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Activated January 2013

Starting Over - January 2013

The year ahead brims with fresh new possibilities for those who believe God's promise in Jeremiah 29:11: "I know the plans I have for you-plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
 

01-01-2013
Lasting Change
Lasting Change

The New Year is more than just a marking of time—or at least it can be. Many people see it as an opportunity to make a new start in some area of their lives.

Perhaps it’s our new calendars with their fresh images or our new diaries and weekly planners with their unspoiled pages. Perhaps it’s the knowledge that some of the people closest to us and millions of others around the world are making New Year’s resolutions and setting their sights higher. We don’t want to be outdone or left behind. Call it what you will—a personal wake-up call, a...

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01-01-2013
Happy New Day!
Happy New Day!

In most countries the new year is celebrated on the first day of January, but in Cambodia, my home for three years, we got to celebrate New Year three times every 365 days.

First comes the international New Year on January 1, best known for late-night parties and morning-after hangovers.

Then there is the Chinese New Year in January or February. The Chinese New Year is a time to light firecrackers, visit relatives, and burn faux paper money to one’s ancestors.

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01-01-2013
The Journal
The Journal

When the thought first crossed my mind that I should make a New Year’s resolution to keep a daily journal, I immediately dismissed it. Too many past resolutions had fallen by the wayside, and I could foresee ending the year with a journal full of empty pages. I also didn’t have time for another project, I told myself.

However, I had recently completed a counseling course in which keeping a journal was a requirement. The instructor had emphasized making a habit of recording thoughts, ideas, plans, experiences, worries, fears, and victories. It was an important step toward self-awareness, he explained, and...

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01-01-2013
Hope Eternal
Hope Eternal

“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3–5 ESV).

This is one of my favorite Bible passages, but for the longest time I had difficulty understanding how “character produces hope.” I followed up to the “endurance produces character” part, but how do the difficult experiences that forge character make us more hopeful?

The cynic in me felt that it was more likely to...

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01-01-2013
What's the Point?
What's the Point?

When I turned 60 last year, I did some soul searching. I clearly hadn’t achieved all I could or should have in my life so far. Was I therefore a failure? Give me a minute before I answer that.

I’d gone through some changes recently and was now at a place both geographically and career-wise that was not what I had had in mind. I wasn’t unhappy, but I wasn’t entirely pleased with my circumstances either. I felt like I was becalmed at sea, no wind in my sails, monotonous stretches of ocean in all directions. The horizon was in sight,...

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01-01-2013
Failure?
Failure?

I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot . . . and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why … I succeed.

—Michael Jordan (b. 1963), American basketball player

*

Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.
—Henry Ford (1863–1947), founder of the Ford Motor Company

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01-01-2013
New Beginnings—A New Year’s Challenge
New Beginnings—A New Year’s Challenge

As we stand before the New Year, we don’t know what’s in store for us. But there’s one thing we do know, and that is that we can leave the past, with all of its cares, pains, heartaches, and mistakes, behind. We can’t undo one single act or unsay one single word, but if we will give our grief and regrets to God, He can make this New Year a fresh start.

Every day of the past year is beyond our reach, and we should leave it there. God has the past in His keeping, and we should not go back...

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01-01-2013
Little Green Steps of Progress
Little Green Steps of Progress

One day Joe broke his arm. They said it was par for the parkour he practiced. Joe was a traceur. He lived in a world that consisted of one giant obstacle course, climbing and leaping, escaping and reaching, vaulting and rolling across his busy cityscape. Joe pushed himself on his runs, sometimes over cars or walls, sometimes across rooftops. Sometimes too far. Destiny watched him from afar, eyeing his toothpick arm and waiting for her chance.

On the morning when he broke his arm, Joe had gone with a couple of friends on a practice run for a home video they...

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01-01-2013
Through the Fog
Through the Fog

Changes are awfully unsettling for me. I like my little nest, where everything is just so and nothing jostles me too much. I like routines and schedules, the comfort of knowing what’s going on—both immediately and in the future. Change can be exciting sometimes, but mostly it’s really tough. It’s tough leaving behind stuff I know and love, and it’s tough not knowing what’s ahead.

Not long ago, my husband and I found ourselves moving away from family and friends. We had good reasons for the move, and we knew where we were going, but of course much of the future...

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01-01-2013
Aim High, Finish Strong
Aim High, Finish Strong

I read an article in a running magazine that explained how caffeine could enhance a runner’s performance in a race by diminishing the perception of fatigue. I tried it in a marathon, and sure enough, not only did I set an all-time personal best, but I did so after expending precious energy conversing with a fellow runner during the entire first half of the race. Had I realized that my tongue would be stimulated along with my legs and had I focused more on the race, I’m sure I could have finished even faster.

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01-01-2013
Day by Day
Day by Day

“You have trusted [god] in a few things, and he has not failed you. Trust him now for everything. You find no difficulty in trusting him with the management of the universe and all the outward creation, and can your case be any more complex or difficult than these, that you need to be anxious or troubled about his management of it?”—Hannah Whitall Smith (1832–1911)

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01-01-2013
You and I, Together
You and I, Together

You need Me. You need what I have to give you. You need My strength, My love, My supply, My protection. I have all this for you and more. I am your life source, and because I am, your life can be wonderful, beautiful, rich, and filled with what I know will prove most important in the long run.

I will never leave you alone or comfortless. I will never leave you without guidance and direction. I will never leave you without grace and strength to fight life’s battles. I will never leave you without rest and renewal after those battles....

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