God is the gracious giver of many wonderful things. When we come to Him through faith in His Son, being born again by an obedient faith Rom.1:5; Jn.3:5; 1.Pet.1:22-23; we receive a new heart and begin a new life 2.Cor.5:17. With this new life comes a new hope 1.Pet.1:3 and a new purpose for living, serving God Rom.6:17-18. Finally, at the end of the way, if we have remained faithful to Him Rev.2:10 we will receive a new body and a new home in heaven Phil.3:21. Nothing up there will ever become old or worn out.
Three days from today, to you and me, God will give a New Year, if we are permitted to live until then. Jan.1 will be the start of a new year with 366 days stretching before us. We may feel we haven’t done so well with this year, maybe we haven’t lived for God as we should. But, with a new year we have a chance for a new start. The coming year will bring new dreams, new resolutions to replace the one which did not come true in 2019. To some of us it will mean new obligations, perhaps with different responsibilities, or some new position to fill. To all of us it is the time to turn over a new leaf and write a new story on a clean page. Yes, we are about to start a new year, on a journey we have not followed before. Are you ready for the journey?
After the death of Moses, Joshua became the leader of the children of Israel. The people were now at the end of their 40 year sojourn in the wilderness, ready to enter into the land God had promised them. As Joshua was preparing the people for this new journey, he sent his officers through the camp to command the people. “when you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.” Josh.3:2-4. There are several things that could be said about this event, but I just want to notice some thoughts in the phrase, “for you have not passed this way before.”
We are looking at a new looming before us. We will be taking a journey into the unknown since we have not yet lived 2020. So, we can say with Joshua, we “have not passed this way before.” Yet, I am sure God wants us to be happy in heart and prosperous with the best things of life during the year. These things can be ours if we truly follow His Son during the year. We read in Matt.6:33 (a very familiar verse to us) “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” This is God’s formula for a true prosperity and happiness, seeking the spiritual things of God, not the material things the world offers, the lusts of the flesh and, eye and pride of life, eating drinking, being happy and ignoring God. When you put God first in life He will give you all the things you need, and cause your heart to sing with joy. We should do this every day of the year in the home, on the job, in every walk of life, not just in church services.
Another passage we might consider while seeking true happiness and prosperity in the coming year is 3.Jn.2. “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” Note that the emphasis of the verse is first and foremost the welfare of the soul, then the other things follow. God is willing to give you a happy and prosperous year, but you must do your part. When my wife bakes a cake, she has to put the proper ingredients in it so it will turn out right. So, if you want a prosperous, happy new year then you mist put the right ingredients into it. There are several ingredients that are indispensable to having a wonderful life this coming year.
One ingredient is the Bible. You cannot neglect the Bible, if you want to find true happiness, peace of mind and contentment. If you read and heed the Book you will be able to live a clean life and find the strength to withstand the dangers and temptations of life. It is a safe book to live by and a sweet book to die by. The Bible is like a mirror, it shows the real you, with all the blemishes and spots. Let it guide you in 2020.
Another valuable ingredient is prayer. Physical life comes from breathing the air God gives us, and spiritual vitality comes from prayer. We need to hold on to God’s hand throughout the year if gwant the strength to bear the burdens and resist the temptations thrust upon us by the devil. All the great men of the Bible were men of constant prayer. David, Daniel, Paul are just a few to be named, whose lives were enriched by prayer. And of course, the greatest example is Jesus. He prayed constantly and consistently from His baptism to His ascension. If Jesus, who stilled the storms, healed the sick and raised the dead saw the need of prayer, what about us?
A third ingredient to a happy, prosperous year is a consecrated life. All the prayers and Bible reading we do will come to naught if it is not backed up by a consecrated life. Faithful service and attendance to church services is part of walking with God. Walking with God also includes separation from the sins of the world. Too many Christians compromise with the world. This is why they are ineffective and unfaithful. They may be persuaded to do things that are questionable or go to places that are detrimental to one’s spiritual life. The world may not read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but they surely read the lives of those who profess to be Christians. We have to remember we are the salt of the earth, the light of the world and the epistles known and read by all Matt.5:13-16; 2.Cor.3:3.
Remember that some family members. friends and acquaintances that started 2019 with you are no longer here. The death angel came for them. no longer here. The death angel came for them. Next year, 2021, some of us may be gone, so while making the best of the coming year make sure you bring God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, with you on the journey of 2020. Tommy Thornhill