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The Rest Of Your Life

Napoleon Hill coined the phrase, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” While his life is certainly not a good example for anyone to follow, the cliché is true.  Today is the first day, or 2024 is the first year of the rest of your life.

You have a choice.  Will your life continue the same as last year?  Or will you make it different?  It’s up to you.

Will you say, like Jacob in Genesis 47: 9, “Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been,” or will you say, like Paul in Philippians 3:13-14, “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

We are all confronted with the new year, 2024.  What will you make of it?  You do have a choice.

Joseph had a very rough start.  His brothers sold him into slavery at age 17.  But he chose to do well.  He became an asset to his owner, Potiphar, and caused him to prosper.  Then came event #2.  Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of trying to rape her.  Without a trial, Potiphar threw Joseph into prison.  But the Lord was with him in prison and caused Joseph to do very well.

A God-given opportunity came his way as he interpreted the dreams of Pharoah’s butler and baker, also imprisoned.  His interpretation was accurate.  The king hanged the baker and restored the butler to his position.  But the butler forgot about Joseph, and Joseph remained in prison.

Pharoah had a dream and needed an interpreter because none of his wise men could interpret the dream.  Then, the butler remembered Joseph and informed the king about Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams.  The king called for Joseph.  After giving credit to the Lord, Joseph interpreted the dream and, as a result, was promoted to second in command under Pharoah.

Because of a famine, Joseph’s brothers were forced to come to Egypt for food and directly appealed for grain to Joseph, whom they did not recognize.  During the months and years ahead, Joseph had ample time to get even with and seek revenge upon his brothers.  He refused to do so.  He lived as a man of God for the rest of his life.  (Genesis 37, 39-50).

The Bible contains many stories of men who had a rough start and did well.  There are also the stories of men who started with a life of ease and ended badly.

  1. Moses tried to deliver his people without God’s direction. God sent him to the desert for forty years to learn to depend on the Lord.  Then, he led the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land.  (Exodus 1-14)
  2. Saul had a great beginning but then failed due to the sins of pride, envy, and jealousy. (I Samuel 9-14).
  3. David often failed but repented and returned to the Lord for a successful monarchy. (1 & 2 Samuel)
  4. Solomon, David’s son, had a great start and was given great wisdom, riches, and honor but then turned to many wives and their gods and the enticement of riches. (1 Kings 1-11, 1 & 2 Chronicles)
  5. Manasseh had a godly father, Hezekiah, but fell to the lowest depths of sin, idolatry, and degradation. He was so evil that he brought the certain judgment of God down on Judah.  (2 Kings 21 & 2 Chron 33)
  6. Peter became known as the man who spoke before he thought and often stuck his foot into his mouth. But after repentance, the Lord restored him to become the great leader of the early church.  (the four gospels and Acts)
  7. Saul distinguished himself as a persecutor of Christians, but after salvation, he became Paul, the greatest missionary and the writer of 14 books in the New Testament. (Acts 9 – 28)
  8. John Mark had a rocky start as he quit and left the ministry, but later, he was restored and even wrote the book of Mark. (Acts 13:5,13; 15:37-39)
  9. Demas had a good beginning as a fellow worker with Paul but fell into sin as he loved this present world more than following the Lord.  (Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:10)
  10. Diotrephes probably started well, but he became known as the church leader who would not receive missionaries because he loved having preeminence in the church (3 John 9).

From these examples, it is easy to see that all of them made a choice or choices.

It doesn’t matter what has happened in the past.  God is in the salvation and the restoring business.  Because He loves us, He gives us a second, a third, and many more opportunities to return to the place of His blessing.  He can turn an unsaved person’s life around, giving him eternal life, a changed life, and a place of fruitfulness in His service.

Don’t be like Saul, Solomon, Manasseh, Demas, or Diotrephes, who knew what was right but deliberately chose to go downward to disaster and defeat.

Instead, choose to be like Joseph, Moses, David, Peter, Paul, and John Mark, who decided to follow the Lord.  Even when they fell, they got up again and followed the Lord.  God was gracious to each of them, restoring and blessing them with His joy, peace, and fruitfulness.

As we arrive at the threshold of 2024, this is the first year of the rest of your life.  It’s not how you begin that counts.  It’s how you choose and remain faithful through the rest of your life that counts for eternity.

At the end of his life Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.”      (2 Timothy 4:7-8.)

About Dale B

I am a born-again Christian who loves to write and share the Good News about Jesus. Raised on a small Wisconsin farm and saved at age 12, I have been active in Christian service since that time. My many years as a pastor, accountant, and lay worker in the church have equipped me to help those in need. In retirement now in Texas, the Lord has led me to writing as a means of winning people to Christ and helping Christians grow in the Lord. By God’s grace I hope to be a blessing and encouragement to you.

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  1. Great examples of victory or defeat in the lives of others. May we learn from them and make the right choices even when troubles comes to us for doing right. We aren’t exempt from them but it is how we respond to them.
    Thanks for talking on this subject.

  2. Hi Dale,
    Hope you had a blessed Christmas and Prayers for a Healthy and Happy New Year in Christ!
    Thank you so much for your detailed and encouraging post.
    You did a great job of showing the significance of how we can “choose” to do things by examples of those courageous ones in the Bible.
    Nicely done, as always.
    God Bless~

  3. Hi Dale, so encouraged by this article to make some new choices this coming year that will draw me closer to the Word and God’s people. Good choices. May God give each of us the fortitude and resilience to stand firm in walking closer with Him in 2024.

  4. Dale, I truly enjoyed your article. Yes, I need to once again, as I have done many times in the past, ask the Lord where He wants to take my life and ministry this next year. Will there be steps of faith God wants me to take? New opportunities? God knows how he can best use my life, better than I do, but I must be sensitive to his leading to know where and how to move forward. Thank you for this reminder.

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