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New Year:  What should your resolution be EVERY year?

Gary Googe Jan 01

We need to first be sure we understand the meaning of the word resolution.  My dictionary tells me it means to make a firm decision to do or not do something.  Furthermore, it says it is the quality of being determined or resolute.  So, what should you decide to be determined about doing in this new year? How about deciding to make yourself a true disciple of Jesus Christ? What is a disciple?  The word disciple in the Bible comes from the Greek word MATHETES which means to be a learner or a student.  One of the most important verses you’ll ever read in all the Bible is this first one I’ll mention in this study.  Because of its extreme importance you’ll find that I refer to this verse often in my articles and videos.

2 Timothy 2:15

15 Study [SPOUDAZO = be diligent] to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [Emphasis added]

So, how can we be diligent to do this? It is by steadily working to learn and apply the things we come to know from the Bible.  Can we expect to do this in an hour a week of study? How would you like to know that your surgeon had spent only an hour a week to learn how to operate on you? I doubt you’d be very impressed with that.  I also doubt that you’d have much confidence about his ability to be of much help to you.

Our training in the Word of God needs to be something we work at daily.  We all have other daily responsibilities, but not one of them is as important as this one.  Notice our Lord’s words about this.

Matthew 4:4

But he answered and said, It is written [in Deuteronomy 8:3], Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. [Emphasis added]

No one ever grows up on little random devotional snacks.  It takes a well-balanced diet to be healthy both physically and spiritually.

The book of Job is said to be the oldest book in the Bible.  Notice what he says about the importance of God’s Word.

Job 23:12

12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. [Emphasis added]

All the truly greatest people of history felt this way about it.  No exceptions!

Yes, the Bible surely is a big book, so where should someone begin? For many years I’ve heard people say that it is the book of John that should be one’s starting place.  However, a major problem with that is that the book of John is not addressed to us today.  It doesn’t even contain the gospel message by which someone can be saved today.  If you don’t believe that, I encourage you to read some of my articles on our website that address this.  You’ll find these at 4Us2UsMinistries.com

Gospel:  Is OUR gospel in “the four gospels?”

Bible:  What’s the true meaning of John 3:16?

Then there are other articles that will tell you the procedure you should follow in your studies of Scripture.

4Us2Us:  What does this mean?

Bible:  How is it best to study it?

Studying the Bible is an eye-opening experience.  That’s why it is still the world’s most read book.  Are you a part of that? Are you thought of by others as a serious student of God’s Word? Shouldn’t you be? There’s no greater activity in one’s life than studying and working at applying the teachings of the Bible that are directed to us.

I’ve found that in my lifetime there’s been a steady digression in the study of the Bible by Americans.  Our country was founded by people who had a great love for this book, and they were quite vocal about it.  Here are some of the things they said.

George Washington—First President of the United States of America

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” 

Patrick Henry—Early American Leader

“There is a book [the Bible] worth all the other books ever printed.”

John Jay—First Chief-Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

“The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.”

Noah Webster— “Schoolmaster of the Republic”

“Education is useless without the Bible. The Bible was America’s basic textbook in all fields. God’s Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.”

Thomas Jefferson—Principal author of The Declaration of Independence and President of the United States of America

“A studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands.”

Daniel Webster—United States Secretary of State

“If there is anything in my thoughts or style to commend, the credit is due to my parents for instilling in me an early love of the Scriptures. If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.” 

Calvin Coolidge—President of the United States of America

“The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.”

Theodore Roosevelt—President of the United States of America

“It is necessary for the welfare of the nation that men’s lives be based on the principles of the BIBLE.  No man, educated or uneducated, can afford to be ignorant of the BIBLE”

Original Harvard University Student Handbook—1636

“Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well: the main end of his life and studies is “to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life” [John 17:3], and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let everyone seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of Him [Proverbs 2:3].”

There are many more famous people who have said similar things about the value of the Bible, but what priority will you give it? Is your thinking about the Bible a reflection of theirs? This is a question you will answer by the amount of time you devote to studying it and working to bring its principles into your everyday life.

Even the United States Congress once pronounced a resolution about the value of the Bible in all our schools

“The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.” – United States Congress 1782

So, what happened? Answer:  There’s been a steady erosion of this kind of thinking in the American people.  What is your position on this? What priority are you giving the study of God’s Word in your life? What efforts are you making to instill such principles in those around you? The Bible warns us that there will be downward trends in this in the last days.  Could we now be seeing things in fulfillment of that?

1 Timothy 4:1

1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [Emphasis added]

Yes, we have some people today who can quote Scripture.  But did you know that we have the record of Satan quoting Scripture?  In his temptations of our Lord recorded in Matthew, we have him mis-quoting Scripture.  We have the record of Satan taking two verses out of context for the purpose of deceiving.  In the conversation Satan has with our Lord he takes comments and misquotes them just as we have going on today.  In this case he adds to what is said.    

Matthew 4:6

And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. [Emphasis added]

Here’s what the text actually says.

Psalm 91:11-12

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. [Emphasis added]

Satan uses people today to do similar things.  Unless you’re wise to what the Scriptures really teach, you are subject to being deceived.  This happens every day, even in church pulpits around the world.  Here Satan took two verses out of context and attempted to apply them to a time in which they did not apply.  We have so much of this going on today.  We have “seducing spirits” [preachers’ voices] uttering vain words in many pulpits around the world today.  They too are quoting Scripture, and like Satan, citing verses that have nothing to do with what God is doing at the present time.  Here is one of the most famous of these in our time.

Matthew 21:22

22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. [Emphasis added]

This is a promise our Lord gave in a former time that is not TO us today.  Some people have had to learn this the hard way.  I address this one and some others like it in my book 22 Key promises you can count on.  Regarding the subject of God’s prayer promises, see page 276. 

Misrepresentation of what the Bible teaches is a common practice.  If you are not diligent in your personal study of it, you will be deceived.  Our Lord warned people about this in the time of His earthly ministry.  This is just as much a problem today as it was then.

Matthew 7:15

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening [HARPAX = rapacious or greedy] wolves. [Emphasis added]

Christ warned His disciples about the religious leaders of that time as people need to be warned about them today.  They go by different titles, but such people with such thinking are with us today.  Just as they were a hindrance to people’s salvation in that day, they are much the same today.

Matthew 23:13

13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. [Emphasis added]

The apostle Paul warns us about this sort of thing.

Colossians 2:8

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments [STOICHEION = substance] of the world, and not after Christ. [Emphasis added]

If doctrine were not important, the apostle Paul’s admonition to “beware” and to “take heed” [meaning to “beware”] would be completely unnecessary.  As this next passage tells us, the only remedy for this is through correct teaching.

Acts 20:28-31

28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Paul was very concerned about these people.

29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. [Emphasis added]  

If all this wasn’t important, we wouldn’t have so many warnings about it in Scripture.  Again, the same kind of problems that existed then exist today.

Matthew 15:8-9

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. [Emphasis added]

Our attention today needs to be primarily upon the teachings of the apostle Paul.

2 Timothy 1:13

13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me [Paul], in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. [Emphasis added]

Today we find that the teachings of the apostle Paul are Christ’s teachings to us today.

1 Corinthians 14:37

37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. [Emphasis added]

Enticing words that would keep us from doing this are as common now as they were in Paul’s day.

Colossians 2:4

And this I say, lest any man should beguile [APATAO = deceive] you with enticing [PITHANOLOGIA = persuasive] words. [Emphasis added]

If you are truly searching for the truth, you can rest assured that God will lead you to it.  This has always been the case.

Jeremiah 29:13

13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. [Emphasis added]

The problem we have today with so many is that they are not searching for the truth.  They’re really not! And as I often say, you’re not going to find something you’re not looking for.

So, what’s the situation with you? Are you serious about growing spiritually? If you are, you’re going to take steps to make that happen.  There are certain things you’re going to have to take the initiative to do.  

  • Decide to spend some time studying God’s Word every day.
  • Separate yourself from fruitless time-consuming activities.
  • Build relationships with people who can help you.
  • Beware of people who can hinder you.
  • Pray for God’s wisdom.

Let us all resolve to heed Solomon’s advice.

Proverbs 1:5

A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: [Emphasis added]

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