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Monthly Message

NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS ...

People tell me all the time: “I never make New Year’s resolutions, because I never keep them anyway.” I can remember all too many resolutions I’ve made and let slip away, too, but this year, I am making several new ones anyway. I think everyone should. Here’s why:

 

1. We all need to change something about ourselves. Some changes we find very hard to admit to ourselves. I’ve heard people proudly say: “I have no regrets about my life. If I had it to do over again, I’d do it all just the same way.” But that attitude is way too blind and self-serving as far as the Bible sees it. Other than Jesus, no one in Scripture is with-out fault, so how could we possibly be? There is great power in confession to ourselves, to God, to others. Owning up to our failures is the first, painful step on the road to something better.

2. When we change calendars, it’s a good time for reassessment. How did last year go? What do I want to do differently this year? This time of year always reminds me of a pas-sage of Scripture better understood by farmers than suburbanites: BREAK UP YOUR UNPLOWED GROUND, AND DO NOT SOW AMONG THORNS. (Jeremiah 4:3).   It makes sense. The more land you put into production, the more prosperous you’ll be. But some of us are dumb enough to try to sow seeds in land overrun by thistles without breaking up the soil and taking care to root out the thorns as they come up. If we keep sowing in the same way in the same bad ground, what do we expect to sow but what we’ve always sown? What percentage of your life is producing something of value to God?  How much unplowed ground do you have that ought to be broken up in this coming year and made useful? Reassessment: the brink of a new year is a good time to plow new ground in new ways.

3. New Year’s is an excellent time for mid-course corrections. Sure we might fail in what we set out to do, but if we fail to plan at all, then we plan to fail. If you’re so fearful of failure that you never set up your row of tin cans to shoot at, you're not very likely to hit any at all. Failure is not the end. For the person who determines to learn from it, failure is a friend to forgiven children of God. Consider St. Paul. Talk about failure! Throughout his life, he was opposed, persecuted, shipwrecked, stoned and left for dead, deserted by trusted coworkers, slandered, and scorned. Many projects and churches to which he had devoted years were turning into dust before his eyes. But he didn’t quit; he made corrections...and from prison wrote these words: “Forgetting what is behind, and straining to-ward what is ahead, I PRESS ON toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:13-14).

4. New Year’s is a time to learn to better trust in the grace of God. Resolve to live fully aware of God’s grace, then everything else will be added unto you in terms of the ability ...continued from previous page to actually fulfill the resolutions you make. When Jesus died on the cross for your sins, when He rose for your justification before our heavenly Father...our final destiny was “finished.” Sins forgiven and your heavenly home prepared and waiting for your arrival; you can live in the meantime with bold confidence as you witness, love, and serve Jesus our Savior. You can want to change -- not to be loved by God -- but because you have been so loved, and you will change for good rather than to avoid the bad.

If you didn’t practice relying on the Lord as much as you should have this past year, there is no time like the present to make a 2016 New Year’s resolution. In fact, why don’t you pray a short prayer right now...use these simple words, if you like: “Dear Father in heaven, I want 2016 to be different for me.” (Now spell out in prayer some of the changes you’d like to happen within you and through you.) And then close this way: “Lord Jesus, I thank you for the forgiveness You have won for me by grace alone. I know that I am going to need a lot of help to respond to Your love in ways that honor Your great sacrifice on my behalf. So right now I place myself in Your generous, gracious hands. Help me to receive Your strength, and to make the changes which will bless me and benefit others You place into my life all through the year. For Jesus’ sake. Amen!”

Happy New Year to you and your family!

Pastor Chuck

Posted by Monthly Message at 12:01 AM

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