What Are Your New Year’s Spiritual Resolutions – part 3

In the first 2 parts of this 3-part series, we examined how we could implement ‘spiritual resolutions,’ i.e. steps that we can take to start each day in a deeper relationship with God; and Christ and in so doing, being more effective at our part in advancing the kingdom of God. We covered the first 5 steps in detail:

 1. Positioning ourselves for both receiving and sharing God’s blessings.

 2. Minimizing sin in our lives and helping others do the same.

 3. Giving of ourselves by sharing our innate gifts from God.

 4. Showing God our attitude of gratitude.

 5. Starting our day free from the judgment of ourselves and others.

 Let’s finish our preparation with the final 3 steps:

 Every aspect of our lives is lived out in the context of relationships – with God, Jesus, ourselves and everyone around us.

 Our first parents (Adam and Eve), began in relationship with God and in a marital relationship with each other. Now let’s look how God would have us relate on a godly level to other people – leading us to our sixth spiritual resolution: Nurturing relationships, beginning with how we should relate to our parents:

 “Honor (respect, obey, care for) your father and mother, so that you days may be prolonged in the land the LORD your God gives you.” Ex. 20:12 AMP

 This is so important to God that He made it one of the Ten Commandments. Whoever they are, you can be thankful that God used them to bring you aboard His plan. Even if they themselves weren’t the best of parents, you can be a better child, doing your best to love and care for them as best as you can, and thank God for who He meant them to be.

 What about the parents’ relationship toward their children? First, let’s put it in proper perspective:

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Ps. 127:3 NASB

 Being mindful of that, we do our best to nurture them and bring them into the kingdom fold:

 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with lovingkindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Eph. 6:4 AMP

 The highest form of human-to-human relationship is marital. What does God say about that? He says that they are equal, yet interdependent:

 …there is neither male nor female; of you [who believe] are all one in Christ Jesus… Gal. 3:28 AMP

 …in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman… 1 Cor. 11:11 ESV

 And this relationship is supposed to stand the test of time:

 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Mk. 10:7 – 9. ESV

 Finally, their love and respect for each other should be limitless:

Wives, be subject to your husbands [out of respect for their position as protector, and their accountability to God], as is proper and fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives [with an affectionate, sympathetic, selfless love that always seeks the best for them]… Col. 3:18, 19. AMP

 All other relationships should be sought after in the context of friendship. Jesus told us to love our enemies. (Mt. 5:43 – 48.) If we are doing that, we would have no enemies, only friends.

 Friends are important. No one is totally self-sufficient, self-nurturing. God wants us to have friends so that He has an additional avenue with which to love us through. Friends encourage, exhort and love one another, and hold each other accountable for their godliness – without judgment. (Eccl. 4:9 – 12; Pr. 17:7; 27:9 & 17; James 4:11, 12.)

 If we want friends in our lives however, we must become one who attracts friendship:

 A man who has friends must himself be friendly… Pr. 18:24 NKJV

 All in all then, in this sixth spiritual resolution, we would want to consider at the beginning of each day, how we can nurture our parent-to-child, child-to-parent, spousal and friend relationships to grow that garden of love God has given us to tend, and to be ministered by, in return. How can we love them more so that they get it, to cheer them on and help facilitate the attainment of their goals, and enrich their experience on this earth? Be assured that God will highly enrich your life for doing so…

 Our seventh spiritual resolution is to get to know Christ better – who He is, by what the prophets said about Him, what He said about Himself and in examining His actions, relayed to us through the apostles.

 Out of that, we can own that Jesus existed with Jehovah God, part of God, at least as far back as to the creation of the universe – of which, was created by God through His Son. And we know that if we listen to, and watch Christ, we are looking at the essence of God in the form of man, who came to the earth so that we could touch and love them both in the flesh:

 He is the exact living image [the essential manifestation] of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible], He is the firstborn [the preeminent one, the sovereign, and originator] of all creation. Col. 1:15 AMP

 The Spirit of Christ rode the Holy Spirit to the virgin womb of Mary, to become the only God-man, who was then untainted by the original sin of Adam. And as He grew to His full human stature, He brought forth miracles and spoke His Father’s gospel message of salvation to save humankind from themselves – freeing them from their sins by His sacrifice upon the cross. Simultaneously, Jesus is keeping your world in place until God transforms it for your eternity:

 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down on at the right hand of the Majesty on high… Heb. 1:3 ESV

 Jesus came for the redemption of the entire world, not just for the Jews:

 “And now the LORD says, who formed Me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel is gathered to Him (for I shall be glorified in the eyes of the LORD, and My God shall be My strength), indeed He says, ‘Is it too small a thing that You should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’ “ Is. 49;5, 6. NKJV

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Jn. 3:16 NKJV

Most importantly, Christ is the only way to be reconciled with God for all of eternity;

 “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” Jn. 14:7 NLT

 The gospel sets us free:

 “Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” Jn. 8:51 NKJV

 How? Because He’s coming back for us!

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thess. 4:16, 17. NKJV

 We know that at the end of time, Christ will be victorious over Satan and evil will be abolished for all time.

 Armed with all of this knowledge in faith, which we resolve to remind ourselves of by dipping in the word on a daily basis, staying in prayer, and scheduling time with other believers, we can live a life of joy, peace and strength, in love as an ambassador of Christ…

Our eighth and final spiritual resolution is to make it a point to contact one person a day with the gospel message, which the first seven resolutions prepare us to do. All of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, receive the same marching orders:

 “All authority [all power of absolute rule] in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, [help the people learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually – regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.” Mt. 28:18 – 20. AMP

 If we are to love God and love one another, (Jn. 13:34; 15:12 & 17.), which is the foundation of our spiritual walk, then aren’t we duty-bound to share the opportunity for salvation with others – to keep our potential brothers and sisters in Christ from eternally perishing? Indeed, we are to tell it with boldness:

 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power, to make known to the children of men your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. Ps. 145:11 – 13. ESV

 “What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.” Mt. 10:27 NASB

 This is not an option; it is our commission:

 …He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us… 2 Cor. 5:19 – 20. NASB

 “…I have made you a watchman…Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. Bur if you warn the wicked one to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.” Ezek. 33:7 – 9. ESV

 Not to worry if you’re willing to do so, because God equips you for it:

 ‘…do not worry about how or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given you that [very] hour; for it is not you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.’ Mt. 10:19, 20. AMP

Your mission is a blessed and holy one, a matter of life or death to the hearer – a message we have the God-given privilege to bring, that opens the way for the heavenly journey of their spirit.

Make it an evolving conversation, like you’re trying to learn more about a new friend. Ask them what’s going on in their lives. Offer wisdom and compassion. Ask them about their purpose in life, where they think we come from, and where do we go when we die. This allows you to meet them where they’re at, in their perceived world. It generates understanding:

 Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ…When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. 1 Cor. 9:19 – 21, NLT

Then, tell them the Good News and what that has meant in your life, and offer to lead them to Christ. What they do with that is up to them…

 Well, if you’ve read the this and the previous 2 posts, I am confident in the Lord that if you make these 8 steps a part of the start of every day, (and I suspect you could do them in 15 minutes or less), your walk with God will be superlative. Furthermore, I think your New Year’s ‘spiritual resolutions’ will nurture you the rest of your life…

 

 Goodnight and God bless 

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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.