Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things - Philippians 4:8
Blessings to you in 2017! While the new year eve crystal ball on the tower at New York Time Square fell down, while people yelled out waves of laughter and danced with crazy singings, we walked into a New Year, whether you aware it or not, you are ready or not, you like or not. 2016 becomes the old, the history, it’s gone forever. The remarkable new moment brings us into a new time tunnel. While the old goes, the new begins, let’s say goodbye with a grateful heart to the old and embrace the new with excitement, hope, love and faith. Let’s settle our new expectations on God’s perspective and put our plans and dreams into actions with the grace from God. (Proverb 3:5-6) Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
How can we make 2017 a different year, more growth and getting richer so we can multiply after it? I would like to share with you four key initiatives to focus on in the year regardless what your plans or dreams are.
1. Plant more seeds of love in faith
Nothing is more powerful than sincere love because it’s act with passion in understanding, patience and forgiveness. The word, love, appears 551 times in the New International Version bible. The apostle Paul said, (1 Corinthians 13:13) So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. No matter where you are, whatever you do and whenever it is, remember to plant the seeds of love with faith. Any seeds you plant in love germinate and grow to a plant many times bigger than itself and bear fruits. You may not know how long it will take or you may not be able to see the result, but plant it with faith in the Lord and the Lord definitely will make it multiply at His time. Become more passionate in love, stronger in faith, richer in hope, milder in personality. At the end, we become more like our Lord, Jesus, gentle in heart and humble in spirit.
2. Break bad habits and Develop great ones for excellence
A Chinese saying, the New does not come until the Old goes away. In order to make room and time for something new and good to start, the old ones, bad habits or behavior patterns has to be forsaken first. Take time to think loudly what are the habits that ever drag you behind when you aspire to grow; the habits that stop you to do something good, the habits make you regret afterwards. Those habits may be procrastination, fears or concerns, prejudice or l-glasses, egos or guilty etc. If you have any, come to the Lord and ask his help, take courage and make gut determination to break these habits into pieces then develop the new constructive ones that are benefit to both you and the world around. As it’s said in Philippians 4:8, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Not only think about such things but do them and do them daily until we turn them into your great habits.
Philosopher, Aristotle, said, We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
3. Walk out of your comfortable zone
The comfortable zone is boring and it limits people’s perspective and performance. It stops us experiencing life’s excitement and fullness. In order to find our new potentials, we have to stretch out and walk out the familiarities to do something new like developing new relationships, planning a missionary trip or taking a challenging project at work.
To stretch out is to do something uncertain with a leap of faith and experience more aha moments when you surprise yourself in new areas. It’s a way to follow God’s spirit with obedience and enter into the territories prepared for you by God.
4. Turn unexpected problems into great opportunities
Life is full of mysteries and uncertainties. That’s the reason we are called by God live by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) No matter how well you plan, there are always unexpected problems even risks in the process. That’s the only thing with certainty. Prepare yourself for those moments with a mindset from the God. Because God always plans something great in any problems or pains. Be positive and optimistic when you encounter the unexpected and perceive the goodness of the Lord, ask the right questions, what is for instead of why, identity the great opportunities God wraps in them, grab the opportunity and partner with God to create sparking miracles that transform hearts and lives.
As the clock ticks into 2017, may we love more unconditionally with a stronger faith; may we be transformed into a new pattern or habit that pleases our creator, the holy God; may we bravely walk out of our comfortable zoom and meet God in new areas; may we perceive the great opportunities our Lord plants in the unexpected problems or risks and turned them into opportunities to glorify Him.
Finally, May the Lord lead us, guide us walk into the year 2017 and go through it with confidence. May we win the Lord’s praise at the end, “'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!” (Matthew 25:23)