Friday, January 4, 2013

DEVOTION AND GIVEAWAY: The Best of 2013 by Shirley Corder

Full reading: Luke 10:38-42

Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:42 NIV)

Recently my husband and I started a new ministry in our suburb entitled Prime-Timers. Its goal is to encourage and inspire the over fifties of our community. Each month we plan to have a time of entertainment and a demonstration that will teach a new “hobby” to encourage those present to develop their talents. There will also be a time of inspiration and a time of “Table Talk”, where they discuss some point around the theme of the day.

At the end of the hall, there will always be a “Talent Table”.  Folk will have the opportunity to share things they have made using their talents. They are free to sell their goods, and while enjoying tea and cake, the members of the group can mingle and buy from one another.

Our first meeting was in December, with the theme of Christmas. A tenor with a magnificent voice entertained us with Christmas-related songs. A sweet lady in her nineties demonstrated how to make bowls of various shapes and sizes using the art of decoupage. She donated two, which we filled with fruit and candies and gave as gifts to two of the gathering.  The local small businesses came on board, donating gifts and vouchers which we were able to hand out as prizes. How wonderful for those who went home with car-wash vouchers, or the gift of a free pizza, or a breakfast at a local coffee shop—not to mention the two ladies who received free manicures.

Well, Christmas has come and gone. It’s now time to prepare for our next meeting. The theme is no surprise—Keeping Track of the New Year. Our demonstration will show a few ways we can make and use calendars to balance the year 2013.

By the time of the meeting on the 12th January, we will already be nearly two weeks into the year 2013. Indeed, today, as you read this, you have already used up 4 of the 365 days God gave you as a gift on New Year’s Day. How often we say, “How time flies!” That’s not just a cliché. It’s a fact.

As we demonstrate various ways of making calendars, it will already be too late to start with January! Isn’t that sobering? Most new calendars will have to start with February. We hope that by the time the group say goodbye to one another on the 12th, they will have been challenged to put the rest of the year to good use. That as they go home, perhaps to make calendars for use as gifts or to keep track of their busy schedules, or even a calendar that will help them keep track of the birthdays of those important to them, it is our prayer that they will also resolve to balance their days.

Jesus commended Mary for choosing the best thing. Why? Certainly not because she was being idle as her sister suggested, but because she saw spending time with the Lord as her priority. So in every day of our diaries for 2013, the first thing we should write is an appointment with Jesus. In every month of our calendars, there should be days set aside for worship and spending time with the Lord and His people.

John Maxwell likes to say, “If we fail to plan, we’re planning to fail.” I want to suggest if we fail to have a plan for 2013, we’ll arrive at the end of the year saying, “Where has the time gone?” We’ll look back on the year with a sense of failure, missed opportunities to bless others with a phone call or a greeting on their birthdays, forgotten celebrations, and a lack of balance. Hectic days lead to crazy months and a year zooming past. Mary chose the best thing. There were plenty other things she could be doing, lots of pressure to perform. But she chose the best thing.

This year, let us keep a calendar, a diary, whatever will work, so that we can balance the year. So at the end of the year we can say, “It was a good year, because I chose the best things each day.” Don’t let’s waste one more day. This time next year, let us be able to look back and say, no matter what the year may have in store for us, “I lived 2013 in a way that pleased God.”

I wish you each one a happy, blessed, and productive year, with each day spent in the best possible way.

GIVEAWAY: I would love to start the devotional  year on this blog by blessing someone. Please share with us just one thing you can do as you seek to spend 2013 in the best possible way. If more than ten people leave a response to this question, together with an email address, I will have a draw from all the names on the 15th of January.  I will make and send the winner a perpetual birthday calendar with a theme of Africa which can be used for ever after to keep track of those birthdays!

So how about it? What one thing will you do to help you spend your time in 2013 in the “best” way? (Don’t forget your email address.)

SHIRLEY CORDER lives on the coast in South Africa with her husband. Her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer contains 90 meditations based on times when God used the often unexpected things to help her through the rough times spent in the cancer valley. It is available globally in print or online, in print and e-versions. Please visit Shirley through, where she encourages writers,, where she encourages those in the cancer valley, on Twitter or on FaceBook. Sign up for her writers' newsletter.


  1. I plan to spend more time in The Word.

  2. Great way to the "best" Donna! Do you have a planned reading scheme?

  3. Hi Shirley from Tassie. Among the many things 'listed' I think my major one centres upon my grandchildren. I want to help their young lives to know, enjoy and grow in the Lord Jesus so that in their maturity they will be found faithful in service and worship.
    Ray. Have a great year.

  4. You too Ray. And yes, it is a major desire for both Rob and I as well, that they will all come to love and follow the Lord. We see so little of them, "all" we can do is pray.

  5. My focus will be on the writing God has called me to do.

    jrlight620 at yahoo dot com

  6. I want to be the witness to others, that God wants me to be! I also want to be regular in my devotions.

  7. I want to continue to live for Him. I want to share grace with those I meet.

  8. Thanks for your good points so far. Please pass on the message re FaceBook or Twitter. We need another 5 entries! Betz and Ray you haven't left your email addresses!

  9. Since I will be spending much more time in the car this year, I will have a lot more available "quiet time" sitting in traffic. Better than stressing about the other drivers :)

  10. Thanks Pam. Ladies, remember to leave your email addresses!!!

  11. Thank you for this blog post, I wish I lived close enough to join Prime-Timers, it sounds such fun.

    I know I'm too late for the draw, but just wanted to say that my one thing this year will be to read my Bible every day BEFORE I check my phone.