Summary: People like the new year because is brings an opportunity for them to start over or get a NEW BEGINNING.
*The test used in reference for this message was a thought received from a message on the 7 test of Joseph submitted by SermonCentral.com contibutor, Derek Vreeland.
A New Year Brings a New Beginning!
You look over the last year and no doubt you can find some high points of your life. But most people tend to dwell on the negative things that happened to them.
· Lost of loved one
· Financial crisis
· All the fights
· All the disappointments
· All the let downs
· The splits
· The family quarrels
· You were able to start over
· You were given a second chance
· You could change something about yourself to make your life better.
I am happy to tell you that:
A New Year brings for you a New Beginning
But for this new beginning to work in your life, you have to decide today to make some new choices for your life. You have to renew some commitments that you have made many times before, but this with a made up mind not to give in.
Many people will make what is known as “New Year’s Resolutions”. They make these so-called commitments and hope they turn out.
Top Ten Resolutions
1. Spend more time with family and friends
2. Fit in Fitness
3. Tame the Bulge
4. Quit Smoking
5. Enjoy life more
6. Quit drinking
7. Get out of debt
8. Learn something new
9. Help others
10. Get organized
For the Christian, the list might look like this:
1. Read my bible more
2. Spend more time with family and friends
3. Pray more
4. Witness more
5. Tithe more faithfully
6. Attend more church services regularly
7. Quit gossiping
8. Quit fighting
9. Help others
10. Get involved with the church
But the problem with all of these resolutions is that they are all made at the beginning of the year and they are said as though they are going to take place without any effort.
To lose weight – You might just have to exercise and watch what you eat
To become debt free – You have to put yourself on a budget
To read your Bible more – You might have to own one, first. Second you might have to find it.
What am I saying? You have to put effort into your resolutions.
· I want to be a better Christian
· I want to do more for Christ
· I want to have a better job
· I want a better home
· I want a better car
· I want to be happier
· I want to have a better hold on my bills
· I want to start over
· I want … I want… I want…
So how bad do you want it?
“Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find…”
“And from everyone who has been given much, much is required…”
Over the next four weeks, we will have a series of messages from the life of Joseph. For Joseph to reach his dream, he had to pass eight tests. For each test that Joseph faced, there is a test question for us to consider.
So how bad do you want your dreams to become reality? You will soon find in the life of Joseph that some things don’t come easy, but they’re worth it once you receive it.
Your dedication to the services over the next four weeks will also show how serious you are about your dreams.
Let’s jump into today’s first test.
Read Genesis 37:1-4
Joseph’s Test: The Persecution Test
Joseph’s brothers hated him to the point of wanting to kill him. (Background: Joseph’s coat)
PERSECUTION IN THE BIBLE - Harassment and suffering which people and institutions inflict upon others for being different in their faith, worldview, culture, or race. Persecution seeks to intimidate, silence, punish, or even to kill people.
You’re Test Question:
Will I lose my faith when the pressure is on?
When it comes time for me to stand up and be counted as one of the faithful, will I stand or will I just let it pass on by.
· Will I join in the berating of a fellow employee
· Will I stand for my God when His name is being taking in vain
· Will I stand up for my church when people want to criticize
· Will I allow people to down play the pain that Jesus Christ suffered for my sins
· Will I allow others to tell me when I can and can’t pray
· Will I stand up for my Jesus or allow the peer pressure of my co-workers or family dictate what I think and what I say.