Have Your Own Spiritual Year-End Review

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Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. (Pro 27:23)

This time of year we hear about many  “Year-end reviews”. These occur in many genres including sports, entertainment, business, news, etc.

Some are just for fun but many in the business world are very important. These are used to evaluate how well they performed over the past 12 months and determine how to prepare to make the next year better.

I suggest you do your own spiritual personal year-end review.  Performing a year-end check up on the business of YOU can make a huge difference in the year to come.

This evaluation should be done before you set your goals for next year. (I will speak about goal setting in an upcoming post)

There are many methods to accomplish a personal year-end review.  Below are some simple seed thoughts to get you started.

Regardless how you do it;

First – set aside the time to do a good job. This my take a couple of hours.

Second – pick the place. Find a comfortable and private place. It should be a place where you will not be interrupted.

Third – gather your tools.  These would include any journals, last year’s calendar, important communications, etc. Gather anything to help you remember what happened. (It is amazing how hard it is to remember the details of even the major events of our life accurately.)

Fourth – Determine method of noting results.  It can be paper and pen, Evernote, or your favorite word processor. Whatever works for you.

Fifth – Pray. Ask God for wisdom and pray throughout the review seeking God’s input and the light of the Spirit.

As you begin, determine the questions you will ask BEFORE you start evaluating.

Here are some sample questions to ask yourself.

What things went well

  • Divide these into categories;
    • Things that just happened – God surprised me
    • Things that that I planned and worked on to see this accomplished

What things did not go well

  • Divide these into categories;
    • Things in my control
    • Things outside my control (Acts of God)
    • Things I should have seen coming
NOTE: Concentrate and seek to find personal issues and weakness that allowed yourself to be surprised about things you could have prevented.  You may not have been able to prevent the event, but you could have lessened the negative impact if you had seen it coming. (No planning, no calendar review, lack of counsel, etc.)

Remember, it has been said that “blind sighted equals blind-sided

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2Co 2:11)

Some details to focus upon;

From beginning of your year to the end…

  • Was my walk with God stronger, sweeter, closer or not?
  • Which of my goals were met and which were not?
  • Did I grow spiritually or did I spiritually decline?
  • Was my giving to the church up or down?
  • Did I increase in my faithfulness or did I become less faithful?
  • Are my family and relationships stronger or weaker than at the first of last year?
  • Am I financially more solvent or less than the previous year?
  • Did I become more involved in ministry or less?
  • Did I witness to more people or less than  previous years?
  • Write your own…

If you are really brave, you could ask someone to help you evaluate your spiritual year.   Ask them how they perceive your spiritual growth in these areas.

Any person you ask you must be able to give you a true and honest input.  Remember, if you asked, be mature enough to hear and consider the answers.

This will be a challenge, especially the first time, but if you are honest and use this as a tool, you can have a better year to come.

Once this review is complete, you are ready to set your spiritual goals for the next 12 months.

Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay

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Enochs Needed

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And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. (Gen 5:21-24)

Enoch, one of the most interesting men in the Bible has only a few verses attached to his life story.  Enoch lived on earth for less than half the normal life expectancy of men in that pre-alluvion era.

I say lived on earth because he and Elijah are the only people that did not experience death in the normal sense. They went home to be with the Lord directly without passing through that valley of the shadow of death.

Let’s take a look at the key aspect of a life so close to God, that God just took him home.

Enoch Walked With God (Gen 5:24)

It was a changed walk (Gen 5:22)

Enoch lived sixty-five years before we are told that he walked with God. We are not sure what his life was like before age sixty-five, but we are told that from then on, he walked with God.

What made the change?  It seems to be the birth of his son, Methuselah.

It is amazing how we are affected by the birth of our first child.  We experience the overwhelming awe of the miracle of life. We have grand visions of the future for our offspring.  We possess a mountain of hopes for our children.

Above all, we experience a great feeling of responsibility. God had given us a life to train and mold.  A life that deserves every opportunity we can give them to know God and serve Him.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Pro 22:6)
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Eph 6:4)
 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deu 6:7)

It was a close walk – He pleased God (Heb 11:5)

How great a joy and opportunity we have to walk as close to the Lord as we desire.

We must be conscious of two great facts if we are going to walk closely to the Lord and please Him.

To please God we must have faith in Him.

  • But without faith it is impossible to please him:  …(Heb 11:6)

To please God we must not be walking in the flesh.

  • Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (Rom 8:7-8)
  • Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amo 3:3)

It was a consistent walk (300 years)

It was a walk without pauses, detours, or seasons away from God.

It was a challenged walk (Jude 15)

No doubt a walk like Enoch’s in a day quickly approaching the wickedness of the world at the time of the flood would be challenged daily.

We too will be challenged if we live a life walking close to the Lord.

  • Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: (1Pe 4:4)

How can we be sure to end our life close to God? Ready and looking for that small and blessed step to our heavenly home?  Make sure you are walking with God.


 

Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay

The Forgotten Principle

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Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established…(Mat 18:15-16)

A spiritual Christian will try to make a molehill out of a mountain.  A carnal Christian will make a mountain out of a molehill.

As true as this is, sometimes we cannot seem to get past the hurt. Or sometimes the issues may be so serious that they need addressing.  If either of these be the case, God has a plan to best handle the issue. (Imagine that!)

Consistent and correct application of this simple principle would prevent an innumerable number of problems between church members, spouses, employers, a pastor and his people, and relationships of all types.

Have an issue with someone?

  • Did they mistreat you?
  • Did they offend you?
  • Did they hurt your feelings?
  • Were they insensitive or overbearing toward you?
  • Did they violate a confidence?
  • Did they speak out of turn?
  • Did they “spill the beans”?
  • Did they forget an important date?
  • Did they fail to keep a bargain?
  • Did they fail to keep a financial commitment?
  • We they so insensitive to you that you cannot sleep?

Take this list to infinity for examples and the first step for resolving each will be to go to the person alone and start to work it out.

What God did NOT say is;

  • if thy brother shall trespass against thee take it and discuss it with your best friend.
  • if thy brother shall trespass against thee refuse to return their calls and wait for them to apologize.
  • if thy brother shall trespass against thee go to the Pastor and get him do something about it.
  • if thy brother shall trespass against thee find a new church because it is simply too hard to sit in the same room with that person.  If anyone should ask you why you are not attending your old church anymore, simply contribute it to the fact that the Pastor’s sermons are not meeting your needs anymore and all the people are snobs and holier than thous.
  • if thy brother shall trespass against thee keep your eyes open for an opportunity to “do ye also to them likewise.”

As outlandish as these may sound, it is exactly what happens every day with far too many people.

The forgotten and often ignored principle is this, if thy brother shall trespass against thee “go to that person alone and discuss it”.

You may have misunderstood.  They may have misunderstood.  They may have forgotten. They may have been in the wrong and not even considered how their actions affected you. 

Even if it does not turn out the best at first blush, go to them alone and work it out.

If that does not work, get some “impartial” person to go with you and listen to both sides.  It is important that you do not take you best friend or gossip partner.  Find a spiritual person that is impartial that could identify which of you are most in the wrong!  In most cases the “wrong” is not on one side only.

So, are you upset? If you cannot get past it, go to that person alone and talk it out.


 

Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay