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The new year is upon us! It is time for people to make promises, some they will keep and some they will not. It is nearly time for all those “haven’t seen you since last year” jokes. It is a time of reflection. What have we learned and what do we want to learn? What have we done and what would we like to do? What was good and what was bad? You don’t have to like doing all that, but I find reflection useful. It gives me things to think about and file in my brain for future reference. Here are a few things I’ve picked up along my way.

God’s idea is always better than yours. Always. Every time. No exceptions.

If you want to reach people and show them Jesus, just love them. Meet them and accept them where they are. Do things for and with them. Become actual friends. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

You must talk to God about people before you talk to people about God.

The enemy can use your strengths as weaknesses, but God can use your weaknesses as strengths.

It is immensely harder to scornfully judge someone when you have become friends with them.

Talk with people who disagree with you. With them, not to or at them. It’s a two way street, but you should really be doing more listening to understand. You don’t have to both agree by the time you finish any given conversation, but you do need to understand each other.

Talk with your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. They can encourage you and help you learn. You can encourage them and help them learn.

Talk with God, back and forth. Speak and listen. He is the friend who will never let you down or disappoint you. He is the father who will love you and teach you in all the best ways. He is God and has more than all the strength you’ll ever need for anything you face.

Read your Bible regularly. You’ll be surprised at what you get out of it.

In a conversation when you are unsure whether to speak or to listen, almost every time it doesn’t hurt to keep your mouth shut and listen.

Just because someone is tempted by different sins than you doesn’t mean that you’re better than they are. Just because you limp differently than someone doesn’t mean you aren’t still limping.

You can’t always help everyone, but you can always point them to the one who can help.

What have you learned over the year? Care to share?

Other New Year reading: New Year Coming, Learned Over the Year