Friday, December 30, 2011

New Years Resolutions: Getting Closer to God~ Hogan Stevens

I'm sure all of you have heard of making New Year's Resolutions at the start of each year, and probably most of you have even made a list of resolutions to start living by. Maybe over the years you have promised yourself that you will make more friends or lose some weight, do better at school and make your parents proud, to stop talking with your mouth full or to smile like a movie star, etc. I think a lot of people make lists similar to this...and I don't think that very many that do actually stick with it. Probably because they might set too high of a bar for themselves.
Personally, I have never made that list. I seriously have never thought about making a resolution to start trying to make a better life for myself. You see, I already have a great life. I mean, of course there are the ups and the downs, but I truly am happy with who I am and with what I have. God has blessed me with so many things--and He's blessed you too!
So how about instead of promising ourselves we will make more money this year or that we will become more popular at about we promise God that we will start living completely for Him?
This year, I will finally make a list of New Year's resolutions, and I am going to share it with you all.

1. I will read my Bible daily.

That is so important! I used to read my Bible nearly every day, but here lately I have been letting my life rush passed me and I have hardly even had the time to sit down and relax. At least that's what I have told myself. I have the time. I should set aside a special time every day to read my Bible this year, because I know how important the Bible is. It's God's own book of love letters that He has sent to us all, and I want to know everything that He has written for me.

2. I will praise Him in everything.

I already pray several times a day, but I would like to be able to just take the time to notice all that God has done for me. If it is a sunny, beautiful day outside, I want to be able to say, "Great are the works of Your hands, my God! Everything you create is wonderful." without having to first think about it. I want to show my appreciation to God in everything that I see and do; I want Him to know just how much I appreciate all that He has done. Even the little things are wonderful, like the smile of a stranger's baby you pass in the store or the tiny sparrow that flits past you as you are driving to work. We just need to take the time to notice the little things.

3. I will use my gifts for Him

This is something I have struggled with over the years. My parents started singing Gospel music about eight years ago when I was still a little kid, and they wanted me to join in the group as well, but back then I was so shy that the very thought of standing before a church and singing absolutely terrified me. Now, I actually sing a couple of songs at the churches we travel to, but I know that I can be doing more. I have a yearning inside of me to do more, and I feel that God is calling me to step out of my tiny comfort zone and dare to follow where He leads me. Maybe that will entail me singing throughout the whole program, or maybe it is that and much more. Whatever He leads me to do, I want to follow Him without hesitation.
I feel like this is a good list for me. I have told you all a little bit about myself, and I hope that I have inspired you in some way. This list that I now show you, it can be used by anyone. Anyone! Reading your Bible, praising God, and utilizing the gifts He has given you--all of these are things that everyone should be willing to do. You should be willing to give your whole heart, your whole everything, to your Savior.
After all, He gave Himself to you.
How could we ever hope to repay such a glorious gift as that?
Well, for starters, we can love Him. We can serve Him. And we can follow Him without hesitation. I promise it is not that hard; you just have to set your mind to it. Before long, you won't have to even think of reading your Bible or listening to His voice. It will just come naturally, and others will see the change in you.
So this year, I hope you resolve to get closer to God. I hope you give yourself completely over to Him and that you radiate the love of Christ to others. That's my New Year's resolution.
Happy New Year, girls. Make it the best year yet.
Did you know that Hogan is terrified of spiders but use to have a pet tarantula?!
Did you know that Heather wants to be a veterinarian?!

Photographs property of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine. Photograph taken by Heather Young.

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