Summary: Four things anyone can do in the New Year to spiritually ready to meet its challenges.
FOUR MAJESTIC WORDS
Genesis 1:1: ¡°In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.¡±
Psalm 102:25: ¡°In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands.¡±
John 1:1: ¡°In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.¡±
Illus.: ¡°Apollo 8 Astronauts Read From Genesis 1"
Around Christmas of 1968 there were 3 astronauts aboard Apollo 8, making their 9th orbit around the moon. At one point they turned their space craft into a chapel. As their cameras were turned on the moon, and 50 million people watched on TV, they took turns reading select passages from the first chapter of Genesis. It opens with four majestic words: ¡°In the beginning, God...
Yesterday marked the time of a new beginning as well¨Ca New Year! These four words (In the beginning, God) are loaded with meaning and tell us more than we might understand at first glance.
They¡¯re there to remind us that there is no way to explain our existence, to learn the truth, or to know who we are without placing God where He belongs¨Cin the beginning of things!
Just think of all the new things that are happening all around us today:
¡õ New marriages are beginning
¡õ New babies are being born
¡õ New friendships are being established
¡õ New converts are finding forgiveness
¡õ New churches are being built
¡õ New goals are being set
¡õ New jobs are being undertaken
Well, the list is endless because life itself is made up of countless new experiences. I¡¯m looking forward to 2005. Are you? Are you spiritually ready to meet the challenges of the New Year? Let me suggest a four things you can do to make 2005 you best year ever!
1. REMEMBER GOD¡¯S PRESENCE
Ex.33:14: ¡°My presence shall go with you and I will give you rest.¡± This promise was made to Moses who was trying to lead the Israelites through the wilderness. He needed a word of assurance from the Lord and he got it!
I don¡¯t think its unspiritual to have some feelings of apprehension as we enter a New Year. No doubt there will be some challenging times ahead for most of us. But the important thing to remember is that whatever happens, God will be there!
As the poet put it,
There is an eye that never sleeps, beneath the wing of night;
There is an ear that never shuts, when sink the beams of light;
There is an arm that never tires, when human strength gives way;
There is a love that never fails, when earthly loves decay.
Illus.: ¡°A Retreating Figure in the Snow¡±
A little boy was eagerly looking forward to the birthday party of a friend who lived only a few blocks away. When the day finally arrived, a blizzard made the sidewalks and roads nearly impassable. The lad¡¯s father, sensing the danger, hesitated to let his son go. The youngster reacted tearfully. "But Dad," he pleaded, "all the other kids will be there. Their parents are letting them go." The father thought for a moment, then replied softly, "All right, you may go." Surprised but overjoyed, the boy bundled up and plunged into the raging storm. The driving snow made visibility almost impossible, and it took him more than half an hour to trudge the short distance to the party. As he rang the doorbell, he turned briefly to look out into the storm.
His eye caught the shadow of a retreating figure. It was his father. He had followed his son¡¯s every step to make sure he arrived safely.
2. MAKE PRAYER A PRIORITY
It¡¯s a pretty good rule of thumb to never begin anything new without first seeking God¡¯s blessing and wisdom.
Prayer is to the soul what oxygen is to the body. There¡¯s no life without it. There¡¯s no work apart from it. So, be on your guard! The devil will do all in his power to keep you from it.
Remember what the disciples asked Jesus to teach them? They didn¡¯t ask Him to teach them to preach, or teach, or sing. They asked Him to teach them how to pray. In other words, they saw that His power, strength, love, and steadfastness was because He kept in touch with His Father.
So, never begin anything new without first consulting God!
Oswald Chambers: ¡°If in the first waking moment of the day you learn to fling the door back and let God in, every public thing will be stamped with the presence of God.¡±
J. Sidlow Baxter: ¡°Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our person, but they are helpless against our prayers.¡±
So, in the new year, make prayer a priority.