December 27, 2016

The new year is approaching quickly. Ready or not, here it comes. What will be unfolded in the oncoming train of time? Many of its challenges and opportunities will come to us regardless of what we can do or think. Time, like a river, catches us in its current and carries us onward with no regard to our desire. The best we can do is to plan ahead and equip ourselves to run the rapids she will bring us through, and enjoy the interludes where there is a period of tranquility. We need to hang on by faith to the Lord’s purpose for our lives and trust He will carry us through.

The new year is a time we often think about wanting to make changes. New Year’s resolutions are the result of recognizing some kind of deficit we wish to correct. We need to eat less, exercise more, be more devoted to the Lord and His work, spend more time with family, spend less money and save more, plan for retirement, and on and on. It is very easy to become discouraged with ourselves and our circumstances when we long to see changes, but find it so difficult to implement them. Part of the problem of this description is its focus is upon us. Could it be the best changes which could happen in our lives might come from spending more time focusing on what is right with God than in what is wrong with us? After all, spending time with all my defects is pretty poor company. What if we spent more time with His excellencies? If poor companions corrupt good manners, would it not be better to spend more time with the Lord in order to develop good habits?

In Psalm 145, David declares some things he is going to do which would make for excellent meditation points for the upcoming 2017.

Verses 1-5 I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.  One generation shall praise thy words to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honor of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.”

In 2017, what words are going to come after “I will…?” I will complain, I will be depressed, I will be bitter, I will be angry, I will be selfish, I will be lazy…….ad nauseam? If we get stuck in this current, 2017 is going to be a miserable year.

I like the song which sings, “One day at a time, Sweet Jesus, that’s all I’m asking of you.” I like the Psalmist who says:

“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will be glad and rejoice in it.” (Psalm 118:24).

And I need to be reminded from the Scriptures to:

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17).

May God grant you a Happy New Year, as you live and serve Him,

Only by His Grace,

Pastor John Schofield