“Are You Ready for 2016?”

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Dear friends, yet again, we are about to embark upon a brand new year! And yes, it’s great to be alive!

Alive with bright prospects for this New Year!  A new year which offers us the hope of brand-new beginnings, with an exciting future (Jeremiah 29:11; 1 Corinthians 2:9), a renewed resolve to put Christ first in everything in 2016 (Colossians 1:18), and a bold resolve to commit every day of this new year to the glory of God alone (1 Corinthians 10:31). The Bible speaks to us explicitly about “new beginnings.” It also tells us of numerous types of beginnings, both brand new and final; final “new beginnings,” such as: The final Priesthood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7:22-25); His final Sacrifice (Hebrews 10:10-14); and the final Covenant in His blood (Hebrews 8:8-13). In addition, the believer’s salvation experience is described in Scripture as a “new” birth (John 3:1-8). This new birth ensures a new life for every child of God (John 10:10). A life that will never end (John 17:3)! Practically speaking, a great reminder and source of encouragement for living each new day, and every New Year, is that His mercies are new every morning. O hear these hope-filled words from the prophet Jeremiah:  “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Dear reader, is this not good news for God’s people? We who are great sinners, have a benevolent, merciful, and longsuffering God who will never give up on us …even if we do not fulfill all of our New Year’s resolutions this time around! We have a God who is ready, at all times, to forgive us (Psalm 86:5), and a God who will never despise the acceptable sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17). Calling this truth to remembrance is extremely important each new day of this New Year. Why? Because we all sin so often (Ecclesiastes 7:20), and need His constant cleansing (1 John 1:9).  So, never give up in your battle with sin (Proverbs 24:16; Romans 8:13; 2 Timothy 4:7-8), and determine, by God’s grace, to persevere unto the end (Matthew 24:13; Philippians 1:6; 2:12-13; Hebrews 12:1-2). Be assured that every new day in this new year, we will battle to varying degrees with spiritual laziness and immaturity (1 Thessalonians 5:14), but know that God’s mercies will be near to and new for us every moment, day, week, and month of this new year! So, how shall we stay on the spiritual track this year?  First, by ordering our private world (Psalm 5:3), and second, by disciplining ourselves for the purpose of godliness (1 Timothy 4:7). In other words, we shall aim to run the Christian race to win (1 Corinthians 9:24-27), by constantly longing for, and by daily pursuing to grow as Christians (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18). I leave you with the following words of Richard Halverson, the former chaplain to our US Congress: “There is discipline involved in Christian growth. The rapidity with which a man grows spiritually and the extent to which he grows, depends upon the discipline. It is the discipline of means.” All of this, of course, will be by God’s grace alone in 2016!

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