It is that time again when we spend a few moments reflecting on what we did this year and what we didn’t do. Sometimes we come to a new year with a wave of regret, wishing we would have done a few things differently. Sometimes we come to the new year with a spark of excitement, looking forward to what God has for us. Maybe it is a little bit of both. What have you thought about when it comes to 2016? What are some goals you have for you and your family with this new year?
Let me encourage you with the following thoughts.

  • Everything we do is for God’s glory.

The Bible says, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36 ESV). Everything we do in this life should point to the Creator. We were created so God could receive glory from us and through us.
This is way bigger than any accomplishment or goal we have in mind. In fact, through our goals and accomplishments we can give God glory. How do we do that? Through good works. Good works aren’t just sharing the gospel or going to church. Good works would be doing whatever we do in life and whatever we say to point to who God is and what He is all about. Our good works bring attention not to us but to the God who created us.

  • Our time is short.

Ephesians 5:15–17 reminds us to be careful how we live and to make the best use of our time because the days are evil. The Bible tells us that our life is like a vapor, here one moment and gone the next (James 4:14). If our goal is to do everything for God’s glory, then we do not want to waste our time on meaningless tasks. Part of using our time is knowing where it is going, (planning helps in this area), but we also need to think about where our time is not going.
Take a moment and reflect on how you spend your time. What areas can you grow in? Are you resting and getting enough sleep? What ways can you grow to be better with your time?

  • Heaven is our home.

We should not want to waste our time on earth doing meaningless things, and I think if we have our eyes on eternity we have a different perspective. Paul said, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20 ESV). Our permanent place of dwelling is heaven. This place where we are now is just the staging area for eternity. When you live with heaven in mind, it changes how you live.
With these points in mind, what are some goals that you have personally or as a family? What are some things that the Lord is putting on your heart for a new year and a fresh start? Let me encourage you in a few areas:
Growth as a Christian
Bible reading is key for us as believers. A helpful link in regard to picking a Bible reading program that is right for you and for your family is faithlife.com. You can set up a free account and choose a Bible reading plan.
Another way to just grow in wisdom and knowledge is to read good books. Reading is a struggle for many and the only way we can get better at reading is to read. Here is a helpful blog post that I came across for setting up a reading goal for 2016: Tim Challies’ 2016 Reading Challenge.
Family Devotions
Getting into God’s Word as a family is not only precious but also needed. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • The Family Worship Book by Terry Johnson is a great resource with many suggestions for the family about gathering together and doing worship together. You can purchase this book online or at the Harvest Bookstore.
  • Old Story New and Long Story Short by Marty Machowski are devotional books intended for the family. Click on the titles to purchase on Amazon (which you could buy as a digital book) or pick them up at the Harvest Bookstore.

Probably one of the biggest goals that families have is getting out of debt and budgeting properly. My wife and I have been tremendously helped by going through Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. You can find out more by going to FPU.
Paul told Timothy that bodily exercise is of some value, but godliness is profitable for all things. Paul was not dismissing the importance of exercise. There are many great things that come with eating right and exercise, such as longer life, more energy, and less money spent on doctors for poor health, but the greatest is to be used by God more and more.
Pastor Jonathan M. Lee

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