The New Year is rapidly approaching. I do not know about you, but to me, it seemed like 2021 went by in the wink of an eye. It seems like only a month ago; we were celebrating the passing of 2020.
A wise man told me years ago, “The days will go by slow, but the weeks will go by fast.” I have found his words true, especially this year. We spun around, and 2021 is all but gone.
Every year many people begin to think of New Year’s resolutions. Things they want to implement or change in their daily lives once the new year starts.
As a Pastor to fellow Christians, here are a few things to pray about choosing as resolutions this year.
- Read and study the Word of God more this year.
Although there are many examples of people reading the Scripture in the Bible, did you know the Bible never commands us to read the Bible? It commands us to study it – 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of Scripture study. While studying the Scripture, you are fellowshipping with God, growing in your wisdom; your heart will change. If you allow the Word to work on your heart, your soul, your personality will become more in tune with God.
- Go to church whenever possible.
Some people will read the last line and immediately say, “I can worship God just as well at home as I can at church.”
My response to that is – you should be doing that already. Why does going to church mean you are worshipping God less at home? Christians should worship God 24/7, so what is the point? Honestly, as a minister, every time I have heard the phrase, “I can worship God as well at home as I can at church.” It is used as a reason for not going to church and as an attempt to have me stop bugging them about church attendance.
There are churches filled with hypocrites. Jesus had the same problem, but we never read about Him not attending the synagogue. We see Him performing miracles on the Sabbath Day inside the synagogues. Even though He knew the hearts inside the assembly were wrong, He still went.
The Scripture tells us attending the church is vital for keeping your faith from wavering. Hebrews 10:23-25, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
Often Christians will not attend church because of the lack of love of others in the congregation. Reread the passage from Hebrews above, notice that we are to “consider one another to provoke unto love and good works.” God knew that loving each other and doing the right things would be difficult for some, so He tells us to “provoke” others to do so. We all need encouragement. Instead of leaving the congregation, encourage the people to love. It will not be easy. After all, they ran Christ out of a synagogue or two, but He went anyway.
One last thing about church attendance. Read the end of the Hebrews passage, “and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Most Christians believe we are nearing the return of Christ. With that said, the passage tells us the closer we are to His return; the more critical attendance is upon the sanctuary.
- Pray more, a lot more.
1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”
All of us need help in this area.
God wants that communication pipeline between Him and His children open all the time. I do not want to see my children have problems in life, but I have great joy when they come to me for help. I reckon God is the same way.
Also, prayer is not only asking God for help and stuff. Remember the beginning of the Lord’s prayer – “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name…” Prayer should often tell God how great He is – this is worship and praise.
- Think more like God.
Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Contemplate what this verse is telling us – the more conformed to the world we are – the less we can know about the will of God in our lives. We must think more like God than the world. How can we accomplish that? Go back to number one above – study to show thyself approved.
All of the above starts with knowing God better. A better relationship with God can be best accomplished by digging into His Word. God and His Word are interchangeable. John 1:1-2, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.”
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With houses of worship still under restrictions across much of the nation, the editors of the Baltimore Post-Examiner are inviting an array of spiritual teachers to share insights from the ages along with words of comfort and encouragement. These timely messages are not exclusive to any particular faith walk and will be included in our ongoing Spirituality series.
Preacher Tim Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. His weekly column “Preacher’s Point” may be found at: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com