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Just dropping by ... Success habits for the new year

Yevet Tenney Published on 29 December 2011

The horns blow, whistles scream, firecrackers rattle, confetti floats into the sky and shouts of “Happy New Year” rend the air to signify the death of the old year and herald in the new.It is just a second before the old dies and the new begins, but it only takes a second to change a life forever. It begins with a desire to “walk in newness of life."

Christ came to change the hearts of all mankind. His way of life broke away from the traditions of the Law of Moses. He expected men not to abandon the Law of Moses completely but to train themselves to live a higher law.

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The law of “Thou shalt not commit adultery” was replaced with, “don’t lust.” The laws of “Thou shalt not kill,” “steal” or “covet” were replaced with, “Love thy neighbor as thy self.”

The sacrificial traditions of slaying an animal for sins were replaced by Jesus’ atoning sacrifice and extended to our offering a sacrifice of a “broken heart” and a “contrite spirit.” It was no longer acceptable to just walk the walk and talk the talk. Humankind needed to internalize His teachings to become new creatures, “born again.”

How does a man become born again? Nicodemus asked the same question.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

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Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:3-5)

Being born of water is baptism, which is symbolic of the death and burial of the old man and an outward showing of a commitment to follow Christ completely. Even Christ set the example by being baptized in the River Jordan.

To be born of the Spirit is to allow the Holy Spirit to enter our life and make a difference in the choices that we make. Thus, humankind can be born again, but it does not stop there. We must “walk in newness of life” for the rest of our lives. In other words, we must become true Christians.

The commitment takes only a second, but we must keep the commitment to be true followers of Christ. We can make a hundred New Year’s resolutions, but the rub comes when we must follow through.

We must make our resolutions become habits or we will never be successful in changing our lives for the better. Three habits will make us people who are more successful:

1. Seek the Kingdom first
2. Fasting and prayer
3. Keep a gratitude journal

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Seeking the Kingdom of God first gives us focus and reason in our lives. We open our eyes to a bigger world. We see the needs of others and have a desire to meet those needs. We see ourselves as a vital part and a catalyst for good in the lives of every other human being on the planet.

God’s Kingdom will eventually cover the entire earth. We can help that happen by treating others as He would treat them if He were here. Our financial goals take on a new meaning.

We no longer look at what we can buy to make us look better, but we look at how we can make life better for our brothers and sisters in God’s kingdom, whether they know they are brothers and sisters or not.

God set up a financial system for His kingdom.

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.

And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:10-12)

Tithing means one-tenth. Many successful executives pay the Lord one tenth of all they earn because they know that God will keep his promises.

He will indeed “open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings” and will not allow the devourer, or pestilence and hardship to destroy the fruits of their labors.

In addition to putting God’s Kingdom first, we need to pray and fast. Prayer and fasting are powerful tools in hearing and obeying the counsel of the Lord. If we don’t ask questions, we can’t expect to get answers.

Prayer is powerful, but sometimes putting away our thoughts of food and drink for a while places us in a frame of mind to really listen and hear what the Lord wants to tell us.

In ancient times, people fasted whenever there was a calamity. Esther fasted before she approached the king to plead for the Jews. King David fasted when his child was very sick.

Even in the early days of our country, the Founding Fathers fasted and prayed. There are great blessing promised for fasting.

Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward.

Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:

And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (Isaiah 58:6-14)

I cannot read Isaiah’s words without rejoicing in the Lord’s promises – “to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” – What a promise!

What if the entire nation fasted to loose the bands of wickedness? What would happen to pornography, drug rings and crime? What if our heavy burdens were lifted? What would happen to our economy?

What if the oppressed could go free and every yoke was broken? What if we could unleash the power of God in our children’s minds? What miracles and marvels we would behold!

Fasting is the power that links us to God. Read God’s word and believe. Miracles can happen!

Finally, we must hone our gratitude. We keep meticulous books of our finances and expenditures to face the IRS. We often keep a running tally of all the things we need and want, but how many of us keep a ledger of our blessings?

As we become aware of what we have in comparison to what we lack, we start to realize that God is good. He is mindful of our lives. He knows us personally.

Gratitude helps us own our blessings. If we express gratitude and really take time to think about what we have, our minds automatically see the plenty, not the scarcity.

This New Year’s Day, when we take time to make resolutions, let us take time to make commitments to God, by putting His Kingdom first, fasting and praying, and finally keeping a gratitude ledger to let the Lord know we appreciate His magnificent generosity. PD

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