Well, here we are again at the threshold of another new year. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that:
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven”
I think the purpose of a new year is for us. So that we can mark the end of a period of time and move on. There seems to be something definitive about a new year. So many people this time of year make resolutions for the new year. You know what I mean:
-I won’t eat so much
-I will run every day
-I will be a better husband or wife
Resolutions that probably won’t be kept for very long in the new year. Money magazine reported once as to what people thought the “good life” was:
-Over 97% said it was to have a happy home life
-72% said it was to live well in retirement
-71% wanted to be free from debt
-68% wanted to have children
-Almost 27% said it would be to retire early
Wouldn’t you agree with me that these are certainly commendable goals? I mean think about what they wanted, a good home, to be debt-free. Yet, as lofty as these goals might be for many they are unattainable.
Let me share something’s with you as we prepare to go into a new year. Instead of using any of these ideas we have mentioned as your kick-start for the new year. Let me suggest to you that you work off the list of a couple of God’s greats, they had their list that they lived by because in these lists there is not a discouraging dreamy thought and best of all they are attainable, and 100% wholesome.
Let’s start with Moses, he had a list and in fact, it was a list given to him personally by God on Mount Sinai. The story of that list is found in Exodus 19:3-17 and you might be familiar with that list:
Moses learned something’s from God that would serve him well and the people he was leading.
1) Don’t ever place substitute gods before the Lord your God
2) Don’t make an idol out of anything (or anybody)
3) Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain (because it is holy)
4) Remember to observe a Sabbath (rest every week)
5) Honor and respect your dad and mom
6) Don’t murder anyone for any reason
7) Never, ever commit adultery
8) Don’t take things that aren’t yours
9) Never lie or give a false impression
10) Don’t covet another person’s mate, benefits, or belongings
My, those are sure some goods words to live by but I know that some of you might be thinking; now Pastor isn’t that Old Testament law? Well, yes it is, but it certainly makes for an orderly and full life whether it was then or now.
Well, how about Peter’s list that he recorded for us in 2 Peter 1:5-8
1) Be a diligent person
2) Don’t waiver in your faith
3) Be known for uncompromising moral excellence
4) Enlarge your knowledge; keep learning
5) Stay balanced; guard against extremes
7) Make sure your godliness is free of hypocrisy
8) Treat others tactfully, graciously
9) Let your Christian love flow, let it flow, let it flow
It is so true that each year we think about things we want to do the next year and so often, they are like the list we heard about earlier. You know, a better home life, being set for retirement and there is nothing wrong with any of that but God wants us to have so much more than any of that can bring. He wants us to have a relationship with Him and for us to be used by Him to show how much He truly cares for this world.
Church Swindoll, Pastor, Seminary President, and author said that:
“Without God, life is a monotonous repetition of weeks, months, seasons, years, decades, and generations”
Let me challenge you here for a minute. Take these two lists seriously. If you do, then two things will be certain about the new year to come:
1) You won’t be the same person you were last year
2) You certainly won’t get bored
Think about what we have looked at then pray and be thoughtful of the year ahead and where God may be leading you. You may want to write something’s down about your conclusions and then pray about them and refer back to them from time to time throughout the year.
Last year I did just that, I wrote some things down and as I look back I can honestly see God’s hand in each of them. Oh, you want to know what they were, don’t you? Well, all right I’ll tell you because I want you to be able to look back this time next year and see God’s hand in your life.
When I considered what I would write down I thought and prayed earnestly for God to show me what He wanted for my life this past year. There was a priority in that list for me it seemed to set the stage for the next year. I wrote what I wanted from the year ahead, I wanted to be:
1) a soul winner, sharing Christ
2) a loving, sharing, encouraging pastor
3) a loving, caring, thoughtful husband, father, and grandfather
4) a prayer warrior, constantly going to the Father in all things. Interceding for others.
5) To transcend even where I already am in these roles
So as we go into a New Year I hope that these thoughts to ponder will be ones that challenge you as you prepare because it’s a New Year coming.
Happy New Year,