My 2012… Intentions

I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. I seem to always make them, along with every other American with their head in the clouds, despite my distaste for them. And then 23 days into January, I somehow have already failed at every single item. And who needs a list staring you in the face telling you that you are a failure? I am a starter, not a finisher, unfortunately. I am doing 1,000 things at all times but finishing less than half and not doing the other half very well, at least not up to my perfectionist standards. I am a planner by nature but I rarely see my plans though. I make to-do lists but then I add so many things on the list that it is impossible to accomplish that many things in the amount of time given. And I am always adding to the to-do list. And when I do something that is not on the list, I add it so that there can at least be something on it that is crossed off. This is my life.  Sigh…

It is my recent goal to live life intentionally, not just letting life happen. If one doesn’t plan, things don’t happen. Well, things happen, but not the things you want to have happened. I recently read this resolve by Jonathan Edwards, written in 1723:

“I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age.”

This is my dream, to honor God and live so as to glorify Him in all areas. I have made a list to this end. Things I can do much better, things I see in others that I want to see in myself, things I know that God desires for me. I want what He wants. I know some of these things are: discipline, devotion, organization, kindness, hospitality, servanthood, etc…

Rather than calling them resolutions (although at this point, I do feel resolved… but alas, it is December 31. The whole world feels resolved!), lets call them intentions. I have some intentions for 2012. I have expectations for what God can do in my life, in my family, in my church and in my neighborhood and town in 2012. Here they are:

Spend more time with Jesus and be intentional about praying. I only have so much time and lots that I can do with that time. Although I can and do pray sporadically throughout the day, it is my intention to plan specific times to go into the closet and pray to my Father in secret so that I don’t neglect the strength-giving, trust-enabling relationship.

Sunday Night Planning
This is very new, but I intend to start personally planning my week on Sunday nights. When I am going to pray, what we are going to eat, who we are going to serve, how we are going to serve them, who I will write a card to, what we are going to learn in [home]school, what games and activities I can do with the toddler, what I will read that week, etc… I think this will help me to get organized at the beginning of the week and not just wake up Monday morning having all sorts of thoughts swimming around in my head. It will help me to be intentional, as well, and with my purposes to serve others… to actually do it and not just talk about it!

In addition to this, it is my husband and my intention to go over a ‘weekly agenda’ on Sunday night together. He can see where our budget numbers are at, what we have on the calendar for the week, who we should invite over for dinner, what we should do the next weekend, etc…  We will literally be on the same page. 🙂

Bible Reading
Justin Taylor wrote an incredible, and pretty comprehensive, post on all sorts of different reading plans for 2012. Pick one and do it! I have been doing Professor Grant Horner’s 10 chapters from 10 different books/genres for a while now. It hasn’t been going so well or consistent, but it is my intention to give this higher priority this year. This plan is pretty intense though, and I may switch to M’Cheyne’s. I just want to read the Bible and set myself up for success. Man shall not live by bread alone. (I spend a lot of time planning meals so that verse always hits home…)

House Cleaning
Confession: I am a terrible housekeeper. I now have a system, separated by days. Or at least that I’m supposed to do every day.

Mondays- Dust and wash all mirrors and glass doors, Budget
Tuesdays- Clean bathrooms, sweep, prepare for Community Group
Wednesdays- Laundry day!
Thursdays- Errands, Showers
Fridays- Deep Clean
Saturdays- Organization
Sundays- Rest, Planning

I also have a list I do every day, called my Daily 6:

1. Make beds
2. Wipe bathrooms down
3. Keep kitchen sink empty
4. Pick up after myself and have children do the same
5. 10 minute tidy before lunch
6. 10 minute tidy before dinner

My grandpa’s mother kept a journal. Every day. Every day! It is so incredible to read things that someone wrote 50-70 years ago. That seems impossible to me, as I have tried to do this. But I would love to pass this on to my kids and be able to read it myself when I am old and gray. So instead of fully documenting every word that my child says or any event we happen to be a part of, I am intending to- most days, anyway- write at least one sentence. I am also intending to keep it out, with a pen tucked inside, so that I actually write in it. This may turn into a Family Journal, one where anyone and everyone can write in it and we document everything in it. But for now, let’s start small…

I would also like to create a gratefulness list. One that the whole family can list things they are thankful for throughout the year. This can go in the back of the journal. I think it would be a great new tradition, somewhere around Christmas to New Years,  to read aloud some of the things we have been grateful for in 2012. How quickly we forget when trials come our way.

Love and serve my family sacrificially. Play with my kids doing what they want to do even when I don’t want to. Make my husband breakfast and lunch for the next day even when I am tired. Discipline and train my kids when they need it, even though I don’t want to deal with their crying at the moment.

Have date nights at least once a month. Our kids go to bed early in the evening so we have most evenings to ourselves. But evenings are quickly taken up doing other things than gazing romantically into one another’s eyes. It is helpful to get a sitter or to set aside at least one night a month (ideally one night a week, but we’re going to set the goal at once a month) to just be really together.

Start GAPS diet and start fermenting more things. My aim is to heal my husband’s gout and psoriasis through diet and after researching, I think the GAPS diet may be the answer. Fermentation goes right along with it. Yogurt, Kefir, pickles, sauerkraut, other vegetables can all be tastily fermented. They add good bacteria/probiotics to your intestines which eats the bad bacteria and gives you the gift of health.

I am also going to start doing Pilates videos. I have done P90X (wayyyyyy too great of a time commitment for me), the treadmill (this would work if it wasn’t in the baby’s room!), and… nothing! So Pilates videos here we come. To quote one of my children’s favorite movies (Monsters Inc.): “Work out the flab that is hanging off the bed!”

Face Cleansing
Oil cleansing regimen for my face. Here is the new plan: 20% Castor Oil, 80% Jojoba oil. Steam face with warm water washcloth, rub in oil, rub off oil and rinse. Finish with Melon Seed oil (or other non-comedogenic oil) for moisturizing if needed (I need).  The idea is to exfoliate, remove dead skin cells and bacteria from pores and not cause your face to over-produce oil by drying it out with harsh cleansing products. I am 1 day in and loving it!  My face is glowing… and no I’m not pregnant! Hopefully simultaneous breakouts and wrinkles are not in my future, after all.

Family Jesus Time
Quiet times for the preschooler with the audio Bible and a journal. Instilling in a 4-year old how to spend daily time in the Word of God.

Do Family worship each night with the whole family around the Bible, prayer and singing.

Book List
Read every book on the 52-book List!

Study Scripture
Out of my Bible Reading, choose one thing monthly and study it in-depth. I have Logos, I should use it.

It is my aim to have company over weekly. Doesn’t have to be a fancy Friday night dinner. It can be Saturday morning breakfast or brunch. Or tea/coffee and dessert. Whatever… My aim is to think outside the box with the times and the people. Not just church friends (although, that’s certainly important!), but unbelievers, people who aren’t like me, people who need love, people who need food, and especially people who need Jesus! May my eyes be opened to needs and my house be open that we may share the love of Christ.

I have been doing this for a while, but again, inconsistently. So I would like to consistently (weekly) send cards/letters/little notes of love and appreciation and encouragement to people in my life.

Keep our family checkbook up to date so as to stay within budget in all areas. We already do this with, which makes it super easy (and it’s free!). But I am a procrastinator and only do it monthly… or worse. I have to improve and discipline myself in this area.

See God Save
This is obviously God’s work and not mine, but my intention here is to pray for these people by name, regularly lifting them up and asking God to save their souls. It is also our calling to lift Jesus up, for He said if He is lifted up, He will draw all men to Himself. I want to more boldly and more passionately proclaim the name of Jesus to my sphere of influence. He is the only One who saves. Why wouldn’t I say His Name? He also said that the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. It starts small but ends huge. I believe that God desires to save and will save souls in this town. His Kingdom will grow.

Follow Jesus and Love Him More Fully, More Deeply
Obey the simple commands of Scripture (simple, but not easy), believe the Gospel and add nothing to it, take nothing away from it, preach it to myself every day, as often as I need it, which is really every moment. Repent often, humble myself, love Him, show Him to the world and make Him famous this year.

June Prayer for the Persecuted Church

Hebrews 13:3 tells us to “remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” Our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world are being persecuted for the sake of the Gospel. We need to remember them in prayer.

China restraining churches

The Chinese government enacted new regulations this week in a further attempt to control its growing Christian population. Pastors must provide police with weekly reports detailing their whereabouts and how many people attend their church meetings. If Pastors leave their city, they must report their travel plans, and they are restricted to short trips. If they fail to report and police are unable to contact them, they are arrested. These regulations primarily target large house churches that organize under a specific name and meet publicly.

India Attacks Persist

Hindu extremists continue to target Christians in India with harassment, false accusations, beatings and even murder. The Global Council of Indian Christians believes Hindu extremists are behind two recent murders of Christians in the state of Andhra Pradesh. In the most recent case, 17-year-old Nirupama Pradhan was raped and murdered after school on May 12, 2011. Her father, Sitrian Pradhan, named the possible murderer, but according to Asia News, police have done nothing to find the murderer.

Police also have refused to give a post-mortem report to the widow of Saul Pradhan, a Christian preacher who was murdered on Jan. 10, 2011. Pradhan had taken a new job at a brick-kiln in another village. When he did not return home from work one day, his family searched for him and found his body near a pond. Police originally claimed Pradhan died from the “bitter cold,” but his employers, Hindu radicals, later confessed to the murder.

On May 8, Hindu radicals stopped Pastor B. Vijaya Kumar and his family as they walked home from a prayer meeting, according to Compass Direct News. After the extremists detained the family for three hours, police arrived and questioned Kumar. They told the family to leave the area and said they would accept no responsibility if anything happened to them. Earlier, local papers had falsely reported that Kumar had been converting people by offering them money.

Extremists in Madhya Pradesh accused another pastor of forced conversions. Hindu extremists stopped Pastor Shivraj Maravi from renovating his small house, where he sometimes holds Sunday services. After the extremists filed a police report on May 4, police arrested Maravi and charged him with forcible conversion under the state’s anti-conversion act. Compass Direct reported that Maravi stopped working on his house because he feared he would be attacked by extremists.

Hindu extremists in the state of Maharashtra also stopped construction of a church building and imposed a boycott on Christians in the area. When the Christians complained to police, the police told the group to get permission from the village head, who subsequently refused to help them. In the ensuing boycott, the extremist group prohibited Christian vehicles from carrying vegetables to market, cutting off their means of livelihood. The extremists ordered the Christians to leave the village and said they would not allow Christian children to attend the local school.

Violence leaves Christians dead

Hundreds of Nigerian Christians were killed and injured while more than 150 church buildings were burned in violence stemming from the election of a Christian as president of Nigeria. A Voice of the Martyrs source reports that 31,000 people also have been displaced by the rioting. The nation’s Christian president was re-elected over a Muslim challenger on April 16, sparking the violence, which continued into May. One report told of a pastor who prayed with his wife and daughter as they died from the violence. Pastor James Musa Rike’s wife, Dune, died after being shot and slashed with a machete by Muslims. Their 13-year-old daughter, Sum, reportedly told her father that the militants said, “See how your Jesus will save you,” before attacking her. Her response was that Jesus had already saved her.

Pray that God will use all of these difficult situations to the furtherance of His kingdom and for His glory! 

March Prayer for the Persecuted Church

We get a newsletter each month from our sharing network (a sort of insurance for Christians belonging to a Church). In it each month is this section on praying for the persecuted church. Since we typically aren’t informed via mainstream news or even FoxNews (there is a Christian World News once a week on TBN, though!) regarding persecutions happening around the world, I thought I would share it here so the rest of you may be blessed as you labor in prayer for these Believers that are sharing in the sufferings of Christ.

For more information and more news stories and updates, visit Voice of the Martyrs or Compass Direct News.

Iran: 70 arrested

Iranian authorities arrested more than 70 Christians in January after a roundup that occurred near Christmas 2010. 7 Christians were released in late January after a month in solitary confinement, while 26 Christians remained in jail. Sources told Elam Ministries that as many as 120 Christians have been detained since Christmas. Most were released after interrogations and reportedly were forced to sign statements saying they would not attend church again. It’s believed that the latest crackdown by the Islamic regime occurred following speeches by religious and political figures in summer and fall. The leaders condemned Christian home fellowships as a threat to the state.

Pray that the Iranian Christians would stand firm in their faith, be protected from the state, and continue to meet when they can. Pray also for ministries trying to help them covertly. Finally, pray for the conversion of religious and political leaders in Iran to the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Eritrea: 100 Christians arrested

More than 100 Christians have been arrested in the African nation of Eritrea since December 30 in raids on churches. In one raid, December 31 on a church in the capital, Asmara, all 41 members present were arrested, questioned and beat. More than 60 more believers were taken into custody in raids on January 1 and 9. Another Christian, Seble Hagos Mebrahtu, 27, died in a military camp on January 1, reportedly because she was refused treatment for malaria. Sources say that Seble was “tortured after being found reading a Bible at her home.”

Pray that Eritrean Christians will persevere in faith and continue to glorify God while enduring this harsh persecution.

Pakistan: Woman still in custody

Asia Bibi, a Pakistani wife and mother sentenced to death for allegedly blaspheming Muhammad, is still remaining in custody. Asia’s conviction and sentencing has led to turmoil and debate over the blasphemy law in Pakistan. A governor who supported Asia and called for the repeal of the blasphemy law was assassinated. The Voice of the Martyrs team in Pakistan is concerned for Asia’s safety in prison.

Pray for her safety and for the safety of her family. Pray also that the blasphemy law, frequently used against Christians in Pakistan, will be repealed. Finally, pray for Asia’s release if it has not already been granted.

Laos: Believers arrested during meal

11 Believers, including a pastor, were arrested on January 4 at the pastor’s home while eating a meal and taken away at gunpoint. 2 men were released the next day, but the others, including two children ages 4 and 8, were taken to a provincial prison and charged with holding a secret meeting without approval. Pastor Wanna was also imprisoned in 2010 for leading people to Christ. When he was released, he was told not to hold worship meetings in his home, but resumed doing so immediately, choosing to obey God rather than men.

Please pray for the Lao believers who were arrested, that their faith will not weaken and that God would use this experience to deepen their commitment to Him. Pray also for Pastor Wanna, who likely is receiving the harshest treatment.