HAPPY NEW YEAR
Today is January 1, 2023; the beginning of a New Year. I know we are already aware of that, and hopefully we have given some thought and consideration to what we would like to happen in this New Year. We need to think about setting some goals to improve ourselves bodily – yes, but most of all, spiritually.
As we continue our study of God, Jesus, and the Spirit working together to save us from ourselves and Satan, we need to realize that everything is coming to its final consummation. God has had a plan since eternity to save those who follow Him, and to judge those who choose not to do so. While this may not be “politically correct” to state, it is still the truth. As we have studied these last weeks, the Godhead has done everything to save us from ourselves. BUT HE WILL NOT FORCE US TO LOVE OR OBEY HIM! True love manifests itself in acts of love, and as far as God is concerned in Scripture, he demands that if we love him, we will keep his commandments (John 14:15-24).
The last two-three years have been a trying time for us in this country, and throughout the world. We struggle with what will happen next. There is an angst in our spirits and hearts because we are afraid of the future. We don’t always look toward the new year with hopeful eyes, and we wonder what will happen next.
For the Christian, we should not fear (Luke 12:32-34) because we know that God is still in control. When we listen more to the “news” of doom and gloom, it is no wonder that our spirits will be discouraged. God is still there, working things out for our salvation. This is where faith comes in! We cannot see the future, and it is God’s wisdom that we don’t, for we may not like what we see. Faith, however, helps us to see what we cannot, that God is still working on our behalf, and that the end is not to be feared if I am faithful to God. We have so much to look forward to – being with the Godhead in heaven, seeing those who were faithful to the Lord again, and loving in a place of peace, joy and worship to the one who gave his all.
Can we imagine what heaven will be like? John in the book of Revelation, portrays time and again all the angelic host, and the redeemed, singing praise to God throughout eternity (see Revelation 4:8-11; 5:9-14; 6:9-10; 7:9-12; 11:17-19; 15:3-4; 16:5-6 and 19:1-9). We can only imagine what that will be like. Worship here on earth cannot be compared to the perfect worship we will give God throughout eternity.
DISTURB US, O LORD!
Disturb us, O Lord, when we are too pleased with ourselves; when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little; when we have arrived in safety because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, O Lord, when with the abundance of things which we possess we have lost our thirst for the water of life; when having fallen in love with time, we have ceased to dream of eternity; and in our efforts to build a new earth, have allowed our vision of the new heaven to grow dim.
Stir us, O Lord, to dream and dare more boldly, to venture on wide seas where storms show their mastery, where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
Stir us, O Lord, to be mindful of the opportunities that may seem to us as great problems but give us the wisdom to see that there are ways to make our faith, through work, stronger!
In the name of him who has pushed back the horizons of our hopes and invited the brave to follow him.
Dan Lightfoot via central Church of Christ Dalton, GA