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January 1, 2019, 9:00 PM

New Year’s Resolutions

Today is the beginning of a new year. People shout, “Happy new year!” Yet “happiness” is a term of the world and as we all know, happiness like beauty is fleeting.

When I was growing up people here in America always made New Year’s Resolutions which may be a few or perhaps many but they were sincere about wanting to make changes in their life. If they were overweight, for example, one of the resolutions might be to eat less sweets and consume less calories to lose 30 pounds. Maybe it was to quit smoking or to spend more time with their children.

Well I think it’s important for all of us who are in the family of God to make spiritual New Year’s Resolutions and I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot for the past 10 days. And I came with one New Year’s Resolution for myself a week ago that I wrote out on a piece of paper. But before I tell you what it is, I want to discuss the Scripture on which it is based as well as others that I believe will open your eyes in your own life to things that need to change around you. After all, God has called us as “change agents” in this world because the world you see every day with your physical eyes is not the same one that He created.


Jesus and the Apostle Paul both referred to Satan as “the god of this world.” This has been confusing to many Christians since they are taught that God is in charge and that He is omnipotent, meaning He has all power and certainly more than Satan who lost the rebellion against the Most High God—El Elyon. But you simply must understand that the world we perceive with our five senses is a fallen world—a world that has been marred and almost totally destroyed by sin—it is not the world that Jesus created. For this reason, the Bible says that “the world is enmity (i.e., the enemy of) with God.” And if you follow your five senses as most human beings do all of their lives then they will die and go to hell because the flesh leads to destruction and eternal death whereas the Spirit leads to eternal life.

In the book of Judges, the second historical book that covers about 300 years after the death of Joshua, we probably get the best picture of the best of mankind—God’s covenant people—and it’s not a pretty picture. The book of Judges is about the 4 r’s of mankind and our relationship with God Almighty—rebellion, retribution (or judgment), repentance and restoration. And I would recommend with this teaching exhortation that you spend some time reading and meditating on the first two chapters of Judges.

In chapter 2 of Judges we learn from an angel of the Lord that the covenant people did not obey the Lord. They were not supposed to make any type covenant (v. 2) with the inhabitants of the land (because they were evil and appointed for destruction by the Lord) but they were supposed to drive them out of the land, tear down their altars from which they worshiped false gods. But because they had not done this, the Lord speaks to them through this Angel of the Lord and says, “Their gods shall be a snare to you.”

When we don’t perceive the world through The Eye of the Eagle, i.e., spiritually, then we are apt to become like the people of the land around us and we begin to serve their gods—the gods of sex, pleasure, money, power, ambition, greed, sports, fame, etc.

Be Not Conformed to This World

My wife was raised in a big family; there were 11 children including 4 sets of twins. One of her older brothers died in 1997 and she saw him standing next to her mother in Heaven. She wasn’t sure until she saw the vision if he even made it to Heaven because he didn’t serve the Lord during his life on earth. So the Lord was confirming to her that he had indeed been saved. But what he said is quite remarkable. She saw him turn to her mother and say, “If I had known it was going to be like this, I would have done more and I would have been more.”

I’ve reflected on these words from the past, words from the grave and words from Heaven for many years now. My New Year’s Resolution is for the Kingdom of God as it always is but this year, 2019, I want “to be more and do more” than ever before.

A year before her brother died, 1996, I felt led of the Lord strongly to see the movie Schindler’s List. I don’t watch many movies, especially today because of the horrible language deemed “adult language” which is nothing more than vile profanity dressed up as something else to destroy the lives of people. I knew that this movie had nudity and language yet I felt that the Lord wanted me to watch it. After I saw it in November, 1996, in the Philippines I knew why. It’s a true story about a Nazi who was a wealthy business man that saved Jews from death during WW2. He obtained permission from the Third Reich to employ these Jews and initially he was just in it for the money but the Lord moved on his heart with compassion and he began to spend all of his wealth to save Jews by purchasing their freedom.

At the end of the movie, the part the Lord wanted me to see, he is leaving Berlin as the allies are approaching. Many of these Jews are around him and he is weeping. He looks at the gold pin on the lapel of his suit and says in a regretful voice, “Oh, I could have sold this and saved three more people.” The Holy Spirit spoke to me at that point and said, “That’s what it will be like for many in Heaven.” Then the following year, in the Summer of 1997, my wife’s brother dies and in essence confirms these exact words when he said, “If I had known it was going to be like this (in Heaven), I would have done more and I would have been more.”

Be More and Do More

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that

You present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God,

Which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world,

But be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove

What is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” † Ro. 12:1-2

Now notice who is to present their bodies, you are! Our bodies were bought with a price and we have to—by the force of our wills—make them a living sacrifice to the Lord or else we will serve the gods of this world through our flesh.

Notice also the phrase, “And be not conformed to this world.” Why? Because if you conform your life to this world you will live a life by and for the flesh like people of the world around you and you will serve their gods instead of Jehovah. Remember, we are not to be “conformed” to the world but rather the Word says we are to “be conformed to the image” of Jesus Christ, God’s own Son. (Ro. 8:29)

And the above verses also give us the method by which we are “transformed” (the Gk. Word is metamorphosis which is what occurs when a caterpillar changes into a beautiful butterfly)—it’s “by the renewing of the mind.” And how do we renew our minds? Through reading and meditating in the Word each and every day. If you don’t spend time in the Word, you are like James wrote in his epistle like “a man who looks in the mirror and then goes away and forgets what manner of man he is.” If you don’t renew your mind every single day, the world and its charms will deceive you and you will drift further and further into conformity with the world which is the enemy of God.

So in closing this blog I want to encourage you to make the decision for 2019 to “be more and do more.” Spend more time in the Word and your mind will be renewed to think the thoughts God thinks. Spend more time in prayer developing your relationship with the Lord, the Spirit and the Father. Spend more time working on improving the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5) in your life so that you can “BE MORE” and allow the Holy Spirit to conform you to the image of Christ Jesus. After all, if you want to know what Jesus looks like then just look at the Fruit of the Spirit and you will see Him and hopefully be more encouraged to develop his image and character.

Finally, “DO MORE” in 2019. Find some people that are bound and cast the devil out of them. Lay hands on the sick and believe that the Lord will work through you “with signs following” to see people with no hope healed. Find a cripple and pray for God to renew his limbs. Double up on your giving to the poor and the homeless; the weak and the helpless. Remember, you and I are the only hands that Jesus has to help those He wants to help and He said, “Go!”




01-10-2019 at 3:18 PM
Sherry Heller
Oh Philip.. my spirit bears witness. Glory to God!! We’re on the same page. I keeping hearing “NEVER TO BE THE SAME” and “SETTING THE CAPTIVES FREE” ❤️🙏🏻🙋🏻‍♀️
01-02-2019 at 3:11 AM
DebuseAnn Crenshaw
Thank you for sharing the encouraging word! Blessings and shalom to you and your family for 2019!!
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