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

Items For Prayer And Praise

By Lois J. Stucky

    One of the joyful things about Christianity is that there is always fresh challenge, always land ahead to be possessed. In the spiritual world as well as in the world of nature, there are inviting mountain heights to climb; there are great depths from which to mine up treasure; there are broad expanses of oceans and prairies to explore for their wealth. Our great and wonderful God has made it so. And never in a lifetime can we begin to exhaust the length and depth and height of the knowledge and riches He has for the seeker.

    But to make it right down-to-earth, what does this mean for us ordinary Christians treading life’s pathway to Heaven? One thing is the feeling we get in our hearts at the turnover of a new year, that this is the time to take stock of where we’ve been and where we want to go spiritually.

    Matthew Henry sets a good example for us as told in the smaller article on page 1. He humbled himself before God and acknowledged his sins and failures, and he asked God’s pardon and forgiveness. Then he acknowledged his total need of God and made a new consecration for God to work in him and through him.

    If we don’t do likewise we may carry into the new year sins and weights that will be like excess baggage or even like putrid garbage. How then can we make progress? Sins, failures, regrets, guilt, unforgiveness, shame—such things are dealt with at Calvary where our compassionate Lord points us to the Blood He shed that we might be rid of such (1 John 1:9). What a liberating Saviour is Christ our Lord! What a joyful, free spirit He gives to those who confess and forsake! Then we are ready to climb, to explore, to dig.

    God forbid that we be like the children of Israel and continue to sin and seek forgiveness, sin and seek forgiveness over the same sins. They lived before Calvary; we live after Calvary. Through Christ our Saviour there is deliverance from sin so we go and sin no more (John 8:3). If we are plagued by some besetting sin, might this be the time we get down to business and seek God for the victory, the once-and-for-all deliverance through Christ until we obtain it.

    It may be our faith needs an uplift. This is a good time to get a fresh grip of faith on the promises of God. The past year or even years, we may have brought some request to God again and again with seemingly no results. Our faith may have given way to wishful thinking and half-hearted hoping, or even hopelessness.

    We can go to God’s Word, and ask Him for promises, or new promises to stand on. We can hide these promises in our hearts by going over and over them. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Our faith is an important channel through which God works. He tells us in His Word that nothing is impossible with Him and “He is faithful who promised” (Heb. 10:23). The Bible speaks of “full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:22). This is something to climb toward.

    If we find we are too involved to spend necessary time with God to really know him, as the A. W. Tozer and Andrew Murray articles suggest, this will be a good time to take stock of what secondary things we can pull back from in order to draw closer to God and come to know Him better. Oh, the privilege of fellowshipping with God! It fulfills a key purpose for our very existence here on this earth. Yet we tend to take it lightly, counting it of less importance than many things that will have no meaning in eternity. We must take time! We must make time! Beginning each new day with God is vital for spiritually robust health and for a joyful heart.

    It will be of little lasting value to enter the new year gritting our teeth and striding ahead by our own determination and strength. Zechariah 4:6 tells us, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord.” Waiting on God and being filled with the blessed Holy Spirit saves us from a flash-in-the-pan show that will soon be over with nothing left but ashes.

    When Herald of His Coming founder, Brother Moore, was nearing age 90 and was no longer strong to shoulder the load he had carried so commendably for many years, when we asked him how he felt, he often responded, “I feel like pressing on!” His heart had caught the vision of His dear Saviour standing on Eternity’s shore and toward Him he would press, troubles and discouragements notwithstanding, as long as he had body and mind to do so.

    Many of you dear older friends likewise have that soldier heart. Sometimes you have to pause and catch your breath, but your aim as you near the end of life’s pathway is still upward, onward, unto Jesus. If we do, one day we will each receive our own reward, and how gladly we will lay it at His feet, for to Him we owe everything, everything!