Sunday, January 18, 2009

Got Any Family Traditions At The Start Of A New Year?

Do you have a family tradition at the start of each new year ..or maybe at the end of each year?

As a little kid, my family would always go down to Mexico at the tail end of each year on what we called “The Desert Trip” ...with some five van-loads of off-the-chain-kids and of course, with my big German shepherd named, Blitzen.

You see my dad owned a camp business that his dad (Bill) had started early in the last century and my two brothers, Kevin, Kyle and my little sister Kathy and I always had a lot of fun jumping off rocky gorges into sand, eating raw eggs, exploring small bat caves (man, no insurance company today would ever cover the stuff we did back then..).

But we camped out by the Salt Sea and in the huge sand dunes of SoCal and in Mexico each year and would have a great time throwing fireworks with our Mexican friends. Then we would enjoy being with my parents (among all the young campers) as my parents would celebrate their wedding anniversary on December 29th. Our family didn’t have a pile of money you see and there were only certain days that all of us kids and all our Tom Sawyer Camp friends would get free from school to go on such a trip.

Us guys would always enjoy proving to the world that we were real men too (even though we were really just snotty nose little boys who were simply out for some adventure), and we would do this by jumping off bridges, going swimming in the frigged Colorado river, and by catching diamond back and sidewinder rattlers or tarantulas or fat scorpions in the sand. We’d even bring these creatures home to take to school for show and tell and my parents would let us too, except for the snakes that we had to leave at home in an empty fish aquarium so they wouldn’t bite and kill any classmates.

We had some wild and crazy family traditions at year’s end, but none of us in my family knew our Maker in a personal way back then. It wasn’t until the late ’70s that all that changed. Maybe you to have had some traditions that were quite cool as well.

You know, one of the greatest things that you and I could do at the beginning of each new year is to start over again in our relationship with God, making sure that all our sins of omission and commission are under the blood of Jesus (and sure we should be quick to confess and repent all through the year as we need to, but I’m talking about a full recommitment at the start or end of each year here). We could also start over with the Bible as well. I hope that you’ve firmly committed yourself to daily Bible study for 2009. Maybe you have and move through it at a slower pace. I enjoy doing that, so keep going. We need all those chapters!

Check it out, the Bible won’t bite you like my snakes or my skunk (Thumper) would want to do, but it will help you become a real man ...young you wisely live it out. It will indeed help you grow up right and become mature women ..young girls..just like you deep down really want to become.

Perhaps you would like some practical daily devotionals that you can read along with pouring over the Scriptures (which is more IMPORTANT of course..) just to help you out in this area. I encourage people to read one of mine each week just to be encouraged. I also really like the devos from Skip Heitzig a lot (you can even hear him daily if you would like..) and the Blue Letter Bible reading plan.

How else will you stay strong in the Lord or walk pure in such a filthy world, if you are negligent or spiritually malnourished Christian? We are either going forwards or backwards spiritually—we choose daily! The Bibles asks, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation” (Heb. 2:3, nkjv)? The Bible promises us, “Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble” (Ps. 119:165).

Listen, if you have no supernatural peace inside of you, you are not loving God’s law enough. Simple as that! His Book will keep you from sin, but sin will keep you from His Book! You might even think you are a real Christian because you were raised in a church where the Bible was taught, but God’s peace is to rule in your heart every day and if you lack such peace …something is seriously wrong with your ultimate connection! Are you in the darkness right now (I’m not talking about suffering in the middle of some trail or testing time here)? He can help you out. God’s “words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Ps. 119:130). Apply it today!

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