Today, I sit alone in my home, enjoying the quiet solitude which is so conducive to meditating on the value and importance of things in life and eternity. My family has gone hither and yon to visit friends and relatives. I sit at my window and drink in the heavenly, placid vista of the Great Smoky Mountains and the panoramic expanse of the foothills of the beautiful Tennessee Valley. The Crew’s Dairy Farm fields are dark green with winter wheat. The silo with its shining silver dome stands above the red barns. The French Broad River is flowing bank to bank after recent heavy rains. Dense winter clouds warn us that cold temperatures are near at hand.
I thank the Lord that I am comfortable and abundantly blessed with warm shelter, clothing, food and salvation. It is not so with so many of our neighbors. The homeless and the refugees of war-torn countries continue to suffer from the ravages of sinful and wicked men.
A sweet hour of prayer brings to the soul peace, perspective and promise. We have the promise of God’s grace which has been purchased for us by the loving sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have the promise of divine blessings which have been, are and will be sufficient for every trial and test we may face.
Current events and issues press upon the mind with a profoundly personal reality. And yet we know that what is now has been previously and will be again. The citizens of one nation have enslaved and abused the citizens of another nation from antiquity and will continue till the end of time. Black lives matter no more than brown lives matter and no more than white lives matter. My ancestors, like your ancestors, have been abused by tyrants and heretics. No one owes me anything; and, I owe no man anything but love. Only the Great Judgment Day will bring all this to a close and every man will receive his reward according to the attitudes of his heart and the deeds done in his life.
Can we learn from the past and apply those lessons to the present and the future? If we are complacent and continue to do what we have always done; we will continue to have what we have always had, or less. It is my heart’s desire to make 2016 a better year than 2015. I am not satisfied to be content with the status quo of past years. I want more of the grace and wisdom of God in my life. I want to be a better servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. I want my Lord to be pleased with me.
With the coming of a New Year, I share these seven admonitions with you as a challenge to grow in grace, wisdom, faith and power with God.
1. Consider the consequences of your past and future choices.
2. Investigate the opportunities of your dreams.
3. Apply the wisdom of your experiences to exceed your past performance.
4. Prove your worthiness by promoting another’s accomplishments.
5. Show respect and kindness to the stranger; he may open the door to your success.
6. Teach others and share the knowledge which other people have given to you.
7. Forget not the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega; because, if you don’t start with Him, you cannot end with Him.