Summary: A call to open our eyes to the possibilities of the New Year.
New Year, New Beginnings
Well, here we are, on the brink of a brand new year, and for you purists out there, a new millenium.
As is traditional for this time, we take time to reflect on the last year, and to make promises to do better this year.
This morning I want to look at three areas of life we can have new beginnings in for this coming year.
My purpose this morning is to give you some guidance and hope as we begin this new chapter.
First, we have…
I. New Opportunities.
Please turn with me to Ephesians 5:15-17 and follow along as I read.
Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Pretty straightforward, wouldn’t you say? Can anyone tell me the days are not evil? Can anyone tell me there is no need to live wisely?
We need to make the most of every opportunity, and I think there are at least three opportunities available to everyone of us here today.
The first is…
A. A Deeper Walk with God.
The only way I know to get this is spelled TIME. Time in the Word of God. Time in prayer. Time in worship and fellowship with other believers in Christ.
TIME is the all-important.
Let me caution you against something. Stay away from the mindset that says, “I’ll get with God when I find the time.”
The truth is, folks, you’ll rarely, if ever FIND the time. We need to MAKE time to get things done, and that includes spending time with God.
Make some definite plans to set aside time for God and His people.
The second opportunity is for…
B. Healing of relationships.
Please listen as I read a couple of Scriptures that I think will illustrate what I hope to communicate here.
The first is 1 John 3:18 –
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
The phrase, “easier said than done” comes to mind here for me.
It is easy to say you love someone, but it is an entirely different thing to show it in a way that really communicates it.
Ask God to show you how you can show love in specific ways to someone you love. I have no idea what God would have you to do.
It might be helping or assisting in some way. It might be by curbing your tongue, or checking your attitude.
It might be by stopping someone from hurting themselves.
The possibilities are endless.
The second passage of Scripture comes from 1 Corinthians 13, familiar to most if not all of us. –
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
If your relationship with someone you love is marred, this might be a great place to start looking for the cause, and ultimately, the healing.
One thing God is really working on me is how I talk to my boys. I tend to be a bit harsh with them sometimes.
I tend to forget that love is patient and kind. I forget that 4-year old and 8-year old boys can’t make more mature decisions about keeping their room clean and not playing in such a way that won’t break a window.
I have had to ask their forgiveness more than once, not for what I said, but for how I said it, and for sometimes expecting too much.
Which brings up something else I have mentioned before.
One way to bridge the gap and restore a loving relationship is to extend forgiveness before you are asked to, and even if you don’t think you are the one in the wrong.
Take the initiative to restore. It is always “your turn” to work for healing.
The third opportunity we will look at this morning is the opportunity for…
C. Service to God and man.
Galatians 6:9-10 says this: