What Are Your New Year’s Spiritual Resolutions?

I’m not talking about goals to write down where you set yourself up for failure. We all do that year in and year out. What I mean by spiritual resolutions, is to prayerfully formulate an incremental set of steps for deepening your relationship with God and Jesus. The formulating is not that difficult because God has already given us the steps. We only have to mine His word to find them.

 Our relationship with the Godhead is never in stasis. Either we’re drawing nearer, or we are drifting back into the world. We all have an innate desire to be as close as possible to our Creator, having intimacy with the Source of all love. To have that happen, we must nurture that relationship; and in so doing, we will nurture ourselves and those around us. God is good. Let’s go after Him…

 Let’s begin by focusing on our target, (God), to clarify what kind of relationship it is that we are seeking to deepen. Consider that it is God who creates us through Christ, and then covers with His grace:

 “Behold, I am with you and will keep [careful watch over you and guard] you wherever you may go…” Gn. 28:15 AMP

 He makes a promise to fill your life with abundance:

  “For I will look upon you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you, and confirm My covenant with you.” Lv. 26:9 NKJV

 God heals you and delivers you from any bondage put upon you, or that you may have placed upon yourself:

 “For I am the LORD who heals you.” Ex. 15:26 NKJV

 I am the LORD your God…and I broke the bars of your yoke…and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk upright [with heads held high as free men]. Lv. 26:13 AMP

God does all these things and more, all out of His immeasurable love for you:

“You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.” Ex. 15:13 ESV

“…for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few.” 1 Sam. 14:6 ESV

“Does God not see my ways and count all my steps?” Job 31:4 AMP

We can take all of this to the bank, because God never reneges on His word:

‘…I will never break My convenient with you.’ Judges 2:1 NKJV

But we are human. We make mistakes and do so repeatedly. We fall off of our God-path. Still, our God loves us so much, that He makes a clear way to get back together with Him:

…for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him. 2 Chr. 30:9 NKJV

You are a unique and essential part of God’s plan – both in this life and the life beyond:

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Ps. 91:11 ESV

…God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me. Ps. 49:15 NKJV

You can’t find a better deal in the universe. This is the God, the only God that has you covered on all sides with love, peace, joy and protection – forever. He is the one to have the resolve for, to be in relationship with. But it’s up to us to keep that relationship vibrant. Let’s let God show us how…

One of the perks of having a right relationship with God is to be the recipient of His blessings. ‘Blessing’ has been defined to mean ‘a special favor generated by God,’ ‘something promoting or contributing to happiness, well-being, or prosperity,’ or ‘to favor with talent.’ We are blessed with a holy talent and trust, becoming a channel for God to bless through as well as to. So, because His blessings are so life-enhancing, (spiritually and physically), it behooves us to make a spiritual resolution to keep ourselves in the best position to receive those rewards. How does God say to do that?

But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him. Heb. 11:6 AMP

“Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God…and the curse if you do not…” Dt. 11:26 – 28. NKJV

No faith, no blessings. If we have faith, it means we believe that God is real and true; and if that is so, we must be obedient to His word. Thus, we resolve to carve out more time to deepen our understanding of Jehovah’s word, so that our obedience increases with each day.

God even shows us many opportunities that exist for receiving His blessings: 1) When we confess and repent we are blessed with forgiveness (Ps. 32:1); 2) When we help others (Ps. 41:1); 3) Help others gain justice (Ps. 106.3); 4) Sharing our blessings (Nm. 24:9; Acts 20:35); 5) Extend mercy and peace to others (Mt. 5:5, 7 & 9); and 6) When we take a stand for Jesus (Mt. 5:10 – 12 & 11:6).

And so, we resolve to remain attuned to when these opportunities arise, so that we may act on them. Our part in keeping those blessings coming, is to express our gratitude to our Father (Ps. 34:1 & 103:2), stay in faith, and allow our blessings to bless those around us. So, our primary resolution includes more time on our knees.

To be continued…

Goodnight and God bless.

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We Have So Much to Be Thankful For

In every aspect of our lives, we can find a plethora of things to be thankful for. First, we can look around at the world we live in – the land, the sea, the heavens and all the wonders that occupy them. God fashioned all of this universe for you, custom tailor-made so that you could thrive in it, and then He gave it to you and made you a steward over it:

 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. Gn. 2:15 NKJV

 Furthermore, He blesses us for that endeavor:

 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply…” Gn. 1:28 NKJV

 God loves us through His blessings, whereby we become favored with talent and abundance, which helps us to prosper both spiritually and physically:

 It is the LORD that makes rich, and He add no sorrow to it. Pr. 10:22 NASB

 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… Eph. 1:3 ESV

 Everything looks peachy right? But our humanity gets in the way.

 God made us in His Spiritual image; but in the flesh, we are weak. Many times, we transgress the word of God, which imparts death to the impenitent. God knows that we are weak, and is acutely aware of the consequences of sin, which is a separation from Him. He loves us so much that He can’t bear to be apart from us. And so, He gave us a written manual (Bible,) and gave up His only begotten Son, so that He could grant us clemency. We can be forever thankful for that path which opens the doors of eternity:

 “…if My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin…” 2 Chr. 7:14 NKJV

 …he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Pr. 28:13 ESV

 “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” Is. 43:25 NKJV

 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free… Gal. 5:1 NKJV

 And, God chose you for this ultimate salvation before you were born:

 …God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth… 2 Thess. 2:13 NKJV

 Moreover, God sent His Son to be with you in every moment; and He keeps watch as well:

 “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Mt. 28:20 ESV

 “For the eyes of the LORD are [looking favorably] upon the righteous (the upright), and His ears are attentive to their prayer (eager to answer)…” 1 Pt. 3:12 AMP

 However, as we can all attest, life has its valleys as well. Can we be thankful during our trials and tribulations? Is God even present in the hard times? Job had similar doubts:

 “Why do You hide Your face [as if offended] and consider me Your enemy?” Job 13:24 AMP

 And yet, God never acts like that with regards to the suffering of His children. He had us on His loving radar before we were born and remains with us still:

 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well…And in your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. Ps. 139:13, 14 & 16. NKJV

 From my mother’s womb You have been my God. Ps. 22:10 NKJV

 How precious are you to God in this life? 

 “…the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Mt. 10:30 NKJV

 And you’ll be precious still, when you make your transition to eternity:

 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints. Ps. 116:15 NKJV

 God understands us because we were made in His image, and He knows what we go through because He submitted His Son to the same trials and tribulations. Thus, God can relate to our various lots in life: 

 In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, and He lifted them and carried them all the days of old. Is. 63:9 NASB

 The LORD said, “I have in fact seen the affliction (suffering, desolation) of My people…for I know their pain and suffering.” Ex. 3:7 AMP

 For it was fitting for God [that is, an act worthy of His divine nature] that He, for whose sake are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the author and founder of their salvation perfect through suffering [bringing to maturity the human experience necessary for Him to be perfectly equipped for His office as High Priest]. Heb. 2:10 AMP

 God empathizes with your sufferings, even though He knows that human suffering is not from Him; but is brought about by:

 1) the sufferer him or herself:

 A prudent man sees evil and hides himself and avoids it, but the naive [who are easily misled] continue on and are punished [by suffering the consequences of sin]. Pr. 27:12 AMP 

 2) serendipity: 

 …the race is not to the swift, or the battle to the strong, or bread to the wise, or riches to the discerning, or favor to the skillful; rather, time and chance happen to all of them. Eccl. 9:11 CSB

 Or finally, 3) satanic influence: 

 So the great dragon was thrown out – the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the one who deceives the whole world. He was thrown to earth… Rv. 12:9 CSB

 Regardless of how your suffering came to be, God stands ready to help: 

 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Is. 41:10 NASB

 God will guide you out of your circumstances. He makes manifest your hope for victory, even if it seems like the time it takes for that to occur is elongated, (yet it is perfect within the timing of God’s plans):

 The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” Ps. 32:8 NLT

 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [healing the pain and comforting their sorrows]. Ps. 147:3 AMP

 “Write the vision…so that the one who reads it will run. For the vision is yet for the appointed future time. It hurries toward the goal [of fulfillment]; it will not fail. Even though it delays, wait [patiently] for it, because it will certainly come; it will not delay.” Hab. 2:2, 3. AMP

 Remember, that God’s ultimate aim is for all His children to be rid of suffering forever: 

 “…and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be death; there will no longer be sorrow and anguish or crying, or pain…” Rv. 21:4 AMP

God delivers us from all our afflictions in life all. We can be thankful in every moment for that. 

 We can also show our gratitude to God for meeting our every need: 

 And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19 AMP

 “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Mt. 21:22 NASB

 In fact, we can give thanks to our Creator just for the joy of being here: 

 This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Ps. 118:24 NASB

 Think of how much He loves you: 

 “The LORD your God is in your midst, the Mighty One will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zeph. 3:17 NKJV

 …thus says the LORD:…I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them.” Jer. 32:42. 

 How about a little gratitude for His faithfulness: 

 “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations…” Dt. 7:9 ESV

 “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” Is. 40:8 NKJV

 We can also be thankful that God moves any mountains in our path: 

 “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Mt. 19:26 NASB

 Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more that all we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us… Eph. 3:20 AMP

 We can depend upon God as well because He comes to our defense: 

 “…for I will contend with the one who contends with you…” Is. 49:25 NASB

 “As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity…” 1 Kin. 1:29 ESV

 And can be grateful for the peace that ensues:

 …do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6, 7. ESV

 Even if life seems static and monotonous, we can be grateful that God is transforming us inwardly every day to become more like His Son:

 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Cor. 3:18 NKJV

 Why the transformation? It’s because God is preparing you a place in heaven through His Son: 

 “In My Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you.” Jn. 14:2 NKJV

 The only thing that stands in our way is the devil, but God’s got that handled: 

 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Col. 1:13, 14. NKJV

 Remember that all of these wonderful things that God provides can only be received if we have faith. And God sees to it that if we seek Him, He will render it to us: 

 God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Rm. 12:3 NASB

 How long can God’s gift of faith strengthen our hope?

 Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations… Ps. 119:89, 90. NASB

 And how do we seal our guarantee? 

 …if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Rm. 10:9 NKJV

 We can be so thankful that everything God provides us with is a result of the grace He so lovingly delivers: 

 …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. Rm. 3:23 – 25. ESV

 Happy Thanksgiving! 

 

Goodnight and God bless.