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What Are Our New Year’s Resolutions?

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What Are Our New Year’s Resolutions?
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
30 December 2012
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References:

Genesis 1:29-31
Psalm 148:1-14
Philippians 4:4-7
Colossians 3:12-17

Every year we hear about people’s New Year’s resolutions.
 
Do we have some of our own?
 
Are they the kind that will make this a better world for the whole of creation?
 
We hope so, for if we desire to amend our lives in such a way that we improve the world around us, we also help ourselves.
 
As an example, if we are convicted in our hearts that “food” animals suffer horribly, and we resolve to no longer eat them or their by-products for reasons of compassion, each of us will save more than a hundred animals a year.
 
In addition, we will help the environment.
 
And if we also resolve to eat a healthful cuisine of unprocessed whole plant foods, we will also find our health improving including bringing our weight under control.
 
The interesting thing about such a resolution is that this is the way that God wanted us to live and eat ever since He created this world, as we are told in Genesis 1:29-31.

29. Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
 
30. and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so.
 
31. And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
NASB

We can also plainly see that God believed that eating only plant foods was very good, and we can testify that we have been vegan for more than 26 years, and that it has been very good for us, too.
 
One of the things we rarely hear mentioned as a resolution is that we are to be thankful for everything we have.
 
We all too often worry about things and forget to be thankful for what we do have.
 
Note what we are told in Philippians 4:4-7.

4. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
 
5. Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.

This is what comes naturally if we are truly a thankful person, but since most people are not, Paul goes on to explain how to become this way and the benefits of being a truly thankful person.

6. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
 
7. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
NASB

Most people usually pray for what they want without expressing their thankfulness, and they lose a great deal of their blessing.
 
And we’re not just talking about our own human thankfulness and prayer; for in Psalm 148:1-14, the whole of creation is being called upon to be this way.

1. Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
 
2. Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
 
3. Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all stars of light!
 
4. Praise Him, highest heavens,
And the waters that are above the heavens!
 
5. Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For He commanded and they were created.
 
6. He has also established them forever and ever;
He has made a decree which will not pass away.

All of the heavenly creation is called upon to praise God, whether they are living beings or are part of the physical creation.
 
And we might ask, how can a rock praise God, even if He created it?
 
Because there is still some kind of spiritual connection with everything that God created and Himself, even if it is beyond our understanding.
 
And as we move on in this Psalm, we see the scene switching back to our earth.

7. Praise the LORD from the earth,
Sea monsters and all deeps;
 
8. Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
 
9. Mountains and all hills;
Fruit trees and all cedars;
 
10. Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and winged fowl;
 
11. Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
 
12. Both young men and virgins;
Old men and children.
 
13. Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above earth and heaven.
 
14. And He has lifted up a horn for His people,
Praise for all His godly ones;
Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him.
Praise the LORD!
NASB

Every living being and every other created thing is to praise the Lord.
 
The key to praising God is being thankful, for a thankful heart and soul continuously praises God, even when we are not conscious of the fact.
 
And we, unlike the trees and rocks, have a free will to choose whether or not to be thankful.
 
So, it’s important that part of our continuing resolution should be to ask God to help us see beyond all of the troubles in this world to the glory of His presence and heavenly abode, so that we can look back upon the earth with a thankful heart and work out every other problem.
 
In Colossians 3:12-17, we are told how this is accomplished.

12. And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
 
13. bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

It is here that we see one of the key ingredients to living in the kingdom of God while still abiding upon this earth; it is having a forgiving heart and soul.
 
But, there is even something more important.

14. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
 
15. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

For if we have the perfect love of God within us, then we will also find that we have an inner peace that surpasses all understanding.
 
And with this perfect love and peace, we will find that we are truly thankful.
 
Thus with perfect love, peace, and thankfulness in our heart and soul, we will come to understand that we are also filled with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
 
It was our Christmas gift, and it’s right in front of us all the days of our lives; all we had to do was open it and receive God’s bountiful gift.

16. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
 
17. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
NASB

Have you seen how the word of God can richly dwell within us?
 
Have you seen how the word of God has been richly blended into all that we have been talking about?
 
This is what we should naturally be like, for if everything we do and say is in agreement with God’s word, whether or not included as we have done in this sermon, we will be filled with love and peace.
 
For God always leads people away from violence and destruction and back to His heavenly will.
 
And this naturally leads us to thankfully praise the Lord.
 
What a wonderful resolution this would be, if everyone in the world would resolve to do this…
 
…Then we would truly have peace on earth.
 
Amen.