Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Here Are New Year's Resolutions Worth Keeping

"v20 It will be a sign and a witness that the Lord of Heaven's Armies is worshipped in Egypt. When the people cry to the Lord for help against those who oppress them, he will send them a savior who will rescue them. v 21 The Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians. Yes, they will know the Lord and give sacrifices and offerings to him. They will make a vow to the Lord and will keep it." Isaiah 19:20-21 NLT

Each year, we start the year making resolutions of every kind, some worth keeping and some frivolous and not worth keeping. In recent months, the word "Challenge" has been used to describe vows, pledges, and resolutions to keep our promises.  Anytime, however, we vow to know and obey the will of God, then there is a resolution worth keeping.
In this passage, Isaiah speaks of the time when Egypt, of all places, would know the Lord, and worship Him - Not only would they worship the Lord, they would make a vow to Him and keep it.  One of the cities in Egypt, Heliopolis, worshipped the sun god.   That the worship of Yahweh would be taken up was the sign of a radical transformation. First, note the reason for them making and keeping this vow (v20). They are being oppressed, but because God is full of grace and mercy, he sends a deliverer, a savior to rescue them. The savior is believed to be a reference to a future millennial reign of Jesus Christ.  Every Christian is a recipient of God's grace and mercy.  At some point we were, like Egypt, separated from God.  But somebody prayed for us and the Lord answered.   We underwent a radical transformation.  Jesus saved, delivered, and set us free. Therefore, when we make vows to God, we ought to keep them.  If nobody else around us lives for God, we ought to live for him.

Here are some vows (resolutions) concerning our relationship with Jesus Christ, the Bible and the church that are worth keeping.  We should better understand our relationship with Jesus Christ, better understand the Bible, and the church.

First, we should strive to better understand three things about our relationship with Jesus Christ.   Jesus is only way to  salvation (Acts 4:12 & John 14:6); Christ was sinless and therefore my example (1 Peter 2:21-22); and I am not my own but belong to Christ (1 Cor 6:19-20).

Secondly, we should strive to better understand these three things about the Bible.  It as the inspired Word of God (2 Tim 3:16);  It is my light and guide (Ps 119:105);  and One day I will be judged by the Gospel (Romans 16 & I Cor 3:13-15).

Finally, we should strive to remember three things about the church. It was purchased with the precious blood of Christ, and ought to be respected (Eph 5:25 & Acts 20:28);  The church is a divine institution and ought to be honored (Matt. 16:18). Jesus instituted the church. He protects the church. He is the head of the church. Lastly, It is my duty to be loyal to the church by attending regularly (Heb. 10:25) and keeping my membership in good standing.

Going to the gym, watching what we eat, and getting more sleep are all fine and dandy resolutions, but these spiritual resolutions far outweigh those and will greatly bless our lives. They are worth keeping and worth fighting for.  Make it a goal to pray every day, and read the Bible every day, and attend church regularly. There is an app for that!  Oh, yeah, and there is an online church app, too! Each day in 2017 seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matt. 6:33). We hope that you will participate with Jesus Saves Ministries this year and spread the word about our online group and community projects and initiatives.  Let this mind be in you that is also in Christ Jesus.  Amen.  Will you accept the challenge? Jesus saves!


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