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It is the night before a new year begins. People are gathering, ready to celebrate. Tradition brings us to the task of making resolutions for the coming year. Where did that tradition come from? History says that the first New Year’s resolutions date back over 4,000 years ago to ancient Babylon. The Babylonians are said to have started the tradition during Akitu, a 12-day annual celebration. During the Akitu festival, the ancient Babylonians would plant crops, crown a new king (or pledge their loyalty to the reigning king), and make promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any borrowed items. They believed that if they kept their word, the gods would look favorably on them for the year ahead. If the Babylonians broke their promises, they would fall on the bad side of their gods. 1

The custom of setting “New Year’s Resolutions” as we know them began in Rome two millennia ago, moving the tradition to January. The month of January gets its name from Janus, the two-faced god who looks backward into the old year and forwards into the new year. Janus was also the patron and protector of arches, transitions, bridges, time, gates, doors, doorways, endings, and beginnings. When the Roman Empire took Christianity as its official state religion in the 4th century, the pagan rituals of pledging moral intentions were replaced by prayers and fasting. However, there is something valuable in the old tradition of looking back into the old year and then forward into the new year. Self-reflection, an honest audit of sorts, can be a good thing for planning one’s future.

(Jeremiah 17:10) 2 – “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

Jeremiah quotes God! God cares about past behavior. Accountability is paramount with God. There will come a moment of truth, sometime in the future, which no one can escape. In that day of judgment, every person: black or white; male or female; rich or poor; young or old; bond or free must render to God a personal accounting of their life. God sees all things. Nothing is hidden from God!

(Matthew 12:36-37) – “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

What might be a good New Year’s Resolution for the people of our land? Most people will choose to lose weight or exercise. Maybe eat healthy. After reflection on the last year we have had, here are some Bible verses to prompt further creativity. God is interested more in how our country is run than the waistlines of its citizens. Our land could use a few more good leaders, leaders who understand that they have been given a holy task to lead our nation to God, not away from God!

(1 Peter 2:9) – “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Our land could use more leaders who lead by example, rather than by decree!

(1 Peter 5:3) – “not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”

Our land desperately needs leaders again who are trustworthy!

(1 Timothy 3:1-7) – “Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”

At the founding of our nation when the people wanted to know the character of their future leaders, they usually went to their local church and listened to ministers who taught them what the Bible had to say on the subject. Churches are now politically silent. We allowed this to happen when our leaders’ passed regulations that prohibited such commentary:

A church, as a tax-exempt organization under Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) § 501(c)(3), is absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating or intervening in any political campaign in support or opposition to any candidate for elective public office. See Treasury Regulation §1.501(c)(3)—1(c)(3)(iii).

The deficit in our county’s leadership today is reaching frightening levels. In our new year, we will be again challenged with more political turmoil. Divisiveness is bound to rein supreme. Even our basic freedoms are under attack. Satan could not have written a better script. The good news is that at least at the present, our government does not regulate what is taught in the home and what is saved in the heart. For this coming new year, consider adding one important New Year’s Resolution to your list: Take the time to search out God’s Truths on all matters. Then get to recognize and support Godly leaders. Take a good look at your children and grandchildren. Their future and the nation they will live in depends on you!

Stay safe, stay prayerful, stay hopeful. God always wins in the end you know!

Happy New Year from Lostpine.com.

Contemplations

  • If you are not happy with last year, what would you change?
    • Ideas to Explore: Job, generosity, time spent with God in prayer?
  • Do you think that God will hold you accountable for the leaders you support?
    • Ideas to Explore: God asks us to live in the world but not be corrupted by it. What is your plan?
  • How do you personally research the heart of someone seeking to represent you?
    • Ideas to Explore: Ask people you trust, pray, do research in unbiased sources?
  • How do you think your church should respond to the pressures of remaining out of politics?
    • Ideas to Explore: What would you like to see different? Have you expressed your views?
  • Are you concerned that government curriculums within our schools may not be teaching Godly values?
    • Ideas to Explore: What do you do to find out what is being taught? Do you have a desire to remain vigilant?

 

Notes:

  1. https://www.trafalgar.com/real-word/history-new-years-resolutions/
  2. NIV New International Version Translations
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