A New Year is now well underway, and I find myself wondering, reading and reflecting on the timeless wisdom given us by many Christians from years past. Wisdom from the Apostles and from the men and women who have given us a wealth of guidance, direction, insight, and life examples over the last 2000 years.
As I get older, I find myself looking to the ageless advice of Christians who lived decades—even centuries—ago. They too made “another trip around the sun” every 365 days and saw many New Years.
Solomon tells us sage advice on what to expect in our New year:
Ecclesiastes 1:9 says: That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. (NKJV) While we may think the things we see are new, distressing, terrible, senseless and just plain unthinkable the "preacher above lets us know it's not the first time and it won't be the last as long as God allows us to make another "Trip Around The Sun" each Year". But why? 1. Because the essential nature of people does not change. 2. Because God does not change. Because they, the Christians and believers gone before my time, had a love of books, ideas, and fewer distractions for deep thought. And so, the writing and thoughts of these men and women are truly gifts to me and all who are Christians today. Having said these things I offer for your consideration the following closing portion of a powerful New Years message. The author is James Smith. He was a pastor at the New Park Street Chapel in London, the same church Charles Spurgeon was to serve five years later. He gave this impactful New Years message that has much to say to us today. In spite of the fact that it was written in 1849. So here is a gift from the past. I Say these things for you as well. The essence of the message is this: The Lord meets us on the threshold of this year and assures us that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever!" He is deeply interested in our welfare, lovingly concerned to do us good, and ready to help us in every time of trouble. This is our encouragement.
There are Seven things I wish you may all more fully EXPERIENCE this year: His Spirit working in your hearts, His blood speaking in your consciences, His power subduing your corruptions, His blessing resting upon your souls, His presence cheering your way, His righteousness covering your sins, His peace keeping your hearts and minds. There are Seven things I wish you may know it is your privilege to HAVE this year: a name in his book, a sight of his covenant, a tear in his bottle, a place in his heart, a title to his fullness, a right to his promises, and an interest in his prayers. There are Seven things I wish you may DO this year: weep at his cross, wrestle at his throne, cleave to his truth, walk in his ways, aim at his honor, comfort his people, and spread his fame in every direction. There are Seven things which I wish you may ENJOY this year: the light of his countenance, the power of his love, the hope of his calling, the blessings of his chosen, contentment under all dispensations, liberty in performing his commands, and victory over every foe. There are Seven things from which I hope you may be PRESERVED from, this year: a hard heart, a seared conscience, a Laodicean state, a proud look, an unforgiving spirit, an envious eye, and from distrusting God.
And now, brothers, sisters, friends, coworkers, frenemies and family Jesus can give all that I wish you to experience, to know, to enjoy! And he can preserve you from all I wish you to be kept from. But he says, “I will be inquired of, by the house of Israel, to do it for them.” You must ask, seek, knock, plead, wrestle, and agonize at his throne—for he loves a determined, importunate, persevering beggar.
“May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.”