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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

10 Steps for a Great Year

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

While it's a good idea to take a look at your spiritual walk throughout the year, January 1st is often a time of renewal. A New Year, a New Start. So, instead of setting regular resolutions like losing weight, exercising etc., why not try to set goals to improve your relationship with God? Here are 10 ideas.

Improve Your Prayer Life
Simple enough, right? Just get better at praying. It's not that easy. A lot of Christian make this resolution and soon fail, because they take too big a step at first. If you're not used to praying often, jumping into an active prayer life can be a daunting task. Maybe start off praying each morning when you get up, or even while you brush your teeth. Start off giving five minutes to God. Then maybe try adding another five minutes. Soon you'll find that you'll start going to God more often and for more things. Don't worry about what to talk to Him about, just talk. You'll be amazed by the results.

Read Your Bible in a Year
Getting into the habit of reading the Word is also a common New Year's resolution for many Christian. There are plenty of Bible reading plans out there that guide you through reading your Bible in a year. It just takes discipline to open up the book every night. You may not even want to read the entire Bible, but rather use a year to focus on a specific topic or area of your life that you want God to help you improve. Find a reading plan that works for you.

Help Other People
God calls on us throughout the Bible to do good works. Most churches have outreach activities or you can even find local volunteer opportunities in your comunity. There are so many people who just need a bit of assistance, and helping others is a great way to set a Christian example.

Get Involved in Church
Most churches have small groups or Bible studies geared toward every Christian. If not, why not be the one to get a group together? Start your own Bible study or put together an activity that some of the others at church can enjoy. A lot of groups meet one day a week, and those meetings are a great way to meet new people who believe and can help you grow in your walk.

Become a Better Steward
One of the most challenging issues for Christian is the idea of stewardship, which is the process of tithing. God calls on all Christians to be good stewards. In fact, money is mentioned far more often in the Bible than many other topics.

Use a Devotional
Reading your Bible is an essential part of anyone's Christian walk, because it keeps your head in God's Word. Still, using a devotional helps you take the concepts in the Bible and apply them to your everyday life. There are numerous devotionals available,  so you should be able to find one that fits your personality, interests, or your place in your spiritual growth.

Plant Some Seeds of Faith
How many times have you shared your faith with friends or family. Make it your goal this year to talk to a certain number of people about your faith. While it would be great if someone converted or "got saved" through your discussions, don't get too caught up on that number. You'd be amazed how many people will end up believers from a discussion you have about what God has done in your life. It just may not happen while you know them. Also, use platforms like your Facebook, twitter and Instagram profiles to demonstrate your beliefs. Plant many seeds of faith and let them grow.

Get to know your family better
One of the most difficult relationships can be between parents and teens. Teens are at a time in their life when they are entering adulthood and want to start making their own decisions.  Teens need to remember they will always be their parents' child. Your different viewpoints make for some interesting conflict. Yet, God dictates that children should honor their parents and parents should not provoke their children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. So take some time to get to each other a little better. Do things with them. Share bits of your life with them. Even a small amount of quality time with your family will go a long way in helping your relationship.

Go on a Mission trip
Not all mission trips are to exotic places, but almost all mission trips will change you forever. Between the spiritual preparations before you leave on your trip to the work you will do on the trip itself, God works through you and for you as you see people eager to hear about Christ and as you hear their appreciation for the things you are doing on your trip.

Bring Someone to Church
A simple idea, but it takes a lot of courage to ask a friend to come to church. Faith is something most Christian have difficulty discussing with non-Christian friends, because it is often something very personal. Yet, many Christians would never have come to Christ without that one friend who asked them to come to church or talk about their beliefs. For every person who might shoot you down, there are two or three other people who will be curious about why your faith is so important to you. Taking them to church or church activities can help show them why.

Dear Lord, we thank You for the New Year you are giving to us. We pray that we will take the advantage of the New Year to become more like the people You would have us to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

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