The account of the Hebrew patriarch Abraham fascinates readers on many levels. Here is a guy who married his half sister (not as weird in his culture) and reached an old age without having had any kids. God singled him out to give him a calling and a covenant. Genesis 12:1 says, "Now the LORD had said to Abram: 'Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you.'" This is the calling. How would Abraham (then named Abram) respond? Genesis 12:4 tells us, "So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him."
In Genesis 12:2-3, God makes several promises to Abraham, and these promises become the DNA of the Abrahamic Covenant formally given in Genesis 15. Among these promises is this one: "And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." As amazing as it would be for aged Abraham to become father of a great nation, it would also amaze everyone for all the peoples of the earth to be blessed in Abraham - that little old Abram would have a global impact enduring many generations.
As a church, we have been journeying through the Old Testament together paying particular attention to what it teaches about Christ. In John 5:39, referring to the Old Testament, Jesus said, "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me." When the risen Lord encountered the men traveling to Emmaus, "Beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." (Luke 24:27) Since the Old Testament truly is the Drumroll to Christ, what insights to Christ Jesus do we find in the covenant promises God made to Abraham?
In Galatians 3, the Apostle Paul is reminding the Galatians about the basics of the Gospel, how a person comes to be saved. He reminds them of how he clearly portrayed before them Christ crucified and of how their faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross is what saved them (Galatians 3:1-7). He further explains that "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us, (for it is written, Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree)." (Galatians 3:13) In this context, in fact, between these verses, Paul cites the Abrahamic Covenant, "in you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed" (Galatians 3:8). He establishes that the Old Testament Scripture foresaw that God would justify Gentiles by faith and cites this promise as proof. The substitutionary death of Christ on the cross for Jews and Gentiles is the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham that in him all nations of the earth would be blessed. Indeed, Jesus Christ is "the Son of David, the Son of Abraham" (Matthew 1:1), fulfilling also the promise to Eve that one offspring of a woman would come and defeat the Tempter through suffering Himself.
So here's what this means for you and me in 2022. No matter what your ethnicity, your geographical background, your socioeconomic status, Jesus Christ is the One whom God set forth to atone for your sin (Romans 3:24). In dying on the cross, He paid the price for your sin and mine. He gave His life on our behalf (Romans 5:8). He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6). For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). The moment you believe these truths about Jesus, you pass from death unto life. You enter into the blessing of a relationship with God by faith in Jesus Christ. Your eternity is secure in Him. And this goes for literally anyone on planet earth who believes. He is the Savior offered up for every person. Have you ever trusted Christ as your personal Savior? Have you ever believed these truths about Him? If you have not, or if you are believing as a result of reading this blog, would you use the Digital Connection Card at https://GraceFay.org/online to get in touch? We want to follow up with you and give you some helps to get started on your new journey with Christ. Glory to God that Jesus Christ His Son fulfilled this covenant promise made to Abraham ages ago.
Over the centuries, ideas have circulated about what should be "in" and "out" when it comes to corporate worship in the Christian church. At times, the use of musical instruments was controversial. A generation ago, the use of pop or even rock sounding music styles in worship overcame controversy. A recent topic trying to take root as a trend is to eliminate solo singing from corporate worship in exchange for including the entire congregation in every song. Let's evaluate the pros, cons, and relevant biblical principles to guide us in our interactions with this idea.
It comes off as a "pro" to include more people in singing rather than fewer. Arguments are made that Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 (where believers are encouraged to speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs) are given to the entire church and not just a soloist. It is interesting that the Bible nowhere prohibits solo singing, and the "to one another" may imply taking turns rather than a whole-congregation simultaneously singing.
Another "pro" to this topic is making the expected standard of musical quality more accessible to the average worshiper. Churches have always had those whose singing was pleasant to human ears and those who are more of the "joyful noise" kind. Nowhere does the Bible support the idea that someone who cannot carry a tune or does not have a pleasant voice should, for that reason, refrain from singing. "Who made your voice?" would be a valid question. God enjoys hearing His creation sing to Him in worship.
Without doubt, the intentions behind this trend are wholesome and God-honoring. But before we swing any pendula in any direction, let us pause for a moment to think through some relevant biblical truths and principles.
1. Eliminating solo singing mitigates against the role exclusivity we find in spiritual gift passages. (1 Corinthians 12:13-25) Have you ever wondered why God gifted certain people with greater natural singing ability than others? While raw musical talent can be cultivated, would we deny that there is a significant God-given element? And is not God sovereign over the opportunities that certain people have to cultivate their natural singing ability? Here is a key thesis. God gives some people an ability to create musical beauty with their voices for His glory that He elects not to give to others. Psalm 33:3 says, "Sing unto Him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise." These clauses are in parallel. The newness of the song sung and the skill of the loud noise played can apply to both. In 1 Kings 7:19-22, we learn that there was lily work on the very top of the pillars of Solomon's Temple. This beauty was created for God to enjoy, as no human eye would behold it. Did every citizen of the kingdom create lily work? (There weren't enough pillars.) It is fine for artisans that have a special skill to use that special skill in worship of the One who gave them that special skill in ways that those who do not have that special skill can glorify God as the Creator of that special skill. The highest purpose of any art form is to glorify God; when we give the best of human achievement and creation to the God who created us, that is worship.
2. Including solo singing does not have to glorify the singer. It is well-known that the Classical composer Johann Sebastian Bach placed Soli Deo Gloria on much of his music. A church musician, Bach had no intentions of pursuing fame. Did every member of his congregation write cantatas? We can never know the motives of anyone's heart but our own, but it is absurd to suggest that no one can sing a solo in worship in humility and solely for the glory of God. Solo singing does not have to direct the worshipers' focus on the soloist. There are any number of ways to encourage worshipers to give God glory and worship Him during the presentation of a solo. Steps may not even need to be taken for this to take place. We also can never engineer worshipers to focus where we want them to focus. But to suggest that every solo sung in corporate worship is a man-glorifying event is naïve and irresponsible.
3. The same argument to eliminate solo singing is seldom used to eliminate choral singing. Many of the proponents of doing away with solo singing in church would fight you over canceling and disbanding their choirs. But to be consistent, anything that is not involving every worshiper present could be eliminated using the same thinking.
Church leaders will always be thinking about how to make our corporate worship more biblical and more glorifying to God. We will always engage in Scripture study and vigorous debate to sharpen our iron and make ourselves as pleasing as possible to the Christ who deserves all of our praise. Let the congregation sing! Let the soloists sing solos! Let the instrumentalists play skillfully! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!
Genesis Chapter 11 gives us the account of the building of the so-called Tower of Babel. The chapter begins, "the whole earth was of one language." Verse 9 explains that the place came to be named "Babel," because there the LORD confounded the language of all the earth." Technically, there was nothing sinful about making bricks, burning them to be hard as stone, mixing slime for mortar, even building a city, and building a tower. The problem was the goal, the intention behind it. Human beings cannot ascertain the motives of other humans with certainty, but God looks on the heart of man. He knows what is in man. He knows that man's heart is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. God knew that their goal was to build a tower that could reach unto heaven (verse 4). Let's put it in the context of the larger narrative in Genesis, the Pentateuch, and the canon of Scripture.
To go back 8 chapters quickly (Genesis 3), when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the forbidden fruit, God drove them out of the Garden lest they should access the tree of life and live forever. God stationed cherubim there with a flaming sword to prevent anyone from approaching eternal life of their own terms and in their own way. After the rhythm of Genesis 5 - "and he died....and he died...and he died..." and then Enoch does not die, we see that Enoch found a door to the tree of life, and that door was walking with God by faith. He approached God on God's terms.
No one but Noah and his seven family members survived the flood. No one survived on their own terms. No one built a bonus ark. No one found a mountaintop high enough. No one built some sort of raft. There were no survivors. Only those who approached God on His terms survived.
You and I do not approach God on our terms - good works, turning over a new leaf, being baptized, joining a church, ensuring our good outweighs our bad (as defined by us). No one comes to the Father but through Jesus (John 14:6). Jesus is the Door. He that has the Son has life, and he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. You cannot build a tower to God. If you are to see God, it will not be the work of your hands that gets you there. You will see God only if you place your faith and trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, who paid the price for your sin and defeated death on your behalf.
So God got involved in Genesis 11. The LORD came down and confounded their languages. People splintered off into linguistic groups and scattered all over the earth. The tower did not get completed. They did not reach heaven. The height of human achievement in that city came to ruin.
Are you in that trap? Are you trying to approach God on your own terms? Are you thinking that you will approach God through the works of your hands? Let the situation at Babel in Genesis 11 show you that you can only approach God through His terms. He took the initiative and created a way back to Himself. That Way is Jesus. Place your faith and trust in Him today. No one comes to the Father but through Him.
NOAH'S ARK AS A TYPE OF CHRIST
One of the Bible's best-known stories is Noah's Ark, but did you know that the ark itself is what we call a type of Christ? Previous posts have more deeply explored the idea of a type - a reality in the Old Testament that prefigures and looks ahead to a corresponding reality in the New Testament. The word comes from the idea of hammering or striking as in minting coins or using an old fashioned typewriter. Here are some of the ways that Noah's Ark prefigures Christ.
Judgment is coming. Something very clear in Scripture is that God judges sin. God is very patient and merciful; He may wait years and generations to send judgment, but He always judges sin. In Noah's day, Genesis 6:5 describes man's sin as follows: "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." We sometimes deceive ourselves into thinking God does not notice or care about our sin. But Genesis 6 teaches clearly that God sees all, including the thoughts of our hearts. He knows, and He responds. In Genesis 6:7, God promises, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth." Judgment is coming. God the Holy Spirit convicts people in our day of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come. 2 Peter 3:10 says, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up." A day of judgment is coming. As judgment was coming in Noah's day, so it is in ours.
God has provided a way of escape. As an act of God's breathtaking grace, He provided a way of escape in Noah's day. Genesis 6:9 tells us that despite the amazing wickedness of Noah's generation, "Noah walked with God." When we looked at Enoch, the man who did not die because the Lord took him, walking with God is a personal relationship with the Lord established by faith. Genesis 6:8 says, "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." God extended grace to Noah and laid out the plan to build the ark. God has provided a way of escape for you and me as well. Jesus Christ declared, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes unto the Father but by me" (John 14:6). Jesus said in John 10:9, "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture." Believing in Jesus makes all the difference. Famously, John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." For a generation facing promised judgment, "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." As God provided a way of escape from judgment in Noah's day through His grace, so has He done the very same in our day through sending His Son Jesus to be our Savior.
Come inside the ark! Genesis 7:1, God extends a beautiful invitation to Noah: "Then the LORD said to Noah, "Come into the ark." The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." You are invited to come into the ark of Jesus Christ. If you are in Christ, there is no judgment or condemnation for you. As Noah was in the ark, he did not face the death those outside the ark faced. If you've never trusted Christ before, God is giving you this opportunity to receive Him. Make no mistake. You have sinned. Judgment for your sin is coming. It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment. The only way you can escape the judgment of God for your sin is by entering into the ark of Jesus Christ by faith. Hebrews 2:3 asks, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him." God has opened to you the way to escape His certain judgment for your sin. Will you once and for all accept Christ as your Savior - your divinely appointed escape from judgment to come? If you do so, please get in touch with us using the Digital Connection Card at https://GraceFay.org/Online and let us know you are trusting in Jesus today. We will follow up with you and help you get started in your new walk with Christ.
1. Designate a place and time for online worship.
If you do church online with us here at Grace Baptist, we offer our online service every two hours on Sunday from 9 AM to 11 PM. Your schedule may be different from one week to another, but as much as possible, pick one of these times to participate in church online. It is also helpful to find a place that is quiet, free from distractions, and so on. You want to have the optimal setup for meeting with God in worship and hearing from His Word. You may want to sing aloud during the music, and there is time for prayer. Every part of church online is enhanced when you have a quiet spot in which to worship the Lord.
2. Prepare your heart for worship.
Preparing your heart for worship is a good idea whether you are doing in-person or online worship, but it can get lost more easily with church online. You can prepare your heart for worship through prayer: "Lord, I am about to enter into a time of worship with church online; speak to my heart through the message and the musical worship. Use this experience to draw me closer to Yourself." You can open to the passage of Scripture that is being preached that day and begin to meditate on it. Here at Grace, we are in a series through the Old Testament. The passage immediately following last week's passage will be today's passage. You can find it easily and begin to read through it. It is great to silence your electronic devices, shut your email, close your Facebook and social media feeds, so that you can focus on the time of worship. This is a big reason we encourage people to log onto https://GraceFay.org/Online. We don't have a list of unfiltered videos to show you just as soon as church is over. You can focus on the content of the online worship service.
3. Download your notes and complete your connection card.
Each week, we upload notes to our website on the church online page so that you can download those and follow along. We leave room in them for you to jot your own notes. This is a great opportunity to make notes for topics you want to study in the future in your own devotional time. It may also be that you come across a question that we do not answer in the message, and you want to email it to us after the service. The Digital Connection Card is an essential way for us to minister to you as a church. We believe God calls the church to do more than just provide you with a video worship experience once per week. We are called to give you opportunities to use your spiritual gifts, to pray for and minister to you, to disciple you and help you grow in your journey with the Lord, and to hold you accountable to the obedience to which God calls all of us. The Digital Connection Card is a tool that assists us in fulfilling that calling while you are unable to attend in person.
4. Develop a plan for returning to in-person church.
INSIGHTS INTO WALKING WITH GOD
After a macabre pattern of the phrase "and he died," the account of Enoch jolts us to attention. Genesis 5:24 says, "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." The way Hebrews 11:5 reports this event is: "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." As Genesis Chapter 3 closed, God stationed cherubim and a flaming sword between fallen mankind and the tree of life, lest man in his fallen state should eat of the tree of life and live for ever. Then as we come to Chapter 5, here is a guy who, by faith, does not see death but instead, goes to be with God forever. As Genesis scholar, John Sailhamer put it in his excellent work The Pentateuch as Narrative, Enoch found the way back to the tree of life - a door, if you will. Enoch walked with God by faith.
There are at least three requirements for one person to walk with someone else. The first is direction. For two people to be walking with one another, they have to be traveling in the same direction. Applied to walking with God, wherever God leads, we go. As the hymn text says, "I'll follow my Christ who loves me so; wherever He leads I'll go." In his excellent devotional work, Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby encouraged readers to find where God is working and join Him. As a church, as leaders, as individual Christians, walking with God means going where He goes, traveling in the same direction as Him. Then, there is pace. If someone advances several steps ahead of the other person, the two are no longer walking "together." If you go for a walk and someone you don't know passes you, they may speak or nod, but you don't know them. You are traveling in the same direction, but you are not in lockstep together. You are not walking with that one. When God lead His children in the wilderness, there were times He instructed them to set up the tabernacle and camp for awhile. There were other times that He told them to pull up the tent spikes and keep moving. We get into problems when we try to go at our own speed rather than trust God's timing. In addition to direction and pace, there is fitness. This one may not seem as obvious, but I am here talking about the strength of a person's heart. In August 2020, I began working out with a personal trainer. We timed my mile pace. It was right at 30 minutes. I hated all 30 minutes. If my trainer had taken me to the football field of any local stadium and told me we were going to run up the stadium stairs three times this afternoon, I would probably have died of a heart attack. I was not ready for that. (Probably still not!) There is a progression to how God deal with His people. We grow as we walk "from faith to faith." The things that challenged our faith on day one of our journey with the Lord probably would not challenge us now, and we were not ready back then for what God has us facing now. He did not tell Abraham everything He was going to do in Abraham's life when he first approached him as Abram back in Genesis 11-12 .The stronger your inner person, the more you accomplish walking with God. The heroes of Hebrews 11 accomplished great things for God, not because they were extraordinary people, but because they had extraordinary faith.
If you are a believer, pray to God, "Lord, I want to walk closely with you. There are times that I have strayed. May I walk closely with you." If you pray that prayer and stay in the Word each day, God will absolutely walk with you. He wants to walk with you much more than you want to walk with Him. If you are not a believer, the first step on your walk with God is to come to the cross of Jesus. Believe that you are a sinner condemned before God, and yet Jesus Christ God's Son died in your place. Receive by faith what He did on the cross as payment for your sin, and be born again. God rose Jesus from the grave, and Jesus stands victorious over sin, death, and hell, and grants that victory to all who believe in Him and Him alone. That is your first step on your journey, and then you are raised to walk in newness of life. Let us help you get started on your journey. Use the digital connection card at https://GraceFay.org/online so that we can help you grow as you seek to walk with God.
The Bible contrasts the first Adam, the man God formed out of the dust of the ground in Eden, and the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, born of the virgin Mary who died on the cross for our sins. For example, 1 Corinthians 5:14 says, "The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven." Romans 5:14 speaks of Adam, "who is a type of Him who was to come." Let us look at the biblical testimony in Romans 5 about this important contrast and bring out some observations that relate to you and me.
To rewind all the way to the beginning, the eternally self-existing God had created the universe (Genesis 1). God had given to mankind every tree of the Garden of Eden to eat and enjoy for nourishment, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil man was commanded not to eat. The serpent tempted Eve, Adam's wife, and she not only ate of the forbidden fruit but also gave to Adam who also ate. Romans 5:12 says, "through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin." This single act of disobedience against the clear command of God brought the curse of sin and immediate spiritual death and eventual physical death upon the entire human race.
Since Adam was our original ancestor, we were "in Adam." When Adam sinned, we sinned. When Adam died, we died. When the guilty verdict and penalty of everlasting death were handed down to Adam, they were handed down to us. We come into the world destined for hell, because we were "in Adam," disobeying God. This is a key reason why it is no good for people to try to reform themselves apart from God's plan of salvation or to try to make themselves acceptable to God in their own strength. We enter the planet with a death sentence hanging over us. In the words of John 3:18, we are "condemned already." This sin nature which we inherit from the first Adam causes us to commit sins of our own, but we are considered sinners due to our connection to the first Adam.
But there is more! Enter the second Adam, who is Christ Jesus our Lord. The first Adam started out with untested creature holiness and fell. The second Adam has the infinite holiness of being the God-Man, the divine Son of God. He is fully God and fully man. God the Son took on human flesh and dwelt among us. And just as through one act of disobedience, sin and death passed upon all who were in the first Adam (that's you and me), so through one act of obedience (Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sin), righteousness and everlasting life pass upon all who are in the second Adam. The finished work of the Second Adam answers and overturns the work of the First Adam. (Read all of Romans 5 for context.)
All of this raises one crucial question - how does a person become "in Christ" or "in the Second Adam?" You can become "in Christ" only through simple faith. You believe that you have sinned and come short of the glory of God. You believe that Christ Jesus died in your place and paid the penalty for your sin. You believe that He rose again on the third day and offers you victory over sin, death, and hell if you will simply believe. The instant you believe, the curse of sin is overturned. You pass from death unto life. You are redeemed, forgiven, and made righteous before God. When you leave this world, you will immediately be in the presence of God forevermore. It is a new beginning. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17a).
Will you trust Him today? Will you believe today? Will you stop trying to get to God on your own and in your own way? Lay aside all your so-called good works and simply trust the finished work of Christ. Become "in Christ" by faith, and receive the righteousness and eternal life that passes down to all who are in Him. When you do that, complete your Digital Connection Card at https://GraceFay.org/Online so that we can help you grow in your new faith in the Lord Jesus.
WHAT IS A BIBLICAL TYPE?
"What type of car do you drive?" "What type of music do you like to listen to?" "Do you know how to type?" These questions show the versatility of the word "type." The Merriam Webster Dictionary lists four broad categories for the noun "type." The fourth is "a person or thing (as in the Old Testament) believed to foreshadow another (as in the New Testament)." One usage of the term in the New Testament is Romans 5:14, "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come." The etymology of the word comes from the idea of striking a coin (similar to the old striking motion of typewriters) and the imprinting of a king's seal. One can see the conceptual connection between minting coins and creating example after example, type after type.
When exploring biblical types, you are looking for two things. First, you are looking for a resemblance. This establishes the basis for a conceptual connection between the two realities. Then, you look for design. To some interpreters, this is less important than to others. But the idea here is that God intended for us as readers of His Word to connect these two realities, that God superintended and directed the behaviors of the Old Testament figure in such a way that it would pre-figure or foreshadow the corresponding New Testament reality.
We are currently in a series called The Old Testament: The Drumroll to Christ. In our most recent message, we explored how Abel is a type of Christ. Abel was a shepherd, and our Lord Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd. His sheep recognize His voice and follow Him. As Abel's brother hated him, so the Lord's half-brothers despised Him before His death. Although Abel was a sinner, he was slain without having committed a capital crime. In a certain sense, Abel did not deserve to die. Our Lord Jesus was murdered completely without cause or warrant. Pilate himself said, "I find no fault in Him." Abel offered a lamb sacrifice, and the sacrifice he offered was accepted. Our Lord Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He is our sinless substitute; He died in our place. Whereas the penalty of death hovered over us as we stood guilty before God, Christ died in our place. He absorbed the wrath of God for our sin. His sacrifice was accepted! He alone can save to the utmost all who come to God by Him. To identify a biblical type does not mean that there is a one-to-one correspondence between the two entities in every detail. Such a requirement would mean there are no types of Christ, because only Jesus is the divine Son of God, the God-Man, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The historical account of Abel's murder in Genesis 4 foreshadows so many elements of our Lord Jesus's life and substitutionary atonement provided through His death on the cross.
My question for you reading this blog is this: Has there ever been a time when you believed in Jesus? Has there ever been a time when you recognized that you are a sinner and believed in what Jesus did on the cross as payment for your sin? Do you believe that God raised Jesus up from the dead, and that He alone can give you the free gift of eternal life? If not, why don't you believe today? For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. Receive the free gift today by faith. Once you do that, get in touch with Grace Baptist Church through the digital connection card at https://GraceFay.org/Online so that we can help you get started on your journey with the Lord.
To God be the Glory for the types of Scripture that point us to Christ.
STEP THREE: Consider Your Own Health and Wellness.
Once your spiritual priorities are in place, and once you have taken into account the needs of your loved ones, you are now ready to make resolutions concerning your own overall health. Some people may wonder if it is wise to put self last. After all, when it comes to caretakers, if they do not take care of themselves, they cannot take care of those who depend upon them. You can readily see that discernment is required. I would respond by simply equating self-care in those contexts as a part of serving others. At the end of this post, we will look at how all of these considerations fit together.
When I encourage you to think about your own health and wellness, I am speaking about every aspect of your life – physical, emotional, and financial, for example. Did you see your doctor for your physical this past year? If not, you might consider doing so this year. Did you have a regular exercise regimen that you followed under the supervision of your doctor? If not, this can be the year that you start exercising regularly. I was the guy who did not like to dress out for PE. I was fat. Not chubby – fat. I was self-conscious about dressing out for PE, so I didn’t do it. This led to a lifetime of being overweight, and I do not blame anyone but myself. But without boring you with these details, let me let you know that I enjoy exercising now. If I can move from where I was to loving physical activity, you can to. A personal trainer might be the answer to get you moving. Your financial health – are you in debt? What can you do to reduce it? Can you ask for a raise at work? Can you take on another job? Are there side gigs that you can pursue to increase your income? How is your retirement savings growing? Will you have enough retirement income when you get to that point? Are you generous toward the Lord’s work? Are you tithing to a local church? Do you honor God with the first fruits?
These are just a few questions to get you thinking about possible resolutions. I would issue a word of caution at this point. You will probably not fix every problem in your life and the lives of your loved ones and the world around you over the next twelve months. You do not want to bite off more than you can chew, to use a worn-out expression. Set goals that are achievable, goals that challenge you but are still within reach. Even if you cannot turn every situation around this year, you can make baby steps toward the solutions. For many things, you can get yourself in a position to solve it completely next year or the year after. For example, my weight was so out of control, it will be another 1.5-2.0 years before I get where I want to be.
How all of this fits together. Once you have sketched out a list of resolutions for these different areas, spend some time thinking about how they relate to one another. For example, when you love the Lord your God with your financial resources, the Word of God promises that God will honor those who are good stewards and who worship the Lord through giving. I have blog posts that explain why the Bible does not promise wealth to everyone who gives to a ministry. But a different principle is clear. God can do more with your 90% than you can do with the 100%. Your financial health is tied to your worship life in giving to God, and all of this is tied with your overall health as it can lead to less stress. If you cannot complete all 200 resolutions on your list, pick the dozen that put checks in the most boxes. Are there resolutions that bring you closer to God, while bringing you closer to your spouse, while improving your own personal health?
For example, “God being my helper, I will start a devotional time with my wife each day in which we read Scripture together, share with one another what God is doing in our lives, how we can serve one another better, and pray together.”
If you would like specific guidance on any of these topics or in making your new years resolutions, please get in touch with us through the digital connection card at https://GraceFay.org/Online
Happy New Year!
Our Lead Pastor is the writer behind this blog. We pray it ministers to you for the glory of Christ.