Home » Posts tagged 'New Years'
Tag Archives: New Years
With the coming of each New Year, we are reminded of the quickly passing time and shortness of the physical life that we possess.
For some, the concept of a short lifespan on earth is a thing of dread and fear. They possess dread because they know that the pleasures, possessions and relationships of this world will quickly pass away; and fear, due to confusion and uncertainty about, and an unpreparedness for, a coming afterlife.
However, in comparison, there are those who recognize that life is only temporal and will be followed by an eternal existence that will offer a much better existence. These have prepared for its coming and joyously await its arrival.
As we come face to face with another New Year, I just wanted to take a few moments to review the Biblical teachings on the temporal nature of life on earth and the great need to prepare for a coming afterlife while the opportunity still exists for each one of us.
(For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:) (Job 8:9 KJV)
“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (Jas 4:14 KJV)
Job, in our text, describes the quickness of the passing of our life as “we are but of yesterday”. In other words, Job is simply saying that, as we look back to the past events of our life, from birth onward, they seem to have just taken place “yesterday”. How very true this is!
On this New Year’s Day, stop and think about the past events of the previous year. For most of us, these events seem like they took place just yesterday.
Now, stop and think about some of your major life events that have taken place throughout your lifetime: births and deaths; sicknesses; new jobs and residences; anniversaries and graduations; and, for the Christian, the moment the Lord brought you unto Himself, trusting in Him for salvation. As you think about all these events, do they not seem to have taken place just a short while ago? For many of us, even the events of life that took place 30, 40, or even 50 years ago, now seem to be fresh in our minds and hearts, as if only a few days have passed.
Job even goes further in emphasizing the brevity of life when he says… “our days upon earth are a shadow”. See also: (Job 7:6, 9:25, 14:2; Psa 78:39, 89:47, 102:11; Isa 40:6).
Understanding the two basic characteristics of a shadow help us to understand what Job was trying to teach us. First of all, a shadow lasts only a short period of time, much like our life in comparison with the eternity that is to follow. Secondly, a shadow is constantly changing (due to movement of the person casting the shadow and the orbiting of the sun)… this pictures for us our temporal life and the many changes that take place on a day by day basis.
Job is bringing to our minds a very basic principle of living that we experience with every new day… Because our lives are uncertain and experience changes every single day, we do not know what each new day will hold for us. James even implies that because our lives are brief, uncertain, and changing, we cannot be sure if we will live yet another day…
“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (Jas 4:14 KJV) see also (Proverbs 27:1, 1 Sam 20:3)
Folks, looking back over this last year, we all know people who have passed on unexpectedly. Whether it be by accident, sickness, or the actions of another, every day people pass on before us suddenly with absolutely no prior warning. Perhaps, they expected to celebrate the coming of this New Year along with us but, sadly, they are no longer with us. In this fallen, sinful world unexpected deaths are a very common occurrence.
With the passing of this, and every New Year, we are reminded of the changing, fleeting nature of our lives. The most important aspect of these life principles is the need to take advantage of the time we have been given on earth and use it wisely.
What is the wisest possible use of our time? It is living our lives in preparation for the eternity that is to come. Because our physical lives and the world in which we live are temporal in nature, only that which is done for eternity’s sake will be of lasting value…
“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1Jn 2:17 KJV)
So how do we live for eternity? For the lost it means by coming to an understanding of the true God, our condition before Him, and our need of faith in Him, and the eternal blessings that await the people of God:
1. The Lord Jehovah is the true God over all men. God the Son, Jesus, is the only One through whom we can gain access to God the Father. (Psa 83:18, John 14:6; 1 John 5:20)
2. All men have committed sin and stand before God as guilty, unable to save themselves through their works of righteousness. (Rom 3:23, Rom 3:19, Titus 3:5)
3. It is by grace through the God-given gifts of repentance and faith that a sinful man can receive forgiveness and salvation from the punishment of their sins (Acts 3:19, Acts 11:18, Eph 2:5-8. 1 Thess 1:10).
4. The newly forgiven individual is adopted into God’s family, made a citizen of the eternal, spiritual nation of Israel, and made heirs of an eternal existence with God. This forgiveness, and the blessings that accompany forgiveness, are eternal in nature, can never be lost, based upon the completed work of Christ on the cross (Gals 4:5, Eph 2:19, Roms 8:16-17, Heb 10:10).
For the saved, it means to take advantage of the opportunities we have to show Christ to others around us, by living a Christ-like life through our words, actions, and lifestyles. (Roms 8:28-30, Eph 1:4)
INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:
Folks, as the New Year comes upon us, we are reminded that we are embarking on a new part of our life’s journey that is filled with many unknowns. These unknown events can challenge a Christian’s faith to its very core. This is the reason that I felt it was important to take a few devotional lessons and address keys to “Entering The Unknown By Faith”.
In this six part devotional series, we will be looking at Isaiah 42:16. This is a wonderful text to use in this devotional series. In this series, we will learn about how to handle unforeseen, challenging life events based upon our trust in the Lord and His enabling graces.
Lord willing, by His grace alone, we will be uncovering the wisdom found in God’s Word that will help us to handle all the “unknowns” that this New Year will hold for us.
Our devotionals will be looking at:
1. Dec 26th – Our Uncertain Future…. Faith Is The Key!
2. Dec 27th – Our Blindness To The Events Our Future Holds
3. Dec 28th – Our Future Holds Events We Have Never Experienced
4. Dec 29th – Our Future Is Revealed To Us One Event At A Time… In The Lord’s Time
5. Dec 30th – Our Future Events May Be Hard To Maneuver But The Lord Straightens Them Out
6. Dec 31st – Our Lord Will Care For Us Every Passing Day
May the Lord bless our study!
Isa 42:16 KJV; Isa 43:1-2 KJV; Mat 6:25-34 KJV; Heb 11:8 KJV; Jas 4:13-14 KJV;
Our Uncertain Future… Faith Is The Key!
Folks, as we begin this series I just wanted to remind us of the four basic principles we will be emphasizing in this devotional series…
Principle #1 – We cannot know what tomorrow holds…
Jas 4:13-14 KJV – “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”
Principle #2 – The Lord promises that He will be with us and enable us as we face the coming unknown events in our lives…
Isa 42:16 KJV – “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.”
Principle #3 – The key to handling the coming, unknown, events in life is our trust in the Lord and His promise of care that He made to us…
Mat 6:25-34 KJV – “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
Principle #4 Faith in the Lord is what allows us to remain faithful to the Lord as we step out into the unknown.
Heb 11:8 KJV – “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.”
These are the four principles that will prepare us the unknown events that this New Year will hold for each one of us.
May we all look ahead to the unknown events of this New Year without fear. Instead let’s look ahead with joy, confidence and faith knowing our Lord will be with us and enabling and caring for us every step of the way!
Isa 43:1-2 KJV – “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
May the Lord graciously bless us as we embark on this devotional series.
The Jewish Civil New Year begins on the first day of the month of Tishri on the Jewish calendar. This month equates to our calendar months of September/October. It was during this one month time frame that the Jews were instructed to observe three New Year related celebrations: Feast of Trumpets (1st), Day of Atonement(10th), and the Feast of Tabernacles(15th-21st).
As we study these three celebrations, we can learn much about preparing for our new year as well.
Lev 23:23-44; Nums 29:1-40
The Feast of Trumpets (Lev 23:23-25, Nums 29:1-6)
This feast centered upon the ritualistic sounding of trumpets used to call men to assemble before God. Besides calling men to attention or assembly, in the Bible, the blowing of trumpets emphasizes a new beginning, with new responsibilities, brought about by God’s intervention:
- Giving of 10 commandments – Exo 19:16
- Day of Atonement – forgiveness of national sin – Lev 25:9
- Fall of Wall of Jericho – Josh 6:20
- Defeat of Midianties – Judg 7:18
- Ark restored to city of David – 2 Sam 6:15
- New moon beginning of new lunar cycle, new time of worship and service – Psa 81:3
- Israel’s deliverance from bondage of Assyria and Egypt – Isa 27:13
- Taking Of His people to Heaven at Rapture – Matt 24:31, 1 Cor 15:52
- The Lord’s judgments during Tribulation period – Rev 8:13
The Feast of Trumpets helps to remind us that:
It is by the Lord’s grace that we are entering into a New Year which can be a new beginning for us all. This includes putting past failures behind us and looking forward to a new set of opportunities and responsibilities and victories in our service to Him.
The Day of Atonement (Lev 23:26-32, Num 29:7-11)
This was a day set aside for the Jewish people to “afflict” their souls. In other words, it was a time set aside for coming to the Lord in humility asking for forgiveness for sins and a renewal of dedication for His service, putting Him first in their lives.
Just as in the Feast of Trumpets, there was a series of offerings that were to be made:
- Burnt – picturing His death on the cross accepted by God – Lev 1:1-17
- Meat – picturing His blessings given to us – Lev 2:1-16
- Sin – Picturing forgiveness of our transgressions against Him – Lev 4:1-35
- Drink – Picturing His shed blood on our behalf – Nums 15:5-7
- Peace – Picturing His work brings about peace (rest, comfort, forgiveness) for us – Lev 3:1-5
- Taken together, these represent His death, and shed blood, resulting in our forgiveness, peace and other blessings.
This was perhaps the most important observance for the Jewish celebrations. If anyone refused to observe this Day of Atonement they were to be cut off from the people, alienated from all areas of worship and service.
The Day of Atonement reminds us that:
We have a great need to deal with our past sins, putting them behind us, and securing our communion with the Lord. We are to enter into a New Year of service humbly and in submission to the Lord’s will and way for our lives.
The motive for both of these should be His great sacrifice on our behalf. When we consider what He has done for us shouldn’t we desire a close walk with Him, not hindered by unconfessed sin? Shouldn’t we desire to be in submissive to His desires for us? After all, aren’t both of these “our duty to do”?
We cannot over emphasize the absolute importance of communion and submission for the coming year ahead. To deal with sin in our lives and then be submissive to will for the future is essential to living a victorious life in the coming year.
The Feast of Tabernacles (Lev 23:34-44, Nums 29:12-40)
The Feast of Tabernacles was an eight day observance (beginning on the 15th of the month and concluding on the 22nd day of the month). During this eight day celebration, the Israelites were to give sacrifices unto the Lord and dwell in booths (tents). It was observed to remind the Israelites of their dwelling in tents during their wilderness journeys following their release from Egyptian slavery.
The Feast of Tabernacles helps us to remind us that:
We are currently on a pilgrimage here on earth. This is not our permanent home, like the Israelites who were traveling through the wilderness waiting for the Promised Land. We are only strangers and pilgrims on this earth, waiting for our permanent, heavenly home.
When trials enter our lives this coming year we need to always keep in mind, our heavenly home awaits… our greatest need is to rely on our Lord and keep looking for our heavenly home.
Please note in all of these three celebrations, no work was to be done on these days, emphasizing the need to concentrate solely on the things of God. We should take a break from all the distractions the world has to offer and take time to simply commune with our Lord. What better way is there to start the New Year?
Also, in all three celebrations we find a command to convene (assemble) was issued, this would allow for a time of worship and also a time of encouragement to be passed from one Israelite to another as they prepared to face their New Year.
We, as well, should learn from this principle. Take time to worship at a Bible- believing church and try to encourage other Christians to prepare for the coming year.
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION
For the Christian….
To summarize our preparation for the New Year:
- It is by the Lord’s grace that we are entering into a New Year which can be a new beginning for us all. (Phil 3:13-14)
- putting past failures behind us
- looking forward to a new set of opportunities and responsibilities and victories in our service to Him.
- Entering into a New Year of service humbly and submitting to the Lord’s will and way for our lives. (James 4:7-8)
- Recognize His great sacrifice on our behalf. (Luke 17:10)
- When we consider all He has done for us shouldn’t we desire a close walk with Him, not hindered by unconfessed sin?
- Shouldn’t we desire to be in submissive to His desires for us?
- After all, aren’t both of these “our duty to do”?
- Realize we are currently on a pilgrimage here on earth. We are waiting for our permanent, heavenly home. (Heb 11:13-16)
- When trials enter our lives this coming year we need to always keep in mind, our heavenly home awaits, our trials will only last for a season.
- We should take a break from all the distractions the world has to offer and take time to simply commune with our Lord. What better way is there to start the New Year? (Psa 63:1-7)
- Take time to attend a Bible- believing church (Heb 10:24-25)
- We can worship the Lord
- We can encourage other Christians to prepare for the coming year.
For those who have never trusted in Christ…
Now is the time for you to put your life of rebellion against God and His Word behind you and begin the New Year as a new creature in Christ (2 Cor 5:14-21). None of us know what the New Year will bring into our lives, however, the greatest insurance for the future is being a child of God (Gal 4:4-7). He promises to His children that He will never leave nor forsake His children (Heb 13:5-6) . If adopted into His family, you can be assured of His love, care, communion and intervention in your life, as well as a glorious eternity awaiting you. (Matt 6:25-24)
To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven
If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at email@example.com. I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.
Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com
Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace
May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”