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What's new this year?
Pastor's corner
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If you are reading this article today, God has blessed you to see another year. God has given you another opportunity to do something worthwhile. I am convinced that many have made their New Year’s resolutions. I want you to know that I am not a big advocate of making resolutions. Many times, they only last a few months and sometimes, a few days. However, some have decided that this is the year that they will stop smoking, drinking, cheating, etc. This may be the year for some to stop one habit or another. However, we need to stop and ask ourselves, what will we do different this year?
I am convinced that every new day is an opportunity to improve. Too many times, we find ourselves in a rut, doing the same things over and over again. We find ourselves repeating the same actions and rather than moving forward, we are moving backward or not at all. I don’t know about you, but I want this year to be better than last year. I want to move forward in my life.  Don’t misunderstand me. I am not indicating that I have a bad life or I don’t like the life that I’m living. Jesus is the best thing that ever happened to me. However, I realize that I haven’t done all that I can do for the Lord, and since he has given me another year, I want to fulfill my purpose in him. God expects us to be productive Christians.  
Luke 13:6-9 tells a parable of a man who planted a fig tree. For three years, he sought fruit and found none. This parable is a great illustration of Christ and his church. You see, God is our creator. The psalmist said, “It is he that has made us and not we ourselves.” (Psalms 100:3)  God created us for a purpose. Therefore, he expects something from our lives. Our lives ought to bring glory and honor to his name. However, many live their lives in disobedience to his word, and bring dishonor rather than honor to him.  
This parable shows several things about our relationship with God. First of all, our failure to be productive children of God disappoints him. Year after year, he gives us opportunities to produce, but time and time again, we fall short. He looks for fruit of righteousness in our lives, and he finds nothing.  Others have disappointed many of us. We are acquainted with the feeling of being disappointed. Some have had children to disappoint them. Some have given their children everything they need to be successful, and instead of going in the direction you wanted them to go, they go in the opposite direction. In the same manner, we disappoint the Lord.  
This parable lets us know God will get tired of our mess. God is a loving God, but he is also a just God. Sooner or later, he will decide that he has invested enough time in waiting for you to be productive.
In Genesis 6:3 we read, “And the Lord said, my spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.” The Bible says that he decided to destroy the earth he created. However, Noah found favor in God’s sight. Noah preached for 120 years that the flood was coming and many refused to hear the word of the Lord.  One of the things I like about God is that he will not punish you without warning.   
The third thing that we see in this parable is that Jesus pleads for our sins and begs God to give us another chance.  Jesus is our advocate with the father. Because he died for our sins, he often asks God to give us another chance.  
Listen, we have another year. What will you do differently this year? Will you continue to be a disappointment to God or will you commit your life to him? You have a choice. You can make this year a great year or you can continue in the same direction. You can do more for the Lord than you have been doing or you can continue to do the same things you have been doing for the Lord. You can make this year a better year by committing your life to the Lord and allowing him to live in you. Do something positive and productive this year. Happy New Year!

Jackson is the pastor of St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.
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