Saturday In The Psalms—Resolutions

I will… (9x in Psalm 101).

Psalm 101 is only eight verses long, but David makes nine I will resolutions to God. Perhaps you might consider making these resolutions yourself—

(1) I will sing of mercy and justice. These are two sides of the same coin; in fact, it’s only when we know God’s justice that we can appreciate His mercy. Both God’s justice and His mercy need to be celebrated.

(2) I will sing praises. Regardless of our situation or setting, God is worthy to be praised.

(3) I will behave wisely in a perfect way AND (4) I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. A commitment to integrity, living a godly lifestyle, and leaving a godly legacy.

(5) I will set nothing wicked before my eyes AND (6) I will not know wickedness. A commitment to be childlike in regard to wickedness, and watchfulness of anything impure.

(7) I will destroy AND (8) I will not endure AND (9) I will destroy all the wicked. A resolution to cut-off all relationships that are not God-honoring.

Resolutions aren’t just for New Year’s Day. Resolutions can be made any time we sense something in our life isn’t as God-pleasing as it could be.

What resolutions are you willing to make?

Your Anti-Porn Plan

The Porn CircuitPerhaps a New Year’s resolution you made was to stop viewing pornography. That’s a great first step! I like these tips from CovenantEyes for helping you stick with your no-porn goal.

  1. Develop a game plan. Instead of retreating to porn, have a book to read or another activity planned.
  2. Get outside of yourself. When you focus on your circumstances, the temptation to escape comes calling. Serving others is the best antidote to a self-induced pity party. Ring a bell for the Salvation Army, visit a nursing home or work in a soup kitchen.
  3. Burn off steam and calories. Go for walks. Get some exercise in. Hit the gym with a friend.
  4. Reach out. Call a friend. Be open and honest about your feelings and temptations. (Keeping secrets breeds failure.)
  5. Avoid Facebook and social media. Comparing your life to the façade on Facebook only leads to more stress and loneliness.
  6. Don’t throw in the towel. If you have a setback, get back up and start over!

And I’ll add one more of my own:

7. Learn your triggers. Do you usually feel the urge to look at porn at night? when you’re tired? when you’re lonely? Know when your temptation is at its strongest, and be ready with one of the above strategies before the temptation flares up.

CovenantEyes has some great ebooks and other resources you can check out here. You also might want to add their accountability software to your devices.


New Year New Attitude

New YearIf you’re looking to challenge yourself to be a better person in the New Year, you couldn’t go wrong with this list—

  1. Hate what is evil
  2. Cling to what is good
  3. Love others with real compassion
  4. Honor others above yourselves
  5. Work hard
  6. Keep growing spiritually
  7. Find new ways to serve the Lord
  8. Be joyful in hope
  9. Be patient in hard times
  10. Be faithful in prayer
  11. Share with others who are in need
  12. Practice hospitality
  13. Bless those who persecute you
  14. Laugh with your friends when they’re happy
  15. Cry with your friends when they’re sad
  16. Live in harmony with everyone
  17. Make friends with those others call “nobodies”
  18. Don’t try to be somebody you’re not
  19. Don’t respond to insults with insults, but with love
  20. Try to do what is right in the eyes of everyone
  21. Live at peace with everyone
  22. Don’t take revenge, but let God handle it
  23. Don’t let evil get the best of you, but get the best of evil by doing good

(Hat tip: Apostle Paul in Romans 12:9-21)

The 13th Resolution (book review)

The 13th ResolutionAlthough The 13th Resolution was originally written by Charles Sheldon in 1928, it’s an excellent book to read (or re-read) if you are thinking about making New Year’s resolutions.

This book is short, but Sheldon’s writing quickly endears the Blaisdell family to us. We get to listen in as Mr. Blaisdell is reading his list of resolutions to his family. Some of the resolutions pertain just to him, and some involve the entire family. We then get to see a brief glimpse as these resolutions are put into effect in their first couple of days, but quickly the story jumps to the family gathering on New Year’s Day one year later. We hear the Blaisdells telling what changed over the past year, what resolutions stuck, and what resolutions flopped, but we are left to fill in the details of how that transpired.

You can read this book aloud to your family in less time that it would take to watch a sitcom on TV, and then see what sort of discussion it sparks in your home. Very enjoyable!

Thursdays With Oswald—The Vices And Virtues Of Vowing

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

The Vices And Virtues Of Vowing 

     The vices of vowing outweigh the virtues, because vowing is built on a misconception of human nature as it really is. If a man had the power to will pure will it would be different, but he has not. There are certain things a man cannot do, not because he is bad, but because he is not constituted to do them. We make vows which are impossible of fulfillment because no man can remain master of himself always; there comes a time when the human will must yield allegiance to a force greater than itself, it must yield to God or to the devil

     Modern ethical teaching bases everything on the power of the will, but we need to recognize also the perils of the will. The man who has achieved a moral victory by the sheer force of his will is less likely to want to become a Christian than the man who has come to the moral frontier of his own need. It is the obstinate man who makes vows, and by the very fulfillment of his vow he may increase his inability to see things from Jesus Christ’s standpoint….

     It is not our vows before God that tell, but the coming to God exactly as we are, in all our weakness, and being held and kept by Him. Make no vows at this New Year time, but look to God and bank on the Reality of Jesus Christ. 

From God’s Workmanship (emphasis added)

When considering your New Year’s resolutions (or vows, as Chambers calls them), remember these sobering words: “It is the obstinate man who makes vows, and by the very fulfillment of his vow he may increase his inability to see things from Jesus Christ’s standpoint.”

Don’t let your resolutions blind you to seeing how Jesus Christ wants to work through your weaknesses.

Search & Seizure

The beginning of a new year is a time when many people resolve to change things in their lives. They vow to stop smoking, change their diet, exercise, take a class, or do other things that will them “a better person.”

But my question is: Why wait until January 1 to start something new?

In one of his most intimate psalms, David prayed,

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23,24)

Charles Spurgeon added this thought:

“Every man who is wise in the kingdom of heaven, will cry, Search me, O God, and try me; and he will frequently set apart special seasons for self-examination, to discover whether things are right between God and his soul. The God whom we worship is a great heart-searcher; and of old His servants knew Him as the Lord which searches the heart and tries the reins of the children of men. Let me stir you up in His name to make diligent search and solemn trial of your state, lest you come short of the promised rest. That which every wise man does, that which God Himself does with us all, I exhort you to do with yourself….”

This search and seizure of unhealthy thoughts or unhealthy habits should be done alone with God. There in the quietness of God’s presence we can resolve to live differently. Oswald Chambers wrote:

“Our battles are first won or lost in the secret places of our will in God’s presence, never in full view of the world.”

Today is as good as any day will ever be to allow God to search you, and to seize those thoughts which are keeping you back from the fullness of life He wants for you. Allow His Spirit to help you today.

New Year’s Resolutions Barna Style

I’m not a huge new-year’s-resolution-making kinda guy. My thought has always been: if something in my life needs to change, why wait until January 1 to change it?

I’m sure that when I go to play basketball at 6am tomorrow morning, there will be more guys there than I saw in December (and that’s a good thing). But I also know (sadly) that I will not see many of these guys on the court by the time we get to February.

The Barna Group has a great article about Americans New Year’s Resolutions that you can read here. I was especially intrigued by this chart —

Can you help me and my readers out by answering these questions in the comments:

  • Did you make a New Year’s resolution last year?
  • If so, did it stick all year?
  • Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year?
  • If so, how do you plan to make it “stick”?
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