Understanding The Bible
"Resolutions for a Happy New Year"
By Dr. Glen Clifton 1.
Well, have you made your new years resolutions yet? Many people have quit doing this, because they think it is futile. It only lasts for a few days.
Some of us make resolutions like George, who said to a friend, “there’s nothing like getting up at six in the morning, going for a run around the park, and taking a brisk shower before breakfast.” His friend bob asked, “How long have you been doing this?” George answered, “I start tomorrow.”
One wife said to her husband, “I don’t want to brag, but here it is February and I’ve kept every one of my new year’s resolutions… I’ve kept them in a manila folder in my desk drawer.”
And, I’m sure you’ve heard about the grisly looking character, while filing out of church, reaches to shake the preachers hand, and said, “pastor, you really inspired me today on your sermon on how to start the new year right.” Today, I made my new years resolution, starting today; I’m going to keep one commandment a week until I get through all ten.”
What is it to resolve? What is a resolution?
Webster says it is to “determine or decide, to settle, or settle on,” “to form a purpose or resolution.” Being resolved is: “having a fixed purpose, being determined.” Are New Year’s resolutions unscriptural?
The apostle Paul wrote: “For I determined to know nothing (or not to know anything), among you, except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” 2 Corinthians 2:2
Is that a resolution or what?
Although the following hymn has been removed from many of our hymnbooks, Palmer Hartsworth penned it correctly when he wrote:
I am resolved no longer to linger, charmed by the world’s delight;
Things that are higher, things that are nobler, these have allured my sight.
I am resolved to follow the Savior, faithful and true each day;
Heed what He says, do what He wills, He is the living way.
I am resolved, and who will go with me? Come friends, without delay;
Taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit, we’ll walk the Heavenly way.
I recently got this idea from Walter Schoedel. He calls them: “7-ups for the new year.” Although this has nothing to do with the soft drink, these 7-ups fall under the heading of attitudes and actions.
I. Our first resolution is to “wake-up!”
Begin the day with the Lord. It is His day….made for you. Rejoice in it!
The psalmist resolved: “I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high.” 7:17
Each of us get out of bed in one of two ways. Some of us get out of bed and run to the window, and say, “good morning Lord!” Others get out of bed; look at the window and say, “good Lord, morning.”
A child of God should be an optimist. Remember: we are children of the king! We have been redeemed by the blood of the Son of God. As a King’s kid….I am a prince! I am a member of the King’s family! Today, we have too many pessimistic church members today. You do know the difference don’t you? The pessimist looks at a half glass of water and says it is half empty. The optimist looks at the same half glass, and says it is half full.
Again, the psalmist resolved: “this is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (118:24) he wrote: “I will praise Thy Name for ever and for ever.” (145:2).
2. Our second resolution is to “dress-up!”
Put on a smile. It improves your looks. It also says something about your attitude. Medical science tells us that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile. The most destitute person in the world is one who will not smile. When you smile at someone and they smile back, you automatically feel better (and it makes them feel better). A smile is part of your clothing.
Also, put on some nice clothes once in a while. Today, we live in the day of the slouch, baggy pants, droopy drawers, and gaudy clothes in both men and women. Some think that the crummier they look, the cooler they are. Not on your life!
Several years ago, an article appeared in the Dallas morning news entitled:
“Elderly ladies beam -- underneath face cream”
Senior ladies in Dallas were beaming with pride over their “new look.” Once a week the wheel-chairs and canes made their way down the halls of the golden acres nursing home for their weekly facial. One 81 year old woman, rubbing her hand across her face, smiling she said, “I now have the skin of a 50 year old.”
In Texas, an annual high school principles meeting, they verified that the conduct at their schools was considerably better during picture taking day when the students “dress up.” Outward appearance does affect your image and your performance.
While you’re outside appearance is enhancing, or crippling, the real potential of the person is on the inside. We all have room for improvement. I like what Mary Crowley, an outstanding business woman and Christian said, “You are somebody because God doesn’t take time to make a nobody, and once you learn how much you matter to God, you don’t have to go out and show the world how much you matter.” Then, with a twinkle in her eye she smiled and said, “God made man, too one look and said, ‘I can do better than that’ - and made woman.” Hey guys, I agree with her 100 %.
Paul instructed us to: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2:5 he also wrote: “…brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10, 11
Real dress for the Christian is a spiritual one. Real dress-up for the Christian is an inside job. The scriptures teach us: “…be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given himself for us…” Ephesians 5:1, 2
Not only are we to “wake-up” and “dress-up,” but,
3. Our third resolution is to “shut-up!”
Watch your tongue! Don’t gossip! Say nice things, or say nothing. Learn to listen, instead of always having the last word.
Stop the cussing!
Profanity is a bad habit! And it is also a sin! It’s disappointing to me to hear anyone use profanity of any kind, because you don’t have any idea when it is going to stop. Profanity is one of those bad habits that creped into our life gradually. Then it became a growing way of expression in our daily life, and it becomes so prevalent that we don’t even notice it. Resolve to stop!
I was playing golf several months ago. A couple of the men were new to me. One was a long time friend who called me “preacher.” One of the new men, who had been cussing up a storm with every bad shot, came over to me on the 12th tee box and said, “I’m sorry for my language, I didn’t know you were a minister. I smiled and said, “Sir, you’ll not have to stand before me in the judgment.” Things improved dramatically for the rest of the match. It got quiet.
The apostle jams wrote: “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a mature man, able also to riddle the whole body… the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among out members that it defiles the whole body (entire personality), and sets on fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire by hell, but no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil; full of deadly poison, out of the same mouth proceed blessings and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” (3:2, 6, 8, 10)
Gossip is a bad habit, and it is a sin! Webster’s dictionary says that gossip is: “a person who chatters, or repeats idle talk and rumors, especially about the private affairs of others.”
Some people think it is their job to verbally reproduce all the choice tidbits of their associates, neighbors, friends and enemies to others.
In one church where I served as pastor, there was one lady who, at least once a month, would happen by to share some piece of gossip. She would always begin with a question, “have you heard….,” “did you know…,” “they said,” “I think you ought to know….” Etc. Etc. To finally shut her up….I had to say, “is what you’re about to tell me edifying, uplifting, and will it make you and me a better Christian if you tell me? She didn’t come back!
Paul had to tell Timothy about gossiping women: “And besides, they learn to be idling, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, and saying things which they ought not.” I timothy 5:13
I’m sure you’ve heard about the story of the town gossip that came forward during the invitation in her church. She said, “Oh, pastor, I have been so evil, I have been a gossip. Today, I want to lay my tongue on the altar.” The pastor said, “I’m sorry, but our altar is only 21 feet long.”
Paul exhorted us to be an example “To the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, and in purity.” I timothy 4:12
4. Our fourth resolution is to “stand-up!”
Take a stand on what you believe. Resist evil! Do good!
Paul challenges the Ephesians Christians to: “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (6:13)
Paul says that we are to stand firm. Taking a stand sometimes isn’t easy. Taking a stand may mean doing what others will not do. Taking a stand may mean that you rest on the principles of God’s word, rather than the approval or opinions of others. Taking a stand may be an unpopular thing, and you may have to do it alone. Taking a stand may mean that you will be standing against the sleaze of this world. I guarantee that it will make you unpopular, and most will not do it.
Dr. Edmund burke in one of his speeches before the English parliament said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Dr. Peter Marshall, chaplain of the United States senate once said, “Men who will not take a stand for something, will fall for anything.”
Most of us older Baptists love the old songs like: “Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross…” and “standing on the promises of Christ my Lord….” While we sing “standing on the promises,” most are just “sitting on the premises.” We don’t want to be committed. We are sitting in the grandstands, while the game is on the field. We are mere observers rather than participators. This is what’s wrong with the church!
Question: are you willing to stand for Jesus Christ, even when you are the only one? Today, as never before, the Lord needs individuals who will stand firm in the word of God, and on the word of God.
The psalmist resolved: “I delight to do Thy will, O, my God: yea, Thy law is within my heart. (40:8)
5. Our fifth resolution is to “reach-up!”
This is to spend time in prayer with your adorations, confessions, thanksgivings and supplications to the Lord.
The psalmist resolved: “I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. (18:3)
Paul exhorted the Ephesian Christians to: “Pray always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”
This kind of constant prayer that gets things done with God. This perseverance is the intense prayer that holds on to the horns of the altar and will not let go. This is unselfish prayer for others.
This is the kind of prayer is the key that unlocks the storehouses of God’s grace and power. All that God is and all that God has, is available to those who pray like this. This kind of praying is not simply another Godly weapon; it is the ultimate weapon that the Christian has to wield against the devil.
Every warrior must keep in constant contact with his commander, and we, as Christian warriors must keep in contact with our commander, the Lord Jesus Christ.
When the battle of life gets hard, soldiers get tired, weak, and discouraged. That’s why Jesus told his disciples we are to “pray always and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1) We are not to give-up, and not to faint.
Prayerlessness is a sin! The scriptures say, “God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you” (I Samuel 12:23) reach up dear brethren, reach up in prayer.
6. Our sixth resolution is to “lift-up!”
Let us all be available for those in need: serving, supporting, and sharing. This begins in the church fellowship!
Paul wrote to the Galatian church: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (6:10) in Romans chapter 12, it tells us how to behave as a Christian. Verse 13 tells us that we are to “distribute to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.”
Are there people in our fellowship that need help? We pray for the sick, but do we ever take them a hot bowl of soup? Have you blessed anyone lately with a visit, a phone call, a card, or some other caring gesture?
We should also be available to a lost and dying world! Fannie Crosby penned it this way:
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying;
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave.
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen;
Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.
Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide.
Back to the narrow say, patiently win them;
Tell the poor wanderer a Savior has died.
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.
When was the last time, or have you ever talked to those you love the most about your wonderful Jesus? Resolve now: to life Him up!
Not only are we to wake-up, dress-up, shut-up, stand-up, reach-up, and to lift-up….but lastly;
7. Our last resolution is to “look-up!”
Open our eyes to the Lord here-and-now, today. After all, He is the only Savior. Oh, it may not be politically correct to say that Jesus is the only way, but He is the only way!
After the resurrection of Jesus, He taught hem for days. Then, one day “He was taken up.” (Acts 1:2) Jesus, the Christ, ascended to heaven to now sit at the right hand of God the Father, and become our high priest, ever making intercession to the Father on our behalf.
The scripture says, “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold two men stood by them dressed in white apparel, who also said, ‘men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.’” Acts 19-11
Are you “looking-up” for the return of the Lord? He is coming!
Jesus told John: “behold, (look), I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work.” Revelation 22:12
Are you ready, or will you be ashamed at His coming?
John wrote to the church: “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” (I John 2:28)
Jesus is coming. Hallelujah to the King! Are you ready?
Let us resolve today - together - to serve the Lord!
Dr. Glen Clifton
Used by permission
The Race of Life"
by Dr. Glen E. Clifton
1. Dr. Clifton had been preaching at King's Baptist church in Vero Beach, Florida where he was serving as Interim Preacher for about 9 months (as of October 2006). Dr. Clifton and his wife Dee, have been retired to Florida for 4 years. He has been kept busy preaching up and down the Treasure coast since he moved here. He can be contacted for speaking engagements at (772) 336-3992.
Clifton, Dr. Glen E., Brief Biography