New Year . . . Fresh Start

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I read a recent article that listed the five most popular resolutions made every year:
5. Take up a new hobby
4. Make more money or get out of debt
3. Improve relationships
2. Stop smoking
And the most popular New Yearís resolution? You guessed it:
1. Losing weight

A woman walked into her bathroom at home and saw her husband weighing himself on the scales as he was sucking in his stomach. She laughed and then said sarcastically, "sucking in your stomach is not going to help you to weigh less you know."
Her husband said, "Iím not trying to weigh less. Itís the only way I can see the numbers."
How was 2016 for you? Was it a good year with lots to be grateful for? Or was it a challenging year? Did you have some hopes that didnít become a reality like healings, professional advancements, and reconciliations? Did disappointment knock at your door this last year? For many, that was the case.

But for others, maybe some good things happened and youíre hoping they will repeat in 2017.

The great thing about the New Year is that every time it comes around it brings a chance to take stock of our lives. Where are we going? How are we doing?

Two elderly women were lamenting about their old age: ďWell, Ethel, weíre constantly tired, we both have bad hips and we need a walker to get around; we canít hardly hear a thing, and we canít see past our own face.Ē

Ethel comments, ďYes! But at least we can still drive!Ē

What can we do to make 2017 a better year in the face of such pessimistic reports? I have a suggestion that comes from the Apostle Paul:
First, release the past! A new year means a fresh start.

The Apostle Paul was never one to let circumstances of the past overly effect his tomorrow. Listen to Paulís attitude in Philippians 3:12Ė14: ďBut one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.Ē

Your memory can be both a friend and your enemy. Hopefully, youíll recall some very pleasant things about this past year, but chances are that youíll also remember some negative things.

Maybe this past year was a time of painful transitions in your lifeóthe kids grew up and left home and youíre now trying to deal with empty nest syndrome. Maybe your job came to an end and youíre having a tough time making ends meet. Maybe a relationship ended. Maybe a loved one died and youíre trying to deal with the lingering grief and loneliness. Moments like these can cripple us and hold us in bondage to the past.

Second, look forward to what lies ahead. In other words, Iím looking forward so much that Iím going to press on to get there. To summarize Paul again: Iím moving on now.
Truth be told, maybe you donít know where you are moving on to. In fact, whenever we leave behind a vice or regret that has been such a defining element of our lives itís sometimes unclear what the future holds. But you can bank on this, when we make Jesus the center of that future, itís bound to be good!

[Ron Otto, preaching minister, Lincoln Christian Church]


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