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New Year Devotion

Gear Up With Goals

By Candy Arrington


"Commit to the Lord whatever you do and he will establish your plans" (Proverbs 16:3).

Most of us look forward to Christmas with joy and anticipation. Then, almost too quickly, the New Year abruptly arrives only a week later. How do you view the coming year? Do you look forward to fresh possibilities and renewed potential? Or do you cling to the familiarity of the waning year?

Whether we like it or not, time hurls us forward. The New Year stretches before us like a blank white piece of paper. Why not take advantage of the clean slate the New Year provides and set some goals to work toward. As you set goals, be willing to take steps out of your comfort zone. But remember, making the goals realistic for your age and stage of life will determine whether the goals are attainable.

Following are some areas in which to consider goal setting:

Spiritual goals – (John 15:5) Spiritual growth doesn’t just happen. Decide to devote some time and energy to jump-starting spiritual growth:

1. Read the Bible through. Even if you’ve done this before, consider doing it again. God will show you fresh truths when you dig into His Word. Read-the-Bible through guides are available from a number of sources. Here is one suggestion: CBN - Read Through the Bible in a Year

2. Get involved in a structured Bible study. There are lots of many options. If your church doesn't offer group Bible studies, check to see if studies are offered in your community at Christian bookstores or other churches.

3. Decide to share Jesus without fear. Make witnessing a priority.

Mental goals – (Proverbs 1:5) Challenge yourself mentally by taking steps to learn or try something new.

1. Do in-depth library or Internet research on a particular subject – a country, a religion, or historical event. Take notes on what you’ve learned.

2. Enroll in a continuing education class at a local college or tech school.

3. Get your whole family involved in learning a foreign language.

4. Volunteer to teach English as a second language.

Emotional/Relational Goals – (Colossians 3:12-13) Often we need to work on emotional issues or strained relationships, but continually avoid doing so because of the difficulties involved. Consider goals in the following areas:

1. Forgiveness – Decide to extend the gift of forgiveness for an old hurt. You'll gain a new sense of freedom because you no longer carry a grudge.

2. Patience – Practice patience in areas where you are historically impatient.

3. Anger management – Make a conscious decision to control your anger and determine its sources.

Physical Goals – (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Following the marathon overindulgence of December, most of us need to get serious about maintaining the temple that is our body. Decide to:

1. Enroll in an exercise program and go! It’s easy to have a gym membership, but it takes discipline to actually attend and work out.

2. Deny yourself those tasty morsels that do nothing to adorn the temple. View food as fuel for the machine instead of gratification for the taste buds.

3. Have a family plan that encourages physical activity and togetherness.

Can God change your life?

God has made it possible for you to know Him and experience an amazing change in your own life. Discover how you can find peace with God. You can also send us your prayer requests


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Candy Arrington's publishing credits include The Lookout, Encounter, Focus on the Family, Clubhouse, The Upper Room, The Writer, and Writer's Digest. She is coauthor of Aftershock: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H Publishing Group) and When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life (Harvest House Publishers). Candy and her husband, Jim, live in Spartanburg, South Carolina and have two adult children. www.CandyArrington.com

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