Something amazing happened in my city over the new year. Did you hear? God packed out the Mercedes-Benz stadium with 65,000 college students for the Passion Conference 2020 SOLD OUT event. The talks are no longer available online, but the event was epic in size and eternal impact, for sure!
Some years I have been happy to see the year end, but 2019 was not one of them. My word for the year was JOY and God brought some along.
What went well in 2019…
Favorite Bible practice: I already shared the best thing I did for myself this year HERE by reading through the entire Bible with The One Year Bible. The three people who received the Bible will be prayed for all year.
My 3 favorite podcasts: I have a commute to and from work, and finding quality listening has been key to using the time wisely and enjoying the hours in the car. Here are my favorite podcasts for 2019 in order: Knowing Faith (This is #1 by a mile. Created for men and women, this Village Church podcast has sharpened my theology. It’s fun to hear the conversations between three amazing Bible teachers. There is a kids podcast starting in January too, and there are great resources HERE, including Explainer videos about big topics.); Nothing is Wasted (This is #2. Also created for men and women, people share their stories of suffering and how they are trusting God in the midst of their pain.); The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey (This is #3 and geared toward women. Beth Moore was interviewed on January 1 and it was a great interview HERE.)
My favorite prayer practice: I am convinced this is a key to a good life and wonder if I will one day write a book on forgiveness. I began my prayer time with a three-step cleaning…forgiving others, confessing my own sin, and making sure emotions are processed in a healthy manner with God. The result was a cleaner heart and less emotional flare over all the things people do and say because I had less internal baggage.
After saying the Lord’s prayer, which has that one hinge-pin line in it – Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us – I started by forgiving others. None of us are attractive people when we are expecting God to forgive us while withholding forgiveness from others. We become like the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35.
- When others sinned against me: I come to You this morning with Lord’s prayer forgiveness (Matthew 6:12, Matthew 18:21-35). I extend to everyone the same forgiveness you have extended to me. I forgive name for wrongdoing and all the consequences that wrongdoing has caused in my life. The wrongdoing has made me feel ______. Heal my damaged emotions.
- When I sinned: I confess my sin so I may maintain a clean heart (1 John 1:9) and not waste the sacrifice you made on the cross when you paid for my sin. I confess____ and all of the consequences my sin has had on my life and the life of others. Thank you for forgiving me.
- When my feelings lied: I also bring to you the feelings and thoughts that are lying to me this morning (2 Corinthians 4:10). My feelings/thoughts believe___________. I renounce these emotional lies and announce the truth that _____. (My most common emotional lies last year were that I am old in age and small in influence for Jesus. I intentionally stood against these lies every day in order to live with confidence and assurance.)
What needs to get better in 2020.
1. I am praying that God improves my spiritual vision and slows me down even more. I shared my prayer list last week HERE. Please join me!
2. I am keeping up the three-step prayer practice, and will now be reading through THIS chronological Bible in 2020. I started on January 1 and am already so thankful I decided to do this. The Bible is going to be fresh to me once again and I already thought this morning that there may need to be another Bible giveaway at the end of 2020 for my subscribers.
3. Bible first each morning, not the phone! The phone cannot be my alarm clock any longer. My alarm clock needs to be my alarm clock.
4. Switch to reading until I am sleepy instead of watching movies. The books are stacked by my bed, ready to go!
5. Like everyone else, eat and exercise improvements. We need to serve Jesus well as long as we can! Let’s take care of ourselves.
Picture Explanation: December comes with, “Mom, what do you want for Christmas?” I always have a list ready because if I say I don’t need anything, I still get gifts anyway.This year I shared items I have saved in my Amazon cart and completely forgot to remind my family that I really want someone to buy me a cow, which I ask for every year. By that, I mean that a contribution is made to an organization that gives to the poor, not the rich. In spite of my forgetfulness, my family remembered! I received chickens, goats, water wells and medical supplies! In addition, I am a Pennsylvania girl through and through, and it leaks into my decorating style. My mom sent me the most beautiful quilt. Each square is exquisitely Pennsylvania in style. I hadn’t asked for that either. The donations and quilt trumped anything my Amazon cart could ever hold!
May God bless each of you in 2020 with the gifts you most want, not the gifts you think you want.
P.S. – This dove has been preserved from a bouquet at my brother’s funeral in 1986. She is old and fragile now, but I tucked her high up near the star to keep her safe.
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