"2014 - A New Year, A Renewed Focus" by David Deason

Wow! 2013 is gone. History. Over. For many, last year was a great year. For others, they are ready to see it leave. It doesn’t matter which group you are in, it is now 2014 - a brand new year, a new start!

I enjoy the new year. As the old year comes to a close I can look back and review how 2013 went for my family and me:

  • We added a fourth child, Isaac, to the fold. He entered the world calmly and has grown (swiftly). He is a sweet baby. He is loved by his siblings (almost too much).
  • We added two other children (of the four-legged variety) to our family as well. It was a price well-paid for potty-trained kids!
  • I managed to succeed on one of my resolutions for 2013! I didn’t eat a single french-fry all year!
  • But, it was also a year of injury - a torn muscle here and a knee surgery there.

When I look back over the year, I see the ups and I see the downs. But through it all, I can see just how blessed I am!

This is why I enjoy the new year: you get to start all over! A clean slate is out in front of us — a canvas waiting for our paint brush. What will you paint?

Many will either make new resolutions or recommit to existing ones. It might be that extra pound lost, that promotion at work, or that vacation of a lifetime. Whatever it may be, there is a sense of optimism that fills many hearts. “This is the year!” “This is the time!” “I will succeed!”

As you face the new year with its new opportunities and its new challenges, remember the lessons from Hebrews 12:1-3...

1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Heb. 12:1-3 - NASB)

As you contemplate your new year, heed the admonition of the Scriptures...

  • We have wonderful examples of men and women of faith who have paved the way and left examples for us to follow. Use that!
  • Lay aside the “encumbrance.” We place many obstacles in our own paths — things that might not necessarily be sinful in and of themselves. Yet, there they stand interfering with our spiritual progress. They weigh us down, keeping us busy and focused on things other than God. Remove them.
  • Get your feet untangled from the sin that keeps tripping you.
  • Run. Endure. Don’t give up.
  • Focus. When we are focused on Christ, we won’t have time to ponder the allurements of Satan.

In a world that is intent on destroying Christianity, we as Christians must remain resolute and steadfast. As you run through 2014, make the memories with your family, enjoy the blessings of the Lord, and most of all, remain focused on the hope that “
does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Rom. 5:5)

May God bless us all in 2014.

David Deason

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