Monday, January 11, 2010

Into the New Year

Happy New Year! Now What?
By Barbara Henderson

Wow! It’s 2010. That makes me --- like ancient! I have learned that new years soon turn into the past. Still, at the first of any new year it seems pretty natural to take stock in what happened last year, and what we expect to happen in the coming year. A new year is always filled with uncertainties. But, this year seems to have more obvious uncertainties than ever before.

Our government is uncertain. We have a man in the Whitehouse who does not love America. He wishes to make it over in his liberal image. A majority of elected officials share his view points. The liberal news media and liberal organizations all over the United States and the world agree with him also.

The economy is about as stable as a bowl of Jello. Those who own property wonder if the fair market value of their property is going to be anywhere near what they are actually paying for it. Those without property are still appalled at the inflated price of housing, and wonder if the prices will drop lower. Should they buy now, or should they wait and see?

Religion is in turmoil as well. The foundations of Christianity are being assaulted at an ever alarming rate from those who are supposed to protect and defend the faith.

Physical safety is no longer something anyone can claim as a certainty.

In all this uncertainty and turmoil, Christians have something the rest of the world does not have. We have assurance of a bright and wonderful future. We have instructions on how to live today. Christians are supposed to:

• Be content
• Take it one day at a time
• Stand within the walls of God’s Word

Christians are to be content. Yes, even in times like these, we are supposed to be content. Philippians 4:11 says, ‘Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.’ Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary says, ‘Let us pray for patient submission and hope when we are abased; for humility and a heavenly mind when exalted. It is a special grace to have an equal temper of mind always.’

Hebrews 13:5 says, ‘Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’

To be content is really a state of mind based on faith in our God, who has promised to never leave us. Lacking something you want is not the real reason for lack of contentment.

We have ample proof that possessions, locations, and positions do not provide contentment. Adam and Eve were not content in the perfect garden in which God placed them.
One third of the angels were not content in heaven with God.
Lucifer, though he was in heaven in a position of high authority, was not content.
The rich man of Luke 12:18 was not satisfied to have his barns full. He decided to build even greater storehouses for all his goods.
True and lasting contentment is only found in a true relationship with God Almighty through Jesus Christ.

In times of turmoil it more common to seek the company and wisdom given to us in the Bible. If you are someone who has fled to the Bible for comfort during these troubled times, then the evil of the day has already worked some good in your life. Drawing closer to God of the Bible is always good.

To be content with what we have is the solution. Something to remember in being content is that the circumstances with which you are content today are not likely to be the same circumstances with which you must be content tomorrow. This leads us to a key element in being content.

The Bible tells us in Matthew 6:34, ‘Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.’

Deal with what you must deal with today, but don’t fret about tomorrow. I know, that is much easier to say than to do. It is made easier when we consider diligently the care of souls much more than the care of our bodies and our possessions. Give the Lord today. Look for His hand of fellowship extended to you. Don’t miss the joy of today because of the worry about tomorrow.

In facing an uncertain future, we have covered:
Be content.
Take it one day at a time.

However, there are still 24 hours in a day. What is a Christian supposed to do to fill up those hours? The mind seems to run to a fro like a roaring lion, seeking something to cause one discontent and worry about tomorrow. In the midst of contentment and living in the moment, the Christian must do something else. They must stand!

That’s right. The Christian must stand.

We are facing a foe in this world that is undefeatable by any mortal. That is the devil, and all the witless and/or willing souls who follow him. Fortunately, we know the end of the story. God wins. And before the final victory, there are many smaller victories like the one in Exodus 9:12. ‘And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever.’ If ever there was time to remember that our helps comes from the Lord, that time is now. (Psalm 121:2) Let every Christian place themselves and their families under God’s protection right now. Acknowledge Him as Lord over your life, and follow His commandments. According to Leviticus 26:37 the disobedient have no power to stand before their enemies. But, the obedient can just stand still and watch for the salvation of the Lord to come to them.

In Nehemiah 9:5 the Israelites are instructed to ‘Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever:’. We should also stand up and bless our God.

Stand in awe of God. Awe of God will encourage you not to sin. (Psalm 4:4) I don’t know about you, but I am sick of the worldly image of God as a somewhat misguided and ineffective being. We ought not to think of the God of creation and the God of our salvation as anything less than omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. This means our God really is awesome. The more Christians get to know our God, the better able we are to be content and take it one day at a time.

Unfortunately, most Christians cannot stand in the Lord because they really don’t know anything about him. I think I will illustrate that point with a corny joke. (stop me if you already heard this one)
A preacher visited one of his Sunday school classes.
He asked the children, ‘Who broke down the walls of Jericho?’
A skinny little red headed boy replied, ‘I don’t know who did it, but I want to make it clear that it was not me!’

The preacher looked at the teacher questioningly.
The teacher said, ‘Little Jimmy is a good boy who tells the truth. I am sure he did not tear down the walls of Jericho.’

The preacher sent a letter explaining the incident to his board of deacons and asked them to take the situation under consideration, and come up with a plan regarding how to proceed.

The deacon board replied to the preacher, ‘We really don’t know who tore down the walls of Jericho, but we agree to pay a reasonable amount to rebuild the walls.’

I know, that joke is a hundred years old and very corny besides. But, it does illustrate the situation in which the church finds itself today. We are in the same situation in which the people of God found themselves in Hosea 4:6a which says, ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.’ Christian churches are not preaching the things in the Bible. Christians have no knowledge of the things of Christ. Like the deacon board in the joke, the proper solution to anything is deemed to be ‘just throw some money at it’.

A working knowledge of Bible doctrine is the beginning of the solution to the problems faced by an individual, a family, a church, a nation, and the entire world.

Ignorance of Bible doctrine cannot be corrected in one day, or even one year. But, each Christian can start to make corrections in his or her own life.
If you want to do something constructive and really helpful to you, your family, your church, your country, and the entire world, set out to learn more of what the Bible teaches this year.
Learn Bible doctrine.
Apply Bible doctrine to personal actions.

Bible study is not for cowards. It requires a courage and bravery to follow through with a goal of learning more about God and growing close to Him. The person trying to grow closer to God has to face a dreadful giant. It is the giant of the sin in his or her own life. Isaiah tells us about it in Isaiah chapter 6 verse 5. Isaiah says he is ‘undone’. Matthew Henry explains that Isaiah, after having seen the glory of God, is entirely overwhelmed by his own vile and sinful life. It is much easier to only take the very easy doctrines of the Bible, or stay ignorant of everything all together. That way, you are not confronted with the choice of changing your ways to suit God, or living in your comfort zone.

So, let us all face the new year with a question.

‘Will I follow Christ out of my comfort zone?’

Will I take hold of His strength that I may be content today with whatever circumstances today may bring?

Will I live my life one day at a time without worrying about tomorrow?

Will I stand inside the boundaries set for me in the Bible?

Will I stand in believing that the Lord will fight for me? Or will I accept defeat because the giants I see are much greater than anything I can defeat on my own?

Will I stand up and bless the Lord?

I think you get the picture. We have a choice in how we live this year. Our choices will determine whether this is a good year, a bad year, or a lukewarm year.

Let’s make this year an action based year. Let each Christian purpose in his or her heart to:
Be content
Live our lives in the moment, enjoying the blessings of the day
Stand up for Jesus
Strengthen ourselves in the Lord through learning more about Him.

It is a simple plan. It only requires that we consistently follow our plan.

God bless you and I pray for you a blessed and productive new year.

Barbara Henderson

This is my mom’s web page.
She has 2 Siberian kittens ready to go. Visit her site and just look around.

Mom is a very interesting person. When I was about 5 years old I watched my mom and dad wade out into the icy waters of an Alaskan lake and get baptized. They never wavered in their decision to follow Jesus. I could never be thankful enough for such godly parents.

When my dad died in February of 2009 mom needed a way to make a little extra money. At age 77, she didn’t have very many business opportunities. The Lord gave her two Siberian cats at very little personal expense. Please pray that mom is able to sell the remaining two kittens.
Please take a minute to drop mom an email note and tell her that you are praying for her. And – wish her a happy birthday. Mom will be 78 on January 10th.

Visit my mom’s Siberian cat group on facebook.