Seven Scriptures to Help Guide Your New Year

By Mark A. Kellner

If you’re like most people, you want the year 2019 to be better—for yourself, your family, and for the world—than 2018. However good this past year was for anybody, almost everyone hopes for improvement in the New Year.

It seems that a desire for a better future is a part of our DNA. But merely wishing or hoping for change won’t make it happen. For example, many fitness clubs see a surge in activity and enrollments in January, only for many of those new members to stop coming in because they lose interest. Ironically, these people end up paying NOT to exercise!

More than one market research study has put the U.S. market for self-improvement products—books, recordings, posters, what-have-you—at $9.9 billion a year. That’s a considerable amount of money to spend on a quest for a better life. Look at the best-seller listing of books in just about any newspaper and you’ll see titles from this genre—often the newest books displacing “classic” ones.

If you live in at least a moderate-sized city, you’ll probably have the opportunity to attend a motivational event featuring some of the top names in the field. Ticket prices usually start at $20—and go higher if you want to have a chance to meet the keynote speakers and get a photo with them. Of course, you’ll have the opportunity to buy the speakers’ latest programs on the spot, which can add to the price you pay for this dose of enthusiasm.

The Success Library Already in Your Home

But what if we told you there’s a book—one that’s probably in your home right now—which contains many of the keys to success in life, whether it’s your work or business, your family, your education, or even your spiritual walk? And what if that book is one that many, if not most, of us neglect when searching out the keys to a better life?

You’ve probably figured out that we’re talking about God’s book, the Bible. More than one pastor and Christian leader has suggested that this book is the Creator’s “instruction manual” for the humans He made, and that’s not a bad thought. Your Bible contains some important lessons and insights for a happy life.

Would you like to live better in 2019? We’d like to suggest seven principles, supported by Scripture, that can help you do just that. Let’s see what the Bible says!

1. Determine to keep God at the center of your year. Proverbs 16:3 instructs us, “Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established.” This is certainly good advice as we enter into the New Year. God’s mercies are “new every morning,” as we learn in Lamentations 3:22, 23, and the start of a year is a good time to remember this and recommit our lives to God. (If you have not yet decided to follow Jesus, the New Year is an excellent time to make that decision—your life will never be the same!)

2. Leave the past in the past, and look ahead to the future. “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13, 14).

With these words first written to the believers at Philippi, the apostle Paul offers some great advice: Leave the past where it is. None of us can change what happened five years ago or even five minutes ago. Dwelling on things that cannot be changed won’t move you toward your goals and could negatively impact your progress.

3. Study the Scriptures for its life-lessons and laws. In Joshua 1:8, we read the words of the Israelite leader who followed Moses: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

What is “this Book of the Law”? It’s the Bible, of course, and as we’re reading here, there are plenty of insights into how to live today—and how to live for the world to come. If you’re a regular, serious Bible student, you know the value of this practice. If you are new to Bible study, and everyone was new at one time, check out the FREE Amazing Facts Bible study course, available online or in your mailbox, to begin a life-changing adventure!

4. Keep learning and improving your skills, trade, and expertise. Everyone's an expert at something, and we all should strive to be the best at what we do to earn our living. Proverbs 22:29 offers this insight: “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.”

Perhaps you’ve read stories about dedicated craftspeople whose work has been favored by royalty or government leaders—and the satisfaction these people have received in creating items of such distinction. We, as believers, aren’t working for an earthly monarch; we work to glorify God! Let’s remember that and seek ways to further develop our skills in the New Year.

5. Make God your financial partner. God created the world and everything in it. Might it then be wise to trust God with your finances? Putting God first by returning tithe to your local church is a good way to begin.

Malachi 3:10 offers a great promise to those who follow this command: “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”

6. Deal with sin promptly. Many years ago, a Christian college president urged people to “keep short accounts with God” when it came to their sins. Even those who don’t intend to transgress will likely sin at some point this year, but there is a remedy any believer can avail themselves of that will calm a troubled conscience.

In 1 John 1:9 we read, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The confession is made to God, of course, in private prayer. Sincere repentance will bring forgiveness and cleansing. Ask God to keep you on the path you want to follow, and He will help you!

7. Watch for Jesus’ soon return. In Paul’s message to Titus, we read this counsel: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11).

If you stop and think about it, that’s a formula for success and happiness in fewer than 50 words! Accept God’s offer of salvation in Jesus, practice self-denial, live “soberly, righteously, and godly” so that we may look for “the blessed hope” of Jesus’ return.

As you study Bible prophecy and watch world events, you’ll see that the Second Coming of Christ is not far off, but rather it’s very near. Watch for Jesus’ return, dear friend, and live in that joyful expectation!

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