RESOLUTIONS WORTH KEEPING

God bless you. Pastor Bee here thanking God for a blessed and prosperous new year! Speaking of the new year, I have been pondering the concept of new year’s resolutions. Curiosity prompted me to probe the origins of this tradition which typically leads to failure, condemnation, or apathy or all of the above. According to an article written by Sarah Pruitt, on The History Channel website, it is believed about 4,000 years ago, the ancient Babylonians were the first to make New Year’s resolutions, although their new year’s celebrations took place in the Spring time coincide with the planting of new crops. “During this time, they either crowned a new king or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning king. They also made promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed. These promises could be considered the forerunners of our New Year’s resolutions. If the Babylonians kept to their word, their (pagan) gods would bestow favor on them for the coming year. If not, they would fall out of the gods’ favor—a place no one wanted to be.”

It is interesting that it states that IF they kept their word, their gods would bestow favor on them; if not they would fall out of favor. YIKES! I guess you could call that motivation. I wonder if it brought about any more positive outcomes than perhaps, we experience today. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with making new year’s resolutions, but let’s face it-how many of us actually keep or even remember them for any length of time and at the end of the year can say they saw success in that particular arena?

Perhaps, I can offer a new perspective on this subject and show you a better motivation than falling out of favor with the gods! There are so many promises from the Scriptures that are ripe for the picking, to claim for our own. I would like to explore a few of these and suggest that perhaps claiming and walking in God’s promises to our hearts might become for us resolutions worth keeping.

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

3 John 2 KJV

If God almighty, the creator of the heavens and the earth states emphatically that He wishes above all things, that we prosper and be in good health, wouldn’t we want to see that in our lives? The first part of John 10:10 states, emphatically, that the thief comes not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy–the enemy’s resolution for all times. His purposes are clear: to take from us by stealth, and to kill and offer us as burnt sacrifices, and to so ruin us that our lives are rendered useless! Fortunately, that is NOT the end of the story. Jesus declared and revealed the modus operandi of the thief, the devil. He also declared and revealed his own purposes, “I [Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God] am come that they might have life [the absolute fullness of life, life lived with vigor, preserved in the midst of perils], “and that they have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b). It is not only life preserved and kept, it is also a life that is more than abundant, superior, more excellent, exceeding number, measure, rank, or need-extraordinary!

Let’s face it, we live in constant peril, because we live in this world. In spite of the goals of the god of this world, we can still walk in the fullness of a life well lived, preserved, and kept in the midst of anything he can throw at us. In addition, even in the midst of perils our lives can exceed abundance in every category of life, nothing lacking, nothing left out, nothing incomplete. Now that’s a resolution I want to walk in and see in my life.

Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil [men].

Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.

Proverbs 4: 14 & 15 KJV

In Proverbs 4:14-19, we have a whole lot of reasons to not enter into the path of the wicked or go in the way of evil. I recommend reading it sometime. It’s very enlightening. It is verse 15, that gets my attention. “Avoid it (evil), pass not by it (evil), turn from it (evil), and pass away (from evil)”. When you look closely at this verse, it definitely makes a very adamant and powerful statement: DO NOT INTERMINGLE WITH THE WAYS OF THE WICKED! The verses that follow, give the answer, the antidote, and the benefits to not getting intermingled with the ways of the wicked.

My son, attend unto my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.

Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.

For they are life unto those that find them, and health unto all their flesh.

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Proverbs 4:20-23

Without going into all the details, we are to guard our hearts, our innermost being, with the diligence of a military guard at their post. How do we guard our hearts with that kind of resolve? We do so by attending to the words of God, daily. We listen for the voice of a loving Father. We keep His word at the center of our hearts, our thoughts, and meditate on them daily. Here is a summation of Proverbs 4:23:

Above all things which are to be guarded”, (Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon) protect and defend your heart. Keep it safely within the confines of God’s Word. Its borders and boundaries are not intended to entrap or ensnare. They are borders that set you free. Guard your heart, and all that issues from it, as a vineman maintains and dresses his vineyard, in the center of God’s heart and all that issues from Him. That will then issue from your heart, your very being. God’s heart becomes your heart. Being in the confines of His will is not confining. It sets you free! You have unlimited room to roam within His borders. God, the fountain of life, becomes for us, life, and vigor, causes us to proper and flourish as the end of winter and the reviving of Springtime.

I’ll have some of that please!

We are told in 2Timothy 1:6-7 to “stir up the gift of God” that He has given to us. Why can we do this:  “for God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”. Why not kindle or re-kindle a fire in our spirits. The enemy roars as a lion to freeze us in fear, but we do not have a spirit of fear AKA, cowardice or timidity! He gives us power to do the works of Jesus Christ and greater. He gives us love: the juice that ignites the power of God. He give us solid ground on which to base our lives which gives us our ability to develop and maintain soundness of mind, self-control, moderation, discipline. Today these words seem to be almost vulgar, but truly, they are good things. I remember a time when I didn’t have or even know these attributes were possible and my life demonstrated it. I unwittingly allowed that thief to have his way with me to the point of desperation, ruin, and wanting to die.

Psalms 112 in its entirety is an amazing testament of what God will do for His people. I won’t go into the entire Psalm, but I do suggest you read it in your spare time. I especially enjoy it in the New International Version (NIV). I want to focus on one specific verse and perhaps give a summation.

Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever.

Psalms 112: 3 NIV

Yes, you are reading that correctly! God absolutely wants for His children wealth and riches.  God doesn’t have a problem with wealth and riches. He has a problem when they become our god. When they become a way to honor Him, that is another thing entirely. The beginning of this verse is actually used as a proclamation: SUFFICIENCY! ENOUGH! (as in “exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think”, or He will “open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it”.)Strongs translates it as “far richer riches”. Even in the darkest situation, we walk in light. We can shine. We can be victorious over the enemy. We have no fear, our hearts are always steadfast because we trust in God. We walk in the strength, might, and dignity of the Lord and we are amply rewarded for it now and in the future.

O taste and see that the Lord [is] good: blessed [is] the man [that] trusteth in him.

Psalms 34:8

When I was a young girl, my great-grandma had an old “garden apron” that she had made. It is bright red, and more like a tunic. When I was a child, it went down to my knees. It buttoned at the back and tied around the waste. It had three massive pockets at the bottom. She would go into the little garden we had at that time and stuff the pockets with whatever produce she wanted for our dinner that night. She would even pluck a few flowers with which to grace the table. She gave me her apron before she passed away when I was about 10 years old. I still have it after all these years. As I got older and the garden had grown considerably, my mom would send me out to “pick a salad” for dinner. I invariably overdid it and came in with all three pockets overflowing to the point I had to gather up the bottom of the apron to hold our salad. Like Great-grandma, I also would throw in some flowers for good measure. Mom would laugh when I came in and ask, “Are we feeding a small army today?”

That’s how our lives should be. Overflowing with the goodness of our loving Father. It should become so real to us that we can taste it; that we can vividly see it, that it bursts forth from everything we do. We don’t have to settle for hum-drum, mediocrity. We don’t have to settle for what the “world” calls success. We have God Almighty on our side, and He wants so much more for us. With God, there is ALWAYS more! I want to walk in the MORE!

I’d like to share my resolutions:

I want walk in more limitlessness!

I want to walk in the unlimited power of the holy spirit!

I want to walk in the steps of Jesus Christ and all that he is in me!

I want to walk in all the fullness of God’s gifts!

I want to taste and see God’s overflowing goodness, graciousness, and abundance!

I want to walk with NO LIMITS!

I want to see Ephesians 3:20,  “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” working in me mightily every moment of every day!

Now that’s a new year’s resolution worth keeping!

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