Choices And Resolutions

 

New Year ResolutionsEvery January, as the new year begins, many people start to make some resolutions. They think about what they want to accomplish in the new year. The resolutions that people come up with are as varied as the number of people on the planet.

Most resolutions are about health and relationships, although there may be others about finances, housing, jobs, schooling or other things.

The older people get, the more people realize the importance of good health and good healthy habits. People choose to lose weight, work out more, or eat healthier food. All of these are focused on being a better person or living longer.

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While all of these resolutions can be good, they are only temporary fixes. Regardless how healthy a person eats or works out, there will come a day when he will die. Since the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden and sin entering the world, people die.

I am not saying that eating correctly or working out is bad. Over the years I have learned to try to eat a little bit more healthy. I still continue to struggle at working out to keep in good physical shape. Probably half the reason I am in as good of shape as I am now, is because I spent a number of years in the Army where I had to work out physically everyday. It started me out on the right path, though I when I got out, I was not one to go to a gym and work out at all, though I have tried at times.

While the physical eating and working out is good, there is something that is more important. My spiritual health is more important than my physical health. I have to work out and grow more spiritually to have true life and one that will last for eternity, regardless if I die or not on this earth a physical death.

In order to be spiritually fit, I must work my spirit in the right way. It begins with knowing God’s word. I must take time daily to read God’s word. Not only must I read it, I must take time to understand it and apply it to my life. If I read the Bible all the way through and can explain all of it very well, but do not apply it to my life, it is worthless. If I do not live by God’s Word, it is no good to me. My spiritual health will decline.

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One of my resolutions this year is to get into God’s word more and apply it to my life more. This means reading it, memorizing it, and applying it to my life daily.

Another part of being spiritually fit, is to spend time with God. This is taking time to talk to Him and listen to Him. Prayer.

Many people find prayer very boring and seemingly worthless. They pray, but do not see immediate results, so they give up. Some feel as though God is not listening or does not care about them. Others feel as though they are praying the same boring prayers all the time and never getting anywhere.

This can happen in communication with anyone. Couples who have lived together for 20 years grow apart because the communication is broken down between the two. For one or the other it gets boring and worthless.

God hears yours and my every prayer. He wants to spend time with me to help me get to know Him better. Paul said that we should pray without ceasing. I need to always have a prayer on my lips or in my mind. Open, continued communication with God at all times.

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My second resolution is to make more time for talking and listening to God. He is there to guide my every step. I won’t know that step if I am not talking and listening to Him.

The other thing that God wants for His people is for each one to be His witness. He called every believer to be a witness of the gospel of Jesus. His whole purpose in sending Jesus to the cross was to save the entire world.

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I have been given the greatest gift a person can every receive–forgiveness and eternal life. This is not a gift that is for me alone. It is also a gift that the more I give it away, the more I have.

If I have such a great gift I must not hoard it to myself, but be willing to share it.

Along with being a great gift, it is also a warning to the people. The world is on a track heading for death, unless they switch tracks. They do not see the warning signs that there is only death ahead. I need to love them enough to warn them of the coming death.

My last resolution is to be a witness to as many people as possible. This starts with my own family, leading them to Christ Jesus, then it works out to my co-workers and people I know. Finally it reaches out to the world, those I don’t know, but come into contact with.

I want to be spiritually fit for God and others in this world. So my resolutions are:

  1. Reading and applying God’s word more
  2. Talking and listening to God more–prayer
  3. Being a better witness in this world

As I do these three things, everything else will fall into place better. God will guide me in what to do to be in better physical shape.

As you make resolutions this year, what do you want? What is your desire in this life?

I pray that God will guide you in the resolutions that you make and will help you to achieve each one. I also pray that God will draw you to Him more and make you more like Jesus in this new year.

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Daniel 9:8 Admitting Sin

We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered in shame, LORD, because we have sinned against you. Daniel 9:8

Daniel had just received a very clear vision of how long Israel would be destroyed and under captivity of another nation. He then started reading some of the words of Jeremiah and seeing what God had told him. Once he read those words, he started to pray to God a prayer of repentance for the nation of Israel. Daniel started admitting to breaking God’s commands and sinning against Him.

Daniel did not point fingers at other people and just say that they were the ones to sin. He included himself in the sins against God.

It is very easy, and very common, for people in the church to point fingers at the sins of others. Christians blame those in the world for the corruption and sin that is so rampant in their nation. Blaming politicians and leaders for the sin comes easily for many people. People will say if “they” did not allow something, that sin would not be there or the corruption would not have happened, always talking about someone else and not themselves.

When actions like this are done, one is not showing the love and mercy of God towards others. Nor is the person taking his responsibility in what is being done wrong.

Some may say, “I have never killed anyone (or some other sin), so why am I to repent.” It is true that you may not have done a particular sin, but there is another one that you have done. Regardless of what sin you have committed, you have sinned against God and helped lead your country to where it is today.

Along with that, every believer is supposed to be His loving witness to this world. As you go through your days ask yourself if you are doing everything that you can to be His witness. Ask yourself if you are showing His love and mercy to this dying world in the best way possible and as much as possible.

Since many believers cannot say that they are doing these things to the level God wants them to do, they are helping others continue in sin.

Seek God and ask Him to show you how you can reach the world for Him.

Repent of all sins, both the corporate and the personal. Allow God to change lives.

I pray today that you will seek to be a witness of Jesus to everyone you meet; that you will do your best to bring all to God; that you will show His great love and mercy to this world; and that you will repent of all sin. 

A Time To Scare?

Halloween

October brings about a holiday that children all over the nation love. It is one that makes a child able to get a lot of candy. It is a time for both children and adults to dress up like someone or something else. Costume parties are located everywhere. It is Halloween.

Along with all of the fun, candy, and costumes that Halloween brings, there is also the element of scaring people. Some people go to extreme levels of dressing up in costumes. It is more than just a simple bed sheet as a ghost. Those who go to the extreme levels, make it appear as though they are physically injured or deformed. The realism of the costumes and makeup is amazing.

Trick Or Treat

People usually fall into one of two categories of thought when it comes to Halloween. There are those who run with it and have lots of fun, regardless of the implications or thoughts behind it. The others run from it and will have nothing to do with Halloween at all, because the primary thought behind it is demonic or celebrating the evil in this world.

For my family, I have led them to never really celebrate Halloween for what it is. My children have never dressed up to go out and go trick or treating.

One thing that has become very popular in our area is the idea of trunk or treating. It is a time that churches, and now some other organizations, set up various games out of the trunks of their vehicles. Children from the surrounding neighborhood are invited to come and play the games and get free food.

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Immediately in the minds of some Christians, there is a red flag that goes up. How can they take something that is demonic and make it good?

I fully understand the concerns that some people have. In doing this, there is some point of celebrating Halloween, when one does the trunk or treat, even though in word most will state they do not celebrate Halloween.

One of the things that is important for people to keep at the center of their focus is why they are setting up the trunk or treat. The trunk or treat should be an outreach to the community. Often it can be just a place to play games and get free food and candy. If that is the case, it is falling short of doing any good.

Every believer is called to be a witness of who Jesus is to every person they meet in this world. The whole purpose is to build God’s kingdom on this earth. God does not want anyone to die in their sins, so He sent His people out to be His witness to them of the salvation Jesus provides.

Be My Witness

When a church is setting up the games and activities for a trunk or treat, the Great Commission should be kept at the forefront of their minds. How can they use the game to be a witness? How can they use the activity to point children and parents to God?

In being able to do this, it takes some serious thinking and planning. Each person involved in the planning must be planning it with lots of prayer. Be open to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit.

Psalm 19:1New International Version (NIV)

The heavens declare the glory of God;

    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

All of creation declare the work of God. When you look out on a field or you look up into the sky, you do not hear anything being said. However, if you open your spiritual eyes and ears and listen, you will see and hear the works of God. You will see that glory of God being displayed in creation.

Romans 1:20 New International Version (NIV)

20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

All of these things show who God is and what He is like. These things are not things that are seen inside the church walls, they are out in the world, where the world can see them.

The trunk or treat games are to be set up outside of the walls of the church. This is where the world is located and are willing to be.

When games are set up for children to play, there should be some way to focus them towards God. Each game should be set up to be a witness of who Jesus is and what He can do for them. The workers of the games must show God’s love to each and every person that shows up.

Along with the children being able to have fun, they should be provided some food. For some of those children, that may be their only meal that day. It is showing God’s love for them, without any judgment.

While it is true that some of those children will only come for the games and food, there will also be a seed planted in their hearts and minds about God. That little bit of love and care may someday be the seed that changes their heart to follow Jesus. For some of these children, you may be the only Jesus that they will see.

Whether you do a trunk or treat, or not, that is between you and God. However, if you do it, be sure to keep God at the center of it. Make sure that in the process of doing games and food, Jesus is being proclaimed. This is using the things of this world to spread the gospel message. Be open to what God has for you to do today.

Ezekiel 3:17 Be A Watchman

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. Ezekiel 3:17

God was making Ezekiel a watchman to the people of Israel. God would show Ezekiel what was to happen in the future, what would happen if they changed and followed Him, and what would happen if they rejected Him. Ezekiel was to be the person that would be on the lookout for what was to happen and let the people know about it. Ezekiel was told that some people would listen and some would not, but he had to speak to them either way. Ezekiel would also be responsible for the lives of the people if he did not tell them what God was saying.

People read horoscopes all the time trying to find out what is in their future. Predictions are made all the time about what is going to happen next. Some things happen, while many things do not.

God has made statements about what is going to happen in the future. The individual choices of each person will have an effect on what will happen in their future. Most people have not been told what God has said about their future. They do not know that if they continue to live in sin and not follow Jesus, there is only death and punishment ahead. They do not know that if they turn from sin and follow Jesus, that there is eternal life ahead.

You have learned what God has for you, if you are a follower of Jesus. Knowing that, you also know what is ahead for every other person. Every person on this earth has two paths set before them. One is rejecting Jesus and dying. The other is accepting Jesus and living.

You have the responsibility to go out and tell people what is going to happen. You are the watchman who sees what is coming up and can warn them. If you do not warn people about the coming destruction, it will also be on your head for their death. If you warn them, then it is only upon their head.

Jesus said that you are to be His witness in all of this world. Being a witness is being the watchman that Ezekiel was. Are you a watchman today?

I pray today that you will be God’s watchman to the people; that you will speak to everyone about Jesus; that many will know Jesus because of you; and that God will show you what is coming.

Jeremiah 35:16 Only Obeying Man

The descendants of Jehonadab son of Rekab have carried out the command their forefather gave them, but these people have not obeyed me. Jeremiah 35:16

A group of Israelites, that were the descendants of Jehonadab, had followed the rules of their forefather faithfully. Even though it had been a few generations, they still obeyed his command. God was pointing out that many of the Israelites were obeying this man, but were not obeying God in the same way.

Most people will follow most of the laws of their place of employment without much problem. People want to stay out of trouble and keep their job. They will also follow the rules of their land, for the same reason of staying out of trouble. The majority of these people are people who do not believe in God, yet they show faithfulness and obedience in what they do.

Those in the church will often be very quick to point out to those in the world many of the laws of God, especially the ones they are breaking. People will boast of how they follow God by going to church. However, many will not obey all the commands of God.

Even though many go to church, very few actually take time to read and study the Bible as God wants. Very few will go out and be an active witness of who Jesus is to those around them. Very few will take the time to serve those in need, both in and out of the church. Very few will show the love God has for people who are lost. They are refusing to follow the commands of God, even though they will follow the laws of man in their workplace, city, or nation.

As a believer, you have been given some commands by God. You have been given the freedom to follow God and do what He wants you to do. It is good to follow the laws of your land, because God had commanded that, but do not stop there. Follow all of what God has given you to do.

Show your faithfulness to God in the same way that you show your faithfulness to your employer, city, or nation.

Obeying only man will leave you short with God. Obeying God will bring you reward in the end.

Who are you obeying today?

I pray today that you will know what God wants you to do; that you will obey all of God’s commands for your life; that you will be the witness God wants you to be; and that you will be an example of who Jesus is to this world.

 

Jeremiah 31:21 Set Up Road Signs

“Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take. Return, Virgin Israel, return to your towns.” Jeremiah 31:21

Israel had been scattered as a nation to other nations. They were exiled from their homeland. As this occurred, God had stated that He would bring them back to their land. As God called them back, He wanted them to set up signs and guides along the way to point the way back home. There would be many who had never lived in the homeland and would not know the direction to go, with the signs it would guide them to the correct path home.

Every person that drives down a road, traveling to some place, always needs signs to guide them. Without the signs it would make it very difficult to find where one is going. Without signs, one may think he got to where he was going, but could be in the totally wrong location. Think about Christopher Columbus. He tried to make it to India, but landed in Central America.

Along side the signposts, one was also to put up guideposts. On mountain roads there are guideposts to let a person know where the edge of the road is. They are there to protect a person from going off of the road and getting into danger.

As a Christian, you have been down a road that many have never taken yet. That is the road to salvation through Jesus. When you started to believe in Jesus and accept His forgiveness of your sins, you had made it back home to God. You are living in a new place with a new life, that many do not know.

Jesus told all believers to be His witness in this world. Just as the Israelites were to set up road signs and guideposts on the way back home, so you must set up signs and guideposts for others to see the path home.

Being a witness of who Jesus is and what He has to offer are the road signs to eternal life that every person needs to hear and see. Showing grace, mercy, forgiveness and love are the guideposts that keep a person from straying back off the path to God.

Are you willing to set up road signs and guideposts so that others may make the journey home to God? Set them up today.

I pray today know the path to God in your own life; that you will show the path to Jesus to others; that you will be a witness of who Jesus is to the world around you; and that you will bring many others home to God with you.

Isaiah 1:4 Forsaking The Lord

Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him. Isaiah 1:4

It is easy to stand on the side and see the sins of others, and then blame them for the conditions of a nation. All over the nation there are many Christians who are pointing fingers at the sins of others. They often state that the nation has become a sinful nation because of others.

Although it is true that the nation has become very sinful in many different ways, one cannot just blame others for this occurrence. In reality it is a group effort to cause a whole nation to become sinful and turn away from God. It is a process of individual people slowly turning away from God.

Many believers will say that they have not turned away from God. The question is: how many times has a person turned down being the witness God called him to be?

A nation is made up of people, individual people. It is individuals who cause a nation as a whole to follow God or reject Him. It is individuals who choose to allow sin to occur. It is individuals who refuse to be a witness of who Jesus is.

When a believer chooses to not be a witness for Jesus, he is causing someone else or the nation to continue to live in sin and reject God. Every believer must give every non-believer a chance to know God and choose or reject Him. Often many will keep quiet and make the choice for the other person.

In this way, many believers have turned their backs on God. This is where Isaiah says woe to that nation and its people.

You have to take a look at your own life. How are you doing at being His witness from day-to-day?

Are you willing to tell others about Jesus every time you get the chance?

Or are you keeping silent and not wanting to offend anyone?

One causes sin to continue, while the other is doing God’s will on this earth.

Are you in partnership with this world in causing great sin?

I pray today that you will be God’s witness every chance you get; that you will keep yourself from all sin; that you will tell everyone about Jesus; and that you will not turn your back on God.