4 Christian Principles for Making New Year’s Resolutions

Resolutions are strategic reminders for our repentant hearts. As Christians, they should be set in place to progress of the will of God in our lives. Before compiling a new list of goals, celebrate each step of progress that was made in the last year. Pay homage to the work God has done in our lives, before surging onto the next stage of growth. Giving God glory in worship for the accomplishments we achieve is a necessary element in the Christian attribute of fostering a grateful heart. Taking our failures into account, as well, shines light into the areas of our lives where prayer for clarity is needed. 

Through it all, God is guiding us. Jesus is walking with us, promising never to leave us. Prayerful consideration of the counsel of our good Father prevents needless brain-wracking and unreasonable goal-setting. His will is always in our best interest. The Voice paraphrase of Ephesians 3:20 reminds us that He promises to do more than we can ask or imagine in our lives. He can not only help us with our resolutions, but holds the key to the progress that will usher His peace into our lives.

“Now to the God who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine through the power at work in us, to Him be all glory…” (Ephesians 3:20-21). 

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5 Realistic New Year’s Resolutions for Christians

There’s an enlightening difference between “resolve” and “resolution.” Resolve reflects a decision or determination, while a resolution formally encompasses a decision made via conference with others. Wikipedia describes four different types of resolution, “New Year’s resolution” being the only one that doesn’t incorporate other opinions into its final draft. Could this be why resolutions often fall out of reach?

Resolution is a feeling of debate, dispute, and deliberation that takes contributing thoughts and opinions into consideration. Perhaps our vocabulary has been modified to cater to individual resolve, regardless of practicality or conference about our life’s direction. Particularly, the One who laid the very purpose of our lives into the fabric of who we are. Resolve to prayerfully consult God to reveal what He is asking from us. Entertain trusted family and friends to encourage and guide our steps. Then, compile New Year’s Resolutions that we can stand firmly in striving towards. 

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The Cold Coffee (#jammed daily devo, day 365)

December #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 365: Warm it back up.

“How great is God? Beyond our understanding.” Job 36:26

DECJAM31 final

This last entry of the year has me staring at a cold cup of coffee, at 2 pm in the afternoon. Many cups of coffee have gone cold sitting here in pursuit of spreading the encouraging love of Jesus. Throughout the year, I just kept warming it back up. I didn’t give up and dump it out. I never gave up on this devo series. THAT …is a miracle.

I proudly wore Jonah as my favorite Bible character until I grew to understand that he ran from God. From then on I deemed him a “how could he do that” and crossed him off the “favorites” list.

But someone once told me that what we criticize we often struggle with ourselves.

I’m a total runner.

Today’s verse is from Job. Job and I became buddies this year. I watched him suffer at the hand of tragedy and sickness and mistreatment from friends. It was all so unwarranted. Why couldn’t that have happened to Jonah?

But wait …that’s me.

We’re reminded in today’s verse that we can’t outrun God’s love. We can’t even understand where it begins and where it ends, let alone how to scathe it.

I deserve the kind of sufferring that Job endured. We all deserve the suffering that sin negates. When we don’t get what we deserve, we are the first to cry, “no fair!” But when we claim something we didn’t earn, there is a hesitation. When we receive too much change at the restaurant, or find a wad of money on the ground at the amusement park, or see a friend getting teased or hear them getting thrown under the bus. Something in us knows we have a chance, in those moments, to do the right thing.

“Thank you so much!” the man replied to my daughter, as she handed him a hug wad of rolled up cash that had fallen out of his pocket on his way to sit down and eat lunch. She came back to the table with a smile on her face.

“It feels so good to help someone out like that, doesn’t it” I asked her.

“Yep,” she said.

“You know, not everyone would have done the same thing,” I told her, “I’m so proud of you.”

We have the chance to do the right thing, to stick it out, to stop talking, to hug someone that’s hurting, to pick up the money and give it back. And when that happens, we are doing what we’re put on this earth to do. Love people.

 It’s never a coincidence that we notice.

Life happens to let Jesus be known. When we’re cold, He will warm us back up. We notice ways to be kind because that is the key to warming our lives. A warm cup of coffee is joy to my soul. A warm act of kindness is Jesus’ love on earth. Coffee can always be warmed up, and so can we. We just need to keep going, keep looking around, keep noticing…

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Father, Praise You for giving us more than we deserve. Thank You for Job, who teaches us how to suffer well, even when it’s not deserved. Forgive us for turning a blind eye when we “notice” an opportunity to love in Your name. Bless us to live lives full of noticing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy New Year,


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The Bucket. (#jammed daily devo, day 364)

December #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 364: Empty Buckets

“The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:5

“What if I never actually surf,” I joked, “It’s a possibility!”DECJAM30

Monday morning Bible study prepares and leads me.

“What if God just wants to teach me something through the process of preparation?”

It’s a possibility. And it wouldn’t be the first time.

I’ve trained for a marathon before, making it through the last training run, but never to the starting line. The pain of injury, embarrassment, and discouragement was miraculously never able to overtake the lessons God laced into those faithful strides and Jesus-partnered miles.

Today’s verse reminds us what our buckets should be full of …Him.

Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.” Philippians 4:5-6 (VOICE)

It’s hard to keep our “gentle nature” when things are not going our way. There are things we want to be able to do, and when we can’t it’s frustrating. How do we attempt that seemingly impossible smile in the face of defeat?

“The Lord is ever present with us.”

Somehow we forget that He is there in our failed attempts, too. The discouragement we feel when we fail  is hard. But that’s not what it looks like from God’s point of view. We get so caught up in what we think it will look like to achieve the task He’s given us, that we forget to throw our timeline.

“Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything.”

How often do we do that? Stop and spin on our heals to pray. That’s not our natural reaction to failure. We limp due to our fractured state, and immediately melt down in self defeat. It can cause us to question everything about our dedication to God.

“Was I just a wimp?”

“Did I just quit …again?”

“Am I a quitter?”

“Maybe …” might be the response. “But I love you anyway, and I’m not worried about it.”

“He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.”

When we set new resolutions and goals every year, none are goals we don’t intend on achieving. If talk to God about our goals before rushing to fill in our brand new planners and calendars, He’s able to readjust our perception of what the deadline should be. A goal could linger on for a long time without a check mark or a line through it …but that doesn’t mean we’re not getting a little closer to it with each passing year.

The key to joy in this life is know that “the Lord is near.” To our victories and our failures. Through our pain and our celebration. Every time we check something off of our bucket list, He adds something else. The point of life isn’t to check everything off and then just sit around and wait to go to heaven. The creator of time is not in the business of wasting any of it.

WE are to be good stewards of our time, not looking forward to nothing left to do …but finding joy in the pursuit of holiness.

Each day He has something for us to do. If we do the best we can to see Him in it and to bring Him along on our daily journey, we’ll never look back and wonder what the purpose for any of it was. We may not understand it …but Jesus died for us to believe in Him …not to be perfect. He’s got that covered.

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Father, Praise You for bucket lists, and thank You for growing us through every goal an aspiration You plant in our hearts to achieve. We love You. Forgive for days when we feel like the cross isn’t enough. Bless us to live lives that reflect Your love, and Your Son. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Bucket Listing,


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10 Reasons Christians Shouldn’t Fear a Commercialized Christmas

“Commercialism” is a buzzword with a negative connotation, accused of stealing sincerity from the Christmas season. Big box chains and online retailers see the benefit of Christmas tradition in their bottom line, each year creeping further back into our Thanksgiving celebrations. The marketed rush of “have to haves” brings out a less endearing side of humanity, but no quest to cash in can take “Christ” out of Christmas.

“Commerce” defines the exchange of goods and services. Humanity has evolved from paying with chunks of precious metal to transferring funds online, and bartering the craftsmanship of our own talents has taken a back seat to free 2-day shipping. God is not surprised by the world-wide shift in commerce. Nothing He created or purposed can slip out of His omnipotent reach. Every commercialized push for Christmas lends an opportunity to elevate the gospel of Christ. 

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