will be no future[e] for the wicked.
39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
I think these pictures of dogs going after tennis balls are amazing. Full-tilt, no distraction, total concentration on the task! I find often that my attention is so distracted and disjointed that my best energies aren’t invested. And how quickly ennui or boredom or satiety (words we discussed in our previous blog) inflict themselves on me!
As I study the picture above, I see a pooch whose eyes are fully open, whose mouth is ready to clamp down on that orange tennis ball, whose whole being is determined to accomplish one task: get that ball whatever the cost!
If I were that little guy, my eyes would be slammed shut or squinting, my mouth would be closed in fear of swallowing some water, and retrieving an old tennis ball would be the last priority on my mind. My passion, my determination, would result in a very poor picture.
What is one determination of your life, one priority that you would say motivates you, inspires you to step out of our flattening, comforting, inertia-infected culture to pursue that goal no matter the cost?
The Apostle Paul said to the Corinthian believers: “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (I Cor. 2:2). Where is your determination — and mine?