WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 3, 2021
TOPIC: MAKE THE NEW YEAR A NEW YEAR (2)
BY T. O. BANSO
“Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days” (Ephesians 5:16 New Living Translation).
In our devotional yesterday, we considered how to make the New Year a new year. As I said, for many people, the New Year is or will be a continuation of the old year. Nothing is new or will be new, apart from the change of calendar from one year to another. The New Year must be really a new year for you.
We have looked at the following five ways to make the New Year a new year:
1.Get closer to God.
2. Learn from the past.
3. Stop bad habits, cultivate good habits.
4. Get out of all bad relationships.
5. Start or resume the project or dream God has given you.
Here are the additional five things you should do:
6. Plan your finances well. Most problems or challenges you faced last year were probably money-related. Someone has said that until you are financially free, you are not free! To make this year a new year for you, you must not leave your finances to chances. Plan your finances – your incomes and expenditures. What legitimate things can you do this year to increase your income?
Your financial obligations this year are more likely going to increase, and unless your finances increase proportionately to meet the legitimate demands on your finances, you will come under intense financial pressure. This challenge could push you into debt, reduce the quality of your life, or hinder you from doing things that are important to you.
Plan to make more money legitimately through businesses and wise investments. Don’t participate in Ponzi schemes or get-rich-quick schemes, even if the promoters claim to be or are Christians. Look inward and find out what skills and talents you have that you can use to earn money.
Most importantly, ensure that you operate under the open heaven of God’s blessing by obeying His Words, including giving generously to God and the poor and the needy. Avoid impulsive and compulsive purchases. Avoid buying things on credit, especially incurring debts for consumption and not for investment. Avoid buying things that are cheap but comes with the high cost of maintenance.
7. Invest in personal development. What values did you add to your life last year apart from material possession? I am talking about mental or intellectual addition. In what ways did you improve yourself in these aspects? How many edifying books did you read, or educative videos did you watch? What new skills did you acquire? What training did you attend?
If this year is going to be a new year, you must invest in yourself mentally; you must improve yourself intellectually. What special skills or expertise are you planning to acquire this year? In what ways do you plan to invest in self-development? Knowledge, skills, and expertise are everywhere to acquire but it takes understanding, foresight, and appreciation of the future benefits derivable to pay the price for them today.
Proverbs 1:20-22 says, “Wisdom calls aloud outside; she raises her voice in the open squares. She cries out in the chief concourses, at the openings of the gates in the city she speaks her words: How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge” (New King James Version).
Don’t hate knowledge; fools hate knowledge (Proverbs 1:22). Maybe you have to enrol for another degree or an advanced degree, computer literacy, language training, driving training, apprenticeship in a trade, etc. This can enhance your opportunities, improve your self-esteem, or help you in moving in the direction of career-change you are persuaded you need. Are you preparing for the future of the industry you are in?
Of course, it will cost you both time and money, but the benefits are invaluable. Don’t let this year pass without you learning something new and beneficial – something new that will contribute to your life significantly. If you don’t improve yourself, maybe all you are just doing is making money – you may soon become obsolete and eventually irrelevant. Then, the money you think will always be there will stop coming to you. Legitimate money comes to you only because you are solving a problem or meeting a need.
8. Invest in your family especially your spouse and children. Sad to say, many people don’t do this because of wrong priorities. That’s why things are upside down in their families.
Get your priorities right this year; let this year be a new year in your family. Invest time in your spouse and children; invest in them the resources God has given you. Your children and spouse need you at home this year. Don’t be a workaholic, abandoning the home.
If you won’t have time for your nuclear family, probably you shouldn’t have married! Since you are married already, you must give priority time to them. Your success at work can never compensate for your failure at home! Your family needs your time both in quality and quantity!
There is no amount of money people make or fame they acquire that will help them find the children and marriage they have lost due to lack of love and attention. Parents whose children have run away from home, must, with prayer, search for them, and bring them back this year. Restore love in your family. Invest your God-given resources to redeem your family.
Stop being an absentee-parent; go back home from where you have wandered. Return to make a significant and indelible impact on your children before they leave you to start life on their own. Go back to cleave to your wife/husband. The wine may have finished in your marriage, but ask God to give you the good wine, just as Jesus did in the marriage of Cana of Galilee (John 2). I know He will because He is interested in the family.
9. Be a blessing to others. It is good to be blessed, but it is much better to be a blessing to others. God told Abraham, “I will bless you and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2b New King James Version). Don’t leave selfish life this year. There is joy in being a blessing to somebody, helping somebody even in the smallest way.
If you live for yourself alone, you will die a small person! The life of a man does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses (Luke 12:15). Although you cannot satisfy everybody, contribute to the lives of people you meet in your journey this year according to your divinely granted ability. This does not have to be money always. There is nobody who cannot help somebody; there is always somebody you can help.
It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). Let this be your watchword this year. Let those around you be able to have a feeling of gratitude towards you like the widows did towards Dorcas (Tabitha) in Acts 9 because of her good deeds. When you bless people, God will bless you back in his own way (Proverbs 11:25).
As it’s been said, “Whatever you make happen for somebody, God will make happen for you.’’ The psalmist says, “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread’’ (Psalm 37:25 New King James Version).
10. Have positive expectations and be thankful to God. This is not talking of any human philosophy or stressing natural hope. It is emphasizing a practice rooted in the Word of God, which cannot fail because it has a self-fulfilling ability. Your faith in God determines a lot, what you get from life. With your faith in God, you can change your negative circumstances.
With your faith in God, you can achieve your goals this year. Faith in God does not grumble in the face of discouragement. It knows that though weeping may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5b). All things are possible to him that believes (Mark 9:23).
Let your faith be in God through Jesus Christ this year. There is no mountain that you and God cannot overcome. He will level the mountain for you; He will fill all the valleys. He will make all your crooked paths straight; He will steer your boat across the stormy sea and you will sail to the other side safely.
Emulate Jesus Christ who was so focused that He endured and despised the shame (Hebrews 12:2). Be focused. Let your eyes be on the reward. Regretting, fretting, lamenting, or grumbling this year, as you did in past years, will not help you. Live a life of thanksgiving. Count it all joy whatever happens to you this year (James 1:2). In everything, give thanks (1Thessalonians 5:18).
Negative attitudes will only wear you out, but the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10b). Rejoice in the Lord always this year, and I say again, rejoice (Philippians 4:4). This New Year can be your best year ever, a really new year, and it will be in Jesus’ name.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I shall put my faith in God; I shall not be moved by circumstances this New Year. Father, I have faith in You to accomplish my goals and dreams for the year. Holy Spirit, help me to overcome all challenges that may arise. I shall rejoice in the Lord no matter what happens; I reject the spirit of discouragement and depression.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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