It's cold in Ellendale, North Dakota and the wind is blowing so forcefully that even the bare branches tremble in the wind as fiercely as I do. The wind has stripped every tree of their leaves and even the leaves that held voraciously to the branches refusing to let go have been torn away by the arctic blast leaving barrenness and nakedness in its wake.
The atmosphere almost has a texture that is thick, wavy, grey, and cold. When the wind blows it actually hurts and that is probably why I appreciate springtime. The weather turns and with it comes green buds and the promise of new life. The birds come to life and listening to their song always warms my soul.
January the 1st is generally cold and I don't like to make resolutions just because it is a new year. I don't want to live thinking about a resolution that I have made that will tie me down for 365 days. I want to live in the moment. Today has enough worries and challenges without me thinking about giving up sugar or coffee for a year or some other crazy resolution I have made.
So here are the three things I want in 2018.
I want to be more like Jesus. I have studied the life of Jesus for over 45 years and the more I read about Him the more amazing He is in my eyes. He was the great iconoclast. He loved unconditionally. He gave His life for undeserving people. I could go on all day, but I would encourage anyone who does not know about Jesus to study the first four books of the New Testament to discover the most amazing person who ever walked the planet. And that is why my deepest desire for 2018 is to be more like Him.
I want to suck the marrow out of life. Yes, I want to live life to the full. Life is short and I want to make the most of every opportunity. I want to love more and give more and serve more until I have sucked the marrow right out of every single day.
I want to live with perpetual gratitude. Being thankful comes easily to Paul and to me. We start every day by reading God's Word and praying together. I can honestly say that the first words that come from our lips are words expressing our thanks to God. I never grow tired of thanking God for all His goodness. I want to remember the good times and be thankful for each blessing. However, the not so happy memories concealed beneath the passage of time or buried beneath those moments of pain must also echo my joyous lament and thanks for a God who kept me through the darkest hours.
I don't want stuff, money, clothes or exciting experiences. There is nothing wrong with any of those things, but I don't want to waste my time wishing I would find a hidden treasure that will set me free from financial restraints or longing and dreaming of superficial things that do not give lasting joy or peace. With each passing year, those things seem to diminish in importance and the truly important things seem to fill their place.
My prayer for you for 2018 is that you will suck the marrow out of life and in so doing have the best year you have ever had.
I am and always will be,
recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,