Tuesday, February 14, 2023

RESOLUTIONS –a waste of time??

Where do we stand with our resolutions as we have completed the second week in February? I am pretty sure almost all of us, just like me, had taken many new resolutions as we approached the new year 2023 with a lot of anticipation. But, are resolutions biblical? Or are they even useful or just a waste of time? There was a time in my life when I would feel down towards the end of the year thinking I had hardly done anything I had resolved to do at the start of the year. I am sure many of you can relate to me; but I have realized that it does not have to be that way. 

Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” I have to agree. Having no plan or strategy sets us up for failure even before we start. What is it that you have resolved to do or achieve this year? Your goals could be physical, emotional or even spiritual like most of mine are.

Have you decided to work on your weight loss goal by spending more time in physical activity or cutting down portion sizes in each meal? Have you decided to cut down time unnecessarily spent on internet surfing or watching TV? Have you resolved to eat healthier by meal planning and cooking more food at home and cutting down junk food? Have you decided to work on your emotional health by learning to say no when you need to or to work on the anger issue you have been struggling with? Spiritually, some of you may have resolved to enhance your Bible reading experience by starting a Bible reading plan or by improving your tithing or giving habits this new year. Have you decided to spend more time in prayer and intercession or to volunteer one day a month at an organization? 

This last Sunday, I happened to talk to someone who was telling me about his weekend. In our conversation, he mentioned that he planned to spend the rest of his day home as he had to catch up on his Bible reading and had to read 2 books on that day. He told me that he had resolved this year to read the entire Bible in 66 days! He also mentioned that he was 1 day behind because on Saturday, he was out volunteering at an organization which works to introduce the gospel to kids. Guilt-stricken, as I was, I began to introspect my own life while driving back home. While I felt happy for this person, I felt ashamed of myself.

I once had a friend mention to me that she had given up on making resolutions for the New year because she was always failing which made her feel depressed. Why is it that we fail to achieve our goals or give up on our new year resolutions? We need to make sure that we set realistic goals. Also, we must be intentional about achieving our goals and work towards them. It cannot just be wishful thinking!

It helps to have strategic plans in place to achieve our goals. For example, a person who has resolved to lose weight cannot stay in bed for 2 extra hours and not devote time to physical exercise. Eating healthier meals involves cutting down on junk food and processed fats and sugar. Set daily, weekly and monthly goals to get to your target. Set a time at the end of a week or every two weeks to see how you are doing and how you could improve things. Our resolutions fail because we are not willing to make sacrifices necessary to reach them.

The real problem however, is within ourselves– within our hearts and minds. We find ourselves tripped by our own weaknesses and moral failures. Apostle Paul says in Romans 7:18 that “I have the desire to do good but I cannot carry it out.” We all aspire to be better people. We desire our future to be better than our past or at least the future of our children to be better than ours. The solution lies in turning to God. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things, through Christ who gives me strength.” Recognize and acknowledge that your strength lies in Christ! Give your decisions, plans and resolutions and make sure they align with God’s will for your life. 

It is also important that we give ourselves grace in this journey called life. We are human beings with limitations of time and energy. Life is not straightforward all the time. Following through on simple commitments can become huge when bombarded with life’s uncertainties. In addition, the attacks of the evil one will challenge us at every turn. Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.”

So, my friends, I challenge you to analyze where you stand with your resolutions. Spiritual resolutions do honor your creator, God. Depend on the Lord and the guidance of the Holy spirit to achieve your goals. Set realistic goals and be intentional in achieving them. Be prepared to make sacrifices. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Peace be with you

One of my favorite hymns written by Helen H. Lemmel is Turn your eyes upon Jesus. 

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in his wonderful face

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of his glory and grace.”

In one of the most desperate moments of my life, when I was distraught with everything I had to deal with, the Holy Spirit particularly ministered to me through these words. Since then, this hymn has been a favorite, and I like to sing this in my personal meditation time. What these words remind us is an exciting truth that an “unshakeable peace” is available to all who turn the eyes of their heart away from the world and towards Jesus.

When life’s trials strike us as horrible blows, how does a Christian maintain a sense of calmness and spiritual balance? The portion of Scripture where the disciples lose all hope in the middle of the storm at sea while finding their Master, Jesus, calmly sleeping used to amaze me. Often at times, we, too, are just like that; we throw our hands up in the air and ask our Savior, “Do you really not care for me?” We need to remember that the One who controls the winds and the waves is with us. He carries us and can calm every raging storm in our life. The key is found in a close, abiding relationship with Jesus Christ.

No one outside of God is capable of handling our life’s problems. All human beings have limitations, and God never meant for us to be strong on our own. He wants us to look to Him for strength, courage, and hope. In the current times, many around us deal with severe anxiety. We need to recognize anxiety as the opposite of peace. Being chronically anxious can leave us bundled up in worry and fear. We tend to lose our spiritual focus and slowly de-align ourselves from the will of God for our lives.

In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul admonishes us to “Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. For us to be able to give EVERYTHING to God, we need to abide in our Savior; otherwise, the enemy will easily sow seeds of doubt and fear in us. To dispel rising anxiety, we need to accept God’s sovereignty and trust Him to provide what is best for us in His time. A child of God who abides by God and His Word is not easily frazzled by the unexpected events of life. He rests in His Master, “being confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 57 was written by David at one of the most difficult points in his life when he had fled from Saul into the cave. It reads, “ Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me…. God sends His love and faithfulness.” (Ps 57: 1-3) The only reason David could write with such confidence about His God is because He had an unshakeable peace within His heart that God would protect His life and fulfill His promises.

My friend, does something trouble you today? Has any situation, conflict, or sickness escalated beyond your control? Do you feel anxious about tomorrow? Jesus’ words in John 20:19 are a comfort to us – “Peace be with you.” Remember always that God’s peace is unshakeable because there never has or will never be a time or event when God has felt unsettled or panicked.

Let His peace overflow in your hearts today. He understands that life can be difficult –but He has a solution for us in Him. He is the giver of supernatural peace. Let us tap into this unexhausted resource. Remember to keep your focus on God. Only then can we accomplish great and mighty for our Master.

RESOLUTIONS –a waste of time??

Where do we stand with our resolutions as we have completed the second week in February? I am pretty sure almost all of us, just like me, ha...