NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS

Each new year people tend to think not only of the year gone by, but also of what they  want to accomplish during the coming year.

Ex 40:17, 34-35   Looking at these verses, we see that on the first of the year for Israel, YHVH God filled the erected tabernacle with His glory.  We who believe in Yeshua are God’s dwelling place on Earth today, and He wants His glory to fill us:  to be immersed in the reality of God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. (Mt 28:19; Jn 14:23-24)  He wants to so bless us with His presence that we will not be satisfied in doing our own will but worship Him by doing His.  Even Moses could not enter the Tabernacle because the glory of God filled it!  That is really what the Sabbath is all about (Is 58:13-14), which in Messiah is to be a daily experience rather than merely a religious duty the last day of the week.

Resolve this year to know our Lord more and to demonstrate that by having fruit pleasing to our Father in Heaven.  Resolve this year to be more aware of your need to be filled with the Holy Spirit, the glory of God, as evidence of, and as a confession of the need and desire to knowing Him more.  With this glory of the triune God within us, let us also resolve to speak of Him, and of our faith in Him, to others, that they, too, might come to know the one true God.

Acts 10:44-48   From the salvation of Cornelius, the Roman centurion, we see that the God of Israel loves the gentiles in the same measure that He loves the Jews.  We, too, want to love the Arabs, the Bedouin, and other people groups around us with the love of God that we ourselves have received, and to pray for and believe for their salvation.

Another important thing which we learn from the Holy Spirit here is that after you have believed and been saved by the grace of God, you are supposed to be baptized in water.  By doing so, you are obeying the Lord in whom you believe and who has given His life for the forgiveness of your sins.  Baptism in water in the presence of other witnesses is a testimony that what occurred by the Spirit in you and to you is true, and in humility and joy you willingly act as a work of faith.  Being baptized by those with spiritual oversight authority is also a confirmation by them in the eyes of others that you do believe and are accepted into theChurch ofGod.

Resolve this year that we will pray for the salvation of more Jews and Gentiles in and around Beer Sheva and the wider Negev, and that we will humble ourselves to obey God – ‘keeping Shabbat’ – in the small things and in the bigger things.

Jn 6:28-48   The work of God is that we should believe in Yeshua completely.  We read here that Messiah Yeshua, the Son of God, invites people to make HIM their food in life, and that no one can belong to Him except those whom the Father gives Him. And He says that all who believe in Him He will raise up on the last day.  Do you want to be His?  He says that He will not cast away any one who comes to Him.  Do you know if the Father is giving you to His Son?  Do not test Him and wait passively, but show your interest by drawing near with faith, for He is seeking those who know that only He can satisfy the soul.  He is our Good Shepherd.

The Kingdom of God is not of this world.  When Paul was preaching the gospel in Thessalonica (Acts 17:6), the unbelieving Jews there resisted and attacked some who did believe, crying out that “the people who have turned the world upside down have come here too, and they act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying ‘there is another King – Yeshua!‘”

Jesus says that He is the Bread of Life.  He tells us not to labor for the food which is temporary and perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life (v.27).  God is that Bread; Jesus is the Living Bread.  After Jesus was baptized in water, He went out into the desert for 40 days and nights.  It is written that afterwards He was hungry.  In the weakness of the Son of Man, the devil comes (remember Amalek?) and tempts Him, saying, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”  But Jesus answered him saying, “It is written, ‘Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’.”

Yeshua was hungry, but He trusted and obeyed God His Father.  We may be hungry, not knowing if we will have enough food sometimes.  With our Lord Jesus Christ as our example, we are not to solve our hunger or the world’s hunger and poverty in a demonstration of power that  will impress the world, nor by methods which ‘Caesar’ requires.  We are to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and our Father in Heaven who sees will provide our need for food and clothing in a way that is quiet, peaceable, loving one another and strengthening our faith and our relationship with God in His glory.

Jesus has shown us that the Father is not like us:  He is far different and more generous than we are in His very being:  He is love.  The parable of the ‘lost son’ shows God as the Father who patiently but expectantly waits for His wasteful son to come to his senses and return home.  The time came.  This son would have been satisfied simply to be received back onto the property and be a slave.  The hunger in his soul was not satisfied by all the money he took from his inheritance, nor by all that the world had to offer him.  Being repentant and thankful for his father and his house was what he realized was good.

What a surprise he got when his father REJOICED over him and made a feast for him and the entire household!  The older and dutiful son was also surprised by his father’s attitude and behavior:  he was angry and self-righteous about what a good son he was and what a terrible person the father’s other son was.  (He wouldn’t even acknowledge him as his brother!)  The father wanted both of them at the feast he had prepared in His joy that the son who was ‘dead’ was alive; the son who was lost was found.

How do we react when the Lord is good to someone else that we think is less undeserving than ‘me’?

Resolve this year to trust Jesus to satisfy our hungry souls; to become more like our Father in Heaven; to love one another as He loves us; and to quicken our hope in the Father’s Kingdom to come.

God’s “resolution” this year is that each of us should be conformed more to the image of His Son.  He wants to form Messiah in us, to fill us with His glory.  Whatever may happen this year — whether good or bad — let us resolve to allow the Holy Spirit to work all things together for good towards that purpose.

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