Are you still making New Decisions that will result in a New You in the New Year? January is a time for new choices and fresh starts. Unfortunately, many New Year’s resolutions don’t last very long.
Instead of making a new resolution, think of making a new determination and setting a new direction. Instead of trying to radically change your life right now, set a new direction for your life that will eventually bring about a change in your lifestyle. It’s a matter of taking many small steps instead of trying to take a few giant ones.
This is a time to apply Paul’s words from Philippians 3:12-14 which, by the way, have no expiration date and can be applied any time of the year: Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers (sisters), I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Paul reminds us that we cannot be burdened and distracted by the past but, instead, should keep our eyes on the goal. Put the old behind and reach for the new. Leave behind those things that are a distraction and an impediment to your spiritual growth. Reach for those things that will be a help and an encouragement to you.
One of the disciplines that will be the greatest boost to your spiritual growth this coming year is spending time reading and studying the Bible. There is probably no exercise that will have a greater impact upon your life than that. Like most pastors, I am concerned about the lack of Bible literacy among God’s people. Christians, God’s Word is your sword. You must know how to use it! It has all the power and authority you need.
I came across these dramatic examples that remind us of how powerful the Bible can be!
When an official of the former Soviet Union was asked why a study of the Bible was frowned upon in his country, and why those who dared to print and distribute it were severely punished, he replied, “We find that the reading of the Book changes people in a way that is dangerous to our state!”
During World War II when the Nazis occupied a new territory, they immediately placed all Christians in concentration camps if they made public commitments to the Word of God. They had found that those who clung to the Bible would not compromise their faith or yield to the evil edicts of a godless dictator.
Those who oppose civil and spiritual liberty continue to suppress the God-inspired Scriptures, for they consider them “dangerous.” To the believer, however, it remains his/her beloved “Handbook to Heaven”!
Determine that you will make a disciplined effort to read God’s Word daily in 2021! As Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man (woman) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The author of the letter to the Hebrews puts it this way: “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (4:12).” God’s Word will make a difference in your life in 2021! Let it be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path (Psalm 119:105).
This Sunday, January 24, we will continue our New Year’s emphasis with “New Things from God” (2 Corinthians 5:17). God has given you a New Life, Mind and Song. Don’t be satisfied with the old. Live in the New!
If you are not able to join us in person at 10:35am for worship, please join us online for the Live broadcast on Facebook (Search: Honolulu AG). It will also be uploaded later that day on our website (honoluluag.org) and YouTube channel (Search: Honolulu Assembly of God).
If you missed the first session of our “Joy of Belonging” class about membership, there are still three more to go. Be sure to join us this Sunday at 9:30am in the sanctuary. The Annual Meeting of the congregation is coming up on Sunday, February 14. It will follow the 10:35am worship service that day and begin with a potluck lunch. Everyone is invited!
Men, be sure to join us at the next ono-licious Breakfast on Saturday, January 30, beginning at 9:00am. The previous breakfast was outstanding and this one will be also. And please bring a friend to enjoy it with you.
Aloha ke Akua!