A Clean Slate

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A clean sheet of paper has the potential of becoming almost anything. The Japanese use paper to make models in an art form called origami. Paper can be used as a platform to solve problems; it can be made into confetti and used to celebrate an event. To a writer it’s a vehicle through which ideas are expressed. To an artist it becomes the visualization of a mental image, the depiction of a landscape or a person. A clean sheet of paper is potential in the raw. Every New Year is like a clean sheet of paper. Within each New Year are limitless possibilities waiting to be realized. For many, January 1st signals the first page of a brand new book in which their desires will suddenly be fulfilled. Fresh starts give people hope. Hope for love, restored relationships, renewed health, greater achievements, needed recognition, and better quality of lives; possibilities that encourage people to keep pressing on.

There is excitement in the air as the last minute is counted down; as if last year’s mistakes will fade away too. Wouldn’t life be grand if the consequences of our mistakes suddenly vanished at the stroke of twelve? If only it were that simple to lose the bad habits and selfish attitudes that cause us problems. There is no such thing as a New Year’s Fairy with a magic wand that will make everything better overnight. No, it doesn’t work that way. If only God would have created us with a note on our foreheads saying“Unrefined: Effort Required to Reach Maximum Potential!”Maybe then we would understand that nothing in this life comes to us without our‘sweat equity.’Those who want something for nothing should expect to get nothing in return.

God has promised to give us good health, prosperity, and a joyful life. But, any kind of achievement requires effort on our part. God won’t do it all for us no matter how much we pray for help. One of the definitions I’ve heard for‘insanity’is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Constantly worrying about things we can’t control, continually eating the wrong foods, overworking without taking time to recuperate, never exercising, developing addictions to tobacco, drugs and alcohol are not paths to good health.

Financial prosperity is available to anyone who consistently and relentlessly works toward their goals. If you believe, as I do, that God designed each of us for a purpose, then you must also believe that He has given us the tools to accomplish that plan. It is up to us to dig deep to find our talents and abilities and to set realistic goals to start using them. This is the way to succeed in life; failure is not possible when we are doing what God intended us to do.

A New Year is a good time to take inventory of our possessions. First of all, if you’ve asked Christ into your life as your Savior, your eternal future is guaranteed. If we lack everything else but have salvation, then we’ve already received more than we deserve. Salvation is the clean slate we all hope for. If you are saved, just consider where you were before salvation, and how far God has already brought you. And, be glad.

Are your basic needs met? Count yourself among the blessed. There are countless people who go to bed cold, hungry, thirsty, and unclothed. How about your health? If you are ailing in some part of your body, be thankful for every part of your body that is functioning well. Some people can’t get a drink of water without assistance. Are you loved? True love can’t be purchased. Cherish the people who love you for who you are and don’t care about how much you have. Are you able to express what’s on your mind and read whatever you please? Are you able to worship God without hindrance? Be grateful. There are millions of people around the world who are losing their lives to get those rights.

Don’t fail to see what is right in front of you because you are running after an image in your head. Make sure that what you want is worth the time and effort it will take to get it. Have you ever watched a dog chase after its own tail? That’s what we do when we chase after something that is not what we think it to be. Have you been praying for the same things for years without any results? Ever wondered why you haven’t received what you’ve been praying for? If your objective is good, it might be that you have not done all you need to do to get what you want. Another reason we don’t always get what we want is that God is after our full devotion; He won’t let us have anything that will take our focus away from Him. One of the‘Thou Shall Not’s’is idol worship; anything that takes His place in our hearts is an idol and a big No, No.

We wish one another a prosperous New Year without really thinking about what that means. God’s view of prosperity has to do with success in all areas of our lives. Peace of mind, good health and the ability to make a living are all components of prosperous living. So, let this be the year that we determine what we want and why we want it. Let this be the year we stop chasing after the wrong things. If peace of mind and joy are what we are after then we must learn to be grateful for what we already possess, and stop whining about what we lack. Let this be the year that we stop praying with the wrong motives—reminding ourselves that although God says everything is permissible, He also says that not everything is beneficial.

Do you want to find a reason to get out of bed? This is how you can be excited about the prospects of each new day:

1. Resolve to build a closer relationship with God.

2. Chase after His will instead of your own.

3. Do everything with gladness desiring to please God.

If you commit to doing these things, I guarantee that your life will never be the same.

May this be your year of discovery, fulfillment and purpose.

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