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Summary: Seven things to improve on for the coming new year.

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"T. E. S. T. I. F. Y.” December 27, 2009

ILL. Have you heard about the man who moved into a retirement community to spend the rest of his life there? It wasn’t long until he had made a number of friends among the other residents. There was one lady he was especially attracted to, & she was attracted to him, also. So they spent a lot of time together. Finally one evening he proposed, asking her to marry him.

The next morning he woke up remembering his proposal, but he couldn’t remember her answer. So he went to her & said, "I’m really embarrassed. I proposed to you last night but I can’t remember if you said `Yes’ or `No."’ "Oh, thank goodness!" she replied. "I remembered saying `Yes’ but I couldn’t remember who asked me."

How many of you feel that way about New Years resolutions?

We have a tendency to let things we want to do or need to do sort of slip our minds.

Now I have stated this in past sermons that I don’t know if any of you make New Years resolutions but if you do this is the week people start thinking about them.

Last week when Cal was passing out the staff gifts, one thing he said was that there are times when I challenge the flock.

Well, I am going to start of 2010 off with a challenge and I hope that it will be accepted and put into action by everyone.

You will notice that the letters spell testify but I want to look at each letter and suggest six things to concentrate on in the coming year.

First of all there is the T which stands for trust.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (TRUST)

How much trust do we really have in God? It takes a lot of faith to put trust into something you can’t even see doesn’t it? But when we do then and only then will we be able to see it.

Illustration: Legend of a Cherokee Indian Youth’s Rite of Passage?

A father takes his son into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. The youth is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone.

Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.

He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.

The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe some human might do him harm.

The wind blows the grass and earth, and shakes his stump, but he sits stoically, never removing the blindfold. It is the only way he can become a man!

Finally, after a horrific night, the sun appears and he removes his blindfold.

It is then that he discovers his father sitting on the stump next to him.

He has been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

We, too, are never alone.

Even when we don’t know it, God is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us.

When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

If you liked this story, pass it on.

If not, you took off your blindfold before dawn.

Moral of the story:

Just because you can’t see God,

Doesn’t mean He is not there.

"For we walk by faith, not by sight."

God is there for us we just need to trust in Him completely.

The second letter is E and it stands for establish.

Matthew 6:6 (Establish prayer time)

How much time do you spend in prayer to God daily? Or maybe the only time you talk to Him is during communion on Sunday morning.

I talk to God while I am driving, sitting at my desk, walking, and many other places and even though I am talking I am still concentrating on what I am doing also.

Jesus says here that we need to go into the closet and close the door. In other words go somewhere quiet where you can be alone.

This way you can clear your mind of the outside world and concentrate fully on talking to God.

Illustration: Sometimes it is easy to concentrate.

So this week plan on establishing a better prayer time with God for the coming year.

The third letter is S and it stands for study.

John 17:17 (Study God’s Word)

The Bible has often been referred to as Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. If you were learning something new you would prepare by reading instructions.

Some of you may read the newspaper everyday. Some may enjoy reading a book in the evening or thumbing through a magazine.

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