Sunday, December 30, 2007

Words from the wise...

Mr. Doug Phillips, President of Vision Forum Inc., always has such wise and wonderful things to say over at his blog. As we approach the year 2008, he had these things to say:

Three of the Most Important Things You Can Do at This Time of The Year

Dear Friends:

Life moves fast. 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 toward others, we grow bitter, we lose the capacity to move victoriously into the future, and our prayers are hindered.

Here is a little practice that I was taught and would like to share with you. Each year, during the last week of December, I would encourage you to do the following things.

I. Outline and Chronicle the Many Providences of God

Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. (Hab. 33:2)

First, using simple bullet points, outline the key events for every week of every month of the year. Take the time to do the research which will help jog your memory and allow you to make an accurate record. I find that reviewing bills, blogs, journals, newspaper headlines, letters, and even organizing my photographs chronologically are enormously helpful tools. Those individuals who were faithful to journal or keep a diary will have little problem reconstructing key events. Give yourself a good week to reconstruct your own outline of the year. Also, by making this a family project, you will not only build your list with greater speed and precision, but (in the hands of a loving patriarch) the very act of chronicling the providences of God in your life is a blessed tool for family discipleship.

Every family will have a different set of priorities directing what they should record. In addition to recording the key events and providences of the year chronologically, I try to take the time with my family to record some of the following information on separate bullet lists:

1. Where did I/we travel?

2. What were the titles and key texts of sermons I preached?

3. What books/articles did I write?

4. What significant household projects did we accomplish in 2007?

5. What were the most important meetings of the year?

6. What special friendships were made this year?

7. Which children lost teeth, and how many?

8. Who grew in physical stature, and how much did they grow?

9. Who learned to read this year?

10. What diet and physical exercise regimen did I maintain to honor “my temple”?

11. What books did I read? Did we read as a family? Did my children read?

12. What Scriptures did my family memorize?

13. What loved ones died this year?

14. What were the great personal/ministry/national tragedies and losses of the

15. What were the great personal/ministry/national blessings of the year?

16. What were my most significant failures/sins for the year 2007?

17. What unresolved conflicts/issues am I bringing into 2008?

18. What significant spiritual and practical victories did I experience?

19. In what tangible ways did I communicate gratitude to those who have blessed me and invested in my life?

20. What are the top ten themes of 2007 for my family?

This is just a sample of the article! To read the rest, visit Doug's Blog.

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