SD#52 Bucket Lists and Resolutions: The What and Why of Goals

Psalm 20:4

“May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed.”

Our motivations matter as we pursue goals in 2020. Our innate desires are hopes and dreams stem from unmet needs, wants deep within from comparison or inspired by God. When we figure out WHAT are goals are, we also need to find our WHY. Listen to find the sub goals that help our goals become a reality.

Bible In a Year

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You’ve wanted to read the Bible all the way through, but like that diet you’ve perpetually been on, it feels impossible to follow through.
 
Guys, it’s hard to stay committed but this is one commitment you will be blessed to keep. And some commitments are better when done together. Let’s do this! Join me in 2019 as we read the Bible together. There will be links to help you listen on days when reading will be harder, a verse for each day, and a post reminder on social media each day with the Scripture reading for the day.
 
Sign up to join us and receive a free Bible Reading Plan! Download the free Bible reading plan on my website: https://denisepass.com/bible-reading-plan/
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𝐂𝐚𝐭𝐜𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐃𝐫𝐢𝐟𝐭: 𝐃𝐞𝐭𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐍𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐠𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚 𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐟𝐥𝐮𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐈𝐧𝐟𝐥𝐮𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞

𝑮𝒂𝒍𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒂𝒏𝒔 5:7-9 (𝑬𝑺𝑽)
“𝒀𝒐𝒖 𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒓𝒖𝒏𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒘𝒆𝒍𝒍. 𝑾𝒉𝒐 𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒆𝒅 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝒐𝒃𝒆𝒚𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒕𝒓𝒖𝒕𝒉? 𝑻𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒖𝒂𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒊𝒔 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝒉𝒊𝒎 𝒘𝒉𝒐 𝒄𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒔 𝒚𝒐𝒖. 𝑨 𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒕𝒍𝒆 𝒍𝒆𝒂𝒗𝒆𝒏 𝒍𝒆𝒂𝒗𝒆𝒏𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒉𝒐𝒍𝒆 𝒍𝒖𝒎𝒑.”

Anyone feel like they are drifting in here? Would you notice if you were?

Swimming in the Atlantic Ocean one summer, the waves were super fun and strong. I had not noticed a rip tide nor the fact that I was being pulled far away from where I had started until I looked to spot my umbrella on the shore.

It was nowhere.

That moment of panic that hits as you try to gauge just how far you have drifted to assess your situation while chastising yourself for not noticing sooner is quelled once you see that familiar benchmark and start to plan your way back.

But what if there is no benchmark? No measure to discern whether or not we have strayed? Oh, then, we would be lost at sea.

We might not be lost at sea, but we can sure get lost in this life and culture, can’t we? Like waves that push us around, there is a confluence of influence in our lives, constantly dragging us away from what we know to be true.

You can’t hardly open your eyes without influence breathing it’s values and persuasion all around us. The radio, the television, the internet, the people all around us are exerting an influence upon our souls.

It can make a soul tired. It can wear anyone down if we are not ready for it . . .

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Finding Satisfaction and Filling Our True Hunger

James 4:3, “And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.”
 
We all have wants. And the motives behind those wants is often focused on our own pleasure. Those things we hope for in this world. Sometimes the wants are needs and sometimes they aren’t. Led by our flesh, we seek to satisfy our sometimes insatiable desire with things that just don’t last.
 
God is not a spoilsport and it is not wrong to have pleasure. It’s God’s idea after all. He gave us taste buds. It was His idea for intimacy between a man and a woman. He is a good God. But there is so much more that God has for us than just the pursuit of pleasure. And it is when we pursue God that we have the highest pleasure. This is the pleasure we are to pursue. And God surprises us with earthly pleasures, too, that pale in comparison, to meet our human needs and godly desires.
 
But God also left us hungry.
 
Not because He was cruel, but so we would not stop seeking Him. So we would recognize our need and not be so easily satisfied with the created, that we would long for the Creator.
 
Last night as I was helping the youth lead worship at our church, we sang the song, “Take My Life” and it hit me that these youth are hungering for things in this world. Popularity. Materialistic belongings. Attention. Well, truth be told, we all are wanting relief or pleasure of some sort. A chocolate dessert, perhaps . . . 😉
 
But what would it be like if we asked God to help us to hunger after what we sing and talk about in church? If we were to hunger for so much of Him in our lives that the world would see Christ in us? Hungering after righteousness, holiness, and faithfulness. Craving His presence and His word and not letting any substitute stand in the way or distract us from God?
 
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The Mediator of Salvation

you-will-not-get-what-you-truly-deserve-if-youre-too-attached-to-the-things-youre-supposedto-let-go-of

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Jesus intercedes for us as one who walked in the flesh among us – our compassionate mediator.

Scriptures of the Day:

Hebrews 9:15, 24

15 And so he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the eternal inheritance he has promised, since he died to set them free from the violations committed under the first covenant.  24  For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with hands – the representation of the true sanctuarybut into heaven itself, and he appears now in God’s presence for us. 25 And he did not enter to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the sanctuary year after year with blood that is not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the consummation of the ages to put away sin by his sacrifice.

1 Timothy 2:5-6

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.”

Job 16:19-21

19 Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. 20 My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; 21 and he contends with God on behalf of man as a man pleads for his friend.  

Countless are the feats Christ accomplished in coming in the flesh.  Each facet of His work on earth becomes more precious to me, when I consider them!  Having endured through a painful court process, the word, mediator has a special significance to me.  Sometimes in life we feel there is no hope, no end to our turmoil.  When we feel like no one is on our side, Christ is our compassionate Mediator.

We can never underestimate the one Who owns the thousand cattle on a hill, Who is completely knowledgeable of all things, and by the way, is on our side if we are His.  Even more amazing, He is on all sides, surveying and working all things together.  His purpose is that all might know and believe and He uses everything to draw us nearer to Him.

I have a funny image in my head now – of someone playing multiple roles vicariously.  An airline representative checks in your baggage and sells you a ticket.  The same individual guides you onto the plane.  Now if this person said they were the pilot, I might rethink hopping on that flight.  We might have various roles simultaneously, too – I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, employee, worship leader . . . the list goes on and on.

Some roles I do better than others, and sometimes juggling all I have to be and do is hard. But Christ accomplishes multiple roles perfectly.  He is the Righteous Judge with Whom we will one day answer, our Savior, LORD, Comforter, Healer, the Mediator defending us, who ultimately paid our sin debt, too. The list of Who He is never ends.

When Christ came as the bridge between man and God and ascended to Heaven after completing His work on earth, He did not abdicate His role as mediator.  He still intercedes for His children and does so as one who walked in the flesh among us – He is a compassionate mediator.  This Christmas may we reflect on Christ, our Mediator.  Without His willingly choosing to represent us before our Father, Almighty God, we could not have fellowship with Him.

Lord, thank you for coming not just as a perfect babe, but as a peacemaker, mediating our relationship with God.  Only You could fulfill that role.

The Ruling Baby King

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Instead of conquering us and ruling over us ruthlessly, God conquered our hearts and saved us.

Scripture of the Day:

Isaiah 9: 6-7

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.  He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.  The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”

Don’t be fooled – this King baby will reign.  Despite the enemy’s attempts to destroy Him, God’s plan stood firm.  Despite a supposed defeat by ultimately being crucified, He rose from the dead and is coming again, only this time to reign.  For spectators of a movie, this story is difficult to watch – the injustice of the wicked seemingly destroying the Holy One and His plan; the Almighty God coming in perceived weakness.

The Jewish people were looking for their King to come and rule – now – not in the future. But God’s ways are not our ways. In His wisdom, God came as a babe so we could understand His salvation more than a God far away.  Instead of conquering us and ruling over us ruthlessly, He conquered our hearts and saved us.  He is our LORD, our Wonderful Counselor, to Whom we can come daily and moment by moment.  His rule is righteous and just.  His rule trumps every other ruler or government in this world.

In those moments when the wise men, shepherds and onlookers gazed upon God as a babe, how filled with wonder they must have been.  How humbled to see their Creator coming in such a form.  The most hardened heart was surely softened by such a gift.  May we have this same awe in reflecting on our Jesus, coming as a babe to rule our hearts.

Lord, You are all-wise, all-knowing, Almighty God!  Holy and humble, perfect One!  I worship You and thank You for ruling in my heart and opening my eyes to see.

The Gift of Acceptance from the Unbiased Baby Jesus

The only One who can set the standard for acceptance in all of life set it, fulfilled it and offered us.png
Inspirational Thought of the Day:
We could never meet someone’s definition well enough to be perfectly accepted by them, but we don’t have to.
Scripture of the Day:

1 My brothers and sistersdo not show prejudice if you possess faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. But if you show prejudice, you are committing sin and are convicted by the lawas violators.  

John 7:41

Others were saying, “This is the Christ.” Still others were saying, “Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He?
Deep in our heart of hearts we long for acceptance, to know we are cherished. The familiar feeling of rejection stings as we clamor to meet the constantly shifting standards in our relevant world. Or not. Those two words bring peace to my soul as I know I could never meet anyone’s standards well enough to be perfectly accepted by them, but I don’t have to.
The only One who could set the standard for acceptance in all of life 
set it, fulfilled it and offered us acceptance that never ends.

With the current climate astir with racial accusations, the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ entrance to this world filled my mind.  Christ confused those Who thought He would come to just a certain race in just a certain way.  Jesus is not a snob. No, He came as a poor infant Jew to Galilee and Nazareth and confounded the supposed wisdom of this world.  He gave value and spoke with women, even letting them discover His resurrection first.  He demonstrated compassion to those of a different race and treated all as equals.

So many prejudices exist and have since the world began.  Gender, age, financial status, education, color of skin, culture, anything that can define one as unique can also be fodder for bias.  Not so with God.  He loves how each one of us is different, and it is beautiful in His eyes.  Christ came to abolish our sickening racism, prejudice, and preferences to show us what it means to truly love unconditionally.  His unbiased acceptance is absolutely amazing when we consider He had every right to look down on us.

Ethnic purity is not a new term.  The Samaritans were persecuted for not being a pure race, yet Jesus viewed them no differently than any other race or people.  It is, in fact, laughable and ridiculous that we should view any race as superior to another when we all consider that we came from Adam.

Why are we still so ignorant?  We should be able to learn from the atrocities that history has to offer, but instead we reinvent the insipid racism in a new fashion and repeat the same sins as our predecessors.  Perhaps it is insecurity – each person, each family, each race wants to be the best?  In reality, we are all chief of sinners, in need of a desperate Savior. Or it could be jealousy.  God did choose the Jewish people as His own, but then He shared this salvation with all.

If we are honest, we will admit we have all had moments of prejudice in some fashion; pride in which we thought we were better than another.  There is still hope.  We can turn the tide where we live.  Jesus came to set us free from discrimination, too.  May we look to the infant Savior this Christmas and how He grew in wisdom, always demonstrating loving kindness to all.  The irony is that Christ was sometimes the hardest on the Pharisees – may we not think too highly of ourselves, our denomination, our color, our culture, or anything else that is a part of who we are – and may we simply accept others as we were accepted.

LORD, thank You for accepting all Who would call on Your Name for Salvation.  Help us, God, to stop labeling and judging one another and to love as You did.

Do You Know Him?

god-does-not-make-us-choose-him-but-our-holy-god-bids-the-unholy-to-come-drawing-us-near-with-his-forgiveness-and-mercy

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

God does not make us choose Him, but our Holy God bids the unholy to come, drawing us near with His forgiveness and mercy.

Scripture of the Day:

Luke 4:34

“Ha!  Leave us alone, Jesus the Nazarene!  Have you come to destroy us?  I know who you are – the Holy One of God.”

Such a small statement, and yet so profound.  Even the demons knew who Jesus was and shuddered – but that knowledge did not equate to salvation for them.  When confronted with the God of this universe this evil spirit did not want to be in His presence.  Evil cannot be in the presence of God without being consumed or having atonement for sin.  Fear and rejection of God was the only choice for this demon.  How do we respond to seeing this gift of God? Are we fearful, do we think He wants to harm us, like the demons, or do we recognize the gift of His goodness, embrace His acceptance and come to know Him?

When my kids were little, they would try and sneak a look at the gifts before I wrapped them.  As they got older, they might resort to peeling back the tape just enough to catch a glimpse, or to shaking the item to gauge what it was.  They could not wait to see what gifts were given to them.  It is that yearning that I want to keep fervent in my heart, when I think of seeing Jesus when He returns and when I meditate on what it must have been like to gaze at the King of kings as a baby.  A precious gift, bundled in swaddling clothes was the redemption of all mankind – if we accepted the gift.

Now all these years later we know what a gift that first Christmas was.  We can know that Jesus is God, but that is not the same as knowing Him.  Sin brings fear of sure condemnation, but perfect love casts out all fear.  When confronted with our sin by a Holy God, we have a choice – to bow down and worship Him, confessing our sins and receiving mercy, or to pridefully pretend we do not need His salvation.

Our Holy God does not make us know Him, but came to an unholy people as an infant to bid us to come and know Him, drawing us near with His forgiveness and mercy.

He established His law that we might see our need of Him, and He set the expectations for how we were to live for His glory. He wants us to know Him and how very much He loves us, for this is what we were made for. This Christmas, even though the story has been heard so many times, we can still with anticipation come to learn more of our living Savior and know Him more.  He truly is the gift that keeps on giving, long after other gifts have faded.

Lord, help us to understand what You accomplished when You came to this earth.  May we know You and not just know about you.

Worshipful Wednesday: Our Prince of Peace

search-for-peace-and-you-will-not-find-it-but-search-for-god-and-you-will-find-peace

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Search for peace, and you will not find it, but search for God and you will find peace.

Scripture of the Day:

Luke 2:13-14

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Peace. Just the word itself calms my soul. Tumult, troubles and protests are breaking out in multiple cities across our country and zealots threaten to wipe Jewish and Christian folk alike off the face of the earth.  How can we say peace?  Because He said it. In the verse above He gives it to those who are pleasing to God.

A serene scene by a still lake; a porch swing overlooking a sunny day; children laughing and playing, snow quietly falling on tree limbs.  An elderly couple walking hand in hand. All of these images evoke the idea of peace to me.  But stones create ripples in the water, sunny days give way to wilder weather, snow melts and we all eventually fade away.  Peace is not lasting as prescribed by the world, anyway.

No, Christ alone is our peace – our Prince of peace. We who have accepted the free gift of Jesus can have peace – not as the world gives, but as God can give.  A peace that brings security and hope, which are not dependent upon circumstances or emotions. Busy times, hard times, Christmas preparations, hardship, persecution – none of these things can rob us of peace unless we let them.  Right now, where you are at, quiet your mind and heart and focus on what Christ came to bring – peace to our souls. Reading His love letter to us brings a peace that no counsel on this earth ever could.

From the time he came as a baby, peacefully in the midst of chaos, to His ultimate sacrifice on the cross, Christ accomplished peace with God for us who were far away from Him.  Not perfect comfort on this earth, but complete peace.  Many will cry out for peace in this world, thinking that a leader or a country could bring lasting peace, but they will never achieve it.  True peace is only found in a relationship with God.  Search for peace, and you will not find it, but search for God and you will find peace.

Peace to you all this Christmas season.

Lord, quiet our souls and help us to rest in You at all times.  

Truthful Tuesday: It Only Takes One

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

The road of faithfulness is often a lonely road, but when it is paved with the love of God, our destination and hope are certain.

Scripture of the Day:

Ecclesiastes 9:18-10:1

“Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good.”  10:1 “One dead fly makes the perfumer’s ointment give off a rancid stench, so a little folly can outweigh much wisdom.”

It always astounds me that it can only take one dissenter to bring about chaos and destroy something good.  A small percentage of a population can speak louder and change what the majority voted on.  How is this able to happen?  Passion.  Activism.  Devotion.  Leadership . . . and pressing on despite it not being popular.

We admire when people accomplish great things when the odds are against them, but much more admirable are deeds done in righteousness than the wicked prevailing.  A liberal agenda will not bring about the freedom its followers desire, but they still passionately fight for what they believe is right.  Now more than ever the righteous must not let their voices be silenced.  Our nation needs us more now than ever.  It will not be popular to hold ground and try to turn the tide back, but it is possible.  Your voice matters.  Make it count for righteousness.  It only takes one to begin to make a change.

Only One could pay for the sin debt of all mankind.  He was not popular, but He knew His mission and completed it, despite much opposition.  He changed this world forever – not just for a generation.  This Christmas may we remember what Christ did for us and all mankind.  May we all honor God with our lives and affect this society for His glory.  It only takes one.  Shine brightly in this generation – there is no other voice just like yours – it is needed now.

Christ showed us what living for One looks like. Only one road leads to life with our Savior and this narrow road is often fraught with trials on every side. The road of faithfulness is often a lonely road, but when it is paved with the love of God, our destination and hope are certain.

The song, “This Little Child” by Scott Wesley Brown, written in the late 70’s is so very fitting in our times.  I end today’s post with lyrics contained within the second verse:

“And over half the world is starving While our banner of decency is torn;
Debating over disarmament, Killing children before they’re born.
And fools who march to win the right to justify their sin.
Oh ev’ry nation that has fallen Has fallen from within
Yet in the midst of this darkness There is a hope a light that burns
This little child the King of kings Some day will return.”

Hear and see the lyrics to the complete song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riSAYsLTQBs

Lord, help us to shine for You brighter and brighter.  May we not cover or hide the light You have placed in us and boldly stand for truth and for Your glory.