Thursday, December 18, 2008

Making This Christmas Count

Lets concentrate on this sentence for a moment:

'To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.'

If you want things to be different or better than they have been in the past, then we have to do things differently than you have done in the past? What kind of things you ask? Below are a few things to consider:

Are you praying for a more Christ-centered Christmas this year?
It wont just happen, you have to initiate it. (Take a look at an earlier post from this week called 30 Ways to Give The Gift Of Yourself for some great ideas about how to do this.)

Are you hoping for a stronger relationship with Christ?
I have always heard the saying that when we feel distanced from God, that He is not the one who moved, we did. If we want to feel closer to God, we have to make the choice to spend time reading His word each day, in prayer, and in loving others as much as He loves us. When we move to closer to God, then we will feel closer to His presence.

Are you wishing that you could trust God more in the most difficult and every day situations in your life?
That wont happen if you always do the same thing you have always done. If you go to your phone to talk about a problem or worry, before you go to His throne, then your trust cannot grow in the Lord.

Do you feel as if you cant see God working in your life, and maybe that He is punishing you for past sins or mistakes?
Doing all of the above things, will not only strengthen your faith, but allow you to begin seeing Him working in your life. Have you asked God to make His presence known? To prick your heart when He divinely ordains something special to take place in your day?

Did you lose something or someone valuable to you this year? Have you been through some very difficult, frightening or challenging times? Do you want to be able to see the glory in Gods will, but cant because of your strong emotions about the pain you are going through?
Remember that when God takes something from your grasp, He's not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better. The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you. Consider a bad situation in the past, and ponder what good things came out of that situation. Recognize what you learned and God did do something positive out of it. This helps us remember that everything does actually word for the glory of God for those who love Him.

Are you yearning for closer relationships with friends this year, find a soul mate, or to possibly build some new relationships?
If you are anything like me, you may be hesitant to take the first move to call people up and try to begin building a relationship. Sometimes it seems silly to try to "make new friends", making us feel like we are back in middle school again. But friends are a crucial part of every persons life, so it is worth the effort! Instead of just wishing for relationships, pray for God to bring people into your life in which you build enriching and special friendships with.

These are just a few thoughts that came to my mind, but I am sure you have things on your mind and in your life that you would like to see some changes in over the next year. So here are some simple steps for you to consider to help you meet your goals, and depend on Christ during the journey! Also, if you have done something in the past that has helped you to work through difficult times or worries and God came through for you in a special way, please bless us be sharing that experience and wisdom!

-Think of some things that have been heavy on your heart lately.

-Think about how you have been facing or handling those things and if your actions, behaviors or thoughts are positively helping you deal with the situation.

-Consider whether or not what you have been doing, has worked, or if you see benefits as a result.

If your thoughts, feelings, emotions, actions and behaviors in dealing with a situation going on in your life has not resulted in something positive, or if you are still struggling or feeling unsure of how things will turn out in a certain situation in your life, then could it be possible that maybe you should try a different approach! Maybe the Jesus approach!
We cannot control what happens in life, how other people act, or how other people think, but we do have control over our own mind and our actions. Take control today, by leaning on the One who truly is in control and is all sovereign.

I hope you and yours have a very Merry CHRISTmas!

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Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

Beautiful post, Tracie -

The 31 ideas are wonderful as well. Thanks for all the brainstorming you did for us!

Joyful said...

Tracie, you always provide such a feast for the heart and soul here. Thank you.

In the response to your second question you talked about moving closer to God. Just this morning in my quiet time I read this: "Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was." 1 Samuel 3:3 The commentary by Priscilla Shirer regarding that verse said, "Because Samuel had a sold-out hunger for God, he snuggled up right next to the veil to get as close to Him as he possibly could." "We don't have Samuels problem, (Christ's death on the cross removed the barrier between us and the Holy of Holiles), but we do need Samuel's passion." "Going into the Holy of Holies would have cost Samuel his life. Not going in will cost us ours." We can have a stronger relationship with God, but we need to position ourselves closer.

You asked if we'd worked through a time of worry (fear) and God came through for us. God did this big time for me this past June and it has changed my life. To save time I'll just give you a link to the story!

I Found Joy in a BIG God!

Mrs. Hails said...

Wow! That was powerful!

Thank you for sharing that with us Traci!

I'll read the 31 one ways to give a gift to yourself tomorrow.

You, and your family have a very Merry Christmas too!