As we close the door on one year and open the door to another, I think it’s good to have a spiritual resolution for the new year as well. I believe Philippians 4:4-8 provides us with some great things we should resolve to do not just in the coming year, but throughout our life. Verse 4 says, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (NLT) In 2019, don’t let anything steal your joy. Joy shouldn’t be based on your circumstances, and it’s where you get your strength from. Trust in what God is doing and stay joyful.
Verse 6 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Refuse to let worry have a foothold in your life. It uses today’s strength for tomorrow’s problems. Turn your worry into prayer. Let the The things you can’t control push you closer to the One who can control them. Prayer changes our perspective and helps us to let go of the burdens that are too heavy for us to bear. Put them in God’s hands and take His burden which is light.
Verse 7 says, “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Having peace in your heart, your mind and in your life is a wonderful thing. We were not created to live in turmoil. When we learn to trust a God with our decisions and with the things in our life that we can’t control, we can have God’s peace. Let His peace guide you in the coming year so that you operate in His will for your life.
Finally verse 8 says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Choose what to think about. Your thoughts are powerful and determine the direction of your life. Don’t dwell on what could be, but focus on what is true. One true thing I focus on is that God is in control, and nothing that happens in my life is a surprise to Him. 2019 is already history to God. Resolve to make it the year that you trust Him completely and you will experience joy, peace and faith.
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Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. If life is full of anything, it’s full of decisions we all have to make. Every decision we make has ma consequence for good or for bad. If you’ve made some bad decisions in your life and have suffered the consequences, it can make it hard to make future decisions. There are tough questions we have to answer in life. Which college to attend, what to become in life, who to marry, whether or not to apply for a promotion, which church to attend, should we move, and so many more. Each has its own consequence and we want to make the right decision, but how can we know?
There are two things I do each time. The first is to pray for wisdom to know what to do. James 1:5 says, “But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all” (GNT). Often, wisdom comes at the expense of failure and suffering consequences, but God can give it out when we ask for it. It may take some time in prayer, but in the right moment, God often speaks heavenly wisdom through someone or makes the best choice clear in our minds.
Another thing you can do is ask God to give you peace in helping to guide you into making the decision. Colossians 3:15 says, “The peace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make.” I often pray, “God, if this is what I’m to do, then give me peace. If not, bring unrest to my heart and mind.” God gives a peace that is beyond understanding especially when there are life altering decisions to be made. Praying for this and experiencing it will guide you through some of life’s toughest decisions. God has a plan and a purpose for each of us, and He’s given us tools to guide in our decisions us as we go. We just need to use them.
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Peaceful. That’s not a word I would use to describe the Christmas season. Hectic is the word I would use. Going store to store to buy presents, looking for parking everywhere you go, going to the kid’s Christmas plays, attending Christmas parties, cleaning house for family that’s coming and so much more. Our schedule is full this time of year, and sometimes we accidentally double book.
When Jesus was born, Bethlehem was just as busy. It was over crowded because of the census. Families that hadn’t seen each other in ages were getting together. There were lines everywhere you went, and the locals were hard at work. Jesus was born into chaos, but the message to the shepherds (and us) is that He came to bring us peace no matter what time of year it is. Just like it did for the shepherds, let God’s peace draw you away from the hustle and bustle, and move you closer to Jesus.
Here are some Bible verses on the peace that God gives.
1. At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.
Luke 2:13-14 MSG
2. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].
PHILIPPIANS 4:7 AMP
3. May the Lord himself, who is our source of peace, give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 GNB
4. You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Isaiah 26:3 NLT
5. I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
John 14:27 NLT
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