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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Oh the pressure of the New Year beginning of a new year…oh, the possibility of a blank slate, the potential of dreams yet unfulfilled, the pressure to do it right. When Mike left for college, his very well-meaning grandfather stood in the driveway, waved goodbye and called out, "DO EVERYTHING RIGHT!" That's what the New Year feels like to me.

The New Year kind of stresses me out. Not in the way it stressed out my mother-in-law, who wouldn't go anywhere after 5pm on December 31 because "everyone out there is drunk driving." What stresses me out is the pressure to perform. 

Lose weight.

Spend less.

Save more. 

Have a cleaner house. 

Eat like a caveman. 

Reduce your carbon footprint. 

Pray more. 

None of those things are bad. No one would argue that any of them would lead to bad things. But the bandwagons that are circling for those things make me more nervous than a kid whose needle-wielding doctor just said "this won't hurt...much."

It's not that I don't see areas of my life which could use improvement. It's that I see too many areas that are begging for attention. Lose weight. Spend less. Save more. Be more organized. Be present more. Pray more. Covet less. 

Maybe I need to get more comfortable with the idea of goal-setting. Maybe I need to be better about creating a plan by which to reach a goal. Maybe I need to print signs -- "encouragements" for you Fault in Our Stars fans  -- to hang around the house. Would any of that make me embrace the possibility of the New Year any more than I do?

Last year, I decided that in the New Year I wanted to simply be kind, spread joy. I think I succeeded for the most part, extending kindness outward. 

This year, I'm feeling a pull to turning inward, focusing on our family, our interactions with one another, our stewardship of those things which we've been given. Maybe its the realization that we really only have Annie at home for another 18 months. Maybe its a natural tendency to gather my people in when they are, quite naturally, moving into circles further from our home base. 

I don't have any real resolutions to offer, just an awareness of a direction in which I want to move. No pressure. 


Beth Zimmerman said...

I think my Crocs already reduce my carbon footprint! =)

I know what you mean about feeling a call to draw in and get close. I think it's a good thing!

Steve Finnell said...


Who are the saints of God? God's saints are those who are under His covenant. A covenant is an agreement between God and mankind.


Psalm 50:5 "Gather My saints together to Me, Those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice." (NKJV)


Deuteronomy 33:1-3 Now this is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. 2. And he said: "The Lord came from Sinai, And dawn on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran, And He came with ten thousand saints; From His right hand Came a fiery law for them. 3 Yes, He loves the people; All His saints are in Your hands; They sit down at Your feet; Everyone receives Your words.(NKJV)

Yes, those under under the old covenant were saints of God. The people under the old covenant were saints and they did not have to be placed in a canon of saints and then enacted by the ecclesiastical rule of church authority and approved by Moses.

1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. (NKJV)

All men in God's churches are saints. The body of Christ are God's saints; one and all.

Ephesians 3:8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was give, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. (NKJV)

The apostle Paul did not consider himself a candidate for beatification. Why not, because there is no such title of "Super Saint" found in Scripture. Paul said he was the least of saints.
If there was a class of God like "Super Saints" that men could worship, by petition them through prayer, the apostle Paul certainly would have qualified. GOD IS A JEALOUS GOD, HE DOES WANT MEN TO WORSHIP ANY SAINT, DEAD OR ALIVE, BY PRAYING TO THEM.

Ephesians 6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints---(NKJV)

These Christians were not praying for dead saints. These were live saints praying for other live saints. Saints are all members of the body of Christ; nothing more and nothing less.

There are no Scriptures that mention a beatification of saints, through a canonical process; thereby turning a selected few into "SUPER SAINTS."


The qualification for sainthood under the new covenant are:
A. FAITH: John 3:16
B. CONFESSION: Romans 10:9-10
C. REPENTANCE: Acts 3:19, Acts 2:38
D. WATER BAPTISM Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:20-21

When you come up out of the watery grave of baptism you are saved, you are a child of God, you are a member of the Lord's church, your are part of the body of Christ, you have been clothed with Christ, you have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, your sins have been forgiven, you are a member of the church of Christ, you have been raised to walk in a new life, you have been washed by the blood of Jesus, you are in the kingdom of God here on earth. YOU ARE A SAINT!