Spiritual Resolution Ideas

Since it is almost the New Year, I did some research to make an idea list for New Year's Resolutions. I searched the Internet to find ideas that will help improve our spiritual lives.
  • Resolve to be a missionary right where you are: your work place, neighborhood, school, congregation.
  • Resolve to include Jesus in all parts of your life
  • Resolve to equip yourself for the Spiritual battle that is taking place in your life, with more prayer and more Bible study.
  • Resolve to work together as Christians, supporting one big ministry for God, instead of competing with each other.
  • Resolve to cut back or remove spiritually negative influences on your life: TV, music, entertainment, negative people.
  • Resolve to serve God every day.
  • Resolve to pray for your husband on a regular basis, even when you're mad at him.
  • Resolve to deal with the emotional problems that keep you at an unhealthy weight, which negatively influences your spiritual growth.
  • Resolve to manage money better, so that there will be more to give to God's work.
  • Resolve to pray for your children, minister to your children, pray that your children will grow up to serve God.
  • Resolve to follow God's will for your life, to fulfill His goals for you.
  • Resolve to forgive and get rid of the bitterness that can destroy you.
  • Resolve to not become proud of your spiritual growth and wisdom, but to give God the glory.
  • Resolve to let your Christian light shine, ask yourself - What would Jesus do?
  • Resolve to encourage and pray for Christians in their ministry - pastors, church workers, volunteers, missionaries, Christian teachers, and any Christian ministry worker.
  • Resolve to rely on God's strength to help you, instead of worldly advice or trying to comfort yourself with an unhealthy addiction.
  • Resolve to learn from your mistakes and to grow spiritually, instead of letting them discourage you.
  • Resolve to base your decisions on what the Bible says, instead of what the culture says is okay.
  • Resolve to have patience with everyone in your life: children, husband, church members, co-workers, etc.
  • Resolve to be thankful to God for his - unconditional love, provision, and guidance - even if you don't feel it.

It's a Wonderful Life

Our family starts the new year watching It's a Wonderful Life. What a great movie to remind us that our life is not our own. We should be seeking after God's will for our lives. George Bailey was given a special gift - to see the difference his life made to others. We don't get to see most of the ways that we positively influence others. So, we have to trust that God's plans are the best plans for us.

You may get to heaven and find out that:
  • the neighbor kid you invited to church, decided to try church again in college.
  • the child you taught in VBS, brought her parents to church.
  • the person you listened to and encouraged didn't commit suicide.
  • the Christian ministry worker you thanked decided to stay working for the ministry.
  • the person you gave a Christian tract to, read the tract and accepted God's gift of salvation.
  • the Christian high school student you motivated, decided to go to Bible college to study ministry work.
  • the poor family you shared your food with, shared food with another family later on.
  • your good example made a child want to serve God.
  • a couple decided not to divorce, because of the example of your marriage.
We can't possible imagine all of the ways God has been using us. This year, I am going to try to ask God everyday - "Lord, what do You want me to do today? Please show me."

He uses us where we are at. We don't have to wait until we've been a Christian for 5 years, gone to Bible school, read through the entire Bible, or read Christian books. Even children can be used by Him daily. We just have to be submissive to Him and His will for us, and obedient when He shows us what to do. Plus, we need to keep growing spiritually. I encourage you to start the new year asking Him - What do you want me to do today?

Ideas for a Frugal Christmas

Make a cash spending plan and stick to it:
I heard that the majority of people buy at least one extra thing for themselves while they are out Christmas shopping. Plus, people tend to spend extra money on snacking, stocking stuffers, and extra gifts for the kids. Staying out of the stores during the Christmas season can really help. I make my list and try to order as much online as I can, avoiding the whole Christmas spending excitement that is going on in the stores.

Cut back on presents:
This year, we are cutting back on the amount of individual presents that the kids get and getting some group gifts that all the children can share. I also like to take some of the emphasis off of presents and put it on our Family's Christmas Traditions.

Make the recession work for you:
Because we are officially in a recession, you can announce that you are cutting back on Christmas spending this year. Plus, many stores are having great sales. But only buy the sale items if they are on your spending plan.

Extend Christmas:
Last year, my kids knew that they were going to be getting new jackets. But, we waited until the beginning of January to go buy them. We got a $100 jacket for $20 at J.C. Penney's, a $40 jacket for $15 at Kmart, and a $35 jacket for $5 at Wal-Mart. There are lots of year end clearance deals.

Try giving unique gifts:
You can do a weird gift exchange, give gadgets, something from a craft fair, make your own Gift Basket or Box of Themed Gifts, get something off of Ebay that represents an old memory for someone. Just make sure that your unique gift is also an affordable one.

Fill Christmas day with fun activities:
If there are going to be less presents under the tree to play with, then plan to keep the kids busy on Christmas day with family activities - have a Christmas devotion, go caroling in the neighborhood, invite people over, have brunch, make Christmas dinner together, volunteer, watch a Christmas movie, make crafts, play Christmas games, drive around looking at lights, look at old Christmas photos, call up relatives, talk about Christmas memories, do an outdoor activity together, have a family slumber party near the lighted Christmas tree, have a treasure hunt for a group gift and then play with it, take a walk together or play in the snow, make birthday cakes for Jesus, or decorate an outdoor tree for the animals.

Plan ahead:
Next year, set aside and save a little bit of money each month in a Christmas fund. Get presents through out the year when you find them on sale.

Make Your Own Gift Baskets

Fill an cheap basket, used Christmas tin, Christmas stocking, or Christmas bag (from the Dollar Store) with inexpensive related items:
  • body wash, lotion, bath sponge, and candle (Dollar Store)
  • assorted teas or coffee and a Dollar Store mug
  • a Dollar Store Christmas plate (the breakable kind) piled with homemade treats and a $1 Christmas CD (from christianbook.com)
  • an older (classical) movie from the $5 rack at Wal-Mart, candy, snacks, and microwave popcorn
  • inexpensive Dollar Store craft supplies and art supplies from the Wal-Mart back-to-school sale in August
  • a small Christmas cactus plant, homemade ornaments, Christmas dish towel, homemade cranberry jam, Dollar Store Christmas items
  • a $2 Christmas fiction book (from christianbook.com), Dollar Store mug, box of hot cocoa, chocolate bar, and a dollar store candle
  • for Grandparents: a framed picture of the grandkids, kid decorated sugar cookies, homemade Christmas tree ornaments made by the kids
  • for a young girl - nail polish, lotion, stickers, notebook, pens, a cute Dollar Store stuffed bear
  • if you have the right recipient: fill a basket with the most unique and humorous items and snacks that you can find