Clean slate: how to set better goals for 2013

I took my Christmas decorations down yesterday. I packed up the ornaments and garlands. I wiped away the Christmas hymn written on the chalkboard hanging over my mantle.

And after I swept the pine needles and glitter from the floor, my home looked bare.

I stared at the chalkboard wondering what to write next. It was a blank slate.

The new year is a time when many feel they’ve been given a fresh start. New resolutions are made. New leaves are turned over.

And indeed, for those of us in Christ, we have been given a clean slate. Like the blank canvas of fresh snow, our sins are hidden in him who became sin for us.

In Christ, our Creator has wiped away the haunting messages and damaging words of our past. In Christ, we have been given a clean start.

However, the beauty of this reality rings true each and every morning – not just when we ring in a new year.

“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.” 
Lam. 3:22-23

The breaking of resolutions and promises is inevitable, but in His lavish love, God extends mercy to us at the dawn of each morning. God does not falter in his promises. He never fails to be faithful to his resolve to show us his grace. And he proves this to us each and every day.

While I haven’t made any New Year resolutions, I have set a few goals for 2013. Practically speaking, I have no doubt that I will fail to meet them perfectly. But I am just as confident that Christ will complete those good works in me just as surely as he upholds his promises to wash me in his mercy (Phil. 1:6).

I hope you’ll join me this year celebrating our clean slate in Christ and setting new goals for our walk with Christ in 2013!

Every morning this week, I’ll be building a better foundation for growing in Christ’s mercy:

  • Wednesday, I’ll be looking at 3 ways to build a better library in 2013.
  • Thursday, I’ll offer 3 ways to build a better quiet time in 2013.
  • Friday, I’ll give you 3 ways to build better character in your kids in 2013.

Be sure to join me by subscribing to Hive Resources! Let’s hold each other accountable to our goals this year – meet me over at Twitter!

What goals do you have for 2013?

Happy New Year!  

 

About

Melissa Deming is the creator of Hive Resources — a site to help women sweeten their walk with Christ through Bible study, ministry and missions resources, and more. She is the author of "Daughters of the King: Finding Your Place in the Biblical Story." Melissa has an M.Div. in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Ministry Monday: Best Ministry Ideas of 2012

Welcome to Ministry Monday at Hive Resources! This series is for everyday women who minister through the everyday mission fields of life. Posts feature resources and ideas for discipleship, outreach events, women’s ministries, Bible study, hospitality, and more.

Subscribe today so you don’t miss any of it!

Are you setting any ministry goals for 2013? I am!

And I can’t wait to show some of them to you as the New Year dawns! In the meantime, here are some of my favorite ministry ideas from 2012.

I like these ministry ideas for a variety of reasons – they’re easy and cheap! But I chose to highlight these posts because they are ministries born out of the heart and the home!

Praying God’s Word for Your Husband

Start off the New Year with a renewed commitment to pray for your husband. Use Kathi Lipp’s book,  Praying God’s Word for Your Husband, to help you focus your prayers for your husband squarely in God’s Word. Plus, download 4 free printable prayer cards in this post utilizing passages and prayers Kathi Lipp suggests in her book. Print them out and put them on your dashboard, bathroom mirror, or by the kitchen sink.

 

 

3 Ways to Impact Even the Smallest Soul with Scripture

Commit to minister to your children in 2013 by intentionally teaching them the truths of Scripture and how to apply them to everyday life. This guest post, written by my real-life friend and fellow blogger, Jessica Dohner, gives you some easy ideas for teaching the Word of God to your child every day of the year.

 

 

The Ministry of Thankfulness

This year, ask Christ to orient your heart toward him daily with a resolve to be thankful. If you’re like me, the largest objects of gratitude spill more easily from things, events, or even people that touch my daily life.  But a ministry of thanksgiving can be born as you grow in the grace of Christ, experiencing true delight in God’s blessings on others. In this post, I outline some of Paul’s prayers of thanksgiving that focused on the gratitude for God’s work in others. Claim them as your own and begin a ministry of thanking God for what he’s doing in others around you!

 

Stay tuned for some new Ministry Monday ideas in 2013!

Happy New Year!

 

About

Melissa Deming is the creator of Hive Resources — a site to help women sweeten their walk with Christ through Bible study, ministry and missions resources, and more. She is the author of "Daughters of the King: Finding Your Place in the Biblical Story." Melissa has an M.Div. in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Joy to the World! Merry Christmas from Hive Resources!

Merry Christmas from my house to yours!

I pray you have a blessed day celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and considering the wonders of his love!

Things will be a little quiet here this week so I can be fully present with my family.

But I look forward to resuming Ministry Mondays the week after Christmas! See you next week!

Joy to the world! The Lord is come: let earth receive her King!Let every heart prepare him room and heaven and nature sing.
Joy to the earth! the Saviour reigns: let men their songs employ while fields and floods rocks hills and plains repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow nor thorns infest the ground: he comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found.
He rules the earth with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of his righteousness and wonders of his love

Joy to the World by Isaac Watts, based on Psalm 98

Psalm 98

1  Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
For He has done marvelous things;
His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.
The Lord has made known His salvation;
His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.
Sing to the Lord with the harp,
With the harp and the sound of a psalm,
With trumpets and the sound of a horn;
Shout joyfully before the Lord, the King.

Let the sea roar, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands;
Let the hills be joyful together before the Lord,
For He is coming to judge the earth.
With righteousness He shall judge the world,
And the peoples with equity.

About

Melissa Deming is the creator of Hive Resources — a site to help women sweeten their walk with Christ through Bible study, ministry and missions resources, and more. She is the author of "Daughters of the King: Finding Your Place in the Biblical Story." Melissa has an M.Div. in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

How the incarnation proves God is at work in you (Flash Freebie!)

Welcome to Hive Resources! The final post in my three-part series on the Incarnation and what it proves to the world about God’s love is over at Desiring Virtue today! But before you check it out, be sure to enter to win the resource I highlighted in this series – On The Incarnation by St. Athanasius!  

I think Alexander Pope got it wrong.

To err is not human – at least not based on the Divine Playwright’s original script.

The meaning of humanity is never more reticent than at Christmas, when we focus on the one Person who took on flesh and demonstrated what true humanity looks like.

The incarnation shows us:

  • Evidence of God’s good character. (The Incarnation speaks to who God is).
  • Evidence of God’s role as Creator! (The Incarnation speaks to what God does).
  • And finally, evidence of God’s purpose in your life. (The incarnation speaks to why God does what he does).

The Christmas story, then, is about more than a miraculous birth and a back-stage pass into heaven. It’s the story of a Good God who created a good world that became corrupted by sin. It’s the story of a Good God who is at work in his creation to restore it back to its original state.

The Christmas story is about what you’re doing here on earth and how God is at work in your life for his glory.

So, how does the incarnation prove that God is at work in our lives?

Head over to Desiring Virtue to read the rest of this post and find out the answer! And don’t forget to enter below!

About

Melissa Deming is the creator of Hive Resources — a site to help women sweeten their walk with Christ through Bible study, ministry and missions resources, and more. She is the author of "Daughters of the King: Finding Your Place in the Biblical Story." Melissa has an M.Div. in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

How the incarnation proves God is the Creator

This post is the second in a three-part series on the Incarnation and what it proves to the world about God’s love. You can view the first post here. Come back on Friday for a special Christmas Flash Freebie!

Sometimes when I think about the incarnation of Christ, my head hurts.

You, too? Don’t worry, you can be honest.

I mean, I believe it. I’m thankful for it. And I celebrate the incarnation with great joy!

But when I sit down to truly explain it to myself – how the transcendent God could become human or how God could have two natures at the same time – the thoughts in my head get jumbled up like that knotted necklace I found at the bottom of my purse.

But here’s the thing. The incarnation gives us evidence of many things. And some of those things actually are easily understood.

[custom_list style=”list-2″]

  • The incarnation proves to us that God is good. It speaks to who God is.
  • The incarnation proves to us that God is the Creator. It speaks to what God does.

[/custom_list]

Haven’t you ever wondered why the Father sent the Son as the agent of salvation? Perhaps he could have sent his Spirit? Or could the Father could have come himself instead of sending the Son?

Why was it the Son who entered the world as an infant on that dark night in Bethlehem?

Colossians 1 gives us two reasons why that infant was the Son and no other.

1. The Son was selected as the agent of salvation for a very important reason: Christ is the agent of Creation!

Col. 1:16-17 says: For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”

The Son is the Agent of Creation. John calls him the Word or logos – a Greek word meaning the ‘spoken’ word (John 1:1). So, when God spoke creation into existence in Gen. 1, he did so through the Son who is the spoken, life-giving Word of God.

Basically in Col. 1, Paul is saying that Christ – as the spoken Word of God – is responsible for the act of creation.

So, what does the role of Creator have to do with the incarnation? Athanansius, the 4th century bishop of Alexandra gives us a clue.

In his powerful little book, On the Incarnation, the five-time exile writes: “Who, save the Word of God himself, who also in the beginning made all things out of nothing? His part it was, and His alone, both to bring again the corruption to incorruption and to maintain for the Father His consistency of character with all. For He alone, being Word of the Father and above all, was in consequence was able to recreate all, and worthy to suffer on behalf of all and be an ambassador for all with the Father.”[1] (emphasis mine)

It is the role of the spoken, Living Word of God to produce life through creation. Because it was he who produced life in us the first time, it is only fitting that he should bear the task of becoming human so that we might be re-created in Him.

That leads us to the second point in Colossians.

2. The Son was selected as the agent of salvation for another important reason: Christ is the agent our Re-creation!

Listen to Col. 1:19-20: For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”

The Word taking on flesh had to occur in order for us to be re-created into the image of Christ!  Our re-creation occurs only because the Word took on flesh and died to conquer evil for us. He reconciles us – and all creation – to the Father.

Read the rest of this passage. Col. 1:21-23 says: And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.”

The incarnation proves a lot. It stands as indisputable evidence of God’s love for his creation. It proves God is purely good to his creation. And it also proves that God alone is the Creator and qualified to serve as the agent of man’s re-creation.

This truth stands diametrically opposed to those who believe good works have saving power. This truth decimates the belief that church tradition or any other human can influence where one spends eternity.

So, why did God send the Son – and not himself or his Spirit?

Scripture tells us the Son is the agent of creation who made all things in the beginning, and therefore, is the unique person of the Godhead tasked with remaking us into God’s image again. 

Merry Christmas everyone! We have much to celebrate this Christmas – praising our Loving Creator who consistently works in and through his creation. God truly is God With Us!

 


[1] On the Incarnation: Saint Athanasius with an introduction by C.S. Lewis (St Vladimirs Seminary Press, 2012), 33.

About

Melissa Deming is the creator of Hive Resources — a site to help women sweeten their walk with Christ through Bible study, ministry and missions resources, and more. She is the author of "Daughters of the King: Finding Your Place in the Biblical Story." Melissa has an M.Div. in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

How the incarnation proves God is good

Welcome to Hive Resources! This post is the first in a three-part series on the Incarnation and what it proves to the world about God’s love. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any of the posts in this series – including a Christmas Flash Freebie on Friday!

At Christmas we celebrate the arrival of a special baby born in a supernatural way. We call his birth the incarnation, because in that moment the Son of God entered into human history and took on flesh in order to save the world from evil.

But the importance of the incarnation continues beyond the miraculous event that transpired on a dark night in Bethlehem. In our Christmas celebrations we speak much of the past event of the incarnation, but not as often of what it means for us today.

Primarily, the incarnation is indisputable evidence of God’s love for you. And understanding that evidence will change your life forever.

So, how is the incarnation proof of God’s love? The incarnation testifies to the goodness of God’s character.

“For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.”      Ps. 86:5

The fact that God commissioned his Son to take on human nature for the benefit of his creation speaks to who God is – a good God. Because only a good God would choose to redeem – at great personal cost – a creation corrupted by their own choosing.

God could have easily have left us to our own destruction. But the goodness of his character – demonstrated through the incarnation of His Son – compelled him to act otherwise.

In his book, On the Incarnation, the 4th century bishop Athanasius of Alexandria puts it this way: “…such indifference to the ruin of His own work before His very eyes would argue not goodness in God but limitation and that far more than if He had never created men at all. It was impossible, therefore, that God should leave man to be carried off by corruption, because it would be unfitting and unworthy of Himself.”[1]

I am thankful that God’s goodness compelled him to act on my behalf. But I’ve always wondered why God chose to manifest his love toward me through the incarnation of His Son.

Being the Almighty God, he could have chosen any manner of salvation by which to restore his fallen creation. Say, an apology, for instance? Why did his Son have to take on the form of a bondservant and die in our place in order to conquer evil in mankind?

What specifically makes the incarnation a testimony to God’s goodness and love?

Again, Athanasius answers that question for us.

Mere apologies are not sufficient because repentance does not “recall men from what is according to their nature; all that it does is to make them cease from sinning. Had it been a case of trespass only, and not a subsequent corruption, repentance would have been well enough.”[2]

To redeem man’s fallen nature, God had to enter into human nature. God had to move on our behalf in a personal way.

The only way for men to be touched by the love of the King was for the Good Ruler to lovingly leave behind the glories of his throne and become a servant in His own kingdom.  

With reports of the Newtown shootings fresh in my mind, I cannot help but cling to this Christmas truth: the incarnation of the God-man is concrete evidence of God’s good character and goodwill toward men.

Don’t let this very real Christmas application become overshadowed by the whimsy of animals, innkeepers, or traveling kings. God alone is good, and it is only by his good character that we see evil conquered in our lives and the world.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Rom. 12:12

This Christmas herald the news that because the Good King was born and lived to triumph over the darkness, you and I possess the very real hope of living in a kingdom of peace one day.

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:14


[1] On the Incarnation: Saint Athanasius with an introduction by C.S. Lewis (St Vladimirs Seminary Press, 2012), 32. There are many translations of Athanasius’ work available. However, the introduction to this translation – written by C.S. Lewis – is worth the price of the book alone.

[2] Ibid., 33.

About

Melissa Deming is the creator of Hive Resources — a site to help women sweeten their walk with Christ through Bible study, ministry and missions resources, and more. She is the author of "Daughters of the King: Finding Your Place in the Biblical Story." Melissa has an M.Div. in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.