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New Year Resolutions (B.J. Clarke)

Laure this my kicks in with GPM we’re glad that you’re a part of our program today what happened to the people who died before Christ died did they go to hell without having their sins covered by the blood of Christ is it wrong I’m BJ Clarke and I’d like to begin tonight by asking you to pray for my kicks in’ mike has been battling an illness that’s kept him out of this chair and out of the pulpit for some time now and we do want to pray on his behalf and hope that he can be back very soon I’m glad to help out as much as I can but we do want Mike back where he belongs and here to help us on the program tonight are two great gospel preachers we have brother Don blackwell here tonight of course you know brother Blackwell he’s the executive director of the gospel Broadcasting Network and also a very talented gospel preacher and then brother Billy bland is with us tonight he is the associate director of the Memphis school of preaching is an elder in the Lord’s Church Coldwater Mississippi and also an outstanding proclaimer of the gospel we’re discussing tonight new year’s resolutions and so if you’ve made a resolution to watch less TV this year postpone that for one hour you can watch this station as much as you want but in all seriousness new year’s resolutions it’s one of those things we all think about is a calendar year comes to a close we get ready to face a new calendar year and we start thinking about things we’d like to do differently and so we’ll talk about that tonight from the standpoint of does the Bible give us any guidelines as to things we ought to think about when we’re making those resolutions what if what if we break those resolutions what if we fail should we just give up and wait till next January what are the guidelines so let’s start here brother Don is it sinful to make a new year’s resolution I mean is this supposed to want to argue as well you ought to be planning to do right all year long making a new year’s resolution is just an empty proposition what would you say to someone like that about the propriety of making a new year’s resolution you know it’s an interesting question is particularly interesting to me because I used to work with the congregation where we had a brother who held that position he believed that it was sinful to make a and year’s resolution and so I thought a lot about that and he made his arguments and they were similar to to what you just said and that is the idea that when it comes to doing right we should do it immediately not resolved because it’s the new year but to make a resolution it really means nothing more than to resolve to do the right thing and when we reached the beginning of the year second corinthians 13:5 a christian is to be examining himself on a regular basis I think when we reached the end of one year and we begin a new one we have a natural tendency amongst human beings to look back and to have a new dedicated resolve to do better and so anytime that I’m going to make a resolution or have a resolve to rededicate myself certainly there’s nothing wrong with that now that doesn’t mean we should put things off if there’s Corrections I need to make in my life I need to do them immediately but this is a special time of examination of self and when I see things that are amiss at that point I’m going to make that resolution right and brother bland if we’ve if we’ve taken inventory of our lives and we’ve seen things that need to change then just because the new years approaching doesn’t mean well since I might be accused of doing this only because it’s a new year I guess I’ll just put it off that wouldn’t be the right approach that wouldn’t be there either well we have to realize that’s a new year to us it’s not a new year to God God is not confined to time and it’s not like well I’ve got to wait till the new year comes along before I start taking an inventory of my life just to figure out what I need to do but this is a new year’s a freshness that comes about us with a time for us to take a special inventory and so you know the Bible of course it says examine yourselves whether you be in the faith prove yourselves no you’re not your own selves how that Jesus Christ is in you except you’d be reprobates second Corinthians 13:5 we of course ought to do that on a daily basis but also as it comes to a new year and we start thinking how can I better my life maybe even physically or perhaps spiritually this year I think it’s a good time for us to really take that as a impetus I suppose to make that good reflection but you’re right we don’t certainly want to wait to the first of the year we should be doing this on a daily basis really right you know if I could I know we have your caller but say one more thing about to second Corinthians 13:5 for years I wondered about that phrase to examine ourselves you know whether you’d be in the faith and I thought to be in the faith means that I’m a Christian I thought why would he write to you to examine yourself to be see whether you’re a Christian and over the years I came to understand that’s not what he’s saying he’s writing to people who are Christians and the concept is to see if you are walking in the faith if you are keeping yourself in life see if you’re walking in the light and so the idea is a Christian should be continually examining himself to see am i walking in accordance with the Word of God and looking at these different areas and different things happen in life sometimes it’s not the new year maybe there’s a tragedy in my life that makes me stop and examine myself various things happen to make me examine myself and resolve to do better sometimes a brother stumbles maybe it’s a sin and it makes him have a new resolve that I’m going to to be more faithful and do better this is just one of the milestones that makes us do that really right so we appreciate those good comments we do have a caller on the line brother Steve Higginbotham is the gospel preacher at the Karns Church of Christ in Karns Tennessee and the brother Higginbotham are you with us yes I am good to talk to you tell us give us your take on new year’s resolutions as a gospel preacher in local work as the New Year approaches what are some of the things you start thinking through as a as a gospel preacher that you might say to your congregation where you preach well you know nearly every year I begin the first of the year with a sermon along the line of resolutions and challenging our folks to step up to areas that maybe they need to fill in but one of the things that I have noticed just a danger with regard to resolutions is that people may sometimes view resolutions and almost make them equivalent to sentence and you know the turning of a calendar from December to January doesn’t remove sin it’s the blood of Jesus that does that and in its confession and repentance and sometimes that’s needed not just a decision to reform your life and and pretend as if those things in the past haven’t happened sometimes we need to say you know I’ve made some mistakes and seek God’s forgiveness and then move forward turning in the calendar isn’t sufficient well that’s a very good observation and as I remember hearing years ago someone said s plus T doesn’t equal AF sin plus the passage of time doesn’t equal automatic forgiveness there has to be a remembrance and then a repentance that takes place well tell me I know that you’ve written a lot on devotional type literature you send out a weekly email and I understand you’ve been involved in helping produce a congregationally produced devotional book what are some of the daily things that a Christian could do by way of devoting himself to God that would help him keep his resolutions no matter what time of year it is yeah well I think one key to overcoming that you know cycle of well here I did it I hear the resolutions I made but now I fail it already and we get discouraged and sometimes beat ourselves up one of the things is that I would suggest that we make resolutions that are within our power to fulfill and not dependent on somebody else’s actions I may as a parent had children and boy I want that child or the specific child to obey the gospel this year and you know women can undo that and/or you may have a neighbor that you want to reach with the truth or you know your spouse and to set goals that involve another person’s will your your setting those that are beyond your ability to fulfill and that leads oftentimes to guilt and frustration I think the resolutions that we do may need to be resolutions that are within my power to fulfill and not dependent on somebody else’s cooperation you know in first Corinthians chapter four and verse two Paul talked about how that we need to be stewards and as a steward we need to be found faithful and I’m glad that he didn’t say successful because there’s obviously a difference there and I think that some people’s resolutions hinge on success when they ought to be looking more toward faithfulness right and somehow good point go ahead no that’s where I continue well some of the resolutions that in terms of study that I think would be advantageous and anytime we do a study at Carnes I bring these things out and we just go over it and repeat it and there’s repetition we and eventually get to learn some things without even realizing we’re learning it but one of the best things that I did years ago somebody recommended doing this and I think in the event Johnny Ramsey but to put chapter themes and book themes to both end to put those and commit those to memory the battle is a big book and and to be able to like say for instance what’s the book of habakkuk about you know a lot of people would say I have no idea but wouldn’t it be good if we could just say what that book is you know about this or and and Meho what’s that book about well that books about this it would help us to get our arms around a scripture and we may not know everything about the book in particular so I understand you to be saying yeah I think I’m understanding you to say instead of just having a general resolution to gain more Bible knowledge to have some specific targeted areas where we are deficient in Bible knowledge where we want to take care of that and fix that problem yeah yeah we have to have a plan right well spans stay on the line if you will for a moment and let me let there the black woman brother bland perhaps interact with you as well brother Blackwell what comments are you thinking about as as you here brother Steve talked about these things was thinking about him making the comment that we should determine to do things that are within our power and I would say certainly that is true but not only that sometimes if you can make resolutions that you can bring someone in to help you you know probably one of the most popular resolutions that people make is I’m going to read the Bible this year and there’s a lot of Christians who make that resolution every year and they get into January or February and it just kind of tapers off and the next year they start over and so Genesis and Matthew will be the most read books but if you entered into that resolution and said my wife and I we’re going to make this resolution together and we’re going to do this then you have you’re helping each other with that and I think a little later we’re going to talk about things to help us follow through and our resolutions but but that is one if you can get something that you can have someone to help you because you’re gonna have strong days she’s gonna have strong days and and life gets in the way sometimes and if you can push yourself that way then that’s helpful exactly right well like also this idea what what Steve was talking about being what I’m hearing also brother Steve talked about is being realistic you know we can say I’m going to learn the Bible well that’s great but you’re going to spend the rest of your life trying to learn the Bible mm-hmm and consequently then what he’s done is he’s broken it down for us to something that is realistic also sometimes congregations are preachers themselves will say I’m going to try to convert so many people this year that is I’m going to baptize so many people I don’t I don’t there again there will comes into play on that our made even attendance goals that can be a bad thing that we’re going to have such-and-such for attendance whereas the church to grow sometimes will lose members unfortunately really it could be corrected discipline could be a lot of things but if your main goal is that of just numbers there’s a problem well Higginbotham let me ask you this suppose someone says to you I just don’t have time to do all the things that I need to do and I’ve made some resolutions but I can see that I’m not going to have time to fulfill them what would you say to someone that pleads their case that they don’t have enough time to do what the Bible has asked them to do well that that’s certainly then a matter of priorities and we need to reevaluate the things that we have placed importance upon Matthew 6:33 says the kingdom has to come first and if we don’t have time for the kingdom of God then we we have well if we find that to be the case then we see that we have you know made some bad choices in our in our priorities and they need to be changed I would say this too with reference to resolutions and time and so forth one of the problems is that and maybe again some of the frustrations we have with resolutions is we we don’t put a time limit on some of them not every resolution that we might make should be or could be sustained indefinitely some things we may need to say you know I’m gonna do this for two months and then it needs to be you know put the bed put the rest and now I’m not certainly talking about you know somebody’s resolving to to attend worship services this year and I’m not saying you know that has a time limit but there are certain things that we might rise you know step above and go beyond the call of duty and to try to sustain that indefinitely probably won’t be needing failure right right well brother Higginbotham we really appreciate your call and your in the kingdom the good articles you’ve written in the preaching that you do thank you so much and have a happy 2015 well you too I appreciate you all thank you very much I was thinking brother Blackwell about was a brother guy in Woods that used to show that you could take 15 minutes a day and if you targeted a particular subject and studied 15 minutes a day on that particular subject I believe I remember him saying you could be an expert almost in that subject in just a matter of weeks just by devoting 15 minutes a day to such a thing you know is something I think we maybe don’t preach a lot about but time management is a biblical principle I think about john 9:4 jesus saying i must work the works of him that sent me while it is day for the night cometh when no man can work the idea being I have work that the Lord has given me to do and I have a limited amount of time to do it and so I’ve got to discipline myself think about Ephesians 5:16 saying that we must redeem the time literally carrying with it the idea of buying it back and I’ve wondered about that a lot why the idea of buying it back and I think it relates to the concept that most people have and we feel like it’s stolen away from us and we have to be active to take it back this this is a conscious thing that we have to do and New Year’s resolutions certainly are going to fall into that category we have to make a conscious effort to to get that time back I think you know we do sometimes talk a lot about budgeting or money right and if a person doesn’t budget his money well we would say well he’s irresponsible but a lot of us fall into that same trap with our time and the Lord’s going to hold us equally responsible for that exactly right you know sometimes what I will do also there’s a dozen things coming at you every day you you hope to be able to do something but if you don’t have that written down and maybe prioritize so I will create to-do lists for today now there may be another master to-do list somewhere right but here’s one that needs to be done today and then I prioritize those things if I can and then we’ll try to work those then if I don’t get them all done at least I got the important ones done you know that reminds me I just read something recently it was a list where they had interviewed business people and people who were huge successes in life and it was a list of things done by highly successful people and one of them is almost every one of them begins their day with the to-do list right what does that say now this was from a worldly perspective but the point was people who accomplished things are people who plan to accomplish things one of my new year’s resolutions is to quit saying they’re not enough hours in the day because I suddenly realized one day I should have realized it sooner when I’m saying there are not enough hours in the day I’m unintentionally imputing the wisdom of God who created a 24 hour day right he gave us enough hours in the day he knows all things about what we need we don’t always use our time wisely but it’s not because God didn’t give us enough hours in the day he made the day and if we use it wisely and correctly there are enough hours probably if we start to do it in the small things it doesn’t have to be the life-changing events just the small things we probably think we could carry that over into the larger events as well you know it makes me think about when I was in the mem school of preaching brother bland was actually one of my teachers and I remember him saying something to the effect one day in class and it’s been 20 plus years so I don’t remember exactly but it was something too along the lines he said if that’s not in the Bible it should be and then he stopped and said now let me take that back oh we’re happy that we have another caller on the line brother Eddie parish is a preacher at the Graber Road Church of Christ and Rosenberg Texas or the parish welcome to the program thank you good to be with you good to talk to you and I understand that you as a gospel preacher have an annual preaching plan and that your plan is designed to try to cover all the basis in that calendar year that would be pertinent to the Christian life to the best of your ability give us a little insight as to how you approach a preaching plan as it relates to your own personal needs the needs of the congregation whom you preach well it’s um it’s something I started doing really about no ten or twelve years ago prior to that I I just really didn’t have much of a plan and it was you know it was get up on Monday morning and begin to think alright what am I going to preach next Sunday and and sometimes that would that would go into Thursday and later before I decide what it was I was going to preach and then of course that cuts down your your study in preparation time and all that so I started trying to put together a plan for a year at a time and and it’s it’s worked out well for me I know it doesn’t work well for for some just based on personalities and things like that but but it’s worked for me and basically what I do is near the end of a calendar year I will sit down and just assess the congregation as a whole what I perceived to be its its needs perhaps its weaknesses things that need to be emphasized I’ll include certainly my elders in that process and get their assessments and suggestions and and then I’ll even go down on an individual level and get the church directory out and just look at each family and think about what I know about them maybe what they’re struggling with maybe some weaknesses they’re things that need to be emphasized perhaps and just kind of make a list of things that that that I feel like need to be approached and I’ll start making you know making a sermon list from that and then I also have a you know a list of several things that I think need to be preached on regularly every year you know regardless yeah just to try to keep some balance in there well let me ask you this have you noticed a discernible tangible difference in which the effectiveness of preaching by plan versus preaching from week to week by the sermon that just comes to your mind that given week have you noticed any difference in your preaching that that you can seem to verify and your the results you’ve seen yes yeah without question it’s I’ve had since I’ve since I’ve done the plan I’ve had a lot more people that that have come to me for example and say you know hey have you been reading my mail have you been sitting around our dinner table you know those are those are things that we really that we really need you know you’re addressing subjects that are that are pertinent to our lives and struggles that we’re having and you’re addressing those and that’s yes sir and that’s helpful you know to hear that to know it was one thing to hear somebody just in general say you know good good sermon on their way out yes and it’s quite another for somebody to stop and say that really hit me where I live and and I and I can use that well the bible per contains all things that pertain to life and godliness second peter 1:3 and so it’s not surprising that that preaching by expository method would eventually hit all the needs that that are in the congregation and i also know that you co-wrote a congregational wide daily bible reading plan and put some daily questions in and that was distributed by way of the weekly bulletin and then you preach sermons if I understand correctly each week from the reading chapters of the previous week how’s that been received that went really well mark Teske and I worked on that several years ago and and that’s basically how it played out we had we had readings from the Old Testament and the New Testament each day and with each reading we had probably four or five questions that we created from the readings and just study questions or fault questions and sometimes just kind of you know short answer questions just based on the text it kind of gave people something to to look for as they were reading so it wasn’t just you know mindless reading it was reading with a little bit more purpose to it and and then each Sunday night I would take either a text from the reading or perhaps a difficult passage that that came up in the reading and and addressed that in in one of the sermons and it worked out well it really got the the congregation involved in a kind of a systematic reading of the scriptures and you know tying it in with the with the sermon each week just kind of helped you know tie it all together that’s wonderful those stay on the line if you will of like my companions here to have a chance to interact with you brother Blackwell had a number of things came to mind as I was listening to brother Eddie talk one of them he’s talking about the the calendar and the ideas and it made me reflect back on what we were talking about a moment ago our resolutions wrong and I think that often times when we think about resolutions we are thinking that a person is saying here are things in my life that I need to change here are bad things that I need to change to good which goes back to the question shouldn’t you do that immediately instead of waiting to the new year but resolutions aren’t always about that sometimes resolutions are just about setting goals I’ve got a new goal for myself and maybe a person runs through that year working on that goal maybe he accomplishes it it gets to the new year in any such a goal I think things like what Eddie dunh helps people to work on their spiritual goals and and their developments and and that part is is really good and so it’s a little different idea than maybe we always think about a resolution of changing myself but but here’s a goal that I’m going to better myself absolutely I’m thinking about it also from the aspect of maybe both the work of the gospel preacher but then also as an elder in the church I’m wondering sometimes if we preachers like to set the goals we like to plan the work but then we don’t really work the plan mm-hmm what I’m get what I’m getting at sometimes it’s possible that we as preachers go in before the elders and say here are some things suggestions for the new year our new work to be done and we put those out there and then maybe two or three months down the road but coming in I’ve got a whole new set of goals now we’ve not really put these into focus as of yet but another thing that I was wondering about when you listening brother Eddie preaching and disregard one thing that helped me when I was doing local work I might take books of the Bible and do expository preaching from those books and I found that members knew where we were going if I was doing its depository preaching from I’ll just say first Corinthians and if I were doing it a chapter or so at a time but they were prepared coming in the next Sunday for the next chapter and then the next chapter and they’re taking note so I’m thinking maybe what brother Eddie is doing is really well but I wonder if we’re doing it just topical expository or textual I think maybe we can vary the styles true to be helpful in that regard as well absolutely also thinking about what Eddie is talking about about making a plan to make sure he covers the different subjects mm-hmm I think that is such a good thing to do I have noticed in you know 20 years of preaching there gets to be a tendency I think every preacher has his favorite things he likes to preach on right and that he gravitates toward yes but when you make these plans and you think consciously about here are some first principles exactly and and I have found at least I have this tendency and I think other preachers do too that you get to thinking well that’s a basic subject the brethren know that you know they’re gonna be bored if I preach that basic subject and so I’m gonna preach something new and interesting and I’m gonna grab something from the news and you know another sermon about you know baptism or something of course if you’re preaching that every week there’s a problem but we can go to the opposite extreme because we think that brethren don’t want to hear that exactly but if congregations don’t hear that they stray from the truth and what I have found is brethren the older brethren who know at the best love to hear it just true and they’re thrilled that it is still being preached those who don’t know it need to hear it absolute and so usually when I’m preaching something basic that I think well the Brethren are gonna be bored with this because they’ve heard it a million times though those are hugely successful sermons if it weren’t for a plan of consciously making an effort you could be tempted to stray just write your favorites in the preaching gospel meeting sermons I’ve been told by so many folks about the basics and how much they appreciate those basics and so I tell our students don’t ever underestimate the importance of preaching these basic messages because they really are needed before we finish up our conversation with brother parish I do want to tell our viewers we’d like to hear from you you could ask us a question at six six to eight seven four five five zero eight that’s six six to eight seven four five five zero right we’d love to hear from you maybe you’d like to make some comments on new year’s resolutions or ask us a question about it or ask your question about any Bible matter we’d be glad to do our best to give of thus saith the Lord for it and we encourage you to send your questions to us also by email if you choose to do so or call us at the number we’ve just given you that’s on your screen and so brother parish let me ask you what’s Jesus wasn’t he a goal setter didn’t he have a very clearly defined mission to accomplish that was his guideposts for everyday live yes absolutely and it started early you know I must be about my father’s business Luke chapter 2 at the age of 12 and you know there are a lot of passages that that that illustrate that in his life you know the son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost with 1910 and and he lived that you know we we must go through Samaria John chapter 4 just as I mean everything he did was according to a plan yes and it was his father’s plan that he submitted himself to and and and I think it’s a great you know it’s a great example to follow so there’s the passage that mentions you know about his you know he rose up early in the morning to pray mark 1:35 I think Luke’s account or a different account maybe in in the Book of Luke mentions that that was it was his custom and so you know there were his life was was characterized by by not not haphazard let’s just see what the day brings forth but he seized the day yes sir and I think it’s a great example for us and one that I admit I don’t always live up to as as well as I’d like to but but the example is there and it’s and it’s a good goal and one writers of not just preachers but all right no matter the month the day of the year Jesus is always our role model for how we live our lives whether it’s at the beginning of a new year in the middle of it and brother parish thank you so much for the time you’ve donated tonight to us here at gbn live we appreciate your insightful comments and it stimulated some good discussion on our end thank you very much well it’s a pleasure to be with you brethren and pray God’s blessings on you thank you very much well Blaine this as you think about what kinds of things we could do to help keep our resolution sometimes people say well you know if I I need an accountability partner they’ll tell someone you need an accountability partner to keep you from sin well what are the pluses and minuses of that the pros and the cons is there any sense in which we are accountable to one another if so is there a line we don’t cross when it comes to this idea of accountability exactly well you know there can be an inherent danger the idea that I set up somebody else a brother or sister in Christ or a friend that I want him to monitor my daily life for me to see how I’m doing you know it’s one thing for me to come to you our Don and say brother I need you to pray for me and I’d like for you to do that it’s quite another for you to start monitoring my life to make sure that I am living up to my whatever my resolution may be you know I think of what the Apostle Paul said in first Corinthians chapter 9 he said know ye not that they that run in a race run all but one receiveth the prize he says then that we are to run this race and he gives illustrations of a really a boxer and as a runner he said he is temperate in all things then he made this observation in first Corinthians 9:27 he said but I buff it in my body and bring it under subjection lest that by any means when i have preached to others i myself she’ll be a castaway paul took personal accountability right he didn’t say you know i need to set up barnabas as my monitor for me now i feel like that they probably were close enough that paul and barnabas and Silas and others as they traveled together and Peter that they could rely on one another but I think there’s an inherited ain’t what it looks like to me that maybe what we’re trying to do is shift that accountability from me to someone else and what if something happens that other individual who’s by the way who’s monitoring him right if he dies or moves away what happens to me I’ve got to develop a faith that’s strong enough don’t I to be able to david was by himself often in the wilderness of and yet he had to continue to find faith in god no matter whether some acts last side or not exactly and so we’ve got that personal accountability and some bow some may remember back a few decade or two ago when there was a great movement even in the church they followed basically Coleman’s book on the master plan of evangelism became started out as campus ministry mmm-hmm he evolved into a thing called crossroad ISM as it was identified with the church in Florida but then it went on to the Boston movement and now it’s become something else but what they had they set up prayer partners junior prayer partner and people were being held accountable and it began to create cultic right I haven’t used within it and homes were destroyed congregations were split over this and so while we can help one another and we should as James says confess your faults one to another pray one for another right we should do that but I don’t set this brother up as my constant monitor in that regard really I think there’s an inherent danger in that our viewers may have noticed we’re past the half hour and yet gbn live is moving to one hour in length and so you still have plenty of time to participate in the program to send us your questions at six six to eight seven four five five zero eight again six six to eight seven four five five zero right call us and let us know the way that you approach a new year or a new week or a new day for that matter and we’ll be glad to discuss that with you and if we can answer any questions we’d certainly be glad to do that rather than what are some specific resolutions that would always be good for someone to be working on as they face a new day new week new year you know it’s interesting when I was thinking about this program tonight this program is a little different than some we have had and I wasn’t exactly sure how to kind of preparation to make for it and so I actually went back and pulled up some of my own resolutions and I’ve kept a year for a kept a list from years gone by and and I went back and looked at some of these and something that I saw that was interesting is some of my list of resolutions are the same every year or very similar every year and as you’re thinking about what are good resolutions I would like to think they’re the same every year because they’re good resolutions and not because I’m a total failure and can’t seem to to keep it so I got to thinking through that why are some of these resolutions the same every year what does that mean does that mean I’m just dropping the ball but I thought you know there are some resolutions that are going to be good every year and maybe I’m successful but I make that same resolution the next year I say I’m going to make the resolution this year that I am going to be a better husband well at the end of the year can I make that same resolution sure hopefully I have reached a new level I’m a better husband I’m going to control my tongue better this year and the next year can I make that same resolution well sure I can and hopefully I’m even better at it and though I’m still going to fall and I struggle and I know that’s a weakness at the end of the year I look back and say you know I still this is still a shortcoming of mine but I would think if you could look back over 20 years of making that resolution you would see you know if you graphed it or you made a chart you would see that I’ve gotten better and better than this and a Christian you know forty years into his Christianity is still making the resolution I’m gonna do better with my tongue James says you know the tongue can no mantain I’m never going to reach the point of perfection with that but it’s a good resolution to make every single year the Bible says so much about it and as I keep making it I hope I’m going to see you see that progress you know my question long times we as we keep talking about this and it keeps going to this line what we’re saying is is that we are purposing things and I noticed in the Bible that it will talk about purpose it’s interesting that David said in first hour rather in Psalm 17 3 that I have purpose that my mouth shall not transgress consequently then he made a resolution well he did this a four time he’s not saying I’ve got a big problem with this but I want to do we don’t accidentally become a Christian we don’t accidentally remain a Christian Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the Kings meat our giving is to be done purposefully acts 11 23 we find that Barnabas exhorted the church there at Antioch that that with purpose of heart they would cleave to the Lord so we do these things we purpose to Leo faithfully I believe our Lord then had a purpose about him we should have a purpose about us we know I just think if we aim at nothing that’s what we hit there’s nothing right and if I want a better life I need to try to make that come about I need to be proactive in my life to the best I can and now some things enter in over which I have no control but I can’t control some things let me ask this is it really from year to year in the areas where we fail that we don’t know what to do or that we don’t follow through on what we know to do for example take reading the Bible I know I should read the Bible prayer life I should pray to God it’s a privilege I should evangelize I should give generously of my means is there one resolution if I make that resolution that all of the other resolutions will come into place and I’m falling into place I’m thinking of like for example brother Blackwell the question that was asked of Jesus in Matthew what’s the greatest commandment and you remember his response to it if you would talk about how keeping that resolution would be the key to keeping all of the others I’m just going to say the answer that Jesus gave is the so that would help us keep all these resolutions and that’s the love the Lord your God with all your heart mind strength and soul it really it comes down to it’s about the proper motivation mm-hmm in my Christianity it’s about willpower in my Christianity the things involved in keeping resolutions are about dedication and drive and willpower because they’re hard that’s why I’m resolving to do it every every year because they require effort they’re hard they’re gonna be challenges and so I’ve got to have the proper motivation the proper willpower to make me keep going when it gets difficult the question you’re asking is what is that motivation what is that the driving force for that willpower and that is I’m gonna seek first the kingdom of God Matthew 6:33 is Eddy just mentioned and as Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all of your heart minds strength and soul I think that we have to remember I exist on this planet for one reason and one reason only and that is to fear God and keep his Commandments aldeman clean concludes the book of ecclesiastes by saying here’s the conclusion of the whole matter fear God and keep his Commandments I heard an illustration one time about a man who had been drafted into the Civil War and he was a watchmaker but he got drafted and the time came and they had his unit stationed in a certain area and they were waiting to be called to battle but they were four they were there for months and so other soldiers found out he was a watchmaker and they came to him and they said can you repair my watch can you repair my hand so so he had a huge backlog of watches he’s working on out in the battlefield and when the time came for them finally to go to battle they said get ready we’re going and he said I can’t possibly go I’ve got all these watches to fix and it’s a good illustration we sometimes get so caught up in the soccer games and and work and and and all the other peripherals of life we think I can’t possibly study the Bible I can’t possibly pray more I can’t possibly do these things because I’ve got these things in this world I’ve forgotten why I’m here and we have to remember the purpose God put us here in the first place is to fear Him and keep his Commandments goes back to loving God with all of mark and I think if we consciously think at the beginning of the year I’m going to make a resolution I’m going to resolve to think regularly about why I am here it will help me because then when something else comes up I remember that’s not why I’m here that’s not what this is about this this is not the purpose God put me here for and it helps me keep those priorities in place I read a on the back of gospel preachers card he used to hand out you probably read it as well but maybe not on a preacher’s card but it said the main thing is to always keep the main thing the main thing right and I’ve heard even of congregations maybe a preacher had said one time that I’ve been so busy doing Church work I haven’t had time do the Lord’s work well the church work is the Lord’s work right and we have to make sure we’re doing that we need to ask ourselves what is the mission of the church and whatever that mission is then we should be about that business right and and we buff in our bodies and we we focus ourselves on doing that and we purposed to do that I heard the illustration I’m sure you all have heard it also about the man that had the big jar and he said can I fit all these rocks and these smaller rocks and the sand in this jar and he kept asking folks what he could fit in there and what he couldn’t and the bottom line the long the short of it was you’ve got to put the big rocks in first and then you can put the smaller things and fit them in around it the sand will seep in and sift in but if you don’t put the big rocks first in first you’re never going to squeeze them in there and I think sometimes we focus on some of the minutiae and we don’t put the big rock spiritually speaking in first of loving God with all of our heart soul strength in mind because you show me a man that does that I’ll show you a man that wants to be a services that wants to read God’s love letter to us God’s law for us I’ll show you a man that wants to talk about his Savior the same way grandparents loved to talk about their children you know grandparents don’t have to attend a seminar for talking about the grandchildren it’s a natural thing but what makes it so natural love and so if we could get every congregation every member of every congregation to love God with every ounce of strength that possess wouldn’t that make a huge difference in the things that they were able to do personally and congregationally exactly another question brother Blackwell someone says I want to improve my prayer life this year what things can I do to make it better I think we all want to improve our prayer lives you know that’s one of the questions that the disciples of the Lord asked of him Lord teach us to pray I think about that and one of the things I would say in improving my prayer life is proper preparation for prayer there are things that I can do to prepare myself to pray one of them is making sure that my life is right with the Lord you know James describes a man who asked certain things but he doesn’t ask in faith and he says let not that man think he shall receive anything of the Lord and so there’s proper faith that needs to be there when I approach God in prayer well that you could include that in the preparation phase of prayer if I am living a life and sin and yet I’m turning to God and asking him to bless me well he’s not going to bless me as I’m not walking in the light I’m not having us access to those spiritual blessings so having my right my life right with God is preparatory having the proper type of faith as preparatory I think there’s some very practical things that we can do to improve my prayer life such as setting aside time to do it make the determination that I’m going to do it I might have been above the building maybe someone mentioned it when they called earlier but the fact that Jesus rose up early in the morning he made a he set aside a specific time in which I’m going to pray to the Father that we need to dedicate that time budgeted in to where time schedule it you know first thing in the morning I’m going to begin by praying and if I will do that sort of thing it is on my schedule and once I have planned secondly after not only planning to do it but set aside a time and place that you can go in private and not be distracted it is very difficult to pray when you have all the distractions of the world around you one of the things I have found over the years that I would do my my main praying if you want to call it that at night when I would go to sleep before I would go to sleep but what I found is at night when I go to sleep I’m exhausted mm-hmm and I would fall asleep in my prayer almost every night and I would wake up thirty minutes into it and continue my prayer a little bit and and I would fall asleep and I’d wake up an hour and I couldn’t get any sleep all night because I have a continuous prayer that that’s going on and I don’t think that’s what the Lord meant pray without ceasing I ask the Lord to forgive you yes yes I pray incorrectly please forgive me for falling asleep continuously right well you have to figure out a time that works when you can truly be focused on praying to God and some of those things are they sound almost silly but you’ve got to budget the time and you’ve got to set aside time for God I’m going to be alone in prayer to God and you know I don’t know who came up with this but to help you remember some specific areas of prayer someone came up with this Acts formula a ador we adore him in our prayer sea confess we confess our sins t we thank God for what he’s already given us and s we supplicate we make supplication for blessings we have not yet received and we ask in faith nothing doubting knowing that God’s wisdom will decide whether we really need that item we’re requesting and certainly our goal ought to be to not ask a miss for our lust but also to be spiritually improved our time is running shorter but you still have time to call the program may be that you’re watching you think well I wish they’d say this well you can call us and and you can say it six six two eight seven four five five zero eight at six six two eight seven four five five zero eight can I shoot I just thought about and that is about in in our prayers making lists and I think sometimes we just enter into prayer kind of haphazardly and you know whatever comes to my mind but if I will make a list here are people in the congregation for whom I need to pray here are specific things I want to ask God about and then think when he has answered those prayers to go back with that list and write them down and specifically thank God for that I saw a cartoon one time about a preacher and he sees a man approaching him and he says oh that’s brother Brown and so very quickly he says lord please bless brother Brown then when he approaches he says brother Brown I’ve been praying for you and that we might slip into that sort of thing meant to be funny but the idea is if we write this down here are brethren that I need to be praying about sure I don’t forget and I can honestly say I have been praying for you because I made a conscious effort and you run my list no brother Don and I BJ I was thinking in first Timothy chapter 2 this has been one that’s helpful to me Paul says I exhort therefore the first of all supplications prayers intercessions and giving of things note the categories here you’ve got supplications which may be certain requests but then you have intercessions where you’re praying for people for specific things you’re interceding for them then you have prayers in general but then also like you said giving of things and so there’s a pattern that I found there but I look at the Lord’s Prayer that where he was teaching his disciples to pray actually reverence you start out reverently for a person that’s wanting to learn you know I think a person who’s godly is going to pray how however sometimes we figure out how do I pray I think if we studied the prayers of the Bible if we went back to the prayers of Jesus if we went back way B we would learn then from some of those some examples to help me in my prayer life and that passage you mentioned in 1st Timothy 2 reminds me of a brother I met that said look I for my own personal prayer life wish that I pray for the church in general on Monday I pray for the elders on Tuesday the Deacons on Wednesday the preacher on Thursday the government on Friday you know and of course he didn’t mean by that that he could not overlap any night times but as far as more concentrated dose of prayer for those particular areas he was focused and had planned out his prayers made the list of things that he wanted to cover and you know we we hid these bulletins church bulletins they have the list of the sick they have a mission works often that are reported if you took the church bulletin that lists all the mission works your congregation supports and you prayed over each one of those on a certain day or that would that would really make a difference because the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man does accomplish much well I’ve had people tell me and you brethren may have it well but because they know the work in which we’re engaged fellow gospel preacher has told me this and perhaps he’s viewing this and he may recognize himself in this but he has told me he said brother bland I wants you to know we pray for you every day and maybe in a family but in but also as the elders meet we pray for you and this works specifically every time well that’s a great encouragement to me I’m slitting now maybe I’ve succeeded in some areas the cause of God allowing that to happen because they’re petitioning God in my behalf and made me think about in Philemon 1 and verse 4 it says I thank my god making mention of you always in my prayers and when you think about that I’m always mentioning you every time I pray when you think about the breadth of things for which you have to pray and yet he always does this it says something just about them the a great amount of time that is spent in prayer if he’s going to cover all the things that think of all the people Paul met yeah and all the churches with whom we work and and that’s very specific you know I heard a brother pray pray a prayer one time and he said something to the effect in a public prayer he said Lord we pray for all of those for whom it is our duty to pray and then he moved on and I thought that’s not what you see in in the text I mean this verse says we prayed specifically for you in our prayers and and there’s a danger also going to the other side of it like the Pharisees were doing they were praying to be heard of men who appear to be righteous the Lord of course doesn’t like that weird to be genuine in our prayers and there was the Pharisee and the publican really and the Pharisee basically was committing himself to God were the publican or saying I need you God Road blend we only have a couple of minutes left in fact a little less than that to give a condensed answer to this question we’ve received this first end of the eighth excuse me first Timothy 4:8 bodily exercise is profitable for a little mean I shouldn’t worry about exercising or watching my weight and my resolution should be spiritual only what would be your one-minute answer to that well and the one minute answer haha to this bodily exercise by the way that is a resolution that a lot of people make they want to start exercising more but then they think maybe they shouldn’t as a Christian because they’ve read this verse the bodily exercise in this context I really believe has to do with the asceticism that would go along with the context forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats the rather be nourished up in the words of our Lord here and words of faith verse 6 but refuse profane and old wives fables nuts this now and exercise thyself rather rather than the wives fables exercise thyself unto godliness for bodily exercise with the body of exercise he’s been talking about don’t whatever you do for your body that’s the only problem for a little while now he’s not telling you to neglect your body he’s not telling you it’s wrong to go and exercise in order to take care of your body but but be that as it as it is the best you can do with your body you’re still gonna get old and eventually one of these days you’re going to leave this world so that’s not the main thing I think that’s what some brethren want it to mean having said that we know there are passages that teach us to take care of the vessel that God gave us and we would encourage all of us to think about that you know GB and live is designed to answer your questions and we would be thrilled to take your questions on a weekly basis we thank you for being with us tonight and we certainly encourage you to make plans to be with us each Thursday night at the scheduled time we love you and appreciate your love for the truth may God richly bless you thank you

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