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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Micah 7:7 Watching And Waiting For God In Prayer

But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7

The nation was crumbling and being sent into exile. Those who were supposed to be leading people to follow God, were following idols. Punishment and destruction was coming all around Micah as he spoke the words of God. As he is watching all of this occurring, Micah says that he will watch in hope and wait for God. He will continue to pray to God, letting Him know his heart’s cry, knowing that God will hear Him and save him in the end.

Watching the news and seeing what is going on in this world can be very depressing and hopeless. Every day one can hear about a new battle somewhere, someone killing someone else, theft, lies, cheating, abuse and disasters. It looks as there is no reason for living and no hope to keep going forward.

Along with all those things the rise of the promotion of sin appears to be happening. Sin is promoted and even placed into the laws of the land. It appears as if God is no longer in control, or does not care anymore.

However, if you read the Bible, Jesus promised the days would get like this. People’s hearts would grow cold and turn away from God before Jesus would return in the end.

As a believer you must trust in the Lord for your salvation. Although it appears as though the world is winning the battle, they will not win the war in the end. There is coming a day when Jesus will return and destroy all sin for eternity.

Knowing this is knowing the blessed hope that you can have in Jesus. As you are watching and waiting for Jesus to save you for all eternity, you can be praying. Let God know what you are feeling and seeing. Pray that God will touch the hearts of many, drawing them to a salvation in Jesus. Pray that God will have mercy on you and all other believers.

As you are watching, waiting and praying, you can know that God will hear your cry. You can know in your heart that you are right with God through Jesus Christ. Do not fear this world or what is happening. God is your Savior.

I pray today that you will not fear this world; that you will trust in God alone; that you will know the hope you can have in Jesus; that you will wait upon God; and that you will know that God hears all of your prayers.

God’s Got This!

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I work as a public school teacher in two different middle schools in our town. At times it can be a lot of fun working with the children and teaching them. However, it can also be extremely challenging when some of those children do not really want to be there and learn.

This school year has proved to be more challenging than last year and has not been going so well for me. My position as a teacher is currently in jeopardy and the district may not renew my contract because of some of the challenges that I have been unable to overcome.

Since this has started to occur, it has been very challenging for me to stay focused correctly. I am praying constantly that God will guide my every step and show me the path I am supposed to take.

This last Thursday was an especially challenging day at my workplace. After work was over, I had went to an awards ceremony for my daughter. During the ceremony my mind kept going back to work and the challenges I was facing. It was overwhelming me and I did not seem able to let it go.

After that ceremony I had to stop at a store to pick up a few things my wife needed. As I was headed to the store I was doing a lot of praying. I was asking God for direction in my situation. As I was praying I felt God say to me, “I’ve got this.” This was not me getting it, but that God has it. He was saying that He has it in control.

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God did not tell me what was going to happen, or what to do, just that He has it. I asked God what this means for me, but all He would say was “I’ve got this.” I accepted what He said, then went into the store to get what I needed.

I had picked up the few things that I needed and began to check out. As I finished checking out and paying for the items, a friend of mine came up and tapped me on the shoulder.

He knew about my situation that I was going through and asked me how things were going. Naturally I proceeded to tell him how things were going and that I was really praying for God’s strength, guidance and wisdom in it.

Immediately he said that he is going to pray for me. This was not he was going to pray for me later, it was he wanted to pray right then and there in the store. One of his sons was with him and he told his son right away that they need to pray for me. I am never one to stop someone from praying for me, even in public. I know that God can work through the prayers of others. And God said that were two or three are gathered in His name, He is right there.

He started praying for me. It was not a very long or eloquent prayer, but it was an effective prayer. The one thing that amazed me (though it should not have) was that in his prayer one of the things he said multiple times was that “God, You have got this.” He said that God You have got this no matter what happens, whether I keep my job or lose it. I had not told my friend what God had just told me.

Immediately the peace of God came upon me. God had confirmed His word to me through my friend. It was not just me thinking I heard something, but God revealing that He did tell me that He has this.

Having been a believer most of my life, this is not something that I should need to be told, but I did. I needed to be reminded that God has my life in His hands and will take care of me. God never says it will be easy or fun, or rough and difficult, but that He will be with me through it all.

In your life, you may be going through some situation that is difficult. You may be crying out to God for some relief or answers and God is not saying or seeming to do anything about it. Know that God has it. He knows exactly what is going on. No matter what is happening or is going to happen, it is in God’s control. You have nothing to fear.

I do not know how my situation will end up in the end, but I know that no matter what happens God’s got this.

Rest in His perfect love with me knowing that God’s got this!

Daniel 10:12 Set Your Mind

Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.” Daniel 10:12

Daniel had a vision that troubled him and he could not understand what it meant. He chose to fast and pray, setting his mind to wait for God to give him the answer. When the person came to answer him, he was told that God had already dispatched the answer twenty-one days before, but was detained by the enemy.

There are many times that a person will want an answer from God about some situation in their life. He will pray for a moment, asking for the answer, then will give up on waiting for that answer. The prayers of many will not last more than a few moments, a few times, before many give up.

The reasons for giving up can be of several reasons. Some feel that they are not worth getting the answer, others are because they are impatient and give up on God, others feel God will not answer them, and still others just don’t make the time to wait on God for the answer.

Most people are in an instant, microwave set of mind in this world. They want the answer and they want it now. If God does not answer immediately, they immediately give up on God. Daniel did not do that, he set his mind and waited for God to answer.

God is always ready to answer, but He does not always answer immediately. Sometimes a person is not ready for the answer, while, as in Daniel’s case, the enemy holds back getting the answer. And when God does answer your prayer, be willing to accept His answer to you. Do not reject it because it was not the answer you desired. Let God be the one in control of your life.

When you are in need of God for an answer, you must set your mind to getting that answer. Deny yourself of yourself and focus on God and Him alone until you get the answer. Spend more than two minutes in prayer. Take time to fast, denying yourself the pleasures of this world. God will answer, in His time and way.

I pray today that you will set your mind to hear God’s voice and direction; that you will trust God to answer all of your prayers; that you will accept all of God’s answers for your life; and that you will not give up on God.

A Week Of Firsts

Turning 50

This last week has held two different firsts in my life. The first was that I turned 50. That did not really seem like that much to me. It is just a natural part of life. I have been bald on top since I was 17, so that did not mean much to me. And I have had some grey hair for several years already, nothing new either.

Getting older has never bothered me in any way. I guess having eight wonderful children has kept me young, even though I am getting older and slowing down. I can no longer run as fast, or as long as I used to be able to.

The other first for me this week did have a major impact on me. My oldest daughter got married and I had to be the one to give her away.

I am not one to cry very easy or at every little thing that comes my way. Although there have been movies that have brought tears to my eyes, and I am not ashamed or afraid to cry, when needed.

Over the last few months, since she got engaged, I have been ready for this wedding to happen. I never cried or was sad about it. I was very excited that she was getting married. It never bothered me that she would be leaving the house now, after 23 years.

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However, Saturday, when I began to walk my daughter down the aisle, the emotions started to overwhelm me. It was tears of joy, but tears none-the-less.

One of the things I had to do, as part of the ceremony, was to stand up in front of everyone and pray for her new marriage. She and her husband held hands, the pastor had his hands on them also, and I put my hands on top of hers when I prayed.

I have spoken in front of many people, many times over the years. I have also acted and sang in front of hundreds of people. I have even been the pastor over a wedding and over a funeral. Never once have I been afraid, or unable to speak, till that day.

As I was getting ready to speak, my mind went blank for the first time ever, another first in this past week. What I planned to say completely left me speechless. When I tried to speak, I had to really force the words to come out of my mouth. At that moment, my heart was overwhelmed at what was happening. It was overwhelmed with joy and pride. I also knew the value of the prayer that I was getting ready to pray. It was to be a blessing upon the new marriage.

I knew that the man she was marrying was the one God had for her. If I were to list everything that I would want in a man to marry her, he had it all, and then some. Over the last ten years, I have watched him grow up and become a great man of God. He has a heart to pray for and be a witness to anyone and everyone, anytime and every time. He has a servant’s heart to serve any person in need, no matter the cost to himself. He came from a family that serves God with all of their hearts, souls, minds, and strengths.

My daughter had desired to be married since before she graduated high school. She had continually prayed to God for the one that she was to marry. She constantly asked God where that man was and when would she get him. Although my daughter and her husband had grown up together, for most of that time, they were not together or even considering each other. God, however, was building both of them up to be who each one needed the other to be. They are the perfect helpmates for each other.

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As I prayed that prayer of blessing upon them, I knew that God is going to bless their marriage and ministry together. I am looking forward to the ministry that God will do through them, now that they are together in marriage. Both have great ministries of their own, but now together they will work together building God’s kingdom for His glory and honor.

I did pray a blessing over them. God filled me with His overwhelming peace of His Holy Spirit to say the words I prayed. As I prayed, I also had tears of joy welling up in my eyes. Afterwards, my wife was very surprised, because that is not something normal for me.

While I was watching the wedding, and watching it again on video, because it was recorded, I had the same feelings I had when I married my wife 25 years ago. I knew then that my wife was the one God had for me beyond any shadow of doubt. And I still know that to this day with no doubts. As I knew my wife was the one for me, I knew that this man was the one for my daughter. I also know that they will keep God at the center of their lives and their marriage.

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For those who are still single and want to get married, keep your eyes focused on God. He will bring the right person to you at the right time. Wait on His perfect timing.

For those of you who are married, also keep your eyes focused on God. Keep your marriage centered on pleasing God and He will do great things in and through your marriage.

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Staying in the center of God’s will, will always have many firsts in it, but God will strengthen you to do whatever comes your way or make it through whatever comes your way..