~January 1, 2014~

A New Year
by Richard Myers

With the advent of a new year, it is a good time to examine our goals in life.  Today, many are making New Year's resolutions.  There are things that we have said or done that we wish could be undone.  There are things that we wish we would have done.  Even the best of us know we
Forty-five percent of Americans usually make New Year's Resolutions. But, only eight percent manage to keep them.
can do better.  Our fallen human nature wants to pull us down, and too often it does.  Before we make more resolutions that too often fail, let's consider how we may succeed. According to the University of Scranton, in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, forty-five percent of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions. But, only eight percent manage to keep them.

Is there help available?  Some turn to therapists, some to drugs, both legal and illegal. Some hire a life coach and self improvement books are sold by the hundreds.  Yet, many are unable to keep their new year's resolutions.  Is there help that works?  Yes, there is.  One such program that has the most success with alcoholics is The Twelve Step Program.  If an alcoholic can find success, maybe we ought to take note as to how they did it.

When setting up a health education program, I ran into a difficulty with supporting one of the important tenets of the program.  I was armed with medical studies to support all that I was teaching except in one area.  I felt that it was impossible to leave it out, yet it was impossible to teach it with no published study.  That very week, the local newspaper printed a story about a published study revealing that Alcoholics Anonymous was the most successful program in working with alcoholics.  That was all I needed.  Trust in divine power had been shown not only to be valid, but was the foundation of the most successful program in dealing with alcoholics. 

As we begin a new year, it would be well to do more than just make resolutions to do good.  Let's consider how we can be successful at keeping those resolutions.  If we thought it impossible, we would not make these resolutions.  What can we do to become the better people that we want to be?  Is the answer to be found from a therapist or a life coach?
Another year of life has closed. How can we look back upon it?
  Is there a Twelve Step Program for Seventh-day Adventists?  Where can we find an answer?

"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." Philippians 3:13, 14. Another year of life has closed. How can we look back upon it? Have we made advancement in our Christian experience? Have we crucified self with the affections and lusts? Have we increased interest in the study of God's Word? Have we gained decided victories over our feelings and sins?

"As you enter upon a new year, let it be with an earnest resolve to have your course onward and upward. Let your life be more elevated and exalted than it has hitherto been. Make it your aim not to seek your own interest and pleasure, but to advance the cause of your Redeemer. Remain not in a position where you ever need help yourself, and where others have to guard you to keep you in the narrow way. You may be strong to exert a sanctifying influence upon others. You may be where your soul's interest will be awakened to do good to others, to comfort the sorrowful, strengthen the weak, and to bear your testimony for Christ whenever opportunity offers. Aim to honor God in everything, always and everywhere. Carry your religion into everything. 

A new page is turned in the book of the recording angel ...

Prepare for eternity with such a zeal as you have not yet manifested. Educate your mind to love the Bible, to love the prayer meeting, to love the hour of meditation, and, above all, the hour when the soul communes with God. Become heavenly-minded if you would unite with the heavenly choir in the mansions above....A new page is turned in the book of the recording angel. . . . Let a record be stamped there which you will not be ashamed to have revealed to the gaze of men and angels."  My Life Today 369.

God loves us and has made it easy for us to find answers.  We are "the people of the Book." At least we are supposed to be.  Have you gone to the Bible to find answers?  It is our instruction manual.  But, it is not all that we have.  God has given to his church, pastors that are well versed in Scripture. "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" Romans 10:5.   And, He sent a modern-day prophet, a lesser light pointing us to the "Greater Light".

Some common new year's resolutions deal with family, finances, health, work, friends, and character.  It may come as a surprise, but we have great light in all of these areas.  We have been given whole books on most of these subjects.  The Biblical principles we are to follow are spelled out in these books.  Adventist Home and Child Guidance go into great detail on family life.  Ministry of Healing, Counsels on Health, and Diet and Foods give abundant information on health.  The nine volumes of Testimonies to the Church cover all areas of life.  The book Mind, Character and Personality reveal important principles of psychology.  But, having these books does not answer in such a way that we will be successful.  Something is missing.  Often these books sit unread collecting dust.  And, if they are read, their counsel is not followed.  What is missing?  The answer is Jesus.  And here, we turn back to The Twelve Step Program that found success in trusting in divine power.  This is more, commonly referred to as  faith.

Yes, if our New Year's resolutions fail, it is due to a lack of faith.  If we are trusting in Jesus, if we are looking to Him for power, we would not fail.  In our search for answers, do we have
We want to be reconciled to our God
light in this area?  Yes we do.  The Bible says, "faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17. The book, Steps to Christ, explains in great detail the steps to be taken to gain this faith that works. 

We are thankful for our Bibles and the Spirit of Prophecy. In them we find a God who loves us so much that He gave us His Son. We seek not only His counsel,  but we seek Him. We want to be reconciled to our God so that His promises will be ours. Jesus wants to take possession of our hearts. When this is done, then our promises will not be as ropes of sand. 

"Feeling the terrible power of temptation, the drawing of desire that leads to indulgence, many a man cries in despair, 'I cannot resist evil.' Tell him that he can, that he must resist. He may have been overcome again and again, but it need not be always thus. He is weak in moral power, controlled by the habits of a life of sin. His promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. The knowledge of his broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens his confidence in his own sincerity and causes him to feel that God cannot accept him or work with his efforts. But he need not despair.

Those who put their trust in Christ are not to be enslaved by any hereditary or cultivated habit or tendency. Instead of being held in bondage to the lower nature, they are to rule every appetite and passion. God has not left us to battle with evil in our own finite strength. Whatever may be our inherited or cultivated tendencies to wrong, we can overcome through the power that He is ready to impart." Counsels on Health 439,440.

We have a new program offering the Ellen White CD to those who cannot afford it. There is no reason why the light so graciously given to us  cannot find its way into every home and church around the world. It lifts up Jesus as our only hope. Let the revival and reformation promised to us find its way into our hearts in this new year of 2014 is our earnest prayer.
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