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Resolutions that Should Stick-Proverbs 3

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gn=center style='margin-top:0in;margin-right:-.75in; margin-bottom:0in;margin-left:-45.0pt;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align:center'>Resolutions that Should StickProverbs 3:1-35

Introduction

RESOLUTION #1:
    1999: I will get my weight down below 180.
    2000: I will watch my calories until I get below 190.
    2001: I will follow my new diet religiously until I get below 200.
    2002: I will try to develop a realistic attitude about my weight.
    2003: I will work out 5 days a week.
    2004: I will work out 3 days a week.
    2005: I will try to drive past a gym at least once a week.

RESOLUTION #2:
    1999: I will not spend my money frivolously.
    2000: I will pay off my bank loan promptly.
    2001: I will pay off my bank loans promptly.
    2002: I will begin making a strong effort to be out of debt by 1999.
    2003: I will be totally out of debt by 2000.
    2004: I will try to pay off the debt interest by 2001.
    2005: I will try to be out of the country by 2006.

RESOLUTION #3
    2002: I will try to be a better husband to Marge.
    2003: I will not leave Marge.
    2004: I will try for a reconciliation with Marge.
    2005: I will try to be a better husband to Wanda.

RESOLUTION #4:
    2002: I will not take a drink before 5:00 p.m.
    2003: I will not touch the bottle before noon.
    2004: I will not become a "problem drinker".
    2005: I will not miss any AA meetings.

RESOLUTION #5:
    2002: I will see my dentist this year.
    2003: I will have my cavities filled this year.
    2004: I will have my root canal work done this year.
    2005: I will get rid of my denture breath this year.

RESOLUTION #6:
    2002: I will go to church every Sunday.
    2003: I will go to church as often as possible.
    2004: I will set aside time each day for prayer and meditation.
    2005: I will try to catch the late night sermonette on TV.

New Years is the time for resolutions.

·         Some of the top resolutions are to loose weight, get out of debt, save money, quit smoking, and get a better job.

·         The majority of people who make resolutions never keep them.

·         I have done my share of resolutions and have only stuck to one…the resolution to never make resolutions.

·         There are three resolutions we want to explore today that I think all people should endeavor to make and to keep.

·         Proverbs 3 gives us the prescription for a New Year that seeks to come into a closer relationship with God through the enabling of the Spirit. The Proverb begins in verses 1-2 by exhorting us to follow the teachings that are to come.

·         Today I would encourage you to consider several resolutions that are worth keeping.

Resolve to Follow God Deeper. (3-10)

3:3 Do not let truth and mercy leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 3:4 Then you will find favor and good understanding, in the sight of God and people. 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,and do not rely on your own understanding.  3:6 Acknowledge him in all your ways,  and he will make your paths straight. 3:7 Do not be wise in your own estimation; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. 3:8 This will bring healing to your body, and refreshment to your inner self. 3:9 Honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first fruits of all your crops; 3:10 then your barns will be filled completely, and your vats will overflow with new wine.

1. Keep Truth and Mercy Close. (3-4)

·         Two words are central to this command: Truth and Mercy (NIV: Love and Faithfulness).  The term ‘truth’ is that of Gods instruction, his wishes for your life.  ‘Mercy’ has the idea of God’s loving kindness-his favor.

·         They are too control our everyday walk and conduct so they are manifest in a physical way.

·         They are to be more than an outward appearance but are to change our hearts as well.

·         The results are God’s approval and people’s admiration for your upright conduct.

2. Trust in God Alone. (5-6)

·         ‘Trust’ has the idea of confidence or reliance.  The Proverb is calling us to place our full reliance on God alone.

·         Acknowledging God is recognizing that everything you are and have are the result of God’s work in your life.  All we have and do, the fact that we breath, talk and walk are a result of God.

·         A life that trusts in God will face obstacles but in an ethical sense or as a matter of conscience before God we will have a clear path.

3. Fear the Lord Completely. (7-8)

·         ‘Wise in your own estimation’ is an idiom that has the idea that we can be arrogant, full of ourselves, able to rely on ourselves and not God. “I did it on my own.”

·         To fear the Lord is the opposite idea, it is to give God the honor and reverence that comes with understanding who we are and who we would be if we did not have God.

·         It is not unusual for the Bible to use physical language to describe the spiritual.  To have healing and refreshment comes spiritually when our lives honor God.

4. Honor God with Your Money. (9-10)

·         The word ‘honor’ has the idea of ‘making heavy or glorify’.  It tells us that what is said next is to be held in high regard or very important.

·         We make God important in our lives by dedicating our money to Him.  Every dollar we have comes from God.

·         The reference to ‘first fruits’ is from Exodus 23:19 and is the OT concept of tithing.  Tithing was more than 10% but it included other giving such as the return of possessions in the Sabbath year and translates to about 23% per year. This concept in the NT is translated by Christ into sacrificial giving (e.g. the elderly widow in the Synogogue).  Giving our money to God is one of the biggest trust issues that influences our relationship with God.

·         Those who give God their wealth they will see an abundant return.  Paul taught this same concept in 2 Cor. 9:6-11. This return may come in the form of care for your needs but also may come as joy, peace and understanding that you have honored God.

Not long ago Newsweek magazine reported on what it called the new wave of mountain men. It’s estimated that there are some sixty thousand serious mountain climbers in the U.S. But in the upper echelon of serious climbers is a small elite group knows as “hard men.” For them climbing mountains and scaling sheer rock faces is a way of life. In many cases, climbing is a part of their whole commitment to life. And their ultimate experience is called free soloing: climbing with no equipment and no safety ropes. John Baker is considered by many to be the best of the hard men. He has free-soloed some of the most difficult rock faces in the U.S. with no safety rope and no climbing equipment of any kind. His skill has not come easily. It has been acquired through commitment, dedication and training. His wife says she can’t believe his dedication. When John isn’t climbing, he’s often to be found in his California home hanging by his fingertips to strengthen his arms and hands.

Charles Swindoll, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity


Resolve to Improve Yourself Fully. (11-26)

3:11 My child, do not despise discipline from the Lord,and do not loathe his rebuke. 3:12 For the Lord disciplines those he loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights. 3:13 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who obtains understanding. 3:14 For her benefit is more profitable than silver, and her gain is better than gold. 3:15 She is more precious than rubies, and none of the things you desire can compare with her. 3:16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. 3:17 Her ways are very pleasant, and all her paths are peaceful. 3:18 She is like a tree of life to those who obtain her, and everyone who grasps hold of her will be blessed.  3:19 By wisdom the Lord laid the foundation of the earth;he established the heavens by understanding.  3:20 By his knowledge the primordial sea was broken open, and the clouds drip down dew.3:21 My child, do not let them escape from your sight; safeguard sound wisdom and discretion. 3:22 So they will give life to you, and grace to adorn your neck. 3:23 Then you will walk on your way with security, and you will not stumble. 3:24 When you lie down you will not be filled with fear; when you lie down your sleep will be pleasant. 3:25 You will not be afraid of sudden disaster,  or when destruction overtakes the wicked;  3:26 for the Lord will be the source of your confidence, and he will guard your foot from being caught in a trap.

1.  Embrace Discipline From God. (11-12)

·         Discipline from the Lord is described in the context of a Father disciplining his son. The type described is physical discipline that aids in correcting and improving a person.

·         Discipline from God is for those he loves because he delights in us.  His goal is to improve us spiritually which sometimes takes the form of physical chastisement.

·         Improvement in a spiritual sense cannot come without change and change is born from discipline.

2.       Seek God’s Wisdom Diligently. (13-26)

   The Value of Wisdom. (13-20)

·         It is better than great wealth

·         It holds the key to long life and honor

·         It contains the essence of peace and life

·         It is the great ingredient in God creating the World. It is by his good knowledge that all of creation is as it is.

   The Call to Seek Wisdom. (21-22)

·         Wisdom is not to escape us, it is to be guarded with discretion.

·         Wisdom gives life: a life on this earth that is long, honorable, and at peace comes by adorning the grace that comes from wisdom.

   The Benefits of Wisdom. (23-26)

·         A life lived by seeking God’s wisdom will have security, every step along the journey will be without stubbling.

·         There is no fear in your dreams, or of disasters and the destruction that can come to the evil.

·         Wisdom from God is your way to confidence and prevent you from making foolish mistakes.

 “You,” said the doctor to the patient, “are in terrible shape. You’ve got to do something about it. First, tell your wife to cook more nutritious meals. Stop working like a dog. Also, inform your wife you’re going to make a budget, and she has to stick to it. And have her keep the kids off your back so you can relax. Unless there are some changes like that in your life, you’ll probably be dead in a month.” “Doc,” the patient said, “this would sound more official coming from you. Could you please call my wife and give her those instructions?” When the fellow got home, his wife rushed to him. “I talked to your doctor,” she wailed. “Poor man, you’ve only got thirty days to live.”

·         A Resolution towards improving your spiritual condition has to come with change.  Change born from discipline and wisdom.


Resolve to Consider Others First. (27-35)

3:27 Do not withhold good from those who need it, when you have the ability to help. 3:28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go! Return tomorrow and I will give it,” when you have it with you at the time. 3:29 Do not plot evil against your neighbor when he dwells by you unsuspectingly. 3:30 Do not accuse anyone without legitimate cause, if he has not treated you wrongly. 3:31 Do not envy a violent man, and do not choose to imitate any of his ways; 3:32 for one who goes astray is an abomination to the Lord, but he reveals his intimate counsel to the upright. 3:33 The Lord’s curse is on the household of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous. 3:34 Although he is scornful to arrogant scoffers, yet he shows favor to the humble. 3:35 The wise inherit honor, but he holds fools up to public contempt.

1.  Serve the Needy Willingly. (27-28)

·         Being good to others should not be withheld.  This more than being willing to help when needs arise but is born out the same care God gives in his love and faithfulness. 

·         It is goodness in serving others with willingness, joy and promptness, dropping all else to make a difference in the person’s life.

·         To have the ability is a translation of another idiom: power is in your hand.

2.  Care for Your Neighbors Justly. (29-30)

·         The tone of these two verses is set in terms of a court case.  The proverb is asking us to try to live at peace with those around us.

·         When your neighbor is going about his business do not try to come up with ways to undermine, hurt or damage them.

·         While there may be legitimate reasons to bring accusations against those around you, only do it if there is just cause.

3.  Do Not Imitate Evil People at all. (31-35)

·         The evil person is one that goes astray from God, chooses evil and is a violent person.  The evil person is an abomination to the LORD.

·         God reveals his ways and plans to the upright, blesses the home of the righteous, shows favor to the humble and gives honor to the wise.

·         What we are not to do is to see the prosperity and seemingly good life of the wicked and see it as desirable.  They may be doing well now but their prosperity is short lived and will come to an end.

·         Our goal should be to help them find Christ not imitate them.

The most pleasurable journey you take is through yourself...the only sustaining love involvement is with yourself...When you look back on your life and try to figure out where you’ve been and where you’re going, when you look at your work, your love affairs, your marriages, your children, your pain, your happiness—when you examine all that closely, what you really find out is that the only person you really go to bed with is yourself...The only thing you have is working to the consummation of your own identity. And that’s what I’ve been trying to do all my life.

Shirley MacLaine

Conclusion

·         There are many parts of this last year for which many of us may wish had never happened.

·         There are times this last year for which we would hope could continue into this coming year.

·         My desire and I hope yours as well is that those moments for which you would have continue would be those times that you were able be closer to God than you had previously experienced.

·         It is the work of the Spirit that makes this possible and each moment of every day is too be a spiritual moment.

·         God desires that we would grow in our relationship with him, that we would grow to be a more sanctified person and that we would spread his love to others.

·         These are resolutions worth holding onto, worth fighting for, worth struggling to achieve, worth recommitting to year after year.

·         I would challenge you to search your heart today and honestly evaluate where you stand and then with the appropriate resolve, commit to change.

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