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Saturday, April 20, 2024 at 5:49 AM
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New and renewed beginnings

Dr. Ron Braley Guest Columnist

STUFF ABOUT GOD AND CHRISTIANITY | DR. RON BRALEY

This column represents the thoughts and opinions of Dr. Ron Braley.

This is NOT the opinion of the Taylor Press.

Recently, I reposted an “untold” Christmas story — a behind-thescenes look at God’s peace and redemption Jesus set into motion with His arrival on Earth. Because the new year begins a week after Christmas, I thought we should revisit new and renewed beginnings.

Here are a few examples of New Year celebrations and why we use them to make resolutions.

American/ European – Jan. 1

We often gather the evening before and bring in the new year with shouts, parties, countdowns and resolutions. And, some of those parties bring regrets and spawn resolutions of their own.

Chinese (Also known as the Spring Festival)

The 23rd day of the 12th lunar month of the Chinese calendar. The idea is like that of the American and European New Year celebrations.

Jewish, Religious – Pesach (Passover) The first Jewish month, when the time of the covenant between God and His bride Israel began. It was a new beginning for her.

Jewish, Agricultural – Rosh Hashanah

The seventh month of the Jewish calendar.

Interestingly, this is the official state New Year, but it also closely relates to God’s covenant. This New Year begins with the Feast of Trumpets and introduces a time of repentance, forgiveness and rest.

Because we know of the good and bad things we’ve done or that the current year has brought, the thought of a “better” new year can bring anticipation of good things to come. We want to change what we don’t like, this is where repentance – even for the non-religious – comes into play. We’re sorry for the behaviors we don’t like and, therefore, vow to change. It’s more complicated than it seems. Here are three guidelines for helping you achieve your dreams and goals.

First, you must set goals for yourself.

Follow the SMART principle: Specific. Be clear about what you would like to accomplish.

Measurable. How will you know whether you’re succeeding?

Attainable. You probably won’t be a millionaire by the age of 50 – especially if you’re, well, 60.

Relevant. Why try to be a better poker player if your goal is to overcome gambling addiction?

Timely. When should you achieve your goals?

Second, if you intend to have a new beginning in Christ or embrace a lifestyle change, you must plan to achieve your goals. To quote some silly movie line, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”

Third, we can rarely accomplish large tasks independently, especially when dealing with weaknesses or temptations. God’s spirit can provide strength and guidance, and accountability partners give us direction, wisdom, strength and discipline to be successful.

In summary, it’s never too late to begin again if our heart still beats. Make goals and be accountable for success. Next, let’s find out what King Solomon says matters most at the end of the day. In the meantime, keep your love, honor and cherish vows to God.

Questions or comments? Email [email protected].

Blessings and peace, Dr. Ron Braley, MDiv, DMin.


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