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By Geoff Daniels

The old has passed and the new has come. “Our God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come” goes the first line of that popular ancient hymn many congregations appropriately sing in reflection of the new year that lies ahead. The old year is a closed chapter and the New Year marks a new chapter in our lives.

As another year dawns, some people may be reflecting on things they have done or perhaps on things they could have done better. Some may be thinking of resolutions for the new year. Others may be saying how does the time go by so quickly. While others may be saying “good riddance. I’m happy its all over. I have lots of regrets.” Each one has his or her own personal views and opinions about the past year, and expectations about the new one.

One thing is absolutely certain, and that is no one but no one can bring back or undo the old year—its gone forever. There is nothing we can do to change the past year. However, we can certainly learn from the past and embrace the opportunities to make changes where necessary. It might be a useful idea to reflect on the past while contemplating the future.

The Bible says, “The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth” (Proverbs 17:24). The key here is applying wisdom. It is wise to have aims, objectives, and goals in mind and pursue them. Otherwise, not much will ever be accomplished.

It is a true saying that “circumstances alter cases.” In facing the future, there will be circumstances over which no one will have any control. This means no matter what plans, aims, or objectives you may have, these circumstances will definitely not change. For example, we have no control over whether we live or die; neither can we exert control over weather conditions. Likewise, we cannot change the state of the economy. However, these uncontrollable circumstances should not deter us from endeavoring to achieve our plans, goals, and objective. But, we certainly can control how we will react with our responses.

Making resolutions can be a positive thing, provided we endeavor to keep them. After making resolutions, one must be prepared to part company with old habits and practices which can derail even our best efforts and intentions to keep our resolutions. It is said that old habits die hard, but for the christian, we have absolute trust in God to guide us and our prayers to help us win the battles.

On the topic of “New Year’s Resolutions,” Dr Harold J. Sala aptly wrote the following: “Here are seven resolutions you can make—and keep—when you take the step of faith to let Christ enter your life as a living Person. Resolution 1—I will daily keep my relationship with Christ warm and vibrant. Resolution 2—When I stumble spiritually, I will immediately confess my failure, and ask God’s help in overcoming my shortcomings. Resolution 3—I will extend forgiveness to those who hurt me. Resolution 4—I will rely completely on God’s strength in moments of temptation. Resolution 5—I will avoid situations where I would face temptations. Resolution 6—I will take time daily to read God’s Word and talk to Him about my needs. Resolution 7—I will seek to live for others and not expect the world to revolve around me. "For to me to live, is Christ” (Phil. 1:21), wrote Paul. When you reach that point, you will discover that life takes on new meaning. The chains of habit may be strong, but they can be broken and replaced with the resolve of faith. It is an exchange worth making.” (“Today Can Be Different” by Harold J. Sala. Published by Regal Books, Ventura, CA 93006).

No one knows for sure what the New Year may bring, but let us heed God's word which states, "Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, [pressing] toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13,14).