Encouragement for Today - Wednesday, January 1, 2014
January 1, 2014
My New Year's Offering
"Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering." Romans 12:1a (The Message)
Happy New Year!
During this first week of January, many of us will begin anew. New diets and exercise regiments. New Bible studies and reading plans. New organization and time management routines.
We'll commit to break bad habits, restore broken relationships, and be "better" people.
We call these New Year's resolutions. I confess. I've made more than my fair share of these in the last 25 years.
But most, like me, soon forget our good-intended resolutions. We mean well. But life gets busy. We return to our old habits. To that which is comfortable and doesn't require so much sacrifice.
I want something better. Something new.
What about you?
Will you join me in doing a new thing this year?
Let's begin the very best place we can ... God's Word. Romans 12:1-2 says,
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering ... Fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it ... God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." (The Message)
Using this passage, let's write a New Year's Prayer. But not just any prayer. Reread Romans 12:1. There is a powerful little word tucked in that first sentence. Paul tells us to take our lives and place them before God as an offering.
Together, let's make a New Year's offering.
We can make all the resolutions we want, but we can't change ourselves. But when we willingly offer our lives to God, He will change us. The NIV translation of Romans 12:2 says, "...be transformed by the renewing of your mind." The renewing of our mind requires inward change and comes from God at work in us. It requires diligence on our part. It requires changing our thoughts, our priorities, and goals to be aligned with those of Christ.
It's baby steps. And it doesn't require changing everything all at once.
Let's begin today with our first step ... a simple prayer, offering our hearts to God.
How do we do this?
We're going to write a prayer together. I'll start. You finish.
Heavenly Father, I praise You this day as Elohim, God my Creator. You are the Author of my life. You are the Strength of my heart and my Portion forever. You are all I need. My heart's desire in this New Year is to grow closer to You. In knowing You better, I will know myself more because my identity is found in You.
I want to become a woman after Your own heart. God, I ask You to help me each day carve out time to spend with You. Give me eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart to receive, and a mind to understand all that You will teach me. Make my heart tender to hear Your voice each time I meet with You.
Take Your Word and penetrate my heart. Create a hunger deep inside my soul for more and more of You. May nothing else satisfy me more than You.
Give me a heart of humility. If there is anything in me that keeps me from hearing You, reveal it to me. Convict me. Move me to confession. Cleanse my heart and renew a right spirit within me so I can be in perfect fellowship with You.
Fill my heart with Your truth. Plant it deep so that it takes root. Move me. Change me. Transform me. Empower me to live out what I hear and learn.
Every day of this New Year, make my life one long walk of obedience in response to Your Word and Your Holy Spirit Who lives and reigns in me. Let Your love and Your Word shape my life. This is my prayer offering. I ask this in Jesus' Name, Amen.
Now let's commit together to pray our prayer throughout the year ... asking God to change us from the inside out ... in baby steps.
Wendy Blight would love to hear from you today ... share your prayer, your commitment, or your thoughts on New Year's Resolutions versus New Year's Offerings. Visit Wendy's blog and leave a comment for a chance to win a beautiful necklace in celebration of her new book.
Wendy has a new book being released in March, Living So That: Making Faith-filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life. Click here to preorder your copy.
Reflect and Respond:
Read through Romans 12:1-2. Take some time in the next few days to make this New Year's prayer offering your own. After you've written it, tuck it in your Bible or journal and commit to pray it each day.
Psalm 51:17, "The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God." (NLT)
© 2014 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
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