The very BEST advice for living is found in the Holy Bible, and my very favorite thing to say is, IT IS WRITTEN… , so let’s see what is written in Proverbs 1:22-33,

22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:
26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;
27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

Now THERE’S advice that is so simple to understand, a caveman could get it. Turn your heart unto the LORD and heed His commands, and it will go well with you. Disregard them, and you will suffer for it. And when you suffer for your ignorance and disobedience, and cry out to the LORD, He will not listen, for you CHOSE to disregard Him. But the one who listens, will dwell safely, unafraid of evil.

Now, many people make New Year resolutions, with intentions to improve their lives. But many look to the ways of the world, instead of to the LORD. But do you know, we really CAN have days of heaven on earth, that is, if we CHOOSE to.

This being the first day of the new year, I find it altogether fitting to invite you to put the LORD in first place in your life. That will not only START your new year out on the right foot, it will KEEP it there. There’s nothing wrong with setting good goals for yourself, in fact, if you’re going to see progress, you MUST set goals, otherwise you won’t know if you’re going anywhere toward them. Some are satisfied to just let time go by, but time is something we all spend, and it’s impossible to save any for a rainy day. Once today is gone, it isn’t coming back, no matter what.

But the passage of our time is also an investment in our future. How so? What you do with your time from this day forward here on this earth in this life will determine your future. I coined a saying years ago, “WALL STREET INVESTS; BUT JESUS SAVES!” There’s nothing wrong in investing your money wisely; in fact we should, instead of wasting it. But the most important investment you will ever make is investing your soul in Christ Jesus. While we’re young, we all feel indestructible. Some do stupid stuff and get stupid prizes, like dying early. But once our “youth” wears off, we all start looking toward and planning for retirement, and that’s also wise. None of us want to run out of funds before we run out of life. And none of us should want to run out of this life before we are locked into Christ Jesus.

Yeah, I know, it’s only the first day of the year, and here I am pushing the Gospel at you. But if I don’t, who WILL? You’re all eager to dive headlong into this new year, determined to make it better than it was last year. Actually, that isn’t a very high goal, most ANYTHING would make it a better year than 2020 was. But all kidding aside, not many people had a good year at all, and maybe you’re one of them. Maybe you’re thinking, “I thought I was a Christian, how did all this bad stuff happen to me this past year?”

Well, as I’ve said before, the devil is an “equal opportunity destroyer”, and that’s all he does. And if you’re not diligent over every area of your life, he’s going to slip in there anywhere he can and bring destruction into your life, and if not YOU, then a member of your family, or maybe your possessions. God tells us to WATCH and pray, not just coast through life without paying attention, and expecting God to bail us out every time trouble comes our way. We do have a responsibility to stay tuned into what God is telling us and being careful to not allow ourselves to be distracted from the Word of God. With all that’s going on in the world today, it’s easy to let our eyes get off of God, and of course, that’s EXACTLY what the devil wants us to do. Maybe you haven’t spent enough time in prayer this past year, or studied God’s Word as much as you needed to. But your past does not have to dictate your future!

Imagine, if you will, a stadium filled with people. They are there to see some runners in a race, who are competing for a prize. They all line up for the race, and off they go. For the first few laps, they’re doing well, staying focused on the race. But after a while, some of the runners notice huge TV screens around the track, which are now turned on, showing different things, perhaps people, or cars, or different events. And as they run, some are starting to slow down, paying more attention to what is displayed on the screens, than they are to the race. Some have slowed almost to a walk, some have actually stopped to watch what is showing on the screen. All the while, the crowd is going nuts, “What are you people DOING? RUN! RUN!”

That race is this life. Those in the race are those who have received Christ Jesus as LORD and Savior. The people cheering the runners on are the heavenly host. The TV screens are run by your old adversary the devil, and he’s there to distract you from the race. Surely you don’t think he’s going to run alongside of you and offer you a cool drink of water as you start to tire out. No, he’s going to come alongside and say, “You’ll never make it to the end, it’s too hard!, the finish line is too far away!” or he will throw an old tire over your head and shoulders to slow you down. Have you ever tried to run fast with an old tire around you? It kind of takes the wind out of your sails. Or he will tell you, “WHY are you here today? The race isn’t until next week!” Or “Hey, you’re running the wrong way, turn around! The race is THAT WAY!”

There are so many distractions the devil manages to come up with, and here you are today, about to start a new year, with perhaps a new determination and new energy. And he is right there to meet you with NEW discouragement, to start your year off all wrong. There IS a way to spoil the devil’s plans, however. If you belong to Christ Jesus, the devil is NOT your boss! That means, you can tell him to sit down and shut up, because you’re not taking orders from him! And if you don’t belong to Christ Jesus, then TODAY IS THE DAY TO MAKE HIM YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR!

Remember, Wall street invests, but Jesus saves! The worldly listen to the world. God’s children listen to their heavenly Father. Most of our problems are caused by following our own will, instead of that of our LORD. That doesn’t mean you’ll never have problems in this world, but it DOES mean if you listen to the LORD, you are never on your own. You have HELP!

It is written in Psalm 34:11-19,
11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
16 The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

That tells me what I should be paying attention to while I’m alive on this earth. The LORD has our best interests in mind. We may THINK we know best, but we don’t. Most of us can look back and realize that we could have made better choices. The best investment I can make with my time is to use it to draw closer to the LORD today than I was yesterday. If you REALLY want to please God, SEEK HIM WITH ALL YOUR HEART EVERY DAY! Invest in your future! It’s the only one you have, there will be no “do-over”. This is not “practice”, my friend, it’s the real deal. It’s either HEAR “Well done, my good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your LORD!” OR… will BE well done. I think you get the idea…..