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A New Start for the New Year
If you were in service yesterday you heard the live version of this devotional. If not, it may be that you will want to go back and listen to the podcast or online through our web page.
I saw a recent article that listed the five most popular resolutions made most every year.
#5 – Take up a new hobby.
#4 – Make more money.
#3 – Improve relationships.
#2 – Stop smoking.
#1And… the most popular New Year’s resolution…. you guessed it… losing weight.
Speaking of that – Did you hear about the woman who walked into her bathroom at home. There stood her husband weighing himself on the bathroom scale… he’s standing there… sucking in his stomach. The woman thought to herself… “He thinks that he will weigh less, by sucking in his stomach.” So… rather sarcastically… she says to her husband… “That’s not going to help.” Her husband very quickly and adamantly says… “Sure it will… It’s the only way I can see the numbers.”
I also recently heard about a man who moved into a retirement community to spend the rest of his life there. It wasn’t long until he had made a number of friends among the other residents. There was one lady he was especially attracted to… and… she was attracted to him as well. So they spent a lot of time together… Finally one evening… he proposed… asking her to become his wife.
The next morning he woke up remembering his proposal… but he couldn’t remember her answer… So he went to her… and he said, “I’m really embarrassed… I proposed to you last night… but I can’t remember… if you said, “Yes” or “No.’” “Oh, thank goodness!” she replied. “I remembered saying “Yes”… but for the life of me… I couldn’t remember who asked me.”
This is what I know: It can be so easy to forget the commitments and resolutions we make at New Year’s.
This week: we are going to be interrupting, if you will, the testimony of the Apostle Paul. We’ll do this to hone in on something specific that should be helpful to us as we look forward to the New Year. Let’s look at Philippians 3:8–14 where we will be picking up in the middle of the Apostle Paul’s thought… “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith — 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” ESV.
The big question here is this: Have you made or are you planning to make any New Year’s Resolutions?? If so, you have plenty of company. Researchers have found that about one third of Americans make resolutions each New Year. It’s human nature – when we pass some significant milestone… like a New Year to pause and evaluate how we’re doing. And oftentimes we find areas that need improvement.
Medication: A Merry Heart: NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS YOU CAN KEEP
Are you sick of making the same resolutions year after year that you never keep? Why not promise to do something you can ACTUALLY accomplish? Here are some resolutions that you can use as a starting point:
~ Gain weight. At least 30 pounds.
~ Stop exercising. Waste of time.
~ Read less. Makes you think.
~ Watch more TV. I've been missing some good stuff.
~ Procrastinate more. Starting tomorrow.
~ Spend more time at work, surfing the web.
~ Take a vacation to someplace important, like to see the world's largest ball of twine.
~ Don't jump off a cliff just because everyone else did.
~ Stop bringing lunch from home--eat out more.
~ Don't have eight children at once.
~ Get in a whole NEW rut!
~ Start being superstitious.
~ Personal goal: Don't bring back disco.
~ Speak in a monotone voice and only use monosyllabic words.
~ Only wear jeans that are 2 sizes too small and use a chain or rope for a belt.
~ Spend my summer vacation in cyberspace.
~ Create loose ends.
~ Get more toys.
~ Get further in debt.
~ Don't believe politicians.
~ Break at least one traffic law.
~ Don't drive a motorized vehicle across thin ice.
~ Don't swim with piranhas or sharks.
~ Spread out priorities beyond the ability to keep track of them.
~ Wait for opportunity to knock.
~ Focus on the faults of others.
~ Mope about faults.
~ Never make New Year's resolutions again.
St Mark’s Community Church, Janesville
New Beginnings Church, New Ulm
Verse of the Week: Philippians 3:13-14 ESV
Today’s readings: Genesis 1 – 3