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Starting the New Year

I am on the Vison Forum email list. Recently Doug Phillips sent out an email titled "How to end 2006" which is available on his blog at this link. I found this email very helpful. I am not planning to follow all the advice it contains this year, but I do want to incorporate more of these practices into my life.

As Mr. Phillips notes: "If we don’t take the time to chronicle the providences of God, we forget them. If we don’t take the time to say thank you to those who have invested in our lives, we actually cultivate a spirit of ingratitude in our own hearts. If we don’t stop and make sure that we have a spirit of forgiveness towards others we grow bitter, we lose the capacity to move victoriously into the future, and our prayers are hindered."

I particularly enjoyed what Doug Phillips wrote about expressing gratitude to those who have invested in our lives. I want to grow in this practice. Last year I held a Christmas party, and one of my aims was to express gratitude to the various people in my life. This year I did not have time to organise an event like this. However, it was a blessing to somehow find the time to write a card thanking the people I have worked with this year. I am very glad I was able to do this.

What Doug Phillips wrote about bitterness was also very helpful.

"Here is my recommendation: Think through every grief, minor and major, caused by others to you in the year 2006. Now add to the list any other personal offenses that continue to linger from past years. Write these down as bullets on a sheet of paper.

The first thing you will likely realize is just how many offenses are polluting your thought life, and, probably, your spirit. This is a sign of latent bitterness. Bitterness will kill you. It renders you completely ineffective.

Now prayerfully walk through the list — bullet, by bullet. With each offense remind yourself that the most despicable action taken against you by another, utterly (and infinitely) pales in comparison to the least of your offenses against the Lord Jesus Christ."

I will probably not have time to do this before I head off to South Africa, or while I am there. However, it sounds like a useful thing to do. I know my own tendancy to become hurt and to find it hard to let go. I am very aware of the dangers of bitterness and I pray that God will spare me this.

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