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New Year’s Resolutions (Eddie Parrish)

The changing of the calendar causes a lot of folks to look to the future and to consider the person that they want to become resolutions I don’t know how many of you have made them or I guess within the first week you can still make them I suppose and maybe you’re thinking about making some decisions about your life and where do you want to be a year from now sometimes our resolutions are more shall we say rooted in material things physical things maybe you’ve decided that this year you want to get maybe a better handle on your finances maybe you want to pay off some debt for example in this year maybe you’ve decided that you want to be more educated and so you want to complete some level of formal education in this year maybe you’ve decided you want to be thinner in a year’s time that was incidentally just on a personal that was my one of my resolutions last year wanted to lose 20 pounds I I didn’t quite make that you know by the end of the year I only had 25 left to go so maybe that’s the the realm that that you’re headed this year but sometimes our resolutions can have spiritual emphases we’re going to speak tonight about a few of those but the way that our text fits into tonight’s less whether larry is specifically we’re going to focus on verse four where Solomon said when you make a vow to God do not be late in paying it for he takes no delight in fools pay what you vow now sometimes our resolutions are not that serious in other words sometimes we don’t really go to God in in in prayer and say God I promise to you this very day that a year from now I’m going to lose 25 pounds you know sometimes it’s more of this is what I want to do this is what I’m going to put my mind to do this is what I hope to accomplish but at other times we may take these vows that seriously and to put perhaps a little more pressure on ourselves and we may say before God I will do X Y or Z and if your vows are that serious then we need to be reminded of how seriously God takes our promises that if we make a promise before God that God expects us to keep that promise that he expects us to pay what we have vowed to pay and that’s why the writer says in those earlier verses be careful when you speak before God and when you come into the presence of God your emphasis really needs to be more on listening to what God has to say to you that in you speaking in God’s presence and so be inclined to listen to God more than you speak well that doesn’t mean that we can’t ever speak to God certainly but he’s talking about the kind of person that is very rash with his mouth the person who is very prone to to say things perhaps without thinking them through and they and and the person that steps out and makes grand promises without having thought about what it’s going to take to keep those promises that’s what Solomon is is asking us to guard against in this text is being very careful not to make promises that we don’t have the intention of keeping because God takes those promises very seriously and so we’re kind of building on that principle and if you are inclined to make some resolutions for the year let me offer you a few examples that you might consider first of all and how about this resolution I will increase my daily time with God I will increase my daily time with God we are spiritual beings God created us that way please yes T’s 3:11 says God has placed eternity within our hearts Zechariah 12 verse 1 says that God forms the spirit of man within him we’re dual creatures we’re physical and we are spiritual and one of the primary reasons that we even have existence is to seek God according to Paul in acts 17 verse 27 and so we really do harm to ourselves when we ignore that spiritual and eternal part of our being and so it doesn’t take a new year’s resolution to address that issue but if it is something that you’re thinking about give it serious consideration because we do need as best we can to whatever degree we can to spend time with God every day and if we can increase that time then that’s all the better for us in psalm 119 verses 15 and 16 we read these words I will meditate on your precepts and regard your ways I shall delight in your statutes I shall not forget your word there’s a good resolution to make to carve out time in the day to spend in the presence of God as we learn of him and his word as we talk to him in prayer so I’m seventy seven twelve says I will ponder all your work and meditate on your mighty deeds so as you think about that for particular part of your life and if you’re inclined to make a resolution to spend more time with God each day it’s going to take some reflection first and we’ll talk about two introspection in a moment but take some time to look at and assess how you spend most of your days how much time you spend doing things that that you have to do how much time do you spend with your work or with your school or or or other you know other matters of importance and necessity and ask yourself how much time do you spend in reading the Word of God in praying to God in meditating on God’s Word and on God’s works in personal worship and devotion and once you’ve assessed where you are then resolve to increase that to some degree sometimes people resolve with regard to spending time with God and and and learning more of him in his word will set a goal to read through the Bible for example in a year’s time and that’s certainly a good resolution I don’t do that every year that is one that I’ve made for this year’s to read through the Bible in a year’s time sometimes I’ll do it a little differently instead of reading for for quantity I’ll read for quality instead and and decide you know what maybe I’m just going to focus on this particular part of the Word of God or I’m just maybe just going to increase my time doing study for lessons or or classes or things of that sort so whatever fits into your schedule and your personality resolve to spend more time with God in some measurable way how about this one number two how about resolving this I will be more introspective I will be more introspective it’s very easy to become so busy that we sell them take the time to sit calmly and quietly and take inventory of our hearts our attitudes are our values the things that we emphasize the the things that we spend the most time on well if we’re really going to see substantive change it’s going to first require focused effort to really understand who we are and where we are so why not resolve to be more introspective to to set aside time to sit back and reassess your priorities and your life where you’re headed what you’re doing psalm 119 verse 59 says when I think on my ways I turn my feet to your testimonies one precedes the other how often do we take the time to think about our ways life is busy we’re all busy and and it’s it’s almost as if from the time we wake up in the morning until the time we go to bed at night it’s where we’re being pulled in so many different directions that it’s hard to even keep up well if it’s that way and and in the process of doing whatever it is we do from day to day that we don’t take the time to sit back and say all right now let me look at where I’m at where am I in relation to God where am I in relation to where he wants me to be if we’re not being that introspective then we’re really missing out on not just a great opportunity but an obligation to consider ourselves and see where we are Psalm 139 verses 23 and 24 says search me O God and know my heart try me and know my anxious thoughts and see if there be any hurtful way in me and lead me in the everlasting way that’s a good prayer to pray everyday to ask God to help you and to help me recognize and see the areas in our own lives where we need to give some attention so that we can be led in the most appropriate path let us search and examine our ways and turn again unto the Lord lamentations 3 verse 40 examine yourselves whether you are in the faith 2nd Corinthians 13 verse 5 consider your ways Haggai chapter 1 verses 5 and 7 why not resolve to be more introspective number 3 I will increase my hatred for my own sin we want to make a resolution that might change your life I will increase my hatred for my own sin an honest assessment of self if we take the time to be more introspective then no doubt we’re going to come up with and and and see in that process the areas of our own lives that we need to address the areas that we need to improve but without a proper hatred of sin in general and of our own sin in particular any motivation to jettison bad habits is going to be minimal so if we’re going to take time to be more introspective we also need to couple that with an increased hatred for our own sins it’s easy for us sometimes if we’re not careful to be able to pick out the sins that other people commit the sins that we see in other for the weaknesses that we see when we consider the people around us sometimes those are very glaring to us and and we notice those maybe we think about them and maybe we even talk about them but it’s not always as easy to notice our own shortcomings sometimes when we think about the weaknesses and shortcomings of others we can be pretty merciless in our assessment of other folks but what we need to do is turn that attitude toward the sins that we see in ourselves we need to hate the sin in ourselves as much or more than we hate the sin that we see in other people through your precepts I get understanding therefore I hate every false way psalm 119 verse 105 we’re encouraged in Romans 12 verse 9 to abhor that which is evil and cleave to that which is good and that certainly includes abhorring that which is evil that we find creeping into our own lives and hearts a good prayer to pray in addition to God show me the areas of my life that I need to improve is to ask God to help us to truly and genuinely despise with a righteous hatred any sin that we find in our own hearts number four I will be more grateful for God’s goodness to me you want to make a resolution how about that one I will be more grateful for God’s goodness to me for the Christian the realization of personal sin leads naturally to the realization of our forgiveness in Christ so if we’ve decided to spend more time with God we’ve decided to be more introspective and and take a closer look at ourselves more often and if we’ve developed a proper hatred for our own sin then naturally if we’re in Christ we’ll have a greater appreciation for the forgiveness of our sins that we have in Christ and hopefully through that we will develop a positive and grateful disposition and we spoke this morning about how it’s easy for us perhaps given certain circumstances in life two to four get happiness as Jeremiah said he did in lamentations three that we looked at this morning and it can do that but if we’re if we spend time reflecting on God’s goodness to us that can fuel a more positive and grateful disposition because let’s be honest one sourpuss negative complaining Christian is too many isn’t it and so let’s resolve to be more grateful and be more positive so I’m 717 says I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness God deserves to be thanked because of how good he is Psalm 9 verse 1 I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart I will recount all of your wonderful deeds I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love Psalm 31 7 oh give thanks to the Lord for he is good Psalm 106 verse 1 do all things without murmuring or complaining Philippians 2 verse 14 rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice Philippians 4 verse 4 I want to make a resolution that will make a difference in your attitude resolve to be more grateful for God’s goodness to you and then number Five’s how about this one I will be more vocal about God I will be more vocal about God I like the words of psalm 66 verse 16 come in here all you who fear God and I will tell what he has done for my soul an invitation to others come and hear what God has done for me in my life do we have opportunities to do that very thing we do maybe more so in our time then has ever been the case in the history of history because we have something at our disposal that most of us use not everyone does but most do platforms by which we can call a lot of people’s attention to God social media we have Twitter accounts we have Instagram accounts we have Facebook accounts and we use those things for a lot of subjects we use them and when I say we I mean we I’m including me in this those of you that have seen some of my posts you know that sometimes you’re gonna get a picture of a plate of food all right okay we’ll do that we’ll talk about you know when Russ makes his probably four or five times a week trip to the chicken salad place right he’s going to post that on Facebook we talked about mm-hmm we talk about sports fine we talk about you know perhaps share recipes fine good we talk about politics right we talk about the latest the latest life hack right the latest little thing that you can do that a little neat little you know something that that makes your life easier we share that with people we share pictures of our vacations we do all of that in a way that connects us with people that otherwise we would have really no no connection to and that’s part of the the that’s part of the draw of social media is it puts you in contact with people probably more people than you would have contact with otherwise and it’s contact in in a way a means that that we’ve never seen before in in history do you think God may care how we use those mediums do you think he may care whether or not with all of this ability at our exposure to reach out to so many people do you think he might care whether or not we’re using that to try to reach people for him could we possibly be more vocal about God through our social media maybe we could I can’t answer that for you you’ll have to answer that for yourself and and and figure out the best way to do that but could we not try to bring the most important topics to our circle of influence it doesn’t mean you have to get on there and preach a sermon doesn’t mean you have to write a 1,500 word article on you know the cosmological argument for the existence of God share a passage of scripture that came up in your reading for the day something that had some meaning to you express gratitude to God for some blessing that’s a part of your life if you’re being more introspective and and looking into your own life surely not only are you going to discover some areas where you need to improve but aren’t you also going to discover some areas where you can be grateful some things that that God’s blessed you with could we not perhaps share that with others that might get somebody else to think about their blessings that might turn somebody else toward God that might get somebody else to open their Bible and read and study could we could we utilize the influence that we have in that way I suspect maybe we could and maybe that’s a resolution for you that’s worth making it’s one that I’ve decided to try to implement myself is to be more vocal and more focused on spiritual things through that through those media than perhaps I have in the past now you still may see a chicken-fried steak on there periodically but maybe a few other things too that are more important ultimately New Year’s resolutions are not obligatory we don’t have to make them and some people don’t that’s fine too but they can be a good idea and especially so if they reflect righteous principles and so if you’re inclined to make resolutions then maybe the suggestions that I’ve made tonight will be of some benefit to you but ultimately hopefully whether it’s a new year or not all of us have resolved and we’ll continue to resolve to serve God to the best of our ability to respond to his grace and his love and His mercy with full and complete obedience to His Word and if that describes your disposition tonight and I pray that God would continue to bless you as you do that if you’re not a Christian but maybe you’ve resolved this year that you want to address your soul’s condition but you don’t want to let any time pass by without thinking about and pressing ahead with what you know you need to do to be right with God if that’s your disposition tonight and you’re ready to make that step please let us know we’ll be happy to take your confession of your faith in Christ and baptize you into him for the forgiveness of your sins Christian if you would like the prayers of your brothers and sisters in Christ because you’re struggling with some temptation or sin or struggling with some other spiritual matter let us know we glad to pray with you and for you we invite you to come if you’re subject to the invitation while we stand and while we sing

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