Focusing Our Gaze in the Year Ahead
Focusing Our Gaze On The Year Ahead
One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.
One of my favorite memories as a little girl was the shopping for school supplies trip with my Mom or grandmother. There was something so special and exciting about carefully selecting the notebooks, pens and book bag that were to be my daily companions for the year ahead. I can still remember the excitement of assembling my new composition books and pencil bags and stacking them up neatly – I especially loved when they all matched. The fresh, clean, bright, blank pieces of paper were slipped into big ring notebooks awaiting to be filled with the learning of new things.
To this day, I still love carefully selecting my quiet time journal to coordinate of course, with my paper calendar (yes, I still like to use paper!) and opening to the first page on the first day of the year. A new beginning, a fresh start, a year beckoning with new possibilities for learning and growth. I love the practice of preparation and readiness as I start a new year. One of my most helpful practices for starting the new year is from Jimmy Page’s book One Word. I pray and then chose one word to help focus my heart and direct my learning toward God throughout the year ahead.
As we start a new year, how are you preparing? How are you getting ready? We have lived through an unprecedented year, haven’t we? As the tumult and sickness and unrest of 2020 unfolded, I found myself looking more and more to the faithfulness of our great God and how He has sustained and strengthened His people in the past. I love learning about the lives of fellow Believers who have lived with courageous bold faith in the midst of overwhelming circumstances and seeming impossibilities.
One of my faith heroes is Corrie Ten Boom. Born on April 15, 1892, in the Netherlands, she and her family gave refuge to hundreds of Jews and hid them in their home to protect them from arrest by Nazi authorities during WWll. The family was betrayed by a fellow Dutch citizen and the entire family was arrested and imprisoned. Only Corrie survived the brutal and harsh prison camp and later started a world wide ministry. She told her story in a book entitled The Hiding Place, which I read in the 6th grade as I was just beginning my true discipleship to Jesus. The following quote from Corrie Ten Boom has greatly impacted my life in terms of the result of where I choose to keep my focus.
“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God, you’ll be at rest.”
I have found this quote to be so true! It talks about the outcome of our focus. You see, we are are created to be worshippers and we will BECOME what we worship or focus the gaze of our heart on. Greg Beale wrote a book called “We become what we Worship.” Our worship, or what we love most, exposes and changes us. We either revere the world and are conformed to the sinful patterns of the world or we revere God and are progressively conformed to His likeness. This Corrie Ten Boom quote is now written on the first page of my new journal in preparation for 2021 and my word for the year is “vision.” I want to see God. I want to ask Him to show me what He is doing.
How about you? How are you preparing your heart for the new year ahead?
CONTRIBUTORS Rich and Stephanie: A financially comfortable couple who decided to get serious about overcoming their debt and changing their spending habits as their children approached college age. . Rob and Cora: A couple whose debt nearly caused the demise of their...
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