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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hope for 2010

I love New Year's Eve!  So much reflection on the events of this year, so much hope and anticipation for the year to come!

We'll be hearing much about the passing of 2009.  In some cases, it'll be easy to review the history, see what happened, and draw some conclusions about why and how something happened as it did.  In other cases, reasons might elude us for some time to come - perhaps we'll never really know.

For many, 2009 was a very difficult year.  Careers, finances, home ownership, health, name it, many were hit very hard.  If you are among them (and I am), this is not a revelation to you.  I hope it is of some solace to you that you are not alone, both from the perspective of shared suffering and spiritually.

But what about 2010?  There's nothing really magical about tomorrow's date per se.  Our calendar is of our own making and there's no cosmic event tied to it; the New Year could just as easily have begun in August, as it does with a new school year, or on February 14, 2010 (The 2010 Chinese New Year).  The date isn't special, but our attitude toward it can be.

What will 2010 hold for each of us?  What will be our attitude toward 2010, beginning right now, and how will it change throughout the year?  As I've asserted in previous posts, what we take in starts the following cycle:
Thoughts --> Words --> Actions --> Habits --> Character.
I would assert further that those with the strongest character, are the most successful (by measures that matter...NOT necessarily financially).  We watched in amazement this year as so many celebrities, politicians, and business leaders came tumbling down due to character flaws.  What will we actively do, starting now, to positively effect this chain of events?  What will we read, study, learn, dwell upon, and do that will positively shape our character, make us better parents, mates, friends, servants, and leaders?  Growth aside, at a minimum if we can avoid the pitfalls of the character flaws we watch in the public forum, this sort of investment would be well worth the time, wouldn't it?

I'm reading a good, short book on my Kindle right now: God's Timing for Your Life, by Dutch Sheets.  Dutch speaks of the different words in the Bible for time: chronos, the general process of time or chronological time; kairos, the "right" time, the opportune or strategic time; and pleroo, the fullness of time.  As we read both Old Testament and New Testament stories, we see a pattern emerge over and over again.  The Jews of the Old Testament had times of chronos, leading to kairos, then back to chronos (read Exodus).  Learning to rely upon God and His timing proved difficult for the Jews.  In the New Testament, Jesus' growth through childhood was a period of chronos before his ministry began (kairos), leading to his crucifixion, and ultimately his resurrection (pleroo).  The disciples and the early Christian church went through these periods as well.  News flash: we all go through is the nature of life.

I don't want to sugarcoat this notion: periods of chronos can suck, big-time.  Sometimes we've put ourselves in difficult situations where everything seems to be moving backward or sidways and the lessons are difficult to swallow.  In other cases, times like these have been thrust upon us through no fault of our own.  We are all in different phases of our lives, for different reasons - on different calendars.  By studying the path that got us here, we might be able to determine whether we are in a state of chronos, kairos, or pleroo.  If we are in chronos, let's not miss the opportunity to prepare for kairos.  We are where we are and we need to face reality; but we need not stay here forever.  The sooner we learn the necessary lessons and prepare for kairos, the sooner it will come.

We have reason to hope, but hope itself is not a strategy.  We need to show up and actively participate with The Holy every day.  Let's feed on the good stuff.

Philippians 4: 4-8
8Finally, brothers, 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. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Blessings my friends,


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