The New Year is around the corner. You have crossed over having patiently waited for it. Prior to the New Year, your heart might have been filled with ecstasy, euphoria and a mixture of hope and despair. Some people might be very apprehensive, not knowing what to expect of the New Year. Others might be filled with rhetoric questions on what the New Year might bring. So many people could exclaim in certainty that they made the New Year as a result of their hard work and the making of right choices.
Whatever shades of opinion we might get, I think it is needful if not appropriate to thank God we made it to the New Year! Most certainly, to be further grateful for, our loved ones who made it to the new year to celebrate with us. Nothing can be likened to it. It’s so wonderful and amazing to see life get better as we are in the very company of those who would support and encourage us.
In the previous year we might have had some dreams realized or unrealized. Maybe certain project, business, academic, ministry, personal development, career, marriage, family may not have stood up to expectation. May be they did not yielded fruits commensurate with the time, passion and resources allocated to it. Maybe you’ve made certain mistakes. You might have being wrongly influenced or persuaded to take a particular wrong course in life. May be you have been wrongfully accused or shamed for something you did not do or know anything about. Maybe you have done something shameful and regrettable. It’s not too late you can make amends. You can learn from your mistakes and move forward. Someone said the past is not a place of residence but a place of reference. Learn from your mistakes. Maybe it’s not really a mistake but a trust issue. People you trusted may have stabbed you at the back. Not to worry, it’s a lesson and experience aimed at propelling your life forward. You know, we relate with people with certain unverified assumption. For example, I believe people are good, honourable and responsible. It is your duty and mine to first of all, ensure we posses those virtues in us and also seek it out in others as a confirmation of our initial assumptions. Anything short of that is a recipe for disaster-heart break. Never to worry, God has been willing as always to offer you a whole new opportunity to make a start over.
If you were told that you’ll live your last today on earth but suddenly you were later offered a grace of 366 days to right the wrongs in your life, what would you do differently? Will you speak more kind words than lacerate? Will you give your spouse more attention? Will you listen more? Will always be there for your children? Will you make God first in your life? Will you be passionate about life and enjoy being you instead being another person? Will you seek to please God and find out what his will is for your life instead of trying to please men at the expense of God and yourself? Will you be more prayerful? Will you trust God more? Will you declare his goodness to your generation? Will you improve yourself? Will you conform to the lifestyle and example of Christ? Will you learn to make sacrifice beyond your comfort zone?
For some, you might have achieved or realized your dreams beyond your expectations. You got that contract, pay rise, promotion, your family is working out and your talents and skills are paying you the anticipated dividends. You can still improve. You can still take over more territories. You are incapacitated to the extent you think you are. Scientific reports brought to fore an interesting discovery regarding the potential of the human brain. It is reported that for geniuses, only about 10% of their brain is being tasked and fully exploited. What about the 90%? Is it left for the grave and soil? The rationale of this illustration is to remind you to keep moving forwards. Become a better, father, mother, parent, son/daughter, In-law, businessperson, employer, employee, spouse, student, Christian, minister by placing a demand on your potential and strength.
Before we proceed to the intricacies of the new, virgin, unexploited and unknown year, let’s briefly preview the antecedents of the previous year in retrospect. In the previous year, it will be in proper context if we take a holistic appraisal of our antecedents by taking on a SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. We have to start from the known to the unknown.
What are those things, people or circumstances that brought your latent strength to fore? Judging by enormous resources of 365/366 man days allocated to you by nature some may say, but I rather say by God; how judiciously and meticulously have you employed this resource to its optimum in terms of meaningful and measurable productivity? I hope you agree with me that time is an invaluable resources? Someone rightly said, it’s only a lunatic will keep on employing the same method time and time again, yet expecting a different result each time. If you do not like the output or expectation of a given condition or expectation, it becomes imperative and necessary to change the constituent variables of such a function. It has been said overly that what you daily you do permanently. A man cannot consistently behave in a manner that is inconsistent with his nature or habit or choices. The future you expect is just a second away from your last thought from now! The largest room on earth is the room for improvement. You can decide to feed your strength and become better by taking cognizance of what worked for you in the past year. It is quite pathetic that so many a people have refused, either by sheer ignorance or mental indolence to discover their areas of strength and try to build their talent, life and opportunities within that hemisphere. You cannot be everything, neither can you do everything. Wise people know what works for them based on their individual peculiarities. It is quite revealing and instructive to find out that the New Year brings nothing but a clean slate of opportunity to further the cause of your life as a predicate of the currency of time.
God is infinite, but man is finite. God is timeless. He does not need clock, watch or calendars but man imperatively needs them. Man’s days are timed. God created time and seasons. For Man to comprehend time and season, into seconds, minute, hour, day, week, month and year. Invariably speaking, the New Year does not literally come with loads of baggage neither does Santa Claus accompanies the new year to bring you new tidings. The New Year is a sub-division of time. It is an indication that a particular timed season (year) has ended and a new timed season (year) has come. Life will be very boring if this division were not made assuming we are to live our life in a stretch without yearly intervals. Things may still remain the way they are including you if you do not make judicious use of the New Year to become a better you via the auspices of faith anchored on God and on his promises.
It is very important to pay serious attention to people and things that matter most to you in this New Year. Pay attention to God, yourself, your family, your loved ones, your job or business, your ministry or church and the list continues. Become more effective in this New Year. No excuses, unwholesome indulgence. Decide to give and serve God and humanity. It is self defeating to give the time; you don’t have to things or people that are, cynical, critical, skeptical, hypocritical, sycophant, envious, wicked, toxic, caustic and corrosive. It is counter-productive. It’s high time you kept away from people who run you down and tear you into pieces, disloyal people and people who are in alliance with your enemies. If you can’t change a person apply the law of natural Congregational segregation. Congregational segregation in the sense that there are some people by virtue of the exigencies of duty, residential affiliation or communal ties you might not totally keep off from them by reason of your domestication or employment or business within a specific geographical location. You relate with them diplomatically from a distance without telling why you do what you do.
The most profound decision any man can take is to be reconciled to his maker via a renewed commitment and relationship with Jesus Christ. So many a people embrace religion but have no direct relationship with Jesus. Have you noticed that so many people (Heathen and liberalists and some so called Christians) attribute their life and successes to God and not to Jesus? What do I mean? Even a native doctor or people of other faiths have claims to God but not to Jesus. Jesus is the only way to God because we all lost out as a result of the sin of one man ADAM. Jesus being the second ADAM came and reconciled us back to God. When we have relationship with Jesus by being born again, God credits righteousness into our account as a result of our faith in Jesus. We become God’s righteousness not because of what we have done or have not done. It is the grace and free gift of God because we believed and responded to the grace and gift of God. The grace of God is unmerited, unearned and undeserved favour. Receive it now by confessing and believing Jesus and saying no to Satan and the world. Make up your mind this year to come closer to God via Jesus. It is only via God you can achieve and realize your full potentials. God gives you strength. You can do all things through Christ Jesus (you know already and have relationship with).
As time draws near, a wise man should plunge into his life purpose. You cannot afford to waste another whooping sum of 366 (days) resources. It’s self defeating.
As time draws near too, the coming of Jesus is also nearer and no one knows when life is going to be over. We need to start living and enjoy our life in righteousness and pay attention to our lifestyle. We need to program our life naturally by default to bring God glory and praise in all things.
We all have some sort of weaknesses that stares us in the face every time. By weaknesses, we mean limitations life or circumstances had placed on you. Some are transitional, reversible or irreversible. When we talk about weaknesses, we do not mean irresponsible behaviour or sinful practice or unwholesome indulgence. Weaknesses here do not imply adoption or addiction to hard drugs or narcotics, immoral life or debauchery. Affiliation to cult groups or relationship with people of questionable character is not part of the definition of weaknesses. It’s good we are clear on this concept before we proceed. A weakness is anything but sin that poses a limitation to the realization of your God given potential. It could be socioeconomic, poor background, lack of social status or standing, political or academic deprivation, spiritual or physical handicap, speech or hearing inhibition or impalement. It could be one working in area or subject one is not totally conversant with. It could be one working in a difficult terrain or with difficult people. It could be because of your status or level in life or in your working place. It may reflect as prejudice, discrimination based on religion, gender, race, ethnicity or even the colour of your skin or even family background. Your weakness may stem from your lack of an impressive physique or facial appearance. Weakness could also be spelt as, when one is not yet married or have a child, some form of impediment in the form of sickness, disease, affliction that affects your performance or psyche for normal functioning. It may be impotence, or sterility, or psychological disorder. It could also manifest when people try to bring up your ugly past in order malign you each time; maybe a failed relationship and so on. Lack or possession of some or all this and more as mentioned could lead to destructive or scornful criticism or rejection of you in some quarters, either low or high depending on the individuals involved.
Never worry and do not allow your deprivation limit your potentials. Everyone has a weakness in light of the definition in this context. Everyone has what makes him or her to be afraid. In fact a whole lot of people are motivated by fear. Fear drives them to do what they do; Fear or failure, rejection, sickness, death, loss of wealth, job, spouse, marriage, investment, loss of favour, loss of children and property. This explains why people often prefer to go with the band wagon especially in a hotly debated controversial issue. They are afraid to be standing alone even when they know truth contrary to the lies being propagated. They are afraid of rejection, attack, criticism or even death.
But the righteous (those God made righteous by their simple believe and reception of Jesus in their lives; the righteousness of God) shall live and walk by faith. Fear is the opposite of faith. Both cannot co-exist at the same time in one’s life or heart. Fear contaminates faith. Someone rightly said that fear is False Evidence Appearing Real!
As mentioned earlier, some weaknesses are transitional, reversible or irreversible. By function of vision, determination and hard work the transitional and reversible can be corrected or improved on. By faith, hard work and improving oneself academically or acquisition of certain skills one can jump over the poverty line for example. In the case of the irreversible weaknesses, there is nothing you can do about it. You just shouldn’t allow it bother you or stop you from achieving your God ordained purpose.
The scripture tells us that the strength of Christ is made perfect in our weaknesses. We can overcome our weaknesses by totally depending on God and seeking to build our life around our strength as compensation.
What are those things that hinder you? Have you noted them down? How do you intend to contend or manage them for you benefit?
It is good to note that weakness is not a sin and sin is not a weakness. For example, smoking and immoral living or hot temper is not a weakness but sin that must be confessed and repented of. But stammering, lack of discernment, being overly short or tall, bad eyesight, poor background, being prejudiced for whatever reason is a weakness on your part and not a sin.
This brings us to a very important conclusion: God forgives our sin and strengthens our weaknesses. God does not forgive our weakness and strengthen our sins.
Everyone in life does have an opportunity to achieve certain things. Opportunity can be described as a timed platform or window which you may not have necessarily earned that is allocated to you to give you a leverage to achieve your goals if duly recognized and exploited.
You might as well consider an opportunity as a break or leverage or even a ladder to climb over into your dreamed destination.
The bad news is that so many people do not recognize their opportunities or even when discovered, they do not know what to do with it. Some blow it up. Someone said that opportunity is missed by many becomes it comes dressed in work overalls! Ben Carson the renowned neurosurgeon and once American Republican Presidential candidate said: “You are considered lucky when preparations meet with opportunity’.
The scripture tells us of time. There is time for everything. Opportunity means your time for something, some project in your life. Wasting it leads to life set backs or leads to failure and depression eventually.
Most importantly, God offers us opportunity to know him personally via his son Jesus. Some do not recognize it. Some certainly take it for granted. If you lose that opportunity, it might difficult for you to know Christ by being born again again. When you lose that opportunity at most, you will embrace religion without Christ which is tantamount to going to Hell fire.
You may be have lost or blown up your opportunity in the previous year. You do not to have to beat yourself up over it. Opportunity is available for you in this New Year to make a start over. Exploit every good opportunity that will advance the cause of your life to the glory of God this year.
What would you do differently this year? The year is still fresh, virgin and young. What are your dreams and aspirations this year? Regardless of your level in life you can still become more efficient and productive in your endeavours.
This year may be the best opportunity to go back to earn a college degree, learn a new skill, make amends with your parents, your spouse or even your children. This may be the best time to bring your family together and end that fuss. This may be the best time to take that short course to improve yourself, start up that business, start up the ministry God has called you into, write that proposal, write that book, write that song or even publish that book or wax those songs.
This is the opportunity for you to become a better you, a better Christian. Become more faithful, more committed to God and his kingdom project. It is an opportunity to help those within your sphere of influence. It is an opportunity to fall in love all over with your spouse. Treat them with more dignity and respect.
Threats are those things that challenge your goals, vision and in some cases your well-being and life altogether. Threats are those things that bully, intimidate or even make you afraid. Everyone has what constitute threat to his or her life at one point in life. The first step to wisdom is to identify those sources of threat to one’s life and effectively manage your relationship with them. Some people will continue to experience colossal failure time and time again until they are able to isolate those factors and sources of threats in their life.
It is quite an aberration if not totally embarrassing for one to live one’s life without taking record of events in one’s life over time with view to taking a holistic appraisal. These appraisals will enable one to keep track of successes and failure, mistakes that need to be corrected and those things that need to be upheld or discarded from one’s life. Remember what you do daily, you do permanently. You can keep doing the same thing year after year and still expect different results each time.
To change the outcome of your life and expectation it will be necessary to change your thought pattern. The scripture tells us that as a man thinketh in his heart so is he. Your outside life is a reflection of your inner life. Your inner life is your thought pattern. These are proved formula for life. The root of life is spiritual. It does not matter your shade of opinion or orientation, life is spiritual. Your real you is your spirit. You posses a soul. Your soul is your ‘thinker’, ‘your chooser’ and ‘your feeler’. Your soul is the hub and store house of all acquired knowledge and decision making capacity. Finally, you live in a body. It therefore implies that you are a triune being.
As mentioned earlier, your inner life is your thought pattern. This brings us to a very important point, your thoughts are spiritual. It is not concrete. Thoughts are not tangible. You can feel or see it but you can see the resultant effect of such a thought. Your thoughts determine your speech or confession. Your confession determines your behaviour. Your behaviour determines your action. Your action finally determines your experience or result in life. To change your circumstance, you need to change your thought pattern. For us to think rightly to get good results, we need to renew our mind with the word of God and refuse to be conformed to the thinking pattern of the world. There are several benefits being born again gives us when we believe and co-operate with God.
According to Creflo Dollar, Words determine the way you think. The way you think determines the way you feel. The way you feel determines the decision you take. The decision you take determines your action. Your action determines your habit. Your habit determines your character. Your Character determines your destination in life.
Like we said earlier, everyone does have things that threaten him or her. Life has never being easy or fair. In addressing our threats, we need to filled with faith filled thoughts and the word of God.
The first target destination the word of God intends to influence us is our hearts, our thoughts. Once we achieve a change in our thought, the word of God has succeeded in changing us altogether.
Having discovered your threats, it is very important to know how to effectively manage them. Keep off from toxic, corrosive and caustic people. It’s high time you left that cult group, those wrong relationship and bad company. You already know it pays you no dividend. Don’t you think it’s high time you stopped that alcohol consumption, smoking of weed and narcotics? You know it, you know it is a threat to your health but you still held on to it.
It’s high time you give a quit notice to that strange mistress, man and lover in your life. It’s in your hands to end your misery. You can choose to go back to your spouse and make some reconciliation.
What are those things that threaten your life and well being? Is it a habit, a lifestyle, an association, set of people, sickness or affliction, family issues, academic limitation etc., You require wisdom from God to help you to surmount them and know the next line of action to take.
A detailed and comprehensive understanding of SWOT analysis regarding your life will put you in a good position to effectively manage your life better in this New Year.
Wisdom lies in knowing what works for you based on your individual peculiarity. The New Year brings nothing but a clean slate of opportunity to enable you further the cause of your life.
God is infinite, but man is finite. God is timeless. He does not need clock, watch or calendars but you need them. Your days are timed. God created time and seasons. Man in order to comprehend time and season subdivided the seasons and time into seconds, minute, hour, day, week, month and year. The New Year does not literally come with loads of baggage. The New Year is a sub-division of time. It is an indication that a particular timed season (year) has ended and a new timed season (year) has come. Life will be very boring if this division were not made assuming we are to live our life in a stretch without yearly intervals. Things may still remain the way they are including you if you do not make judicious use of the New Year to become a better you via the auspices of faith anchored on God and on his promises.
Involve yourself in things that give life; things and people that add to you. Stay away from things that drain your energy. Learn to start believing in God and his promises. Learn to start believing in you. Believe in your dreams and passion even when others say no to it! Where will you be in five years from now if Christ tarries? The books you read, people you connect with and place you go will help you answer that question five years from now.
It is very important to pay serious attention to people and things that matter most to you in this New Year. Pay attention to God, yourself, your family, your loved ones, your job or business, your ministry or church and the list continues. Become more effective in this New Year.
Once again, welcome to the New Year. It promises to be great. It’s an opportunity measured with time to live out your life purposes and bring God glory. The glory of the latter house shall be greater than the former. God does not perform his best in our yesterdays but in our future. God said I should tell you, He’ll do a new thing and bring you to your place of glory, only believe and trust me all the way through. HAPPY NEW YEAR, DEAR. Go, enjoy!
If you have not given your life to Jesus, this is a good opportunity for you to do so. Repent of your sins believe in Jesus and confess him now as your Lord and saviour. Say “Dear Lord Jesus, I believe in my heart that you came and died for my sins and was raised on the third day by God. I therefore confess with my mouth that you are my Lord and saviour. Please forgive and wash me with your blood. I receive your offer of grace and receive eternal life in my spirit. Thank you Jesus for making me the righteousness of God!”
Rev’d MI Israel is a teacher of the word, writer, blogger, entrepreneur, Agricultural Economist, father and husband. He is also the president and Founder of Bethelspring International Christian Center (BICC). I ‘d love to help you become your best. Web: miisrael.wordpress.com, http://www.facebook.com/miisraelimpact http://www.facebook.com/bethelspring
He is called by God to bring positive change into the lives of God’s people via preaching of the gospel in simple and clear terms, undiluted in righteousness. He is blessed with God’s divine wisdom and counsel.
The rich combination of his simplicity in heart, audacity and firmness in his carriage, vision and ambition gives him an edge in good servant-leadership. The impact of his ministry is felt by those who are connected to his ministry. As a growing ministry he oversees, He is determined to take the world for Christ through community service, and the work of the ministry.
He is happily married to Pastor (Mrs.) Grace Israel. A woman of substance, grace and virtue. They are currently blessed with two lovely sons, David and Michael.
You can Contact him for your speaking engagement in seminars, crusades, revival and youth programs.
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