"Dedicated to strengthening and encouraging the Body of Christ."

Greet The New Year With Prayer

By Lois J. Stucky

    Not many people in ages past have been able to see as we living today, not only an approaching changeover into a new year and a new century, but also into a new millennium. Does this unusual happening call for a special reaction from us Christians?

    Some Christians endeavor to greet each new year on their knees--if not in company with others, then alone with the Lord. While some in the community celebrate the occasion with firecrackers or gunshots, or gala toasts and drunken revelry, these wise Christians choose to meet the new year in fellowship with Jesus. It marks another milestone on the road of life, traveling toward a glorious eternity with Jesus. It is a time of "Thanksgiving for the past; faith for the future," to borrow an expression used by some churchmen. What it might mean to this world if all Christians greeted the new year on their knees!

    We are almost 2000 years nearer the coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ than the early Christians who looked with such eager anticipation and expectation for His return. Is this hope alive and shining in our hearts? As children of the day we are told to be not sleeping but watchful (1 Thessalonians 5:5-6). So awake, sleeping Christian! Watch and pray lest that day "come upon you unawares" (Luke 21:34).

    While we can look up with the joyful hope that our redemption draws near, we are tempted to look around in dismay. We live in an hour of deteriorating morals and crumbling institutions. It makes the heart tremble and grieve for oncoming generations, if Jesus tarries.

    But praise God, this world is not our final home. We take comfort in belonging to a group made up of people of every kindred and tongue, and people, and nation (Revelation 5:9). We have the holy privilege of being part of what is destined to be a "glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but...holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:27), and a place with God is being prepared for us.

    I was stirred as I read Don Kenyon’s article on page 6, with the thought of the nearly 2000-year span of the Church since its inception after Christ’s ascension. What a grand procession of saints! God is unfalteringly gathering His Church in spite of the opposition of men and devils. God’s plan will not fail. Blood, sweat and tears go into the structure, but one grand day it will be finished. The Bride Beloved in Blood-washed garments of purest white, will be presented to the Heavenly Bridegroom to rule by His side.

    Some illustrious saints stand out in that great span. Though God is the Master Builder, He uses human hearts and hands as His laborers. Some saints have built with "gold, silver and precious stones" that endure to the glory of God. Others have built with "wood, hay and stubble" that are consumed away (1 Corinthians 3:12).

    Our individual lives touch that span for a few brief years at most. I ask myself, what is my life contributing to the building of Christ’s church during life’s little while? Please consider, friend, what is your life contributing? It is a great privilege God gives us to invest the best of our lives into building that which will outlast this world and will endure throughout Eternity!

    Oh, let us take care to what we devote our brief life span! God help us make choices that will fulfill what He intended that we should contribute to building the Church. Christ gave His life and died on Calvary for the Church, demonstrating His unfathomable love for her. Surely for the Church we can live a life of love and service. We all invest our lives in something. To think, we may invest it in something that will count for Eternity!

    Even if the hour in which we live is part of the "perilous times" of trouble and decay at the end of the age, let us strive to see that our individual lives are holy and without blemish. Let us hold high the banner of the cross. This is not popular nor attractive to most, but the cross and the Blood shed there, are precious to us who have found through it an entrance into the Heavenly Kingdom.

    We are called to hold fast to God’s Word and conscientiously walk in ways He has set for us, even if it is considered old-fashioned. We are to build our lives and our churches on the firm foundation of God’s Word and not on the shifting sands of man’s teachings which deviate from that Word.

    We are to love not the world nor the things in the world. The doors of our hearts and of the Church must be barred against the ways of the world that cater to the flesh and lean upon man and his knowledge, education and technologies. It is expedient to use some of these things as God leads, but our trust must be in our God. We are not to be enamored with the world but rather to set our affections on things above where our precious Lord is, where we can breathe pure holy air and not the polluted air of the world.

    We are to be filled with the Holy Spirit so our lives manifest heavenly love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance, and not manifest the evil works of the flesh.

    As Christians let’s go against the "me first" mindset of this hour. Let’s make our greatest concern to be not the preservation of our own lives and comforts and pleasures, but rather service to God and to others. Let us, even if crisis times come, speak words not of complaint but of courage; not of fear but of faith; not of hopelessness but of confidence in God.

    Friends, let us meet the new year, the new century, the new millennium on our knees. Let our reaction to these unusual days be one of strengthening our faith in God, humbling our hearts before Him, seeking His renewal in our souls, pleading for His fullness. He is our sustainer, our sufficiency, whatever Y2K might bring. In fact, we ought not wait until December 31 but seek God with all our hearts now.

    Some are facing the dawning of the year 2000 in fear and trembling. Others face it with arrogant, irresponsible attitudes. As Christians let us face it in faith, in humble confidence in God and in readiness to serve as He directs. Let us use this hour to glorify Him in whatever ways He sets before us.

    Let us lay hold of His promises to pour out of His Spirit upon all flesh and by our faith and prayers, help prepare the way for that. There is yet a vast harvest that may be brought in if we pay the price in faith and prayer. Oh, that God would so move by His Spirit among His people that the time ahead, if Jesus tarries, will be glorious hours for the Church! True, for some it might be the glory wrought in purifying fires or even in martyrdom. Jesus’ way to the throne was through the cross and the grave. For whatever of good or hardship that lies ahead, we have His precious promise, "Lo, I am with you always."