Monday, January 10, 2011

A Wonderful New Year

At the beginning of a new year, a high school principal decided to post his teachers’ new year’s resolutions on the bulletin board.  As the teachers gathered around the bulletin board, a great commotion started. One of the teachers was complaining. "Why weren’t my resolutions posted?" She was throwing such a temper tantrum that the principal hurried to his office to see if he had overlooked her resolutions.  Sure enough, he had mislaid them on his desk. As he read her resolutions he was astounded. This teacher’s first resolution was not to let little things upset her in the New Year.
  
Do you still keep New Year’s resolutions? How are you doing with them?

I do know something that is more important than resolutions.
      
How do you see 2011? Are you approaching this new year with anxiety or anticipation?
  
The apostle Paul gave us some reasons that you and I can look into this New Year and see wonderful things. He gives us reasons why we can look forward with anticipation instead of anxiety.
  
We are blessed:
  
He writes, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has BLESSED US in the heavenly realms with EVERY spiritual blessing in Christ...."
  
A certain king had two servants. To the first he said, "I want you to travel for six months through my kingdom and bring back a sample of every weed you can find."  To the second servant the king said, "I want you to travel through my kingdom for six months and bring back a sample of every flower you can find."  Six months later, both servants stood before the king. To the first, the king asked, "Have you carried out my command?" The first servant answered, I have, and I was amazed to find there were so many weeds in the kingdom. In fact, there is nothing but weeds in this kingdom!"  To the king’s question the second servant also answered, "I have, and I am amazed how many beautiful flowers there are in the kingdom. In fact, there is nothing but beautiful flowers in this kingdom!" 
  
These two servants each found what they were looking for. 

So do we.

Are there no blessings in your life? Do you have no one who loves you, no beauty outside your window, no strength left in your body, no mind to guide you to new pleasures and opportunities, no faith to bear you up when circumstance weighs you down? Are you really without any resources for making 2011 a wonderful year? 
 
As well as being blessed, 

We are "peaced" together:  

"GRACE to you and PEACE from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."     

God’s people are “peaced” together and it’s possible because of His grace!
     
"For He CHOSE US in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight."  

Dr. Ruth Barbee, a well-known family-relations expert, once said that about 90 percent of so-called "naughtiness" in small children is simply their way of getting  "noticed." When they cannot get the attention they want any other way, they do something guaranteed to drive their parents up the wall.  

Every now and then someone takes a poll of husbands and wives to see what are the most common complaints that spouses have against each other. Invariably, "not being noticed," in one form or another, heads the list. Many women particularly have had it with being taken for granted in the home and in the office and, yes, even in the church!   

Everyone in this world has a need to feel like he or she counts. Thus it is with great joy that we hear the words from the Bible,"we are chosen!"  

Along with being blessed and "peaced" together,

We are predestined:  

"...He PREDESTINED us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will."  

The word predestine means, "to limit in advance".   

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified."   

These verses in no way teach that some are saved and there’s nothing they can do about that or that there are some who are lost and there’s nothing they can do about that.  The Bible tells us that God...      

"desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all,.."   

and again...   

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."  

As we look into this New Year, why shouldn’t we see great and wonderful things? 

We have been blessed. 

We have been chosen. 

We have been predestined to be children of the most-high God.      

Bible quotations are from:  Ephesians 1:2-5; Romans 8:28-30; 1 Timothy 2:4-6; 2 Peter 3:9   

-I preached this material at the start of 2005. Some of the material therein comes from fine fellow preachers that I "stole" from. While I can't remember the sources I am sincerely appreciative of their work.-