Reflecting on the past, looking to the future

Published 11:16 pm Friday, January 18, 2019

By Myrtle Virginia Thompson

More than half of January 2019, the “New Year,” has already slipped by. Remember the events when we turned the calendar to 2000? There was some concern and fear. Almost everyone seemed sure there would be some surprises. My garage shelves still have some extra non- perishable items we purchased “in the event of…” whatever might happen. Problems we faced in the late 1990s were left for the new generation.

Those first 18 years of the new millennium are now a part of the past. Children born after the calendar turnover are no longer riding the bus to school. They are driving their cars to work or to a college class, cutting a new path in the electronic age but the problems are still with us. Artificial Intelligence is already here, a part of their and our future.

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If you made some personal New Year’s resolutions this year, they were likely concerns about personal matters, possibly “good intentions” for a change in lifestyle. Diet and exercise lead the list for most Americans in 2019. The future may not be defined this early in the new year, but it is not yet the larger concern.

I do not know Ben Shapiro, but I read a quote of his that struck a chord. It said Ben Shapiro, the author of “Bullies,” categorized 2018 as a “chaotic year for the markets, for domestic and international politics and social mores.” He then says “2019 promises more of the same if the end of the prior year was any indicator.” If his point is valid, it should be a greater concern than diet and exercise. Our whole world seems to be in turmoil.

Some things in 2019 will be new to us, but not all. We will still be faced with a need for societal order, for shelter, food, clean water and routine work activities. We will still be paying taxes. The sun will rise in the morning and darkness will cover the night, 24 hour days, 7 days a week. The moments of our lives will pass quickly or slowly as we attempt to secure our future.

There is need for a change, but of what kind? We have only a limited amount of control over our lives. Even the breath that sustains us was given us by the Creator God. What resolutions would He suggest for a better life?

There are some things with which most of us agree. We like to take off dirty clothes and put on clean ones, to get cleaned up, to look and smell clean. The apostle Paul, chosen by God to teach us, wants us to take off those dirty clothes. He likens them to “dirty words” used in conversation and “deceitful lusts.” He says if we have taken off the “dirty” clothes, and are now wearing “spiritual” clean clothes, we should not lie to one another.

In Philippians Paul reminds us our citizenship (KJV “conversation”) is in Heaven. Old habits, old language, old ways must go. We must “put off” anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy and filthy communication out of our mouths. We don’t want to arrive in dirty clothes.

What a difference it would make if we who call ourselves Christians should make a purposeful decision to rid ourselves of the narcissistic and self-consumed ways of living so prevalent today. Why not try out a new “diet” in clean clothes by making these “resolutions” a part of 2019:

“Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report…” Think on these things!


Myrtle V. Thompson, age 90, is a retired missionary, educator and writer. Contact her at