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Sunday, 4 January 2015

A New Year; Making it Count! #newyear2015 #2015 #resolutions

A friend asked me recently if I had made any resolutions for New Year and I said that I hadn't because I would probably break them, but as I answered I realised that I hadn't really even thought about the fact that it was the start of a New Year and hadn't really reflected on the year 2014. This was a mistake.

Sometimes in our Christian lives we become bogged down with activities, habits and routines that distract us and suck the energy from us or just keep us busy doing "not a lot." We can become lazy waiting for others to "do" things or waiting for divine inspiration when God has already given us (in His Word) a clear instruction to "Go."

We can become too focused on ourselves and our wants and desires at a time of year when society around us (and sadly many Christian circles) encourage and promote this in the excessive Christmas celebrations, or we can withdraw from these circles but without making any real difference in Kingdom terms.

A New Year is a chance to review and re-evaluate our use of time for spiritual goals and priorities to make sure they have maintained their focus on Jesus and leading lost and dying souls to Him. It is a time to "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles" and to "run with perseverance the race marked out for us." How to do this? "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith." Why do we do this? "We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses" (as we were reminded in a recent sermon at Cubao Reformed Baptist Church Hebrews 12 vs 1-2)

In correcting my earlier error and reviewing the year 2014 spiritually my main learning point is that my life as a Christian will never be easy. There will be conflict and many trials. There is much discouragement, often from people and in situations from which we expect to be encouraged and supported. Looking back I really can't believe all that has happened in just twelve months. But with God's help I have persevered (at times barely) and whilst in human terms it may seem that not much has been accomplished, I have also learnt that this is not the way to look at things. God is moulding and shaping us to better use us for His glory and we are so fallen and so far from that ultimate goal that the growing process is painful and will involve much struggle. Let us thank God for His grace in teaching and changing us in 2014.

In 2015 let us look for new opportunities to reach out to others for Jesus and let us ask God to breathe fresh life into our existing ministries for His glory. Let us not seek grand platforms or the chance to highlight our own names and agendas but let us remember the lost and dying individuals that are all around us and that we encounter on the street and in our workplaces everyday. Let us remember our Christian duty to reach out to them before it is too late and let us do this with compassion. Every soul needs the true HOPE found only in JESUS. The Gospel is only good news if it gets there in time.

A favourite quote that my former Pastor Mark Weeden once read during a sermon in England and that I hope will inspire you to action as it does me (I have changed the word "religion" to "Christianity;")

C.T. Studd quotes an atheist he encountered, "If I firmly believed, as millions say they do, that the knowledge and practice of Christianity in this life influences destiny in another, then being a Christian would mean to me everything. I would cast away earthly enjoyments as dross, earthly thoughts and feelings as vanity. My Christian life would be my first waking thought and my last image before sleep sank me into unconsciousness. I should labor in its cause alone. I would take thought for the marrow of eternity alone. I would esteem one soul gained for heaven worth a life of suffering. Earthly consequences would never stay in my head or seal my lips. Earth, its joys and its griefs, would occupy no moment of my thoughts. I would strive to look upon eternity alone, and on the immortal souls around me, soon to be everlastingly happy or everlastingly miserable. I would go forth to the world and preach to it in season and out of season. and my text would be, "What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul"

You can also watch this short video

or read this article with other quotes from C.T. Studd for further inspiration

Let's pray for a blessed and productive 2015 with many souls being removed from the kingdom of darkness and "made alive in Christ."