Lars Leber Photo

I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Hope for 2011,  that I’m not particularly fond of making New Years resolutions. I do, however, value the opportunity to recalibrate my spiritual compass by reviewing areas where I see a need for growth, and by clarifying priorities for prayer and choices I make in the coming year.

If you read the previous post you’ll notice some similarity with this year’s list. Either that means I’m spinning my wheels making no progress whatsoever, or else the Spirit continues to reveal deeper levels of maturity for me to experience. I’m going with the latter interpretation.

My Hopes for 2014 are:

1. Choose Joy

This remains an area where I regularly notice how short I fall. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I’ve prayed for more consistent joy in my life for over 30 years. It remains an area in which I long to grow.

I still claim the words of Job 8:21: “…He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”

2. Be Grateful

As I survey my life landscape I am stunned at the variety of ways God not only provides for Beryl and me, but goes far beyond the minimum requirements. He shows his goodness in so many ways; I don’t ever want to take him and his Hand for granted.

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Ps. 16:6

3. Overflow with Hope

My thoughts on this are described in some detail in the above post so I’ll refer you to that, rather than repeat them here. I’ll just say that a spirit of Hope, (in God’s character, not in my efforts) is still one of my highest longings.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Ro. 15:13

4. Embrace God’s Presence

Here’s another repeat from 2011. I still want to do it more. To be regularly aware, in whatever setting I am in, (at a worship service, on the interstate, at a sports event or hiking through a forest) that God’s presence was there before I showed up, and He surrounds me every moment I’m in that setting.

“Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.”Ps. 139: 7-10

5. Bring the Spirit of Christ

My longing and my Hope is that increasingly, in every interpersonal encounter I have throughout the day, every day, I will bring the Spirit of Christ with me. I say this with glaring recognition of how often that isn’t the case (as in a recent 1 hour and 40 minute internet tech “help desk” conversation with 4 people from 4 nations, with varying English and tech skills, that left all of us exasperated and exhausted).

I would be thrilled if God worked in me to the point where, when I am with someone, it feels increasingly for them, that Jesus is present.

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” Phil. 1:27; 4:23

So, these are my Hopes for 2014. I share them so I remember them; so you can ask me, “Hey, Craig, how’s that Grateful thing going?”; and so God might choose to bring increased growth in these areas for me. It would be a miracle and it can only be through Him.

What are your hopes for the coming year? I’d love to hear them.