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Up Way Publications 35th Anniversary
Message of the Month
New Years' Resolutions
___________________________________________________________________________________________
Volume 5   No. 12                                                                                                                  December 27, 2003
This message was first written  by Samuel M. Smith  December 27, 2003 ©2003 Up Way Publications.
"I, Samuel M. Smith do hereby resolve that I will...  ." Across America and indeed around the world, people are thinking about the coming year and most are thinking of what they will do to make the coming year the best ever in their lives up to this point.

Alcoholics will resolve not to drink another drop or at least bring their drinking down to a level that will make their addiction acceptable to their spouse, friends, r3elatives, boss or coworkers. 

Smokers, especially those with young children or relatives who must avoid smoke for serious health reasons will resolve to stop smoking. 

The philandering husband or promiscuous wife will resolve to be faithful to their spouse. The gambler will resolve to quit gambling and the list could go on and on. The bratty, disobedient teenager will determine to "turn over a new leaf." We all know, though! We all do or have gone through the New Years' Resolution bit many times. 

Of course, true Christians are determining to read their Bibles more, pray more, love the Lord Jesus more, be more faithful in church attendance,  to Forgive the brother or sister in the church who offended them and against whom they have been holding a grudge. To show more Agapé love more compassion and caring for those less fortunate so as to show them the Love of Jesus Christ. 

All of these are great resolutions and a such are goals of a sort. They SHOULD be real goals, but all too often, they are not genuine goals. We KNOW we are expected to change our lives and live more like Jesus christ and His original Apostles, but our resolutions are not truly a part of our planning and thinking. They are not the speck of light at the far end of the tunnel; not the REAL goal.  Too often, they may have been forgotten by January 7 and likely even before that. We all tend to go back to our habitual routine and habits, whether good or bad. ReAL goals in our lives are on our mindsday in and day out and we really work to reach them. But when we think of these goals as New Years' Resolutions, we somehow seem to place a lower priority on seriously trying to attain that goal. 

So instead of a "New Years' Resolution, " this year, think of serious goals you honestly want to reach and then take the kind of motivational steps to reach those goals that you would take if your goal was to go on a cruise ship for your next vacation or to earn a certain realistic dollar amount by a certain date. 

One very worthwhile goal many Christians set is to read their Bibles through in one year. That IS indeed a very worthwhile goal and there ae a number of through the Bible in a year programs sponsored through many denominational and other religious and church groups.  Most of these do not follow a pattern of important doctrines first nor of chronological sequencing, but are intended to reach the goal of reading the whole bible through within the year. I set out to do a Chronological and a key doctrinal series, but so far,  have not yet completed either revised schedule that I started working on several years ago - as a New Years' Resolution!!! 

But the sheer length of the Bible and certain somewhat boring chapters of "Abraham begat Isaac and Isaac begat Esau and Jacob and Esau begat..." tend to break the habit of daily reading a chapter or more daily. And it does take reading more than one or even two chapters every day to complete reading the Bible through in one 365 day year.

 At a goal of two pages a day in my full-sized Thompson Chain Reference Bible, in which the Old Testament contains 876 pages and the New Teatament contains 268 pages for a total of 1144 pages. To read them all in one 365 day year would require reading 3.14 pages daily.
The Old Testament contains 929 chapters and the New contains 260 for a total of 1189 chapters.  Thus it would require reading an average of 3.34 chapters per day to read the Bible completely through in one year.

There may be a few persons who would stick strictly to a schedu;le that will produce the goal of reading the whole Bible in one year, but for me, I have found that a goal of one chapter a day is more realistic, although at that rate, it requires almost three years to complete. Of course with that goal, if you are serious and you are in the Psalms,  you read several short Psalms instead of just one. 

The very first time you ever read the "begats," you will doubtless stumble over all the unfamiliar names and may think, "Why is this important? Why on earth did god include this in the Bible?" But there is a reason. It shows the continuity of the generations of mankind and although there are those who attempt to dispute the validity of some names, such disputes are usually thr result of translational variations in names. For example, my name, Samuel, in English is something like Schmuel in Hebrew and in Hawaiian, which language has no "s" sound, becomes Kamuela.  Since my name was given in its English variation, that is my legal name, but to a Hebrew, they will think of me as Schmuel and a Hawaiian as Kamuela.  The Old 

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New Years Resolutions
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Testament prophet Elijah was referred to in the New Testament as Elias and the Old Testament Elisha is spoken of in the New as Eliseus.  That is not a real problem, but Satan uses this type of thing to detract from the truthfulness of the Word of God. 

But back to the main subject; New Years Resolutions. Resolving to read your Bible through repeatedly and habitually IS very important if you are serious about knowing what God has to say to you and to all of mankind. And you really should make such a resolution, whether to read it through in one year or over several years, one chapter a day or more than three. 

Other Christians make another resolution. "I will win one soul to the Lord every day (or every week or every month)." And this is a very realistic and important goal. "He that winneth Souls is wise..." But all too often,  the person with this goal in mind, especially the one who intends to win a soul daily nearly always use a  "shortcut" plan of salvation that leaves their "convert" unconverted!  I have preached and written plenty of other sermons and tracts on this subject, and the purpose of this sermon is to point out the importance of New Years Resolutions and of really sticking to those resolutions. 

A resolution is a form of vow, a pledge, a declaration of what you will or will not do under a specified set of circumstances.  Repeatedly in the Old Testament, we see the importance of vows and of keeping those vows. But we see New Testament examples in the actions of the Apostle Paul and four other believers that demonstrate in action that they believed vows were meant to be kept. Now while you may have only made the resolution in your own mind, God knew it.  But one key in vows appears to be that it be spoken or written and known to others.  Still, even if nobody but you and God knew that you had purposed a good thing as a resolutiion to be followed in the coming year, obviously, you KNEW to do the good thing and failure on your part to do it becomes a sin to you.

Another major resolution Christians make is that this year, you are going to be faithful in paying your tithes and giving freewill offerings.  And as surely as you make that resolution, Satan will try to make sure that something happens to prevent your keeping that vow, that resolution.  Maybe it will be some sort of disaster that happens in your family that costs a great deal to overcome.  A major sickness or a house or car fire or a tornado or hurricane may be satan's tools. But while it seems impossible in the natural, if you resist the devil, we are promised that he will run away from us.That verse also admonishes us to "Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you." When you made your resolution to pay your tithes, make a PIM  (Partners In Missions) pledge or otherwise give to support god's work, God already knew what Satan was going to throw in your way to try to make you stumble or fall. And God knew whether or not you would believe the circumstance or believe His Word.  He has already made provision to open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing you will not be able to contain -- if you  have trusted Him and kept your vow regardless of the seeming impossibility.  Look at the little widow woman in Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:2 - 4 and the record Jesus made of her.  And we are promised that faithfulness in bringing the tithe into God's storehouse will result in blessings beyond what we can even receive.

And here is where one of the most important New Years Resolutions we can make comes in. 
"This year, I resolve to trust God and His Word, no matter what comes my way.  When I feel sickness coming on, I will trust God's promises of healing and health. When I seem to have financial reverses, I will put my whole trust in the Lord and not my own wisdon, strength or ability and will pay every tithe and offering and pledge I have promised. In ALL my ways, I will acknowlege Him and I know He will direct my path and provide all my need according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus. Amen" If you make that not only as a New Years Resolutioin, but also a GOAL for the remainder of your life, you will be blessed in all you do.
 

--  S. M. S.
ENDNOTES: 

Proverbs 11:30
See Numbers 6:21; 21:2,3;  30:6-9; Judges 11:31; 1 Samuel 1:11; 2 Samuel 15:8; Ecclesiastes 5:4,5.
Acts 18:18-21 
Acts 21:23,24
James 4:17
James 4:7
Malachi 3:10
Proverbs 3:5
Proverbs 3:6
Philippians 4:19
Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.  (Psalm 112:1 In context: Psalm 112:1-2).
Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.  (Psalm 128:4 In context: Psalm 128:3-5).

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