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Activated January 2015

Firsts - January 2015

It’s a New Year and there are adventures ahead. Dive right in!
 

01-01-2015
A Different Kind of Wish
A Different Kind of Wish

No one knows what the future holds. We’re quick to wish a “happy new year” on January 1st, but we actually have very little control over how things will play out. “You do not know what a day may bring,”1 the Bible cautions. Over the past year, a number of my friends went through some very trying times, and wishing them happiness and success now feels slightly hollow.

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01-01-2015
Lunar Landing
Lunar Landing

It’s been almost half a century since Neil Armstrong declared on July 20, 1969, “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.” It was a momentous occasion—the first time a member of the human race had stood on the surface of the moon.

Technological expertise took the crew of Apollo 11 where no person had gone before. We can scarcely imagine the thoughts and emotions of both the astronauts and their families, but there is a lesser-known incident that took place when the crew first landed that gives some surprising insight.

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01-01-2015
On the River’s Edge
On the River’s Edge

As the children of Israel were preparing to cross the Jordan River, Joshua sent the ark of the covenant ahead. He instructed the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.”1

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01-01-2015
Taking the Plunge
Taking the Plunge

The little boy must have been about four years old. I watched with interest as his dad walked to the edge of the diving board at the deep end of the pool and showed him how to dive. The boy clapped and cheered at the splash his dad made as he entered the water, but when encouraged to jump in as well, he backed away apprehensively. “Don’t worry, son,” his dad assured him. “I’ll catch you.”

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01-01-2015
A Single Step
A Single Step

A couple of years ago, I took an English teaching training course. My first language is Croatian, and I had been working as a professional translator and interpreter for over 20 years, so I spoke English on a daily basis and was quite happy doing some freelance English teaching.

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01-01-2015
Live Today!
Live Today!

Someone has said that today is a marvel of opportunity, crucified between two thieves, yesterday and tomorrow! Today, this very day, is one of the most wonderfully precious things you will ever have.

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01-01-2015
New Year, New Commitments
New Year, New Commitments

The beginning of a new year is such an interesting time. We often think back over our experiences of the past year as well as look ahead to what the new year will bring. It can be encouraging to see the challenges met, the victories won, the progress made, the commitments carried through, and the blessings we’ve had throughout the previous year. It’s also a time to assess areas where we had hoped we’d make headway but didn’t quite live up to our aspirations. Perhaps there’s something to learn from the hard times and difficulties—or even some outright failures—that we...

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01-01-2015
Holding On
Holding On

As a young child, I would lie in bed at my grandparents’ house, listening to the sounds of the television downstairs and looking at the pictures on the wall. One was a picture of a woman with wavy reddish hair in a nightdress clinging to a stone cross in the middle of the raging sea. Pieces of a boat drifted around her and the waves threatened to drag her back into the water, but her eyes were fixed on the cross and she held on with all her might.

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01-01-2015
5 Steps to Success
5 Steps to Success

Are you faced with starting a new project or making decisions? Why not get a head start by using these tried-and-proven steps to success.

 

Pray: Don’t neglect or undervalue the place of prayer. A prayerless individual is a powerless individual. When power is absent, strength is absent too, and defeat is inevitable. When prayer becomes a habit, victory becomes a lifestyle. It is prayer that gives wings to your dreams: if you want to make your dreams fly, give them the prayer edge.

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01-01-2015
A Promise and a Prayer

Dear Jesus, before starting out on this new year, I’d like to pause for a moment with You.

Your Word promises that “those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.”7 Please give me strength for whatever the coming year holds.

King David prayed, “Renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). Please come into my heart and life, and guide me in the days ahead. 

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01-01-2015
New Year Choices
New Year Choices

I’m quite excited about my New Year’s resolution, and I think it’s going to work. No, I know it’s going to work. It’s got to, because I see now that my future hinges on it. “Think small.”

That may seem like a contradiction of the usual New Year refrain—“Think big”—but actually, it complements it. I hit on “Think small” after a friend pointed me to “The Formula,” an online article by Jim Rohn. Here are a few excerpts that sum up the “think small” strategy:

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01-01-2015
Mallory’s Mountain
Mallory’s Mountain

When someone asked the famous mountaineer George Mallory why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, he simply stated: “Because it is there.”

Didn’t he know that staying home would have been a whole lot safer? Didn’t he care about the dangers, the hardships, and the risks?

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01-01-2015
Notebooks and Planners
Notebooks and Planners

Ever since my school days, one of my greatest thrills has been to start a new notebook. That first nice-smelling white page, all clean and perfect, without wrinkles or dents, was so inviting and promising! It could be because I wasn’t always so neat, so here was another chance to finally improve my handwriting, or simply because I was excited about starting something new. Inevitably, as the days passed, I got sloppy again and couldn’t wait to throw away that notebook and start another new one.

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01-01-2015
First Attempts
First Attempts

The Bible tells of a group of people who attempted an ambitious building program. Sadly for them, work on the world’s first skyscraper—the Tower of Babel—had unforeseen consequences. In fact, they got themselves into quite a mess.1

Things don’t always work out like you anticipate, no matter how well you prepare or how adequate your resources are. After all, it might not be a good plan at all; and even if it is, there’s no way of knowing what the future holds.2 But that isn’t the full picture. While first attempts can lead to disappointment, they can also lead to success...

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01-01-2015
Adventures Ahoy!
Adventures Ahoy!

Ahead lies a world of new minutes, new hours, new days, new weeks, new months. On this threshold of the new year, so much is new and fresh. Your past sins and mistakes are washed away by My love and forgiveness.1

I won’t promise that the new year will be easy, but I do promise to be with you through the challenges and strengthening experiences that it will bring.

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01-01-2015
The Most We Can Do
The Most We Can Do

In my turn-of-the year clean-up, I found an old yearbook. I smiled as I read down the very long list of my resolutions for that year. I guess I had high expectations of myself!

This past year, I decided to make only three resolutions: Be more loving and encouraging, finish a major writing project I was working on and start a new one, and keep a prayer list. 

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