Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Family Integrated?

There are a lot of questions about churches that are purposely integrating the family back into the full activity of worship on the Lord's day. But it affects more than just Sunday. Here are some free messages that touch on those subjects. Enjoy!

Vision Forum

There are several really good places to purchase older books that have been republished with new covers and type set. Vision forum is one of those places. Christian books are available there covering various topics. Use discernment as with any web site. www.visionforum.com

Friday, March 4, 2011

College: a necessity?

Apprenticeships and trade schools have for centuries aided the skilled workers of the world by training people in specific tasks. Universities and Colleges have honed the minds and shaped men and women alike to take roles in various fields. But are these necessary? The immediate answer is "Yes, because the authoritative certifying agencies demand it for various fields." We don't mind a shade-tree mechanic working on our old van, but we don't want a "shade-tree" heart surgeon working on our Mom!
But what happened to fathers and grandfathers training sons, and mothers and grandmothers training daughters? Not to mention uncles and aunts, etc, etc. There are many fields that could be trained for right from the home.
One of the reasons this is not happening in America today the way it did in times past is that the Deuteronomy Six commands are not being practiced. Notice: Deu 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: Deu 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deu 6:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: Deu 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Now clearly, what is being pressed here is the teaching of the Law to the household. It is an all day, every moment thing. Teach with the mouth, teach with the life. But this could not be accomplished if the children were not with them when they sat in the house, when they walked by the way and when they laid down and rose up.
With the present cultural mode of operation the family is placed in an environment that almost demands that the children go one way, dad goes another and mom goes yet another. Therefore there is little fellowship for learning godliness from the father and mother, much less a skill or trade.
We have opted for short family devotionals to replace the "walking by the way" and we have placed a Television set to replace the "sitting in thine house".
What a challenge we face in training our children. What a challenge we face in determining that we will break the mold and move toward a more sound center.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sovereignty or Not

From an old post of Phil Johnson dated in 2008:

The Arminian Problem in Simple Terms
by Phil Johnson

If God knows the future with certainty, then the future is (by definition) already predetermined. If tomorrow is predetermined and you don't want to acknowledge that the plan was decreed by God, you have only two choices:

1. Some being other than God determines the future and is therefore more sovereign than He. That is a kind of idolatry.

2. Some impersonal force does the determining without reason or coherence. That is a kind of fatalism.

So anyone who denies that God preordained whatsoever comes to pass but wants to avoid both fatalism and idolatry is logically compelled to deny God's omniscience.

That of course, is precisely the rationale that has led so many to embrace Open Theism.

The more sensible option—and the biblical one—would be to abandon Arminian presuppositions and acknowledge that God declared the end from the beginning, and that He works all things according to the counsel of His own will.

For more of Phil, see his link on the right side of this page labeled Spurgeon web page!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible

This is a reprint from the web site Reformation21. It is in no way original with me! But a great reminder as to just a FEW of the reasons I use the KJV!

What Makes the King James Version Great?

Article by January 2011
This year marks the 400th anniversary of the most important event in the history of English Bible translation. In fact, the publication of the King James Version of the Bible in 1611 was the most important event in the history of book printing as a whole, inasmuch as it is the bestselling English book of all time. I tell my students that the publication of the King James Bible was the most important event in the history of English and American literature.
There are important ways in which the King James Version is a book of wonders, and that is the format I have chosen for this article.

Wonder #1: the inauspicious origin of the KJV
The greatest English Bible was begotten in a moment of spite by a profane king. The origin of the King James Version is as follows. As the coronation procession of King James of Scotland wound its way southward, Puritan leaders presented the king with the Millenary Petition (so-called because it allegedly bore the signatures of a thousand Puritan ministers). In response, the king called the Hampton Court Conference (held January, 1604).
The conference turned out to be a farce. Four moderate, hand-picked Puritans were pitted against eighteen Church-of-England heavyweights. The king summarily dismissed all Puritan requests and threatened to "harry them out of the land--or worse." As a last-minute attempt to salvage at least something from the conference, the Puritans requested that a new English translation of the Bible be commissioned.
The king surprised the assembly by approving the request, but he did so with a scornful put-down of the Geneva Bible (the Puritans' preferred-translation) and of the whole tradition of English Bible translation. The king's famous statement was that "he could never yet see a Bible well translated in English, but the worst of all his Majesty thought the Geneva to be."
So this was the origin of the King James Bible--a "poor and empty" request (as the preface to the KJV calls it) from a handful of dejected Puritans, granted by a sneering king. It is hard to imagine a less auspicious origin for the mighty King James Bible. Yet God chose to override the scorn of a king who was seeking his own political advantage rather than the spiritual health of his nation.

Wonder #2: the unlikely process of translation
A whole host of wonders meets us when we learn the details of what is commonly called "the making of the King James Version." For starters, even though the King James Bible originated in a climate of religious and political contentiousness, once the process was set in motion by King James and Archbishop Richard Bancroft, everyone involved in the project rose above partisan spirit. Something like a benediction fell on the venture.
The forty-seven men who did the translation were chosen solely on the basis of their scholarly ability. They were "the best of the best" that England had to offer in Hebrew and Greek language studies and biblical scholarship. It is true that all of the translators were clerics in the Church of England, but all viewpoints within that church were represented, from high church Anglo-Catholics to low-church Puritans. Approximately a fourth of the translators were Puritans.
The second wonder is that a seemingly unwieldy committee structure did not impede the work. There were three primary committees, but each of these was in turn divided into two committees, so in effect the work was performed by six committees. To add to our astonishment, they met in three separate locations--Oxford University, Cambridge University, and the Jerusalem Chamber off the entrance to Westminster Abbey in London.
Benson Bobrick, author of a book entitled Wide as the Waters: The Story of the English Bible and the Revolution It Inspired, sees a delicate balancing act in the three locations where the committees met. Oxford University had royalist and high church associations. Cambridge University was a hotbed of Protestant and Puritan fervor. Both universities were governed by Christian assumptions, but as educational institutions the were "secular" rather than ecclesiastical. Westminster Abbey, by contrast, was a church institution, and additionally its officials were appointed by the ruling monarch. Of course no one deliberately set out to orchestrate the venture in these terms, but the effect was as Bobrick describes it.
While the committee structure would seem to have been unmanageable in size and location, the process was so thorough that eventually all committee members read and had opportunity to comment on the entire manuscript. In yet another surprise, even though the Geneva Bible was the best and most popular translation of the day, the Bishops' Bible of 1568 was the stipulated starting point for the King James translators.
A final wonder is that the six committees produced not only a unified product but a literary masterpiece--the only one ever produced by a committee, as is commonly asserted. The primary aim of the translators was to produce an accurate translation. But as Alister McGrath writes in his book In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language and a culture, "The king's translators achieved [literary merit] unintentionally, by focusing on what, to them, was a greater goal. . . . The achievement of prosaic and poetic elegance that resulted was, so to speak, a most happy accident of history."

Wonder #3: the language and style of the KJV
The language and style of the KJV are a wonder because they defy complete analysis. A symptom of this is that the King James style can be parodied and imitated but never duplicated. Here, too, a benediction descended on the translation.
Modern advocates of colloquial Bibles have made fallacious claims about the King James style that need to be countered. The archaic quality of the King James Version makes it seem formal and exalted to modern readers, but the archaisms of the KJV were equally characteristic of the daily speech of the time. Another fallacy is that the King James translators spoiled the racy colloquialism of Tyndale's translation by embellishing it upwards. It is true that the King James translators had "a sure instinct for betterment" (as one expert puts it) as they massaged their inherited English translations, but I have found that this improvement often consisted of simplifying Tyndale's formulation, not by making it ornate. For example, Tyndale rendered 1 Timothy 6:6 as, "Godliness is great riches, if a man be content with that he hath." The King James translators tightened it up by rendering it, "Godliness with contentment is great gain."
It is hard to know what descriptors to use for the King James style. It is not colloquial, but what is it? The adjectives beautiful, dignified, and elegant (not to be necessarily equated with eloquent) are all accurate. Mainly, though, the King James style is as varied as the original biblical text, which shares with the King James Version the paradoxical quality of combining simplicity with majesty.
Where the original text is exalted and rhetorically embellished, the King James Version is also: "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though I have all faith so that I cold remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:1-2).
But the simple can also be a form of beauty, and we find this as often as we find the embellished: "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night" (Luke 2:8). Or this from the creation story: "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light" (Genesis 1:3). Advocates of colloquial Bibles want us to believe that because the King James Version does not sound like conversation at the bus stop it is stilted, but this is a fallacy that we need to resist.
The King James norm is simplicity of style combined with majesty of effect: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knoweth it shall be opened" (Luke 11:9-10). The vocabulary of that passage is simple, but the elaborate rhetorical patterns of repetition elevate it above everyday conversation. A good parallel is Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, where the vocabulary is simple and the effect is elevating. I note in passing that a scholar has written a whole book that explores the indebtedness of the Gettysburg Address to the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.
An additional quality of the King James style is that it is memorable and aphoristic. Dozens of familiar sayings entered the English language through the King James Version (which both perpetuated felicitous formulations from earlier translations and added to the storehouse): labor of love, my brother's keeper, fly in the ointment, the powers that be, like a lamb to the slaughter, the salt of the earth, a law unto themselves, vanity of vanities, under the sun. There are so many memorable sayings from the King James Bible in Bartlett's Famous Quotations that an editor segregated them out and published a freestanding book that runs to over 200 pages.

Wonder #4: the unmatched influence of the King James Bible
The King James Version became the most influential book in the history of the English-speaking world and not impossibly in the world as a whole. Sources claiming that the KJV is the best-selling book of all time are too numerous to cite. David Daniell, author of the magisterial The Bible in English, claims that the KJV is "still the bestselling book in the world." Adam Nicolson, in his book God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible, claims that more than five billion copies of the King James Bible have been sold. Gordon Campbell, in his recent Oxford University Press book entitled Bible: The Story of the King James Version 1611-2011, calls the King James Version "the most important book in the English language." Any book that elicits such claims as these is a "wonder book."
Until relatively recently, the King James Version was what people meant when they spoke of "the Bible." Wherever we dip into the sermons and writings of the famous preachers and theologians of the English-speaking world, it is obvious at once that they used the KJV. Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, George Whitfield, D. L. Moody, Matthew Henry, and Billy Graham all used the King James Version and did not need to tell their audiences what translation they were using.
From approximately 1700 to 1950, the King James Bible was the preeminent book in England and American in virtually every sphere of society that we can name--family, religion, church, politics, education, literature, art, and music. The foundation on which everything else rested was the influence of the King James Version on the English language. The influence of the English Bible on the language started with William Tyndale, who gave English-speaking people what David Daniell calls an English plain style. But Tyndale's pioneering work would have proven ephemeral if other Bible translations had not perpetuated his work.
In turn, the King James Version synthesized a whole century of English Bible translation into a climactic document. More importantly, it was through the King James Bible that this linguistic accomplishment remained dominant for three centuries. If there was just one book that the American pioneers carried in their covered wagons, it was the King James Version of the Bible. The King James Bible was first of all a religious authority, but it also provided a standard of stylistic and linguistic excellence that the pioneers preserved amidst conditions that doubtless seemed to threaten their cultural heritage. For more than four centuries, English-speaking people (around the world and not just in England and America) had a touchstone for what constituted good written and oral communication.
For some glimpses into the spheres where the KJV was preeminent for three and a half centuries, I will dip into an area that emerged as one of my favorites when I wrote my book The Legacy of the King James Bible, namely, public inscriptions of verses from the King James Bible. As a graduate student at the University of Oregon, I could look up whenever I entered the library and read the engraved verse, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
Every year two million visitors have a chance to read Leviticus 25:10 on the cracked Liberty Bell in Philadelphia: "Proclaim LIBERTY through all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof." The "Isaiah wall" across the street from the United Nations headquarters in New York City bears these words from Isaiah 2:4: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
Texts from the English Bible have appeared on the walls of churches and cathedrals at least since the sixteenth century, and a majority of these have been from the King James Version. A person sitting along the outer aisle of a pew of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia can read verses such as these: "he being dead yet speaketh" (Hebrews 11:4); "being made conformable unto his death" (Philippians 3:10); "well done, thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithfull over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of they Lord" (Matthew 25:21).
The scope broadens if we consider the King James texts imprinted on the walls of the Dunham Bible Museum on the campus of Houston Baptist University. These texts mark famous moments in American history where the King James Bible was quoted. Specimens include these: "What hath God wrought?" (Samuel Morse as he sent the first words over his newly invented telegraph machine, quoting Numbers 23:23). "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained. . ." (Buzz Aldrin as he spoke on a television broadcast after his space walk, quoting Psalm 1:3). "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it" (Benjamin Franklin during a debate the drafting of the U.S. Constitution, quoting Psalm 127:1).

I have done no more than give hints of the greatness of the King James Bible and its historical influence. McGuffey's Fifth Eclectic Reader, which itself did much to perpetuate the influence of the King James Bible, can be allowed to encapsulate the praise that has been legitimately heaped on the King James Version through the years and especially in this anniversary year: "The best of classics the world has ever admired."

Leland Ryken is the Clyde S. Kilby Professor of English at Wheaton College. He is the author of numerous articles and has contributed, written or edited more than twenty books.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Having No pleasure in unrighteousness. Really?

I will ask this in the outset, and then again at the end of this short blog: Do you have pleasure in unrighteousness? Honestly? I bet, like me, you said, “No way!”

Music videos, Hollywood films, graphic novels, soaps and sitcoms all abound with adultery, fornication, murders and the like. When we feast upon those and relish the scenes before us, how can we say we are “like Christ?”

Is our soul “vexed” like righteous lot, or is our passion stirred? When a man’s soul is vexed he is sickened, tormented, troubled with what he sees, and does not like it. Yet we go back to the trough of the world waiting for more slop to be poured in so we can indulge our passions like hungry animals. Waiting for the next episode, the next new song, the next release of the sensual movie. What has happened to our senses, we who say we are of Christ?

Listen to Paul as he warns about those who are lost; the sign of it is certain: (2Th 2:12) That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Now, I ask again, “Do you have pleasure in unrighteousness?” In other words, does it please you to hear the next episode is coming up that is filled with sensual pleasures, the new music video with words that dishonor Christ and His church? Do you want to stand in line to get the first seat at the theater, or purchase that first release CD?

Have no pleasure in unrighteousness.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The gate

Gen. 19:1 "and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom"
There are so many thoughts that come to my mind as I consider Lot sitting at the gate of Sodom:

I wonder how he ended up there.

I wonder how he felt the first time he walked through the gate he was sitting at that day.

I wonder how he could have left the comfort of the country side, the fresh smells, the clean air and what lie he told himself that convinced him he needed to move into the city of Sodom itself.

I am of the opinion that it was not overnight.

In fact, for me the progression into sin is not that one day I am fine and the next I am sitting in the gate of Sodom wondering how I got there. Rather, it is slow, calculated, laden with excuses and reasons that all seem harmless and innocuous at first.

A man in our family Sunday school class pointed out that when we sin we have made provisions for it. Like a man getting ready for a trip, he packs all the things he needs, all the things he will want, and all the things for a "just in case" emergency. In other words, he "provides" all the things he might have occasion to use.

Making provision for the flesh is no different, only dangerous. Instead of providing for good and for right, we start putting things into our nap-sack that will hinder us, and cause us to stumble, and then occasion our fall.

He went on to say, we subscribe to things that do not direct our passion toward Christ but toward the flesh.

I think Lot hardly ever expected to lose his family as a result of moving to Sodom. I don't think that the day he pitched his tent "toward" Sodom that he thought, "Hey, this is great, soon my wife will fall in love with the wicked generation of Sodom, and my daughters will want to commit incest!"

That is hardly the way we find ourselves sitting in the gate. Rather it is so subtle, so slow and progressive that we actually think good is coming from it.

Pointing our tent toward Sodom gives us the opportunity to see the trade routes in and out of the town. We can see how often the flow of wool and produce move in and out as well. That will help us to know when to better time our deliveries.

We don't know the progression that Lot took to get to Sodom, but we know in Genesis 13 he pitched his tent toward it. Then just a couple of chapters later, with no word as to what happened, we see him living in Sodom, and the next time he is apparently an Elder, sitting in the Gates of the City.

Often I ask people when they are in counsel with me, "What happened?" Wanting to know how they came to the sad position they were in. Their answer many time is, "I don't know what happened, just all of a sudden..." And they are right. We don't plan for our marriages to fail, we just don't plan for them to succeed. We don't plan for our lives to become absorbed with sports, hobbies, excess, but then, we don't plan to avoid the snares that those things by nature are prone toward.

The afternoon sermon was from 2 Chronicles and Brother Joshua Miller pointed out that several people purposed in their heart to follow the Lord. But there were many who did not. The result of each persons decision was directly related to what they purposed to do, what they set their heart to do.

Let us plan NOT to sin. Let us plan to obey the Word of God and be found somewhere other than the gates of Sodom, unless it is to rescue the perishing.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The dung pile of my life...

The fact that our back porch is covered did little to prevent almost 8 inches of snow from blanketing the entire area. Rarely, and thankfully, do we ever get such snow falls here in the south. Some of our neighbors live on dirt roads and were snow-locked for a week. With only a handful of snowplows in our town there was no way they could cover all the back roads in our rather large county.
With all that said, in spite of the inconvenience, fender benders and missed days of work, it was a most dazzling display of God's power. While man had all his plans laid out for the week, 8 inches of billowy white stopped him dead in his tracks!
It brought to mind a quote from Martin Luther I heard once, and don't have any real validation for its authenticity, but went something like this, "Our sins are like dung piles, and God's justification is like the first snow that blankets the land. The dung pile is still there, but it is hidden under the snow. It no longer is even noticed." Thus the declaration that we are forgiven covers our sins and brings great peace.

Someone made argument that if I could not cite the quote he made, I should not make it. One writer went on to say, "
Funny thing about that quote—despite years of Lutheran seminary education, and experience as a pastor, and the reading of umpteen volumes of Luther's Works, I have never come across that quote in print, nor have I ever heard it from the mouth of a Lutheran. Yet it is a favorite of Luther's critics. I asked renowned Luther scholar Eric Gritsch about this, and he replied that it does exist somewhere in one of the "Table Talks" (after dinner ramblings written down by Luther's students—not reliable sources for Luther's thought), but even he couldn't give me a reference.

I guess that makes for a good point, but honestly, the truth of the quote is what I am after. When I looked across our yard and into the woods, it looked like a completely different place, one I hardly knew. Isn't that what we hope fore when our sins are forgiven and washed away? That all those who look upon the landscape of our life might say, "That is not the same man I once knew."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Honor, Sobriety, and Fear, and Shockers

Mal 1:6 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?
Shock Society.
That is where we live. We love to shock people. We love to be shocked. We need a jolt to keep us focused. In fact, some energy drinks have played on those names to let people know what they are in for if they drink one.
The radio hosts "shock jocks" that tell dangerously profane stories that cause the FCC to study close what they have said to insure it can be broadcast for the public ear. The host's know, it sells. People clamor for it.
The pulpit, I am afraid is not immune to this type of marketing. Preachers all over this country are adopting a "shock jock" mentality and it draws crowds. I don't know if it draws more sheep or goats. But it draws a crowd.
Many have lost the ability to blush because they have become so innundated with worldliness and crudeness. So, preachers move to more "shocking" words and statements to titillate the crowd.
Jer 6:15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush:
A.W. Tozer said “We should and must learn that we cannot handle holy things carelessly without suffering serious consequences.
The text from Malachi declares that if God is a father, then where is the honor due fathers? That falls limp on our modern ears, because fatherhood is not honored as it should be. Mocking dad, ignoring his counsel, and pretty much relegating him to just another voice in the crowd is the common thing in society. He is just another person you can choose to agree with or disagree with and do so without any honor. God teaches us that it will NOT be well with the person who does this.
Deu 5:16 Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
But Malachi even draws the illustration further by God comparing himself to a master, that deserves fear. Again, modern society cringes at the term of "fear" equating it to some poor oppressed person, groveling before a task master bent on whipping the person into obedience.
This is far from the biblical picture of godly fear toward those in authority over us, but we know when something is said long enough and loud enough, it is believed.
May the preachers that mount the pulpit remember, the holy thing that we deal with is to be taken with sobriety: not a comedy night production attitude.
The holy thing we do is godly edification and instruction: not a whipping post for my latest soapbox.
The holy thing we do is for the glory of God: not the promotion of ourselves, our ministries, or favor of men.
May I remember this when I preach this Lord's day.
To God alone be glory.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

But I have a right...

"To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it."

G.K. Chesterton

I suppose for most of us, we view everything we do through the lens of "freedom." As Americans we hold to our "rights" very tightly. While we enjoy liberty and freedom, often times we forget that we are not free to abuse liberty, or to use our liberty to injure others. Chesterton spoke rightly to the idea of proper liberty.

To have a right to do a thing is fundamental in our thinking. As long as it is legal, we rally to the call of freedom and demand the right to do it. For example, we recoil at the thought of not being allowed to vote, but many American's simply don't vote. According to the Census Bureau, in 2008, 64% of Americans that were voting age actually went to the polls. Now, it is their right to vote, but not all did it; it is also their right NOT to vote. Whether that bothers you or not, is really not the issue.

What bothers me is the fact that we have liberty for so many good things that we do not do, that would only aid in helping others. Yet the liberties that we have that are an aid to no one but ourselves is often times used to the damage of others. That is a challenge for me almost daily.

In an attempt to "not offend" often times we should put legal liberties to the side. All too often, we think because it is our "right" to do something, others should understand our "liberty" and "get over it." When in actuality we should get over our demand to exercise a right, that will injure a brother in the process.

Yes, no matter how hard we try, we shall offend. Jesus reminded us of that. Surely offenses shall come He said. So we say, "see, there is just nothing we can do, we are going to offend no matter what!" But we forget that He went on to say, "Woe to him that causes the offense." (Matt. 18:7)

Discernment in our actions, coupled with genuine love for our brethren will cause us to make careful decisions about our liberty. What ever liberty you are certain is lawful, remember there are times for all things. ( Ecc. 3:1) And there are times that restraint is best. Discretion, it is said, is the better part of valor. Often, valor is lost in the midst of our practice of lawful liberty.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A new year, a new resolution

I don't suppose the word resolution is found anywhere in the bible. At least I cannot find it. Resolve is used in one parable in Luke, where an unfaithful steward is striving to correct his wrongs. But to suggest that making a resolution is wrong would be quite incorrect. The word itself is an encouraging word. It simply means, "determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure."
We should all make resolutions. Every time we sin, it should already be resolved that we will repent and correct the errors of our way. Each time we have opportunity to do our neighbor good, it should already be resolved that we will not try to take honor to ourselves, but that we will give glory to God, from whom all good things flow.
I think also, it is good to set personal resolutions, and work toward them. A man never hits a target unless he aims at it. A resolution is like a fellow taking aim at a bulls eye and pulling the trigger on his gun. He may miss the bulls eye, but now he can see where his correction needs to be, and he can take aim again, and again until he finally achieves his goal.
Be careful that foolish resolutions do not make you look foolish. If you resolve to go to the moon this year, I am afraid you may be sorely displeased at the end of the year. Set realistic, God honoring goals that will not just help you, but be a blessing to all those around you as well.
I know one person resolved to lose 25 pounds. That is good not only for him, but for his family, who will benefit by having a healthy husband and father, his company will benefit, by not having a sluggish employee. So even small resolutions have big implications.
Think through today, what you can resolve to do that will better aid you in achieving godly goals for the future, and push toward them with fervor.
Remember, if you never aim at the target, don't expect to hit the bulls eye...ever!