By Dolley Carlson, Crosswalk.com
"Thou crownest the year with thy goodness." – Psalm 65:11
The New Year's issue of a magazine captured my heart. The cover was a picture of newly fallen snow with one little pine sprig popping up in the middle. It looked like hope! Renewal. And another chance to do life right...God bless second chances.
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way." – Isaiah 43:18-19.
For me, the snow symbolized a "white as snow" forgiven heart, and the little pine sprig an evergreen reminder of being "ever" renewed by God's love. Sitting on the threshold of a new year is the perfect opportunity to drop grudges, forgive, ask to be forgiven, and begin anew.
Gifts of Forgiveness
- Send a New Year greeting card to break the ice and warm the hearts of both the forgiver and the "forgivee."
- Forgiveness is the most expensive gift of all, but merciful forgiveness is priceless. Do you realize how much energy it takes to hold on to unforgiveness? A lot. Maybe you're righteously indignant. Make a tight first with your right hand. Takes some doing...righteous indignation. Holding on robs us of blessings and being a blessing.
- Release, bless and be blessed in giving your "white as snow" gift of forgiveness.
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Gifts of Encouragement
- Send a New Year's note and affirm special talents or skills. You could also write, "I know the Lord has wonderful plans for you; this is your year." Encourage them even more by including a verse such as "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." (Romans 15:13)
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up." – 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
- Another gift of encouragement is to begin a support or prayer group. Meet once a week or every other week and be specific about your goals and objectives, not only for the group but for your new year as well. Commit your loving trust to each other and your meetings to prayer, counsel and God's word.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, but let us encourage one another." – Hebrews 10: 24-25.
Editor's Note: Gifts From The Heart books can be purchased in most Christian bookstores, Amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble.com.
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Dolley Carlson has a heartfelt desire to equip women, and adults from dysfunctional backgrounds, with creative solutions to meet the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. Through her speaking ministry, From the Heart, Dolley has traveled the globe sharing messages of hope, encouragement and inspirational ways to nurture their relationships with friends, family, and community. Dolley was honored to be a participant at Dr. Billy Graham's Amsterdam 2000. She and her husband, Tom, have been married more than 35 years, have two grown daughters, and reside in Southern California. You can reach Dolley on her website.