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We just wrapped up another year.  If you are like me, there have been many blessings this past year but as I look back there are some things I wish I had done differently.

But it is a gift of God’s favor and grace that lying before us is another year.  2017 is a clean canvas that God puts in our hands and His help we can paint a beautiful picture this coming year.

The Bible says that the Lord has numbered our days, but he has never revealed his spreadsheet.  I don’t know the number of my days and you don’t know the number of your days.  But, this much I can tell you for sure, your number is less than it was yesterday.

Here is something else I know; when it comes to the number of your days, there is no negotiating, bartering, or borrowing.  There are some things in life you just can’t borrow.  You can’t borrow somebody else’s relationship with Christ, you can’t borrow somebody else’s talents, you can’t borrow somebody else’s soul, and you can’t borrow someone else’s days.  Your days have been numbered by God and you will not live one second beyond what God has appointed for you.  Your departure flight will not be delayed.  Your one and only life had a beginning and it will have an ending.  Your death certificate is as certain are your birth certificate.

You and I get only one shot at this thing called “life”.  There is no do-over.  So, that raises the stakes on how we live in 2017. 

If some of us were honest, we would have to admit that our lives have never been more full, but never less fulfilled.  Our lives feel cluttered and confused.  We feel overloaded and overwhelmed.  We run fast, but we can’t outrun the emptiness we feel.  We secretly wonder if this is all there is or if this is how life was meant to be lived.   My prayer is that over the next year we would feel more alive than ever.

So, where do we start?  There is a passage of Scripture written by the apostle Paul that I believe might be a great passage to ponder as you move into the New Year.  It is found in Romans 13.

In verses 11 and12 Paul says “Another reason for right living is that you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for the coming of our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. [12] The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So don't live in darkness. Get rid of your evil deeds. Shed them like dirty clothes. Clothe yourselves with the armor of right living, as those who live in the light.”                           Romans 13:11-12 (NLT)

Choose to live with a sense of priority and urgency

Paul says “another reason for right living is that you know how late it is; TIME IS RUNNING OUT.”  Do you hear the urgency in those words?  We know that we only have a limited time here but we can begin to live and act as if we will be here forever.  There was an interesting survey done among college students.  They were asked this question: “If you could know the exact date of your death, would you want to know?”  87% said “No”.  In most of us there is a kind of denial that doesn’t want to face our mortality. 

We can be lulled into self-deceit.   I just wonder how many people get to the end of life, look over their should and wonder “what happened”?  So many unfulfilled dreams, so many lost opportunities, so much left undone, so many regrets. 

Maybe the most dangerous word in the English language is the word “someday”.  Many of us suffer from the “someday syndrome”.  Someday I’ll take that trip.  Someday I’ll have more time for the kids.  Someday I’ll talk to my friend about Jesus.  Someday I’ll go back to school.  In fact, why don’t you fill in the blank.    Someday, I’ll  _______________.  If you can’t think of something to put in the blank, ask your spouse or a good friend.  Just ask the “what have I been saying that SOMEDAY I would do, but have never gotten around to”?  Maybe for years you have been living with the illusion of “someday”.  You sincerely plan to get around to it.   The problem with “some day” is that it can rob us of “this day.”

We are prone to procrastinate, aren’t we?  I recently found a website called procrastination.  I typed in the web address and when the site came up, all that was there was a flashing sign that said “coming soon”.  I guess that’s to be expected from a procrastination website.

In 2017 make it…

More about today, less about tomorrow.

More about people, less about possessions.

More about God’s priorities, less about my plans.

More about the eternal, less about the temporal.

I want to challenge you to take some time to get alone.  Spend some time reflecting on 2016… and then spend some time thinking, dreaming, and praying about 2017.  Listen.  Be present with yourself and with God. 

The clock is ticking.  You don’t get a second shot at today. It’s later than it has ever been.  So, let’s commit to living a “no regret year”.

 

 

Lance is the founder of Replenish ministries and is often referred to as a Pastor’s Pastor.  He is also the author of the book Replenish, which is dedicated to helping leaders live and lead from a healthy soul.  Before launching Replenish, Lance served 20 years as a senior pastor and 6 years as an Executive/Teaching pastor at Saddleback Church. 

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Mitchell Leonard

commented on Jan 3, 2017

Thank you for the lesson.

Bosun Hambolu

commented on Jan 9, 2017

Dear Pastor Lance, thank you and God bless you for the message 'the clock is ticking'. It formed the basis for a message i delivered in our parish yesterday, titled 'Carpe Diem'. Four souls were won for Christ. To God be the glory!

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