Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Facing the New Year with Courage

Happy New Year! This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. This is the week of the devil's defeat. This is the month of the Lord's triumph, and this is the year that our Lord could appear! I am very excited about 2008. God is birthing within me something's that I cannot wait to share with you in the weeks to come. I truly believe that the year is going to be GREAT in 2008!

One of the things that I hope all of us will strive to do this year is to read the Bible through. I plan to put on this blog, and send out via email, a weekly reading schedule that if followed will take us through the Bible together in 2008. What an exciting endeavor it will be.

One of my prayers for you this year is taken from Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
that you will "Be strong and courageous."

Dr. John Maxwell writes: "When I began my career I was very ineffective as a leader. My problem was that I wanted to please everybody. Making people happy was the most important thing to me. The bottom line was, I lacked the courage to make right but unpopular decisions. How did I turn things around? By making small decisions that were difficult. With each one I gained more confidence and more courage, and I began to change. The process took me four years. At the end of that time I felt I had learned many valuable lessons, and I wrote the following to help me cement what I had learned:

"Courageous leadership simply means I've developed: (1) Convictions that are stronger than my fears. (2) Vision that is clearer than my doubts. (3) Spiritual sensitivity that is louder than popular opinion. (4) Self-esteem that is deeper than self-protection. (5) Appreciation for discipline that is greater than my desire for leisure. (6) Dissatisfaction that is more forceful than the status quo. (7) Poise that is more unshakeable than panic. (8) Risk-taking that is stronger than safety-keeping. (9) Actions thatare more robust than rationalization. (10) A desire to see potential reached more than to see people pleased."

If people-pleasing is your problem, you might want to go back and re-read those ten things. You don't have to be great to become a person of courage. You just have to want to fulfil God's plan and purpose for your life - and be willing to trade what seems good in the moment for what's best for your future! And that's something you can do this year, regardless of your level of natural talent.

God bless you today, as we start off a new year together in the Lord!

Today's Bible reading:

January 1st Genesis 1:1-3:24

January 2nd Genesis 4:1-5:32

Pastor Rusty