Acts 11:23 New International Version (NIV): When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.
This time of year always puzzles me. Here's why. People keep repeating the same resolutions that they've had for the past 5 years. Why keep adding "loose weight, better manager finances, workout/join a gym, etc etc etc" if you know your heart isn't in it? Instead of waiting until January 1 to change why not change today? If it's something you really want, change now, this minute, this instant.
Think about it. If I'm in debt, am I going to wait another 14 days to change? Am I going to keep spending money that I don't have? If my blood pressure is high and I'm at stroke level, am I going to keep visiting the same "friend" that brings stress into my life? If I'm overweight, am I going to keep eating the wrong foods to increase my weight that could lead to stroke? The reasonable answer to all of this is no. But, we do. We continually put off today for tomorrow. A tomorrow that isn't promised. But all of these things are connected to our spirit.
Most people truly change their bad habits when they are resolute - determined, unwavering. When will you be resolute about your eternal resting place? When will you decide to serve the one true living God? Yesterday, my co-worker came into my office and we began to speak of his hometown. He said something to me that made me do a double take. It was concerning the demonic spirits in his hometown. That you don't have to believe in them for them to believe in you. Okay. Stop. Are demons real? Yes, they are. There are also territorial demons so there could be a demon that controls his home area. I'm not crazy enough to believe that demons don't exist. (Want proof, read the bible. Satan left heaven with a 1/3 of the angels. What do you think these angels became?)
Those things didn't astound me. Here is what did. When I answered him with, yes, demons are real, but my answer to them is scripture, he shook his head and kinda laughed like that isn't enough. So, am I to believe the WORD - James 4:7: Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (NIV). Of course, I believe the WORD. We come across difficult situations, demons, and the impossible all the time. But, when do we as Christians become resolute in our faith? This man stood in my office and spoke of scripture, yet his entire argument was based in the what will you do when one of those demons comes at you. SCRIPTURE is the WORD of GOD. When did God's Word not become enough for Christians? When did we become so fearful of the devil that we gave him power over God? When? When? When? He was astonished that I was dogmatic in my answer of answer the demon with scripture and I was astonished that he didn't know this although he could quote scripture back to me.
This was further proof to me that everyone that sits in the pews on Sunday aren't in the Word and the Word isn't in them. No disrespect to my co-worker, but I trust that my God knows what's best for me. I've been in a Job-like season. I've been in a David-ish state. I've had to be Moses to a few and Ruth to others. All of these trials and tribulations have built my faith.
There was a time when I didn't know where our next meal was coming from and I was worried about getting an eviction notice. On bended knee in my family room, I took my hands and (symbolically) dug a whole where I planted my mustard seed of faith then allowed my tears to water the seed. I stood over this spot and prayed to God each day. What happened? No, God didn't keep in the apartment, I was evicted. It shook me. I didn't understand at first. It wasn't until later that I understood what God was doing. The worst thing I had done was put myself in a position that I should not have been in. In HIS grace, He removed me and landed me with 2 solid feet in a better home and environment. One where I could raise my son, where roots grew. A place where we laid our heads for 10+ years. He opened the door for a living space and a job within months. ("But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9).
As you begin to think of your New Year's Resolutions, take a minute and think about your soul. Will you be resolute in deciding where you will live for the rest of eternity? Will you be resolute in your trust and faith in God? Will you be resolute to stand on the Word no matter what happens? Winds will blow. Troubles will come. Demons will show their heads. People will leave you. Others will laugh at you. What will you do?