GEAR UP: REFLECTION

It’s Sunday night! Time to gear up for a new week. As always, the best way to do that is to PUT ON THE ARMOR OF GOD (Ephesians 6:10-18) but we also will focus on ONE area to strengthen our walk with the Lord. Just one focus to help us grow a faith that cannot fade with the demands of life and the pressures of this world. This week we will focus on REFLECTION!

Last week we reflected on the true meaning of Christmas. This week we are going to reflect on the past year. Businesses take inventory at the close of each year; we are going to check stock in our spiritual lives.

What lessons has the Lord given you that you feel like you’ve aced and can move on? Which ones have you continued to fail? What strengths do you have? Weaknesses? (These can change as we age. These SHOULD change. I may have a list of things I struggle with but I hope that some of them will eventually roll off. Otherwise I’m not growing.)

What did you learn to do differently? What did you change? What worked? What didn’t.

I’ll give you an example. For the first fifteen years of my marriage, my husband and I had a pattern we followed when we got into a disagreement. After the initial, usually minor conflict, you might as well have handed us a script because it turned into the same argument with the same dialogue that escalated into extremely hurt feelings. We finally realized that we had a fight pattern that was never going to change unless we did something to change it. We prayed (at a time when we were NOT in a disagreement!) and asked the Lord to help us break this pattern. He probably tried harder than I did at first. We would be on the verge of an argument and he would just stop talking and hug me. It felt weird and completely threw me but it worked. Sometimes I would be the one to acquiesce quickly, heading off confrontation. After a while, we weren’t even having minor disagreements to begin with. The more peace was restored to our marriage, the more we cherished it. Now I consider our communication to be one of our biggest strengths instead of our greatest weakness. It all started with recognizing and changing a pattern.

What about you? Do you have patterns that need to change in your life? An area to commit to the Lord? Spend this week reflecting on the things that make you GREAT and the things you want to move from the WEAKNESS to the STRENGTH category.

GEAR UP: SEASONAL JOY

It’s Sunday night! Time to gear up for a new week. As always, the best way to do that is to PUT ON THE ARMOR OF GOD (Ephesians 6:10-18) but we also will focus on ONE area to strengthen our walk with the Lord. Just one focus to help us grow a faith that cannot fade with the demands of life and the pressures of this world. This week we will focus on SEASONAL JOY!

Let’s say it together: JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!

It’s easy to forget that; I’m guilty of it myself. Commercials and billboards and radio ads aren’t proclaiming THE KING IS COMING! They’re shouting 75% off and filling our heads with images that convey gifts equal love.

If you have a decent Christmas budget, you can easily get bogged down by time constraints, finding the perfect gift, shipping delays, and knotted ribbon.

If you don’t have a Christmas budget, you are more apt to fall into a depression or jealousy over not being able to produce the Christmas you see those around you having.

Perhaps your holidays are so filled with children’s performances, work parties, and social obligations that you barely have time to relax much less reflect on the season.

Look at your schedule for this week. Is it filled to the brim? Practically non-existent?

If there’s TOO MUCH, then look at what you can skip this year. Or leave early. Enlist help- a neighbor teen can help wrap or even babysit for a few hours. Make sure everything on your list this week is something that brings you JOY. And make sure to carve out some quiet time at least twice this week to sit back and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.

If there’s NOT ENOUGH, find some free holiday joy in your area. Most cities have free programs like Tree Lightings or Christmas Concerts. Make yourself get in the spirit of the season even if you can’t afford the bells and whistles of Christmas. Christmas gifts come and go in our lives but Christmas MEMORIES stay with us forever.

 

GEAR UP: LOVE

It’s Sunday night! Time to gear up for a new week. As always, the best way to do that is to PUT ON THE ARMOR OF GOD (Ephesians 6:10-18) but we also will focus on ONE area to strengthen our walk with the Lord. Just one focus to help us grow a faith that cannot fade with the demands of life and the pressures of this world. This week we will focus on LOVE!

The word LOVE and its various forms (loved, lover, etc.) are mentioned over 700 times in the Bible.

That alone should state its significance to the Lord.

But remember, God is no respector of persons. He doesn’t give us a list of who is worthy of being loved or of who deserves our love more. He wants us to love everyone.

From the person who wronged you to the man holding a sign on the street corner. From your best friend to that one co-worker who really rubs you the wrong way.

It’s easy to love those who love us back. But what about the rest?

We are supposed to love them too!

Focus on three people this week who you have a tough time feeling compassion and love toward. Pray daily for each one and if you cross paths this week, give a genuine smile. Ask the Lord to open your heart and help you feel love toward these three people.

John 13:34-35 King James Version (KJV)

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.