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Looking Forward to the New Year - Issue 231
December 30, 2011
Hi there! ....

This week has been very relaxed and yet productive at the same time. Of course our week started with the Boxing Day Cricket Test match (this year, between Australia and India) which for those in the USA, is a big Australian tradition – the game of cricket goes on for 4 days generally and as a woman you either leave your men folk to it, or you join in and cheer Australia on!! For me, I mostly left them to it and worked on my scrapbook projects.

Of course, last weekend was Christmas and we celebrated with a family breakfast, then going to church, coming home for more family time and then we had an open house Christmas evening where a handful of friends joined us for a potluck.

We have Peter’s parents with us for a short holiday over Christmas and New Year. It has been good to share our everyday life and friends with them.

Live life with your kids!

If you are an Australian reader I would appreciate you reading this special request.

Looking Forward to the New Year

Can you believe it is the end of another year!! Tonight we celebrate with a few friends the end of one year and the beginning of another. We will celebrate with looking back with thanksgiving and looking forward with prayer.

The new year always seems to bring out the goal setting even though new year’s resolutions tend to be the most unachieved goals we ever set. But it needn’t be that way.

Most of our new years resolutions are self-focused: I want to lose weight, get into exercise, wake up early, learn a new skill. And though there is nothing wrong with any of those goals (some are straight from my yearly list!!), they are all about me. Instead, we need to be very aware of what it is God wants of us - and He may well want us to lose that weight and look after ourselves better but let us not settle for quick selfish goal setting – instead let us be guided for lasting, eternal benefiting, God focused goals and ideas for the coming year.

So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Ps 90:12

This verse talks to me about being aware of the time slipping by – like how quickly each year seems to pass, but not letting them just slip by. I’m reminded of the Advent calendars that many use in a countdown to Christmas. When families do this they are numbering their days. They are very aware of time and what they are going to do each day. They may eat a lolly, read a scripture or plan a family activity – depending on their calendar. Their December days are numbered, enjoyed, and accounted for. Why don’t we do that with the whole year?

I’m not talking about having each and every day highly planned, structured and locked in. But rather our heart for those days – do we see them as tools in our hand – time is a gift from God to be able to achieve His purposes in this earth. We tend to see time as an enemy – it is always a race against time; time wins, we lose!! But time is what we have here on earth to do the things God has given us to do.

But this verse says more: It starts off with “So teach us…” We can’t learn to use our time wisely by ourselves. God has to teach us. That makes us a student, and for any student to learn something they have to be willing to change and to open their mind to new ideas. Are we humble enough to go to God and say “teach me”? There are many books out there on time management but David here is asking the Lord to teach him. I wonder what secrets God will share with you as you open up your heart to Him.

The last aspect of this verse says ‘that we may get a heart of wisdom’. We are to use our time wisely so we may grow in wisdom. But before you think that you don’t have time for learnin’ stuff, that there is too much to do just for reading books let’s look at the definition of wisdom.

In the Hebrew the word “Wisdom” implies skilful living – there is to be an application in our life if we possess wisdom. It isn’t just in the head but neither is it just in our actions. It encompasses both.

Eugene Peterson defines wisdom as: the art of living skilfully, in whatever actual condition we find ourselves

John Kitchen – Wisdom is practical know how in the hard realities of living with others before God in the world he created.

On my website I have defined wisdom as: Practical applications of knowing Jesus

If we are to have wisdom it will affect our life – we will do life differently. We will do life being guided by knowing Jesus.

The reverent fear and worship of the Lord
is the beginning of wisdom and skill;
a good understanding, wisdom, and meaning
have all those who do the will of the Lord.
Their praise of Him endures forever.
Ps 111:10 (Amp.)

Worship isn’t a session of singing and prayer before you go and do anything. But rather, worship as a lifestyle. Worship is a life of reverently fearing the Lord day in and day out. So in the next few days, as you set out to look at the coming year, to consider what God would have for your family this year – make sure your goals and plans are set on the foundation of worship.

Just to recap:

  • See the days you have with your children, as a blessing to achieve the things God has planned for you as a family
  • Go to God, ask Him to teach you, how to manage your day, and how to plan for your family
  • Just like Solomon – ask for wisdom. Ask God to show you how to live your life in ways where the world will see Him.

I blog during the week over at Live life with your Kids Blog. Over the last few weeks I've posted:

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My Bookshop

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Heart Focus Parenting book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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