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Oak Ridge, TN 37830
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Blog: Tom Job

January 3rd, 2014

CCC Oak Ridge

Hey, everyone!

Hope you're having an awesome, albeit chilly, day! (I think that may be the absolute first time I've ever used the word "albeit" in my life! I'm not sure what it means but it seemed to fit! 2014 is gonna be awesome!) 

Speaking of the New Year, loads of folks take this opportunity to resolve to make some real changes in the way things have gone on up to this point. Old bad habits out! New, healthful, wholesome ways in!  "Resolved: no more __________ (fill in the blank)! From this day forward, January 1 in the Year of our Lord 2014, unto Eternity, I am never going to eat ______ (fill in the blank) again, or say _____ (fill in the blank) again, or watch ____ (fill in the blank) again. Instead I am going to daily ______ (fill in the blank), everyday without fail, the whole year long, for as long as we both shall live"

Sometimes, it doesn't always work out.

Only 15% of those who resolved to quit smoking in 2013 were still smoke-free on Dec 31. Altho' as those of us who wrestled with that one know, technically you could quit on the 31st of December and reach your goal of quitting in 2013. Even if you start back up without intending to the first week of the new year. You still quit in 2013! Maybe more than once! As Mark Twain said, "Quitting smoking is easy! I've done it a thousand times!"

For those who determined to go to the gym everyday of 2013, Time magazine says only 40% of those memberships are used at all! By February, attendance is back to pre-New Year levels. I bet some wonder why they don't get any healthier. "I pay that gym every month! I pay my utilities every month and we always have lights on! Wonder why I stay the same!"

Some resolved to learn Spanish in 2013. So, intiendes algo de lo che digo? If not, maybe this year will be better! 

You know that feeling that settles in somewhere between mid January and the first of February…"I still am a mess sometimes! I was going to be so different this time! Why can't I just stop? Why can't I be change ____(fill in the blank)?!"

You ARE changing! One beautiful verse says that "He Who began His work in you is going to finish it!" (Phil 1:6) Your Lord is never going to give up on you! John 15:1 says He's a gardener, weeding and snipping when things need to go so that you can grow. Paul says more than once that He IS at work in you! (Eph. 2:10) 

But since His work won't be done until we're home, maybe we'll always feel sometimes, "I'm not yet the person I wish. I thought I'd never struggle with ____ or ____ (fill in the blank) again. I thought I could do ______ (fill in the blank) easily by now. Mercy!"

Mercy! Exactly!

There will never come a time when we won't need His mercy! Daily! Just to know that He just loves me! He just knows me! He knows I'm not who I think or hoped but it doesn't change the love He has for us in His immense heart! Even tho' I didn't reach my goals for the day or didn't exactly become the one I thought I should be by this date, He LOVES us! He gives to us! And cares for us! And will never get tired of us! I don't earn it or deserve it at all! It's just Him! It's just His heart! It's just…what should I call it?…free, undeserved, undeservable, loving, beautiful…mercy!

There'll never be a time that I won't need it! There'll never be a day in the New Year when I won't need Him to be the way He is- full of free, undeserved, undeservable, loving, beautiful mercy! I noticed that when Paul wrote all his letters, he'd started them out by saying, "Grace and peace to you…" But when he got older…when he was an old man…he added a word in his later greetings. "Grace, MERCY, and peace…"

"…to you!" "And to me!" he thought! The older I get, the more I know, there'll never be a day when I don't need free, undeserved, undeservable, loving, beautiful…mercy!

If it's not too late, here's an awesome resolution to add to your list. Or if you've already blown 'em all by now, just start over with this one…

An old saint from the Sinai desert named Gregory wrote these instructions in the fourteen century for guys he was helping to grow in Jesus. It's called the "Prayer of the Heart":

"Sit down alone and in silence. Lower your head, shut your eyes, breathe out gently and imagine yourself looking into your own heart. As you breathe out, say, 'Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.' Say it moving your lips gently or simply say it in your mind. Try to put all other thoughts aside. Be calm, be patient, and repeat this frequently."

Wow! I can do that! And if I do it enough, maybe I'll fall so in love with the One Who has so much mercy for me, it'll help me finally ______(fill in the blank) everyday!