Bring It in 2016!

bring it 2016 New YearBring it in 2016!  

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That’s my resolution. 

Step up my game. 

Ramp up my efforts. 

Press into the calling!

What about you?

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Here are 16 biblical ways to Bring It in 2016 from Hebrews 12

#1 Let the past go.

Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”  The past of distractions and failures, of sinful desires and reminders, and of fears and failures can be dropped at the end of 2015.  Nothing of 2015 can be undone, so just move along into 2016.  Leave that baggage back where it belongs.

#2 Focus on the right stuff.

Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  If you look back over your shoulder, you’re not looking ahead to the end of the race.  If you look at your neighbor’s race, you’re not looking ahead.  If you look at your life with resentment because you’re comparing yourself to others, you’re not looking ahead!  Keep your focus and let that heavenward calling lift your sights and keep you on that path laid out for you in 2016.

#3 Keep encouraged.

Hebrews 12:3 “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Surround yourself with encouragers who will inspire…even demand…that you be the best version of yourself.  Don’t listen to those voices who say you’ll never amount to anything, who put you down and tell you that you’ll never rise from your circumstances, or who tell you that it’s impossible. Mark 10:27 “Looking upon them, Jesus said, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.'”  Gather those around you who will plant holiness in your days, coach you, and encourage you to do the right thing in 2016.

#4 Keep some perspective.

Hebrews 12:4 “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”  Drop the pity party.  Feeling sorry for yourself does two damaging things.  First, it causes you to focus on yourself instead of on God.  But even more importantly, it causes you to resent and despise God…where God has placed you, how God has gifted you, the calling God has on your life, and the work He wants to do with you ….exactly where you are!  Yup.  Even in poverty.  Yup.  Even in your skin color.  Yup.  Even in your dead-end job.  Yup.  Even without a job.  Yup. Even being discriminated against.  God is calling us to rise above it…in Him!

#5 Accept God’s course correction.

Hebrews 12:5 “And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.'”  OK, none of us likes to be corrected or disciplined.  We want to think we’ve got it all under control.  But we don’t.  Correction?  Discipline?  Unpleasant!  But it does us all good.  Just imagine how much better our world would be if we accepted God’s discipline, His course correction for our lives, and if we embraced His wisdom for our days.  From our government officials, law enforcement, all the way to the man or woman on the street…if we all accepted God’s course correction instead of rebelling and seeking the path of greatest selfishness.  Instead of looking for what’s in in for me, and if we actually loved our neighbor as ourselves.

#6 Endure hardship.

Hebrews 12:7 “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.”  Wow.  Who would have thought that godly discipline and accountability for right living would be signs of inclusion in the family…and not of exclusion, judgmentalism, intolerance, or holy-rolling?

#7 Discipline teaches respect.

Hebrews 12:9 “Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”  Don’t you find it curious how many people out there are demanding that we respect them…for who they are…and for what they do…even if it harms themselves and others?  Respect is earned.  And discipline–self and otherwise–is how we earn it.  It’s the outcome of holiness training.

#8 Become strong.

Hebrews 12:12 “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.”  Arms are used for action of helping others.  Knees support the body for standing firm.  We don’t need to strengthen our fists or our stomachs.  And we become strong by knowing what God says in His Word to us.  We can strengthen ourselves by learning and serving.  Faith without works is dead.  Believe and do what God says.

#9 Become level-headed and able-bodied.

Hebrews 12:13 “‘Make level paths for your feet,’ so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”  Look for stumbling blocks others put in your way and ones you’ve set up yourself.  A level-headed person will remove what will trip him up and for the ones which cannot be removed, he will find ways around them.  Able-bodied people will bring health and healing to others by removing obstacles that might be in their way.

#10 Find peace without compromising integrity.

Hebrews 12:14 “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”  Peace is only good if one doesn’t compromise God or personal integrity to get it.  Because genuine peace is with God and from God. Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, 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. 9 Whatever 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.”

#11 Grace trumps bitterness.

Hebrews 12:15 “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”  Are you a bitter-clinger to self-justification?  Are you holding a grudge or hating someone?  Maybe you’ve been mean to someone online through social media or sent electronic venom through an email.  Life’s too short for that stuff.  Learn to forgive and be forgiven.  This grudge is hurting you far more than whatever perceived-insult prompted it in the first place.

#12 Treasure today’s inheritance of godliness.

Hebrews 12:16 “See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.”  We cannot control what our brothers or sisters do, but we can encourage all of us–ourselves included–to treasure the inheritance of godliness.  I can control what I do and I can try my best to model my awareness of that kind of treasure.  You can too.  There will come a time when it will be too late, so treasure it today.

#13 Come to the right place.

Hebrews 12:18 “You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” 22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”  We all need that come-to-Jesus moment when we realize that He is the right place to find love and forgiveness.  He is waiting with open arms now.  You can stop trying to earn heaven with all your hard work and checkboxes.  Jesus already did it for you.  You just need to come to the right place.

#14 Shaken not stirred.

Hebrews 12:25 “See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ 27 The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken– that is, created things– so that what cannot be shaken may remain.”  Your greatest peace in 2016 will be found in Christ Jesus.  Though the world and the heavens will be shaken–over and over again by wars and terror and disasters of every conceivable kind–and though everything feels like it’s falling apart, guess what?  In Christ, you will not be stirred.  You will have His perfect peace.

#15 Harbor gratitude.

Hebrews 12:28 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful.”  When is the last time you harbored gratitude instead of resentment?  Gratitude instead of depression?  Gratitude instead of jealousy?  Gratitude instead of hatred?  Gratitude instead of protest?  Gratitude instead of anger?  It’s time to lay aside all that bad stuff.  Let it go.  Cultivate a heart of gratitude and let it harbor there as an anchor for your soul.

#16 Worship like you know He’s God.

Hebrews 12:28b “and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our ‘God is a consuming fire.'”  Reverence and fear (the true meaning of awe) are lost in our culture among so many things deemed awesome which really aren’t awesome or awe inspiring at all.  If God were to pop into your room right now, that would wake you up to what awesome really is.  It’d probably feel more like getting hit by lightning or having a heart attack.  But we don’t worship Him because God could nuke us without nukes, we worship Him because He’s God and we know it.  So worship God acceptably.  You’ll be glad you did.

Do you want to do more than ring in the New Year?  Bring it…in 2016!  Happy New Year!

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on December 31, 2015

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