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Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin….” (Zechariah 4:10, NLT)

Quick!  Answer this riddle: Three frogs are sitting on a lily pad.  One decides to jump off.  How many frogs remain on the lily pad?

If you said three, you’re right.  Deciding to jump off and actually doing it are two completely different things.  It reminds me of my gym . . .

You see, every year – about this time – my gym is packed.  We “regulars” find ourselves scrambling for weights that were all ours only weeks before.  But as you know, patience is a virtue.  We realize that this standing room only phenomenon will be short lived.  The crowds will begin to diminish by mid February.

January 1 is New-Year’s-Resolution-making-date in America – somewhere around February 15 is New-Year’s-Resolution-breaking-date.  I know what you’re thinking . . . that’s pretty cynical and negative . . . I thought pastors were supposed to see the best in people.  Besides, this year will be different.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think resolutions are a good thing.  And I can think of no better time to make them than at the beginning of a new year.  2018 is full of untapped possibility and opportunity.  12 months.  52 weeks.  365 days.  8,760 hours.  525,600 minutes.  31,536,000 seconds.  All, as of yet, unspoiled and unspent.  So by all means, let’s make our resolutions – and find a way to keep them.

The Apostle Paul gives us this helpful advice: . . . But 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 (Philippians 3:13-14, NIV).”

  1. Forget what is behind . . . that means last year. It’s over, history.  Cherish the successes (but don’t dwell there), learn from the mistakes (don’t dwell there, either) and move forward with confidence into the new year.
  2. Strain toward what is ahead . . . that means this coming year. Using the analogy of a runner, Paul’s talking about setting goals and exerting oneself to achieve them, step by step by step.  If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it.
  3. Press on to win the prize . . . that goes beyond this year. Paul’s talking about a lifetime of successes – an ultimate, eternal reward.  He’s talking about heaven.  He’s talking about leaving behind a legacy on the earth.  But you can’t get there on your own.

I hope you make and keep some wonderful resolutions this year.  I hope they benefit your health, home, happiness, and business.  And I hope they lead you closer to the ultimate heavenly prize in Christ Jesus.

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