Welcome to 2023!

Dear Friend,

Let me begin by wishing you a truly happy and prosperous New Year. It is my prayer that 2023 is filled with every blessing, that all your desires come to pass, and that it will be a year that will not be wasted.

I was reading a letter this morning that was sent to me from a prisoner around 60 A.D. His name is Saul Paulus of Tarsus. He wrote the letter from a prison cell that was nowhere near the luxury suites our prisons are today. It was a letter encouraging me not to live my life foolishly, but to see every breath as a gift to be used and not squandered.
Be very careful, then, how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 5:15-17

Being “careful” is the opposite of being careless, in other words, “don’t stumble or drift through life”. We need to prayerfully think it through and come to know what we’re here for. I believe God has a plan for each of us and we have the right to choose to accept it and move in it, or not.

Looking back over 2022 I can see countless opportunities that were lost, lives I could have touched, but didn’t. As the last twelve months fade in the rearview mirror of my life, I wonder, is this new year that lays before me just going to just be an encore performance of the last? Am I prepared to fulfill God’s calling on my life, and more importantly, am I willing?

In the Book of Romans, it says, “offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness.”

There’s no mystery here. God wants all of me, not some of me. He won’t settle for 99%. Here is where the rubber meets the road. I cannot be a disciple without discipline. The two go together. What is discipline? – Discipline is delayed gratification. Discipline is doing what’s difficult now, in order to enjoy the benefit later.

We are very disciplined in our careers, our hobbies, and even our physical workouts. Some never miss a favorite T.V. show, and most of us never miss a meal. We’re disciplined in things that are important to us. What if you were as disciplined in seeking God as you are in never missing a meal? Spiritual discipline needs to become a habit or what we do over and over and over without even thinking, such as breathing It’s our habits that become a significant part of our lives and tend to control it.

If you want 2023 to be more than a repeat of years past, then start by changing your habits. Be willing to be disciplined and accept the calling God has placed on your life. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s far more rewarding than looking back at another year of what we could have done and didn’t. Don’t fear failure, rather fear success at things that don’t really matter.

Let us throw of everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

Happy New Year!

See you next time … Ben

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