Summary: Here are three suggestions, three ways, how each of us can make a change for the better in our life. Powerpoints Available - #371)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER
ILL. Years ago, a man hired an experienced guide to lead him on a hike into the Swiss Alps. After some hours of climbing they came to a high mountain pass. To the man’s dismay, he saw the path had almost been washed away.
What could he do? On the left was a sheer rock cliff, to his right, a precipice that dropped nearly 1000 feet. Looking down, he felt his head growing faint & his knees beginning to buckle.
At that moment his guide shouted, "Don’t look down or you’re a dead man. Keep your eyes on me. And where I put my feet, put yours there as well." The man did as he was told & soon passed out of danger to safety.
That is good advice for the beginning of a new year. No one knows what lies ahead for any of us. We all have plans & dreams but the times & seasons of our life are in God’s hands.
Sooner or later we will find ourselves in a place where the way ahead will seem almost impossible. When that happens, we can panic & fall, or we can fix our eyes on Jesus & mark carefully his steps before us. If we will follow him, we’ll find at the end of this year that we have been kept safe by His amazing grace. (Adapted from Joel Santos on Sermon Central)
ILL. Louisa Fletcher wrote:
I wish that there were some wonderful place called the land of Beginning Again,
Where all our mistakes, & all our heartaches, & all of our poor selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door, & never be put on again.
Sometimes I feel that way about New Year's resolutions. I tell myself, "This year I'm going to exercise regularly & lose weight. I'm going to do all kinds of things to improve myself physically & spiritually." But then somehow I forget. Maybe you have that problem, too.
So I have a suggestion for a New Year's resolution that we ought to be able to remember. It is kind of broad & very general, but here it is let's promise ourselves & God that we will make a change for the better. In 2020, as God's people, let's make this one simple resolution we're going to make a change for the better.
PROP. And to help us do that, let me suggest some ways in which we can make a change for the better.
I. DEVELOP A BETTER ATTITUDE TOWARD LIFE
A. First of all, each of us can make a change for the better by developing a better attitude toward life.
ILL. A few years ago a lady committed suicide, leaving behind this note: "I decided that unless life was worth living I would just quit living."
ILL. Now in contrast to that, I'm told that there was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, & noticed she had only three hairs left on her head. "Well," she said, "I think I’ll braid my hair today." So she did, & she had a wonderful day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror & saw that she had only two hairs on her head. "H-m-m, " she said, "I think I’ll part my hair down the middle today." So she did, & she had a grand day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror & noticed that she had only one hair on her head. "Well," she said, "today I’m going to wear my hair in a pony tail." So she did, & she had a fun day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror & noticed that there wasn’t a single hair on her head. "YEA" she exclaimed, "I don’t have to fix my hair today"
(Copied from Sermon Central)
That story is ridiculous, but how do you feel about your life? Is it worthwhile? Or, let's change the question. What would it take for you to feel that your life is worthwhile? What would it take for you to feel better about your life?
B. That is the reason I have selected Philippians 3:12 14 (Ph) as our text this morning. But before I read it to you, you need to realize that Paul is in prison, chained to a Roman guard, under horrible conditions.
Yet despite that, he writes these words, “I do not consider myself to have ”arrived” spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ Jesus grasped me.
“My brothers, I do not consider myself to have fully grasped it even now. But I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal…”