Thoughts For The Coming Year

We are approaching the greatest holiday season of the year for festivity and merrymaking. Many will stop to rejoice at the birth of Christ. We also rejoice that he was born into this world. With all the commercial activity and revelry of the season it is easy to overlook the true meaning of this great event in history.

If we remember Christ only at holiday times such as at Christmas and Easter, it is easy to get a distorted picture of his life and mission, and not see the complete truth as it is in Jesus. For this cause we meet together every week to worship God, hear the necessary word of exhortation, and to remember Christ, to keep all these things in remembrance.

A new year will be welcomed in. Another year has come and gone in our lives, that period of time given us to work out our salvation and prepare ourselves for the Master's return in his kingdom. The year as we know is the longest division of time, the length of time in which the earth makes one complete revolution around the sun. The Almighty instituted this time period back in the beginning at the creation. The first time the year is mentioned is in Gen. 1:14 And God said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, an for seasons, and for days, and for years. And in Gen. 8:22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

We have lived to be witnesses of God's truth that the years have come and and gone, the seasons and day and night have come and gone since the beginning and we take for granted that it will continue in the future.

We will soon enter 2001.

With the passing of each year we are one year closer to the consummation of God's plan with this earth and mankind. One year closer to the end of our probation, that time given us to work out our salvation and prepare for the Master's return, knowing that a change is coming.

Although we see many things of the future as through a glass darkly, through the pages of the Bible, God's word, we get a clear picture of what the end will be. That time when the knowledge and glory of God will fill the earth as the water does the sea, when all flesh will worship and glorify God, and He will dwell with men and be all in all. At the end of our bibles, in the book of Revelation, we get a preview of the grand climax of the ages, when sin and death will be abolished from the earth, when God shall wipe away all tears from the eye. No more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away. We can see through God's word what the end will be, but the details and sequence of events and how we get there, are many times difficult to put in their proper place. We are one year closer to the time when there will be a major transformation in the world.

A new world order

The present order will pass away. The kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.
The past year has brought the further fulfilment of prophecies long expected by the brethren and sisters. A decline in moral standards , when violence and perversion prevail the earth, as it was in the days of
Sodom, and Noah.
It is the time of the year when we both ecclesially and individually reflect upon the past year, taking inventory and stock, and think of the coming year. It is time when thoughtful brethren and sisters throughout the world think about the coming year and wonder what it might bring forth.Although the immediate future is usually difficult to predict, the important thing is to be prepared for whatever might come. We have assurance that if we are steadfastly living the truth, ready and watching for the return of Christ, we will be ready for whatever might come.
It is the time of year when the business and political leaders review the events of the past year and make their predictions for the year to come, many times their predictions disagree and even contradict one another.

They hope for a better year to come and to better their lives upon the earth. But how often do the predictions and plans go wrong. How difficult it is for mortal man to predictor control his future. As Jeremiah exclaimed Oh Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself, it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. For this cause we know that at the appointed time God will intervene directly in the affairs of men to set things right.

Boasting

Because of the uncertainty of life we are instructed not to boast about making plans for ourselves for the coming year without considering the will of the Lord. It brings to mind Christ's parable of the rich fool who pulled down his barns to build greater ones, to put away goods for many years, to live a life of ease, eating and drinking and being merry. But that night his soul was required of him and he met an unexpected death. It shows the folly of planning our futures without taking into account the demands of God and His requirements for our lives.
The apostle James brings out the same thought about making plans for the coming year according to the will of God (James 4:13-16)Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money."

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."

As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil


As Solomon said Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day might bring forth. It shows that we can not be sure what another day might bring forth, let alone another year.

New Year's Resolutions

It is a time when many make New Year's resolutions and try to improve their lives and cure bad habits. But how easy it is for mortal man to fail and fall back in the old ways of sin again. To be born again or born anew in the right way is the will of God. As the apostle Paul said If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old ways are passed away, behold all things are new.
Because of the weakness and corruptness of human nature so many try to change their lives for the better and then fall back again. To bring about a permanent change in our lives we need a genuine conversion and rebirth in Christ.

As we look back and reflect on the past, we realize that the past is forever gone and cannot be changed. We may have made many mistakes and failures, committed great sins and wished that if we had the time to do over again, many things would be different. But the past can not be changed. We do not need to burden ourselves and unduly concern ourselves with the past as the apostle Paul said But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are before; I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
If anyone had reason to be concerned about what they did in the past, it was Paul. He was an enemy and persecutor of Christ and his ecclesia, consenting to the death of many saints. But he was able to make a new start in a dramatic and drastic way as he was blinded by the light on the road to Damascus.

A New Start

We are reminded of the wonderful attributes of our Heavenly Father.
His love and mercy towards them that love and obey Him. As the Psalmsist said as far as the east is from the west so far as he removed our transgressions from us. We remember during Israel's long history the number of times they departed from the living God and fell into sin and idolatry. But how many times through His love and mercy he invited them to return and give them a new start.

In new testament times we notice many times that those that came first into the ecclesia lived irregular lives in the past. The Apostle Paul said that many of them that lived in their past lives, walked in lasciviousness, lust, excess of wine, revelling, and abominable idolatries. But now was a time for a change to live out the rest of their lives according to the will of God. So it is a hope and encouragement to us that regardless of how bad our past will be, we can make a new start.

As we approach the coming year, we are reminded that the long suffering of God still waits as in the days of Noah, not wiling that any should perish, that we are still granted time to work out our salvation and prepare for the Master's return. The preparation of the people of God is a lifetime work, not something that can be accomplished overnight. A lifetime of study, application and conforming our lives to the commandments of Christ.

Lightstand

We are thankful to our Heavenly Father for being able to have an ecclesia or a lightstand in this area, as well as all the other ecclesias in this country and the world. It is something that we cannot take for granted for we all have a responsibility to keep the light burning in the years to come. There is a job for all the brethren and sisters to do to make a deeper fellowship, and family spirit, and to make the ecclesia a better organization. It is our duty to try and grow and improve ourselves in our Heavenly Fathers service. Able to grow in the fruits of the Spirit, to increase our attendance at the meetings as much as possible and to keep our lamps burning and replenished with oil, awaiting the Master's return.

It is not a time for half hearted service in the Lords work, but a time for unity in work and prayer throughout the brotherhood.
A time for wholehearted cooperation, and purposeful community life. A time for diligent attention to our spiritual exercises.

Self Examination

The beginning of a new year is a time for self examination, both individually, and ecclesially. This is especially so in partaking of the bread and wine; but let a man examine himself, so let him eat of that bread, and that wine. It does not mean to look for faults in others but to look to ourselves to see that we are living the Truth. For it is upon the individual that the life depends. It does not depend alone upon the brethren and sisters who might seem the most prominent, however responsible the service that they might render. Every member is important to the welfare of the body. Every brother and sister contributes to the spiritual health of the ecclesia. We are called to a high and Holy calling to prepare ourselves for the Master's use. To live and reign with Him and share in that great work in the age to come, to show forth the glory of God.

Jesus said that He is come that they might have life and have it more abundantly. We are reminded of the brevity and the uncertainty of life, that it is like a vapor that appeareth for a short time and then passes away. The Psalmist David, said, so teach us to number our days that we apply our hearts wisdom.
We are constantly reminded during our lives that our days are numbered and that the time provided us is short and may be terminated by death or our Masters return.
So for this cause we need to use the little time that remains to be occupied in his work, so we might be ready at His coming.

Reasonable Service

As we enter the new year, God requires a reasonable service from us, as Paul said I beseech you therefor brethren by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto the Lord, which is your reasonable service, and be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove, what is that good, and acceptable and perfect, will of God. So in view of the greatness of God and His exalted position and those great and glorious promises, He deserves and requires a reasonable service.

The apostle Paul wrote: God will render to every man according to his deeds, to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life. We all hope for this greatest of Gods gifts. Our lives are as a probationary period, whether it is long or short, determines if we are worthy to share in that great future in which all that have breath will glorify God and live in the Kingdom when the knowledge and glory of the Lord will fill the earth as the waters do the sea.

As we see the time of Christ's coming draw near let us draw nigh with a pure heart, in full assurance of faith without wavering.
To watch, to pray, to be steadfast, and to prepare ourselves for the great future that lies ahead for the people of God; Seeking His Kingdom First

During his absence we are instructed to occupy till He comes. To be engaged in the Masters service and to use our talents and resources doing the Lords will. In the little time that remains let us do what we can in the service of the glory of God.

The outlook in the world may be troubled, the future depressing and apprehensive, but we have this joy that we can see the end of the matter, the glorious future of Gods plan. The exhortation that is given by the apostle applies as ever before; But ye brethren are not in darkness, that, that day should overtake us as a thief. Ye are the children of the light, and the children of the day; we are not of the light , nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be sober.
But thanks be to God which giveth the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefor. my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vein in the Lord.


As we enter into the new year let us give heed to these things so we might be a part of that great multitude of the redeemed that will inhabit this earth in the future and glorify the great God for ever and ever.

David Thomas Sr.


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