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Activated January 2014

New Beginnings - January 2014

New year, new beginnings. Find out how to make the most of the opportunities and challenges the new year brings.
 

01-01-2014
New Beginnings
New Beginnings

The new year is a good time to take stock of what we’ve accomplished over the past 12 months, to thank God for the blessings He’s brought our way, and to open our hearts and minds in anticipation of all that is to come in the year ahead.

Many people also take advantage of the new start to make resolutions for improving their character, fitness level, health, knowledge, or circumstances. God wants us to examine our lives regularly, and to try to become better persons every day. “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the...

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01-01-2014
Searching for Ebenezer
Searching for Ebenezer

Toward the end of last year, I was haunted by the word “Ebenezer.” It all began when I heard it on a Christian podcast, but the speaker didn’t clarify what it meant. The word stayed in the back of my mind for days, and I wondered where I’d heard it before. My children identified it as the unusual first name of the Scrooge character in Charles Dickens’ famous novel, A Christmas Carol, but that wasn’t the Ebenezer I was looking for.

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01-01-2014
New Year Perspectives
New Year Perspectives

What a crazy year I’ve just been through! In the space of 12 months I left a job I’d had for five years, moved to a new country, went on an emotional rollercoaster, spent many sleepless nights worrying, and on it goes… 

I’ll admit it was tough at times to live through, but now, with the benefit of hindsight, I’m seeing things somewhat differently.

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01-01-2014
Blank Pages in an Open Book
Blank Pages in an Open Book

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.
—Edith Lovejoy Pierce (1904–1983)

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Let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been.
—Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926)

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01-01-2014
My Living China Doll
My Living China Doll

When I was a child, we lived near an apartment complex housing college students. At the end of the school year, the students would give away or sell cheaply whatever they didn’t want to haul home.

One day, my brother brought me home a China Doll plant. My mom, who has a green thumb, said it was a good find. I took it to my room and would set it out on the front porch every few days for some sunshine. 

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01-01-2014
New Year’s Dawn
New Year’s Dawn

It was a beautiful sunrise. The pale light of dawn had brightened into a glorious golden glow, kissing the clouds with tints of pink and orange as it heralded the arrival of a new year. But idyllic new year feelings were the furthest thing from my mind. As I watched the sunbeams dance across my hospital bedsheets, my thoughts retraced the events that had brought me there. Two nights earlier, I had suddenly developed an excruciating pain in the lower right side of my abdomen. I was rushed to the emergency room, where I underwent emergency surgery to remove a...

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01-01-2014
The Change Equation
The Change Equation

This is a time of great change in the world—technological, economic, religious, political, business, and environmental. The results are seen in governments, organizations, and in the lives of families and individuals. Although it’s sometimes more evident and easier to recognize and take stock of at the start of a new year, change is actually constantly affecting all spheres of society.

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01-01-2014
Forming New Habits
Forming New Habits

The month of January, when the new year is celebrated in most of the world, is named after the Roman god Janus. Because he had two faces, he could look back on the past year and forward into the next. He was the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors.

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01-01-2014
Setting Goals. And Reaching Them.
Setting Goals. And Reaching Them.

Some people have been so discouraged when they’ve failed to meet their goals that they’ve given up on having any at all, so that they aren’t disappointed by the “inevitable” failure. There’s a lot of advice available today on this topic, and there isn’t actually anything too tough or mysterious about setting and reaching your goals. 

Here are five easy steps to follow for success.

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01-01-2014
Perfectly Imperfect
Perfectly Imperfect

I went to the Farmer’s Market this morning and was so pleased to find a good deal on some organic produce. When I got home and pulled the tomatoes out of the bag, however, I realized that some of them were too squishy to use, and I had to cull out the bad ones so they wouldn’t harm the others. As the saying goes, “One rotten apple (or in this case, tomato) spoils the whole bunch.”

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01-01-2014
The Journey to Simplicity
The Journey to Simplicity

The other day I was listening to a Christian radio program on the way to the gym. Each day they ask a question for their listeners to respond to, either via phone or their Facebook page, and the topic that day was: “What do you look forward to?”

The answers that listeners were sending in were simple, yet refreshing. For example, one woman said she looked forward to having a cup of tea at night once her children were in bed.

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01-01-2014
Onwards and Upwards Into the New Year
Onwards and Upwards Into the New Year

A quick glance behind…

If you feel that you have made mistakes, taken wrong turns, even failed miserably at this or that, you’re in good company. Many of God’s heroes in the Bible did those same things, but they learned from their mistakes. And God came to them, sitting in the midst of failed dreams or disappointed hopes, and gave them a new reason to live. 

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01-01-2014
Dream New Dreams
Dream New Dreams

Life is all about the little decisions you make every day. Decisions of the past have had their effect, but every new day can be a new start. No matter what has happened up till now, you have a chance to make the right choices today.

Don’t waste time reliving the pain of past mistakes and wrong decisions. That only saps your power to do the good that you can do today. You can’t change the past, but the future is what you make it, starting right now, so take full advantage of the present.

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