Packed Up And Moving Forward

Shelves of boxes

Christmas is over, the new year is here. Most people have probably already packed up the Christmas ornaments and decorations, taken down their tree and are ready to move forward with the new year.

All those Christmas decorations and ornaments are packed up for another year. They will not be taken out until November or December of this year. They are hidden away in a attic, closet, shed or garage to not be seen until Christmas season arrives again.

During the Christmas season, everyone is quick to talk about the birth of Jesus, about giving and loving others. The focus for many, at least for believers, is why Jesus came to this earth. Churches are often packed out for the Christmas service. People go to Christmas concerts and performances. Radios play songs about the birth of Jesus.

Manger scene

Yet, as soon as Christmas is over and the new year has begun people move on. Very quickly the heart of Christmas is missing. Generosity is forgotten. Joy is gone. Jesus is often put back in a box, packed away until the right season comes along.

When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. Luke 2:17-18

Looking back at the time of when Jesus was born, the shepherds were the first ones to learn about His birth. Immediately upon meeting Jesus, they went out and told everyone about what they had seen and learned. They did not pack up Jesus for the next season, but did it immediately.

While the bible does not say anything more about those shepherds, I often wonder if any of those shepherds later followed Jesus. How long did they keep talking about what they had seen?

Shepherd with sheep

I believe that they did not stop any time soon. This was a major event in their life. Think about it, how often do you suddenly see the sky filled with angels to bring you a message from God and you are able to verify the message is true? I have never had that experience.

There are experiences that I have had in my life that occurred 30+ years ago that I still talk about to this day. They had a major impact in my life. I want to continue to remember those experiences and share them with other people.

Drop in water

Trusting that you are a believer, Jesus has impacted your life. There was a point in your life where you chose to believe in Him and it changed your life. Do not stop at that point, keep allowing Jesus to impact your life and share that impact with others.

While Christmas is the season in which we focus on His birth, it does not need to stop there. Many believers are quick to talk about Jesus during the Christmas season, but quickly forget talking about Him after the season. Carry Jesus with you every where you go. Pack up the Christmas ornaments and decorations, but do not pack Jesus up until the next Christmas season or even until the next Sunday morning.

Child walking forward

Move forward in what God has for you, sharing what Jesus has done in you, for you and with you. Be willing to tell the world the good news. The good news of His birth gets better after His death and resurrection. You have great news to share, so go out and share it.

As this new year has begun, find out how you can draw closer to God. Find out how you share Jesus with more people. Do not hide Jesus away so that they world cannot know Him, but allow Him to shine in this dark world through you.

As you move forward in this new year, move forward in His joy, His love, His peace, His comfort, His strength, His life, His ways, His mercy, His grace, His patience, and His salvation given to you.

New Year’s Resolutions

As the new year of 2017 begins, many people make some resolutions. Some, like myself, tend to refrain from making resolutions because they know they will not keep them very well. They want to start out the new year making some changes in their lives. Most often these resolutions are to make things better for their lives.

Some of these resolutions are for their own personal lives. They can be to start exercising more, read more, stop smoking, eat healthier, stop drinking, relax more often, go on a bigger vacation, save more money, finish school, and the list goes on with no end. These resolutions are usually to help a person be in a better position down the road.

Others will have resolutions that deal with other people more. Some of these can be cut back on working long hours, spend more time with family, visit relatives more, give more to those in need, volunteer more in the church or community, physically help those in need, and again, the list goes on endlessly.

While all of these resolutions can be good for a person to do, they are not the most important ones to be focused on. The first resolutions that a person should be making is ones that deal with their relationship with God. Paul had prayed that God would give the people a Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that they would know Him better.

No person can know God too much. No matter how much you know God, there is always more to know about Him. No matter how much you understand the things of God, there is more to understand. Strive to know God more and more.

The way to know God more is to read and study the Bible more. Make the resolution to spend more time in the Bible and to apply to your life. Spend more time in prayer so that you are in constant communication with God. Keep yourself heart’s ears open to what God has to tell you. These things will build your relationship with Him.

The next thing to make a resolution on is with becoming more like Jesus.

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. 1 John 2:6

John says that if you have a belief in God, you must live like Jesus did. You must patter your life after that of Jesus. You must act, think, and speak like Jesus did

For this reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8

Peter gives the practical side of what it means to think, act and speak like Jesus. All of these qualities that Peter listed are ones that describe Jesus. Jesus was the perfect man, the perfect example of what each person is expected to be like.

I am trusting that in your choosing to read my blog, you have a belief in Jesus to some degree or more. I am trusting that you have accepted the salvation that Jesus has offered you.

If this is true about you, then your goal in life must be to be like Jesus more and more.

While having resolutions to change something in your life is good, the primary resolutions should be to be to know God more and to be like Jesus more. As you focus on these two things, God will guide you in to what changes you need to make. In those changes you may see  the need to exercise more, or eat healthier, or some other common resolution.

As you begin this new year that God is blessing you with, what is God telling you to focus on?

What can you start doing to know God more?

What can you start doing on a regular basis to be more like Jesus?

I pray that God will fill you with His Holy Spirit and guide you in the path He has for you this new year. I trust God will help you change what needs to be changed so that you may be more like Jesus.

God can and will give you the strength you need to be what He has called you to be–like Jesus.

May you have a very blessed and happy New Year in our Lord Jesus Christ!