“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) A New Year Begins (David Dann)
2) Resolutions Require Commitment (Greg Gwin)
3) To Help Us Pray More and Better (Bill Crews)
4) Becoming More Like Jesus (Tom Edwards, video sermon)
5) News & Notes
A New Year Begins
King David wrote of God’s blessings saying, “You crown the year with your goodness, and your paths drip with abundance. They drop on the pastures of the wilderness, and the little hills rejoice on every side” (Ps. 65:11-12). The inspired psalmist reminds us that it is God who has crowned the year with goodness. As James writes, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (Jas. 1:17).
According to our calendars, a new year has just begun. As we reach the end of one year and prepare to start another there are many things to consider. It is usually profitable to take some time to reflect on the blessings we received, the successes we enjoyed, and the failures we endured in the past year. It is also perfectly natural to look forward in anticipation of what the new year may bring. Reflection on the past and anticipation of the future are common to everyone when the new year begins. However, as Christians, we ought to realize that the new year should cause us to be mindful of more than just the events of our recent past and those to which we look forward in the near future. Some important thoughts are
brought to mind by the beginning of the new year.
1. The New Year reminds us of our Creator. For many, the start of the new year is an excuse to have wild parties that are often nothing more than drunken revelries. But the start of the new year should underscore a nobler theme. The change of the calendar is one of the many ways in which we are reminded that, “the Lord, he is God; it is he who has made us, and not we ourselves” (Ps. 100:3). After all, the idea of measuring time in periods known as “years” did not originate with man. It was the God who created us that said, “‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth’; and it was so” (Gen. 1:14-15). With the arrival of each new year, we are reminded that God created the world with its cycles and seasons giving man the ability to measure time in years.
2. The New Year reminds us that Jesus Christ came into the world. The apostle Paul writes, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Tim. 1:15). Even from a purely secular perspective the impact that Jesus has had on the history of mankind cannot be denied. We have just entered the year 2004 A.D. The initials “A.D.” represent the Latin phrase Anno Domini, which means, “year of our Lord.” In other words, this is supposed to be the 2,004th year since the time that our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world. While it is likely that those who first ordered the calendar in this manner erred slightly in their calculations, the point remains the same. That is, the beginning of the new year reminds us that Jesus Christ came into the world and had an impact on mankind more profound than any person who has ever lived. His impact is such that mankind now reckons time by referring back to the point when he came in the flesh.
3. The New Year reminds us of God’s mercy. The Bible tells us that God “has appointed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom he has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). The Scriptures often refer to that day as “the last day” (John 12:48; 6:44). With the arrival of each new year we are reminded that another year has passed without the last day having come. In this respect the new year makes us mindful of God’s great mercy toward mankind. The Day of Judgment signals the end of God’s grace toward the unrighteous (2 Thess. 1:6-8). The start of the new year testifies of the mercy and patience of our God who “is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). In the beginning of the new year we see that God has given sinners at least a little more time to repent before it is too late.
4. The New Year reminds us that new opportunities lie ahead. It is obvious that most people tend to view the new year as a chance at a fresh start. This is seen in the “New Year’s Resolutions” made by so many. Most of these resolutions involve new attempts at sticking to a particular diet or exercise program. But for the Christian, the new year presents opportunities of a spiritual nature. The new year gives us new opportunities to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior” (2 Pet. 3:18), to “warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all” (1 Thess. 5:14), to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17), and to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
Let us take advantage of the opportunities we have to serve God now, and let us do our best to glorify him in the new year. God has not promised us another year, or even another day, but in his great mercy he has granted us the beginning of this new year. Are you planning on putting God first this year? “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).
— Via Truth Magazine, Vol. XLVIII, No. 1, January 1, 2004
Resolutions Require Commitment!
A reportedly true story is told about a school principal who, at the end of the year, encouraged all his teachers to write out their resolution for the New Year. He promised to post these on the faculty bulletin board so that all could benefit from them.
When the resolutions were posted, all the teachers crowded around to read the suggestions from their co-workers. Suddenly one of the teachers erupted in a fit of anger. “Mine is not here! He’s purposefully left mine off the board. He doesn’t care about me. That just shows how little I’m appreciated around here!” The principal was shocked. He had not intentionally left anyone’s resolution off the board. He rushed to his desk and found the missing note under a pile of papers. He immediately proceeded to post it. The resolution read: “I resolve not to let little things upset me anymore.”
What we see here is a clear case of resolution without commitment. All of us are guilty of this — and it happens too often. Failed diets, abandoned exercise plans, neglected projects, etc., are all the result of lack of commitment.
But, without doubt, the most serious area of concern is in our spiritual service to God. At one time or another we have all said, “I need to do better, and I intend to do so!” It may involve our attendance at the worship services and Bible studies, or it might be in personal study and prayer. Perhaps it involves personal evangelism, visiting the sick, or sharing hospitality with other Christians. Whatever it might be, the resolve is good, but we need commitment to see the task through.
As we enter into this New Year, let’s do some serious personal evaluation; make some needed resolutions; and then, FOLLOW THEM THROUGH!
– Via The Beacon, December 27, 2020
To Help Us Pray More and Better
To help us pray more than we do, and better than we do, we need:
1. A greater sense of God’s presence, Psalm 139:7-12; Acts 17:27 — we speak to those who are present.
2. A greater love for God, Matthew 22:36-37; 1 John 5:3 — we want to talk to those we love.
3. A more diligent study of the Word of God, Psalm 1:1-2 — the more we listen to God, the more we have to say to Him.
4. A greater faith in the efficacy of prayer, Matthew 7:7-8; James 5:16-17 — faith leads to prayer, and we must pray in faith, James 1:5-6; Mark 11:24.
5. A deeper sense of our own sins, weaknesses, limitations and needs, James 5:13; 1 John 1:9; James 4:2-3 — arrogant, self-sufficient, self-righteous, impenitent people are not praying people.
6. More gratitude for God’s abundant blessings, James 1:17; Acts 17:24-25 — grateful people give thanks.
7. A greater awareness of our utter dependency upon God, Acts 17:28; Job 12:30 — this will lead us to be lowly, submissive, petitioning people.
— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 36, Issue 1, page 2, January 3, 2021
Just click on the above title for this video sermon on Becoming More Like Jesus. It focuses on three characteristics of the Lord that we need to each continue to develop and maintain in our own lives. And they are Humility, Unselfishness, and Love.
News & Notes
Folks to be praying for:
Bennie & Deborah Medlock recently tested positive for covid-19 and are now experiencing the same symptoms. Though Bennie had been in the hospital for a few days, he is now back home in a separate room recuperating.
Marde Sweezy had been having a difficult time breathing, due to covid-19, but that is getting better.
Also with covid-19, Joe Hersey, Tiffany Cothren, Tiffany’s children (Rex and Cora), and Darlene Tanner.
We were glad to see Ginger Ann Montero back with us. She had also tested positive for covid-19 a while back, but never had any of the symptoms.
Elizabeth Harden (Anita Young’s daughter) gave birth New Year’s Eve to a healthy boy weighing 8 pounds and 22 ounces! They are both doing well.
Nell Teague, who was treated for breast cancer several years ago, now has a malignancy in her neck, which she is receiving chemo and radiation for.
Let us also continue to remember the family and friends of James Medlock who recently passed away.
Also for continual prayer: Rick Cuthbertson, Vivian Foster, Larry & Janice Hood, Jim Lively, Judy Daugherty, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Jamie Cates, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Chris Williams, Tim Kirkland, and Cameron Haney.
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins. For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30). For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21). This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27). For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation.
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)