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"The life of every [person] is a diary in which [he or she] means to write one story, and writes another;

[his or her] humblest hour is when [he or she] compares the volume as it is with what [he or she] vowed to make it."

—J. M. Barrie, from The Little Minister (1891)


January takes its name from the Roman god of doorways, beginnings, and the rising and setting sun—

a god named Janus with one head and two bearded faces looking in opposite directions.

This month is a good time to do some looking back and looking forward.


The looking-back part could recount the ways we have experienced God at work in our lives over the last year.

We could offer prayers of thanks for the help and blessings we received from our Heavenly Father,

and heartfelt repentance for times we failed to be the person  God called us to be.


The looking-forward part could involve commitment to grow in both faith and works,

and integrating sincere discipleship more fully into our daily lives.

We could ask “What would Jesus have me do?”—then do it.


We need to radically simplify our lives—“This one thing I do” (Philippians 3:13), not “these many things.”

We need to slow down, to “be still, and know” God (Psalm 46:10), wholeheartedly seek God  (Jeremiah 29:13),

sanctify our hearts (1 John 3:2-3), surrender to God’s will (Proverbs 3:5-6), and serve Christ (Colossians 3:23-24).

We need to sing His praises whatever our situation or circumstances (Psalm 138:1), and shape up (Isaiah 64:8).

There’s no doubt we have a lot of work to do. There are no shortcuts to spirituality. Christian faith is a lifelong process.


On New Year’s Day, many think in terms of resolutions—promises to make changes, many of which never happen.

We need more than resolutions—we need to ask for God's help in shaping us into who He calls us to be.


“One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:13-14 ESV


Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Colonial Beach Baptist Church, Virginia


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Comment by Naomi Fata on January 2, 2014 at 8:16am

Amen. Yesterday as I pondered and prayed over the New Year Psalm 46:10 was on my heart as well. In the midst of busy America how I need to be still, resting in Him! And you are so right - we need more than resolutions, only God can make us into who He desires us to be!

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