NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS – …What were they last year?

On this first day of the New Year 2022, most of us celebrated its arrival with great festivity & revelry. And why not! A New Year brings new hope, a new beginning, a chance to forget the failures of the past year and a resolution to make a difference in this new year.

    Remember Last Years Resolutions? What were they anyway? I’m guessing they ran along the lines of…— to lose 10 lbs., OK. 20. To sign up for a membership at the gym, to stay in touch with friends, to visit my folks more, to spend less time working and more time with the family, to finally graduate. Sound about right?

    The reality, however, is that most of us cannot even remember the resolutions we swore we’d commit to by January 30. If we can even find them.

    In the same way we find it difficult to be faithful to other commitments; marriage, employers, financial obligations, schedules, we also ride out our new year’s resolutions until they fade into memory lost. We never intend for this to happen: it just does.

    Instead of challenging you to stick to your guns and keep your new year’s resolutions, I think, rather, I’ll simply point you to a Biblical text that has stuck to me over the years. It is a simple phrase found in the second half of v.4 of Psalm 15. It is part of the answer to the duo question— “O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?”

“… he [who] swears to his own hurt and does not change;”

    Seems simple enough. But most of us, Christians included, cringe at the thought of placing ourselves in any position that might cause us pain, hurt. If we didn’t make enough $$$ in a business deal— pass your loss along to the customer. If you’ve failed your family in any way, don’t even think of showing weakness and saying you’re sorry.

    Above all other considerations, you must save face. You cannot admit wrong.

    The Biblical admonition is quite contrary. It calls us to keep our commitments, to swear to our own hurt, to admit blame, to admit wrong. Of course, some people will seek retribution. Still there may be others who will offer forgiveness, solace. It is a risk, isn’t it?

    The Biblical forewarning stands firm. Swear to your own hurt and do not change. This insures our standing next to God and our standing next to our fellow man. A good reputation all around.

     Now THAT is a New Year’s Resolution worth committing to!

Honor God, honor people…, make a difference,


Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— Review, Renew, Recharge!!!  

After There’s Nothing Left: Grappling with Regrets

   There are many issues we will each face when we genuinely set out to reflect upon the state of our soul. The issues will be somewhat different for each of us, given our personality differences, genders, cultural backgrounds, and life experiences. Here are some of the issues I’ve had to address as I’ve sought to grapple with my own soul-regrets. This is #1.

Trying Too Hard for Too Long.

   Some of us, myself included, gnaw on a bone until our gums bleed and our teeth fall out. We have a stick-to-it-tiveness that borders on obsessive compulsive disorder. We cannot simply just let some things go. We seek resolution rapaciously! We want projects, businesses, relationships…, everything to simply WORK! And to work RIGHT! Problems bug us relentlessly. They must be solved! Completed!

      But after a time, our efforts having produced little, if any, resolution, or movements toward forward progress, we start to wear down. Our spirit and our efforts start to fade. I have found this exhaustingly true in my life. Earlier in this book I quoted Romans 12:18— “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Ever since becoming a genuine Christian I have tried to submit to this dictum. Not always successfully, mind you, but I have tried to conform because it makes relationships in business and personally work so much better.

      My dilemma is that not everyone seeks the depth of resolution I seek; not everyone cares about living in deep peace with other people, even when the other genuinely wants to live at peace. To this day there are people in my life with whom I have no resolution, no closure, no relationship. In their minds, it was not necessary, or, it just didn’t matter. Some, sadly, would rather continue in their anger with me. Or, worse, they simply pretend nothing ever happened. I really do not know what to do with that.

      With some people, I have tried too hard, too long, to resolve our differences. The probability of ever seeing resolution with these people is nil to nada. I eventually must come to a place where I give them up. Regrettably, I often still hang on, hopeful for something, anything. Years! In the end, I give up. And I hate it. Lack of resolution eats away at my heart, my soul. Nonetheless, there are other things to which I must give myself, my energies, and my creativity.

      This is one of the foremost issues my soul has grappled with for years. Maybe one day, I will find the resolution and closure, or renewal in some of the relationships I seek. But, for now, I must give up trying to do all the work myself. I see no other recourse than to leave it in God’s hands and say— Good-bye. How do you handle it?

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,


Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— Feeling Like a Failure

A Lion Shorn

Facing a new year always brings hope for new beginnings, fresh starts, and a revived spirit. We make resolutions to change things, to do the right thing, to gain in character and lose in poundage. This is right and good. The real test comes at the first setback, the first impediment to our efforts; that alarm clock, the snow storm, the pain that doesn’t seem to work its magic on the gain (weight, that is).

We start off as a great lion, ready to defend our pride, ready to battle the aggressor, ready to provide and persevere. We roar; ready to take on all who might thwart us in our dreams. Though the hunters be many, we will avoid their assaults and elude their snares. Our hearts are steeled on what lies ahead!

Nonetheless, within the next 12 months something will come upon you that will crush your strength, undermine your resolve, and quench your spirit. Your roar will be quelled to a pathetic meow and you will cower in a corner somewhere, trying to escape or slink into anonymity. You will be tempted to give up and call it quits.

But that is not what you were designed for.

Remember Aslan of the C.S. Lewis NARNIA books. A lion, shorn of his mane, emptied of his strength, bound and lying powerless on the ancient table of sacrifice. Then…, slain. But he did not stay there. He rose up, greater than before. Ready to do battle. Ready to protect his own. Full of power and might. THIS is what we are made for! Not whimpering, nor cowering. Rather, for overcoming and conquering, in strength and with great graciousness.

So, this year, when the conflicts come, when the confusion overwhelms, and entering a cloister seems the only sensible thing to do, remember Aslan, who eschewed retreat, and reentered the fray. You may despair and believe you are a lion shorn of his mane and strength. But you can arise from the ancient alter and once again rise to greatness. You may need a little help doing it; but that is true for all of us.

For what it’s worth,