Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Extend Your Sled Run in the New Year

“New things I declare to you.  Before they spring into being I announce them to you.  Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth… See I am doing a new thing.  Now it springs up.  Do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wilderness.” (Isaiah 42:9, 10; 43:19)

When was the last time you went sledding in the snow?  Maybe it's been awhile.  When I see a snow-covered hill the boy in me comes out!  Over the years Kristi and I have had some exciting adventures on sled runs with our kids.  Our favorite spot to sled is on the big hill in the forest right behind the cabin we go to in Lake Arrowhead, California. 

One time after an hour of sliding and shrieking with delight, David (he was 13 years old) and I decided that rather than joining Kristi and the girls in going back to the cabin to sit by the fire and sip hot chocolate we'd extended the sled run.  We added a snow bank and made a groove that turned to the right and then went farther down the hill.  I call it a big hill, but it's really the side of the mountain and it sent us flying.  And I do mean flying!  We got airborne!   

But the most thrilling part was the end.  That was the steepest, fastest part of the sled run and it headed straight for the street.  Picture this.  There we were, both of us sitting in this long sled, me in the back and David tucked just in front of me and leaning back against my chest, and we'd go soaring down the mountain and screaming with excitement, "Yeahhh!"  Then at the last second David would yell, "Bail!" and we'd launch ourselves off of the sleds to go sliding and laughing into the snow bank while the sled crashed into the street below.

That was fun!  And that's a picture of how I want to start the New Year.  I want to extend my sled run. God has more of his life for me then I have yet learned to expand into.  And he has more for you too! 

Let's go sledding with Jesus!  Let's improve the sled run!  And let's bail out on living for own goals in our own strength.  Let’s aim to live our whole lives as Jesus' apprentices – it’s the greatest adventure of life!  Nothing is more fun and more meaningful. 

How about starting your New Year with a prayer?  Dear Lord, how do you want to grow me into the image of Christ?  

Listen for God to reveal to you a beautiful and specific vision for the kind of person you could become with his help.  Perhaps Jesus wants to teach you how to:

  • Rejoice in his presence during difficult times
  • Turn your worries into prayers
  • Let go of anger by submitting all your expectations and hopes to his kingdom
  • Learn how to carry God’s Word in your heart and let it lead you to pray throughout the day
  • Share his compassion and kindness with the people near you

Do you want the Lord Jesus Christ to be your Life Coach?  Do you want to make a real and lasting change to become more like him?  Ask him to show you one of his teachings to learn how to obey with his help.  Develop a plan to be Jesus’ apprentice and to grow in that one area of your life with him.

For instance, this year the theme for my spiritual renewal that the Lord has put on my heart is to listen to him in all that I do.  So there are a few things that I am doing in my personal “rhythm of life” with Jesus this year:

  • Pray the Psalms each day.  I go through all 150 Psalms every two months.  I pray them in many creative ways.  I will be listening to what God is saying to me through these Psalms and how they lead me to Jesus and his teachings in the Gospels.
  • Keep a Sabbath.  Set aside one day a week as a Sabbath day, using a large portion of the day for prayer and journaling.
  • Practice God’s Presence.  Whenever I start my car (and throughout the day) I pause to breathe and offer an “arrow prayer” like: “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.  In all I do today I want to listen to you Jesus.” (See 1 Samuel 3:9-10)
  • Accountability.  I will submit myself to my soul friends as unto Christ, asking for their input on my life and ministry.
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