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In This New Year, I Am Going To….

“Please take out a clean sheet of paper.”  I still feel ill when I remember those words.  Pop quizzes always give angst to any student that is ill-prepared.  That was me!  I loved every part of school except the academic part!  So, as you can imagine … my major was “Socializing”.

Once I entered the ministry, study was not an option and I have learned to enjoy reading and research.  And, along with preaching, there is the expectation that a pastor will spend time with the LORD to set the vision and direction for a new year.  Vision casting is a joy.  Accomplishing it is the challenge.

The same is true with our personal resolutions we make for a new year.  Some are repetitive because we have failed at them before.  Some are new because of new challenges. 

Here is a list of Virtues that Ben Franklin set for his life.  They are worthy of our reading and implementation….

Benjamin Franklin. as a young man, composed a master list of 12 resolutions, later tacking on a killer 13th. He had particular difficulty, he notes in his Autobiography, with Resolution Numbers 2, 3, and 5.

The 13 Virtues (Resolutions) of Ben Franklin:

  1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
  11. Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Ben kept track of his performance in a small book in which he entered a black mark each day for each resolution broken. He had intended to reuse the little book, eventually erasing old black marks as his performance improved. It didn’t. So many black marks appeared on top of black marks that the little book developed holes. He had to resort to keeping his records on a piece of ivory, from which the accumulated black marks could be tactfully mopped off with a wet sponge.  (Copied).  

Phil.1:6…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.