A lot of people make a big deal out of the New Year, saying it’s a chance to make a fresh start, and fix those bad habits that have hung on so long, or fix a broken relationship, or start some other good thing.  And yes, that’s as good as any time to do so, but what they don’t realize is, every breath you take is a chance to make a fresh start.  You don’t have to wait till New Year to do it.

What is it that makes people put things off till a perceived “right time”?  The right time to correct a wrong is as soon as it is noticed.  The right time to stop doing something that is a bad habit is as soon as you catch yourself doing it.  The right time for doing right stuff is always “right now”.  Stop putting it off till next New Year.

Like every New Year, people start making resolutions that usually start out with all good intentions, but seldom continue.  How are YOUR New Year Resolutions working out so far?  We’re a week into this New Year already.  You see, old habits die hard and we are creatures of habit.  But it really doesn’t have to be that way.  Failed goals in the past do not have to define our future.  And of course the biggest cause of failure is not changing something we are doing when we see it isn’t getting us the desired results.


It’s good to be able to look back over the past year and see things that we could hopefully do better in the future.  This past year dealing with Covid has been a real trial for all of us, and we all want our lives back.  Of course, most of us make New Year resolutions, only to fall back into the same old rut after a while.  Though we may be dissatisfied with how things are going in our lives, we are creatures of habit, and our tendency is to do things the same way we did yesterday, and most likely we will do the same tomorrow.  Why is that?

Maybe someone who is overweight will say, this year I’m going to lose 50 pounds, yes, this is the year.   I’m determined to get this weight off, right after I finish this double-cheese extra topping pizza and this bag of chips.  Sounds like the start of something great, doesn’t it?  And tomorrow another pizza will somehow show up, and of course, you can’t waste pizza, can you?  Someone has to eat it.  And it might as well be you, right?


Or maybe it’s using credit cards.  You resolve to get out of debt and stop using them, right after you get this card charged to the limit.  But when that one is maxed out, you apply for a new one to “get a fresh start”.  Do you really expect to fix your finances like that, to borrow your way out of debt?  But yet, as foolish as that sounds, many people try to convince themselves that they can keep doing the same thing and get different results. That’s like planting corn and expecting a harvest of green beans.


Perhaps we haven’t learned the meaning of “resolution”, which is a noun, the quality of being resolute, something that has been resolved, a formal statement of a decision voted.  Then we have to also look at the word “resolve”.  It’s a verb, and a verb denotes action, to make a firm decision or commitment.


That sheds light on why resolutions are so easily broken.  Perhaps there wasn’t a firm commitment made in the first place.  Lacking the determination to REALLY want to make a change severely undermines any chance of success in doing it.  Changing because someone else wants you to really isn’t the right motivation.  You have to want it for yourself.  You can desire to do it for someone else’s benefit, but it really needs to start with you wanting to change.  Making changes in your life, and especially drastic ones, is not for the weak-of-heart.

People resist change, and just the fact that we are hard wired like that, makes it even more difficult. Failure comes when we don’t take into account why we keep doing the things we say we want to stop.  Have you ever really sat down and tried to understand why you do certain things?   I heard a joke about a guy who kept hitting himself in the head with a hammer.  When asked WHY?  He said, because it feels so good when I stop!


Is it because that’s just the way you’ve always done it?  Ever wonder WHY you’ve always done it that way?  You need to honestly ask yourself these questions.  Some people do things out of sheer, mindless habit.  Some do things to be self-destructive, because they feel guilty or unworthy of happiness.  Some people continually criticize and pick at others because they feel so powerless to change their own life, so they will try to change others instead.   But there’s a reason for everything any of us do, if we will just dig till we find it. Once we isolate that reason, half the battle is won.

You may think of a thousand excuses why you can’t seem to change the way you do things.  The classic one is, “It’s not my fault”.   Yep, that pizza delivery man just kicked my door in, jumped up on my lap, and shoved that pizza down my mouth.  Uh-huh.  Sure.  Or, “I was brought up a slob, I just can’t help myself.”  Oh, really??   Or, “I was abused, that’s why I have a rotten attitude toward everyone.”    Well, a little forgiveness goes a long way, friend.


Stop making excuses and GET OVER IT!  Sure, not everything is your fault.  But everything isn’t someone else’s fault, either.  The key to successful change in your life is to take responsibility for what you have made your life, good or bad.  Other people don’t control what you think or do, even though you might have yourself convinced they do.  You may say, “Oh, I hate this job that I’m stuck in.  There’s no way out.”  Yes there is, the same door you walked in, you can walk out.   You were looking for a job when you found that one, right?  If it’s that bad, leave and get another job. Listen!  Life is too short to spend it working where you’re miserable.  Sit yourself down and truthfully take inventory of your job skills and personality.  God has given each of us gifts and talents that are particularly suited to prosper us.  Our job is to find where we fit in.

Don’t expect someone else to do for you what you can do for yourself.   Have a realistic and reachable goal in mind.   Losing 50 pounds in a month is not a realistic goal, but you can lose 5 pounds this month.  And it’s a repeatable goal for every month until you’re at your ideal weight.  The same goes for debt.  You can’t pay off $50,000 in debt in a month.  But you can stop making new debt, and make goals and meet them each month until you’re debt-free.  It’s do-able if you really want to bad enough.  Or, you can make excuses and continue in the same path you’ve been on and keep intending to make changes.  It’s really up to you.


Another thing, don’t bother trying to change others.  If you work on changing you, then you will have the satisfaction of having cleaned up your own life.  There is tremendous satisfaction in reaching even small goals that you have set for yourself.  Life can be very rewarding when you can measure progress and you are reaching your goals.  As you go, stretch yourself a little out of your comfort zone.  Expect more of yourself for the next goal, but keep it realistic.

When you’ve reached that goal, move the bar up a notch higher.  After a few times of that, you’ll come to the realization that you truly CAN do anything you set your mind to.

Philippians 4:13 says, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.  God wants you to have a joyful, rewarding, and full life.  What’s your excuse for not having one?  Let’s work on it.  God will help you get the job done.  You can only go so far on your own strength.  Learn when to say, I need Your help, Lord.  Your own strength is limited, as you have already learned. That’s why things haven’t changed for you yet.  But God is more than willing to let you draw on His strength.  It is absolutely unlimited, and more than you will ever need to make your life better than you could ever imagine!

Change is never easy, but it is very rewarding.  Come on, you can do it.  I believe in you, and most of all, God believes in you!


The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3:13-14, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

We can spend much time regretting those things that brought no fruit for God’s Kingdom, or for ourselves personally or, we can use them as a list of things that we can eliminate from our life.  I choose to use them as building blocks, helping me to eliminate waste from my life, both in the natural, and in the spiritual. Sometimes it’s good to have a diary, to look back and see what to eliminate this year.


I thank God when He shows me areas that need improvement.  That tells me He’s interested in my life, and that He’s my Helper.

One area all of us can improve in is our trust in God.  He told me that He’s a lot better Shepherd than we are sheep.  Why do we let the devil put worry and burden on us?  Jesus said for us to cast all our cares upon Him.  If we neglect doing that, we are actually stealing our cares from Him, making us all thieves.  Remember, it is written there will be no thieves in the Kingdom of God.  Revelation 21:7-8 says, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

It would appear to me that if the fearful and unbelieving were not at the top of the list, then it isn’t a big concern to God.  But it is.  Fear and unbelief stops us cold in our tracks when it comes to stepping out in obedience to God.  When I closed my furniture repair business to go into full-time ministry, it was the hardest step of faith I’ve ever taken.  And there have been many times that doubt and fear have come to kick my door down together as a team.  But through it all, God has upheld us and He met our needs.

There were people who told me I should go back to my secular job, and to me, that’s the easy way out.  To continue to trust God for our provision in the face of difficulty is hard at times, but if I can’t trust God for something simple, then how will I trust Him if He tells me to do something much more difficult?


So this year, I resolve to trust more, ask less questions, be ready to obey suddenly without first having to know why, because you see, I’m asking God to do something for me .  I want to go higher, for God to see me a trustworthy steward of the Gospel.  I want to eliminate all wasteful stuff from my life, so I can be a profitable servant to God.  That may even include culling out relationships that aren’t leading you closer to God.


Proverbs 2:1-6 says, “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee: so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and lifteth up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.  For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”

Studying to gain earthly wisdom is not without reward, but in the long run, it’s pretty useless when compared to what the Lord will reveal to those who will earnestly seek His wisdom.

In the natural, we can go to a trade school or college to learn a skill that will make us a better employee.  And the Lord would have us strive to be the best we can be, to do everything we do with excellence, as unto the LORD..  But the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  Without the fear of the Lord, all else is in vain that we do.  It is written I 1 Corinthians 1:27-29, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and the things which are not, to bring to naught the things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence.”

Real wisdom is to love the Lord, and if we love Him, we’re going to seek to please Him, and not ourselves.  True wisdom is the realization that God loves us even more than we love ourselves.  And if you consider how much effort you put into making yourself happy and comfortable each day, consider how much better your life would be if you spent that same amount of time trying to please God.


Wisdom from God is this; we are bought with a price, and we belong to Him, we do not belong to ourselves.  And the one who bought and paid for us will neither leave us or forsake, or neglect or abuse us.  So then, why do we worry so?

Jesus said in Matthew 6:24-26, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve God and mammon.  Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.  Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.  Are ye not much better than they?”

Once that starts to sink in, we become wiser.  Kind of like the little boy selling his friend “smart pills”.  After spending a couple week’s worth of allowance buying them, one day he said, “You know what? These taste like salt tablets.  These ain’t smart pills!”

The other boy said, “Sure they are!  See, you’re getting smarter already!”

When understanding finally comes to us, we wonder how it was possible that we spent so many years doubting God’s intentions toward us.  Yet we spend so much time worrying God will not take care of our needs.  Why are we so dense?  It’s like we have rocks for brains.

And we wonder why we spend so many years flunking spiritual kindergarten.  We go around the same old mountain, time after time, saying, The mountain is getting taller!  No, it isn’t getting any taller.  It’s just that the rut keeps getting deeper.  We try to serve two masters, God, and our own will.  God set them in opposition with one another in order to help us more clearly hear His voice.  How is that, you say?  Easy, if it sounds right to your flesh, it isn’t God.  Choose the other.  Our flesh never willingly chooses God’s way.  It must be forced upon us by an act of our own will.  When we incline our ear to hear God, we must turn off the will of our mind.  Otherwise, the mind will choose the fleshly way, every single time.


Sooner or later, wisdom comes when we say to ourselves; I’m really tired of things going like this.  Something must be wrong.  If what I’m doing time after time is not getting me the results I want, how can I think it will be different if I continue doing it?  Dogs always reproduce dogs, corn always reproduces corn, everything reproduces after its own kind.  Bad decisions, no matter how long you make them, will always bring forth bad results, it’s just the way things are.  Even the drunk becomes wiser when he realizes his morning headache is caused by last night’s drinking.  But, even that alone isn’t enough.  There must be action coupled with that knowledge and desire, to bring about change.

Being a hearer only of the Word of God makes us not much better off than being a fool.  Being a doer of the Word shows God you’re serious about seeking after Him.  If you seek after wisdom as you would gold, you’ll put action to your desire for wisdom.  After all, you wouldn’t just seek after gold buried in the ground, having found it, just say, That’s very nice, I’ve found it finally!  No!  You’d go and dig it up and remove it.  Just finding wisdom in the Word of God does you no good unless you take it with you and use it.  Wisdom is having knowledge, and having understanding how to use it.  And God gives wisdom to those who seek Him, asking in faith.

You can take away all the possessions of a rich man, and before long, he will be rich again, because he understands how to get rich.  The devil can trouble a man or woman full of the wisdom of God, even as he did Job, yet in the end he or she will be better off than before.  Why?  Because wisdom is the key thing; seek God.  Get wisdom from Him.  Hang out with those wiser than you, and you’ll be wiser still.  God’s wisdom always takes you higher, and there’s no end to it.  There will always be a better place God wants to take you!


This new year brings with it a call for more responsibility.  More obedience, more faith, more resources,  more trust,  more everything.  But we’re not waiting for God.  He’s waiting for us!  It’s a new year, a new beginning, a chance to do mighty exploits for God, to win many souls for the Lord Jesus.  It’s a chance to bring back many lost sheep, to restore many discouraged, and those who have given up.  It’s a new thing, and we all like new.  And it never has to grow old.  We can start new every day and keep it new.  Forget forever; let’s just concentrate on right now being all we can for God, ok?  and when tomorrow gets here, do it again, because it’s another new day. Every breath is a new chance for a fresh start.  Don’t waste it!  Praise God.