Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year resolutions for the Christian in 2009

I've never been one to make New Year resolutions --I suspect because I would soon forget them. But when it comes to my faith, it's something that I continually try to improve through out the year.

I borrowed this article from the bulletin for the East Foothill Church of Christ in San Jose, California. Evangelist Lalo Enriquez, who also serves as one of the elders for the church, has published a list of spiritual resolutions in the church bulletin as long as I've know him (he's also my father-in-law).

Even though the New Year is a good time to emphasize resolutions, you can start working on these goals any time during the year. And don't give up when you fail. When you slip, "press on" as Paul did (Philippians 3:12-14).

By Lalo Enriquez

Again, it's the time of the year to make New Year Resolutions. Children of God must include SPIRITUAL COMMITMENTS along with "normal" things like diet, finances, work or school. Have you made you "spiritual resolutions" yet?

If not, allow me, as I do each year at this time, to suggest some. If you have made spiritual promises to God, pray for strength and courage to keep them to God's glory.

Resolve to Read Your Bible Every Day, at home, work, by yourself or with your spouse and/or children. We have reading charts by the entrance. (See this Google search for Bible reading charts.) They are designed for reading the Old Testament twice during the year and the New once. The daily reading averages three chapters each day.

Buy a small pocket or purse-size Bible. Read it at least 15 minutes during lunch, or during a break. God's word is precious, "more to be desired than gold (Psalms 19:10).

Resolve to Pray Daily. Christians need to pray every day, preferably several times; before leaving home, or while traveling to work in the car, the bus, or walking. Pray before meals; with your children, spouse or fellow Christians at work or school.

We should have times for extended prayer; but not all prayer has to be to long. It can be as brief as simply asking the Lord for wisdom and strength during times of temptation (see James 1:2-8). The apostle Paul encourages, "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and "in everything ... let you request be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6).

Resolve to Attend Every Service Possible. We know that illness and perhaps other circumstances often keep us away, but attend every service (of the church) possible. Let's not allow Satan to weaken us into thinking "one service per week is plenty."

Christians need to assemble together regularly to worship God, to acknowledge His greatness and majesty, to partake of the Lord's Supper, to sing and pray, to support Christ's kingdom with our finances and to feed our soul with the bread from Heaven. Our fellowship is not only with God, but also with others who are likewise committed to Him.

Resolve to give at Least 10 Percent of Your Earnings to the Lord - if at all possible, or at least more than you did in 2008. Look at the examples of those who gave to God: the poor widow - all she had (Mark 12:41ff); the Macedonians - even beyond Paul's expectations because they had first given of them selves to the Lord (2 Corinthians 8:1-5); and the Corinthians - with great liberality (1 Corinthians 9:11). Then let us consider Jesus who gave us His life and more for our salvation.

Resolve to Invite People to Services. During 2009, let's keep inviting our friends and neighbors to services or to a Bible class in their home, our home or here at the building. Also, if we know of Christians who aren't attending, let's invite them. Encourage them to get back right with the Lord. Also, invite your family members.

Resolve that the Lord will Control Your Life AT ALL TIMES! Remember His teaching on "walking by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). We are to be led and guided by the Holy Spirit through God's Word in all things, not by our carnal desires and senses. Christians who are controlled by human pleasures, desires, emotions, weaknesses, etc., are headed for a sad and very difficult life. Let Jesus control your life in 2009.

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