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New Goals For 2011

By Henry Nelson



Proverbs 3:1-5 “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the   tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”   This being the first week in the year of 2011. I do not know about you, but it seems that time just keeps moving faster and faster. Where did the time go? I was also reminded of the production of the musical Fiddler on the Roof. It specifically reminded me of one of the songs from the play Sunrise, Sunset. Time continues to march on, and we are challenged to answer the questions that it brings, and those challenges will be laden with both “happiness” and “tears.” So how will you answer those questions and challenges? {{more}}   You could be like a lot of people and make New Year’s Resolutions though after listening to these “Word on the Street” interviews you might wonder if they really do any good. I hope that if you made any resolutions you would do a better job than these folks, but the reality is you are probably not much different. We just got into 2011 and I am guessing you are already struggling. Even so, I would like to offer you a few goals that I think each of us should make for 2011. They are found in Proverbs 3:1-5 I will get in the Word and stay in the Word. The Bible is annually the best-selling book. I wish that being the most sold book translated into being the most read book! Unfortunately, I know that is not true. Let’s see what Proverbs tells us about getting into and staying in the Word…Verse #1 “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commands.” We all need to make a renewed effort to be good students of God’s Word. We need to be reading it daily. We need to be studying it with others. Which means if you are not coming to Sunday school you should start next week? If you cannot be there at 9:30 AM then go at 11:00 AM. You cannot be who Jesus wants you to be if you do not know what Jesus wants you to be. So how do you know? Where do you find the instructions for living a life that pleases the Lord? In the bible! But it’s not enough just to read the Word; you need to be studying the Word.The author of Proverbs says that “iron sharpens iron” in Proverbs 27:17, which means that you need one another if you truly want to sharpen your spiritual lives. I do not mean to diminish the value of personal Bible Study, but I believe it is both arrogant and foolish to believe that you can study the Bible alone without any interaction with others and get all that the Lord wants to reveal to you. You being in Bible Study and sharing what God has shown you might be exactly what someone else needs to grow in their spiritual lives. I cannot tell you how many times I have learned important lessons about life and God’s Word while teaching others. If you are not involved in Bible Study you are not just depriving yourself, you are short-changing others as well. I believe that God is going to reward those who make a renewed commitment to getting into and staying in His Word.   Look at Verse # 2. ”For they will bring you many days, a full life, and well-being.” So what does that mean? Can I promise you that if you start coming to Sunday school, Wednesday Bible Study, and get involved in a Home Bible Study you will live longer. Well, no I cannot, but I can promise you this: Getting into the Word with others will add to your life. There are things about life that you will never learn until you are willing to make a commitment to faithfully studying God’s Word. Why not make that resolution today. I will get serious about commitment to God and others. If there was one thing that I think is most missing in our culture today it would be commitment. People are not committed to God, like they should be. Here is a simple illustration that I have seen develop over the years: I have always been a sports fan, and years ago players in professional sports would stay with a team their whole careers. We now live in an age of “free agency” where players peddle their athleticism to the highest bidder. Fans are just as bad. It used to be that a person was a fan of one team and stuck with that team no matter what. Now day’s people jump on and off the bandwagon based on who is winning. What has happened in sports is a picture of what has happened in society as a whole. We have way too much “free agency” in relationships, in jobs, in churches, and most unfortunately in people commitment to Jesus Christ. So what does Proverbs say to us about commitment?   Look at Verse #3 “Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Tie them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.” If scripture says that we should “never” do something I would take that to be pretty important. What is it that we are to “never” do? Let “loyalty and faithfulness” leave us. Would not you say that those two words are synonymous with what commitment should be? So how would you grade yourself on being loyal and faithful? To God, and to others? Is commitment a word that has been written on your heart? I hear people talk a lot about commitment, but I am afraid I do not see a lot of committed people. People often talk about wanting more, and wanting to do more, but never experiencing either. Why? Jesus gives a simple straightforward explanation: Luke 16:10 says, “Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much.” Are you faithful in little? Are you being committed to what you already have? Would you identify yourself as someone who is loyal to the Lord and to others? What kind of legacy are you building; will you build in the coming year? Are you “always” committed to Christ? What about to His Church? To your family? To your job? We simply do not have time to examine all the areas in life where we could apply a little more commitment, but I am sure there are several that come to your mind right now. I came across a great way to look at commitment. Imagine the year ahead of you as a blank piece of paper. Sign the bottom of the page and let God fill in the rest! So what commitments do you need to get serious about in 2011? Is there a reward for getting serious about our commitments to God and to others? You bet there is, look at what it says in verse 4…Verse #4 “Then you will find favor and high regard in the sight of God and man.” People who are both loyal and faithful to God and to their fellow man are blessed because they are a blessing. The reward is in knowing that you are making a positive difference in the life of others. We can see that example in the life of Jesus as He grew up. Speaking of when he was only 12 years old Luke 2:52 says,”And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.” Amen! What was true for Jesus can be true for you as an individual.  Are you going to find favor with God and with others in 2011? Are you going to find favor with God and with your community? If so, then you are going to have to renew your commitments to Him and to others. Is it possible that God will add to your lives if you commit yourselves to Him? I believe He can and will.What are you going to resolve to do today? What commitment do you need to make to the Lord, or to others? Is it to Get into Word and stay in the Word? Is it to Get Serious about your Commitments? Whatever it is, I challenge you to use this time to begin your New Year right.Lastly, read Verse #5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” You may need to kneel down before the Lord. You may need someone to pray with you. You may need to go to someone and make offerings of forgiveness. Or, you may have to go and ask for it. What are you resolved to do today? Now you have some new goals for 2011! Amen!

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