We thank God for bringing us safely through another year. It has been difficult with the Covid pandemic, but the Lord has undoubtedly blessed and protected us. Let us enter the New Year by trusting in the One who has led us safely thus far, and let us “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 3:14].
HAPPY NEW YEAR
At this time everyone is wishing each other a Happy New Year. This raises an interesting question. “What is true happiness?” Most people want to be at ease, with comfort, peace, and prosperity. But real peace is being able to look back with no guilty fears, to look around in the present without sinful discontent, and to look ahead without anxious dread.
Many look for happiness where it cannot be found. Happiness cannot be found in rank or greatness, riches or learning, idleness or pleasure. The world is full of men and women who have all these things and yet are unhappy. King Solomon had all these and yet concluded, ‘Behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit” [Ecclesiastes 1:14].
There is only one way to true happiness and the Psalmist highlights it. “Happy is that people, whose God is the Lord” [144:15].
The reason is obvious. The believer’s conscience is clear, his sins are forgiven, and he has peace with God. He is happy and peaceful despite afflictions, infirmities, and public calamities like the present pandemic. The Christian is happy because the vacuum left in his heart by sin has been filled by the presence of Jesus Christ as his Saviour.
THE MAN SAVED ON CHRISTMAS DAY
Although the date is inaccurate, the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month is the traditional day for celebrating the birth of Christ. What a change the coming of the Son of God brought to this wicked world!
Interestingly, the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month in the Hebrew calendar was a day when life dramatically and radically changed for Jehoiachin, the last but one king of Judah. [Jeremiah 52:31-34].
Those were hard days for Judeans. Their country was desolate, their people carried into captivity, and their last king, Zedekiah, lay in the darkness of a Babylonian prison after his captors had gouged out his eyes.
Jehoiachin was eighteen when he ascended the Judean throne in 597 B.C. He had reigned only three months when Nebuchadnezzar took him into Babylonian captivity, and he languished in a horrible jail for almost thirty-seven years. But on the day already noted came a great change for Jehoiachin because Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, Evil-Merodach, released him from prison and brought him into the king’s court. In a day he passed from darkness to light, from bondage to freedom, all because of the king’s mercy.
It is not difficult to see ourselves in Jehoiachin. In our unregenerate days, we fell captive to the devil’s prison; we were in bondage to his will. It was a horrible, sinful time in our lives. Then one wonderful day, due only to the mercy and power of God He freed us. We exchanged our prison garments for royal raiment and now have fellowship with the King. The devil’s empty husks have been replaced by the King’s food. A new King now reigns in our lives, Jesus Christ, “the King of kings.” [Revelation 17:14].
IF THE BIBLE WERE OUR MOBILE PHONE
“Blessed is the man… (whose) delight is in the law of the LORD” [Psalm 1:1,2].
How different would our life be if we treated the Bible like our mobile phone? Suppose we always carried our Bible with us in a pocket or handbag. What if we looked at our Bible, again and again, every day? Or if we used our Bible regularly to see what messages our heavenly Father had for us.
Imagine we treated our Bible as if we could not live without it. Do we make as much use of our Bible on vacation as our cell phone? Suppose we consulted our Bible as much when in trouble. Or set aside as much time to read our Bible as we do when we read or write SMS messages or make telephone calls.
Would we put aside as much every month for the propagation of the Gospel as we do to pay our telephone and internet fees?
The lives of most of us would change considerably. Let us be encouraged at the start of a New Year to take our Bible in hand daily and prayerfully. God certainly has a daily message for us. [From an article in Daily Bread. Submitted by Nagwa Mounir].