Sunday, January 1, 2017

Making America Good Again: Starting Over

Happy New Year!

It's a new year and a new day.  Whether New Year's is a time for you to start something new, start over or change direction, this is a day we set aside to "just do it."  I pray you will be successful!

The whole idea of New Year's Resolutions goes back thousands of years and spans many cultures.  The Babylonians did it 4000 years ago; the Romans did it 2000 years ago, and many Christians still do.  My denomination, the United Methodists, have a Covenant Renewal Service each new year. Other churches do similar things, but for the most part New Year's has become a secular, not a sacred, way of starting over.

Because we all mess up and want to try again, people want second (and third) chances.  It is part of human nature.  An article on NBC News today lists the top areas of where we are making New Year's Resolutions based upon what we've been Googling:

1. Get Healthy
2. Get Organized
3. Live LIfe to the Fullest
4. Learn New Hobbies
5. Spend Less/Save More
6. Travel
7. Read More

While these are all good goals and yours may be among them, they seem to indicate that Americans as a general rule are pretty self-centered.  I would like to see more resolutions focused on being better people and helping others.  More than anything, I would like to see Americans turn back to God and nurture their spiritual lives as much as their physical and financial needs.

To Make America Good Again, make a resolution to pray every day.  If you are not sure what to say, know that prayer is simply a conversation with God.  You can say anything or nothing.  You can be silent and listen for God's Spirit to speak with yours.   If it has been a long time since you turned your thoughts to God, try The Lord's Prayer included below.

Humble yourself before the Creator of the Universe who is also your Heavenly Father.  God loves you dearly. Just like any parent wants to hear from their children, God wants to hear from you.  And one of the great things about hanging out with God is that every day is a new start.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”  (Lamentation 3:22-24)

Happy New Year! Go with God!

Here is the version of the Lord's Prayer from my Methodist roots:

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

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