Temple Baptist Church - 12-31-2017
A. Whew, glad that one is behind me!
1. In so many ways, this past year has been a wonderful one and it was also a trying one. It started our rough but has ended up great.
2. From the diagnosis of cancer to surgery to 6 weeks of that wonderful draining tube to 4 more weeks of drainage without the tube to 30 weeks of radiation to working on the Mission house days seemingly without end to rebuilding my deck to cutting and splitting a mountain of firewood.
3. As the year progressed, things got progressively better and I thank God for being cancer free and feeling good again.
B. Tomorrow will be the “beginning of months … the first month of the year.”
1. As I thought about the New Year, I though of Israel. Israel’s first month is Abib, or our month of April. God declared the beginning of a new era in Israel’s history.
2. 430 years have now passed since Israel went down to Egypt to live. No one ever expected to remain that long. They went down in days of famine and fully expected to return to Canaan when it was over.
3. In that period of 430 years, Israel went from freedom and fulness to poverty and slavery. God heard their cry and brought about delivery through Moses.
Exodus 3:7-8 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; (8) And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
C. Tomorrow, as we begin 2018, 2017 will be history and what we have written, we have written.
1. We have had successes and we have hopefully learned from our mistakes.
2. For dinner tomorrow, there will be cornbread, ham, black eyed peas, collards, mashed potatoes, and pie.
3. In 8 days, Barbara and I will head to Pigeon Forge for a few days of R&R. Not that we need to get away from our church but just need a little Rest & Relaxation. Pray that it snows. When we get back, we will be “into this new year.”
D. 2017 is gone and there is nothing that we can do about it. 2018 is ahead and it is limitless in its possibilities. What we do this next year if the Lord has not come is entirely up to us. The world makes New Years Resolutions that do not last because they are made one day a year. With any New Year, there needs to be a Reflection on the last year and resolve the New Year.
1. Reflection. A great way to measure the greatness of last year:
a. Is God pleased with my life? God’s children should have a daily determination to do those things that are right and to abstain from those things that are wrong.
b. Am I saved and serving or saved and slack? It is so easy to get comfortable sitting and let everyone else do the work. We are neither to rust out or to burn out as we are out either way but to have a balanced life. Time for the Lord’s work, time for family, and time for self.
c. Am I trusting and hopeful or doubtful and fearful? Each of us knows that God holds our lives in His hand. That does not mean that all will go well in life, but that God will guide us and take care of us.
d. Am I obedient and peaceful or disobedient and distressed? God wants our lives to be both happy and productive this New Year.
2. Resolve. A great way to plan for a better New Year:
a. Learn from both the successes and failures of the last year and resolve to make this year more productive.
b. Make every day the “first day of the rest of your life.” Barbara’s mom sent me this and I have reflected upon it over the years gone bye.
EVERY MORNING YOU ARE HANDED TWENTY-FOUR GOLDEN HOURS
THEY ARE ONE OF THE FEW THINGS IN THIS WORLD THAT YOU GET FREE OF CHARGE
IF YOU HAD ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD YOU COULD NOT BUY AN EXTRA HOUR
WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH THIS PRICELESS TREASURE ?
REMEMBER; YOU MUST USE IT, AS IT IS GIVEN ONLY ONCE
ONCE WASTED YOU CANNOT GET IT BACK
c. Resolving, despite your circumstances this year, to finish it with victory and joy. You cannot always change your circumstances, but you can keep your circumstances from changing you!
d. Face the unknown of the new year with faith that God will be with you and for you. Resolving to be found in Him without spot of blemish.
1) Correct the things that you can.
2) Forget the things that you cannot.
3) Rest in the Lord!