Welcome to 2015
Stop Looking Back, Keep Looking Forward & Never stop Looking Up
Welcome, to 2015, I am glad that together we continue searching the Heart of our Lord, and may prayer is that, it may continue to be our desire to do so every day of this New Year.
I heard that over in Italy they have an interesting way of celebrating New Year’s Eve… As the evening approaches and the clock is ready to strike 12:00, the streets are cleared. There is no traffic. There are no pedestrians, even the policemen take cover. For at the stroke of midnight, the windows of the houses fly open at to the sound of laughter, music and fireworks, every member of the family will throw out: old dishes, detested ornaments, hated furniture and a whole catalog of personal possessions which remind them of something in the past year… they are determined to wipe out of their minds.
My friend, don’t you which that was our tradition instead… It is the perfect embodiment of the old saying… “Out with the Old, In with the New” although it would be quite a struggle for the “hoarders.” Well I think it would feel good indeed.
Yet what a remarkable opportunity we have, to practice this spiritually to throw out, what hindered us this last year with our walk with Jesus Christ. To look forward to what God has prepared for us for this coming year and never look back. Did you know that God has already prepared the way for us?
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship (His poem, His work of Art), created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Here are three encouragements for this New Year: To read all Three of them, click here, Part one is below.
- Say good bye to the Past:
Don’t look back: Have you ever notice, how hard it is to walk forward, when you are looking back? I mean it makes it almost impossible to walk straight; you would be all over the place.
My friend if you have answered Jesus call to follow Him, to walk in the good works that He has already prepared for You and me, Jesus reminds us… that
Luke 9:62 “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.””
As we embark on this New Year, we must remember not to keep looking back… Don’t look back at the sins that you have been forgiven… So easily & so foolishly we keep looking back to our sins and failures forgetting that our sin has been forgiven & forgotten. The apostle John reminds us that…
1 John 1:7–9 “…if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Don’t look back to Defeats of the past, but neither focus on the great victories Won.
If you keep your eyes on the great defeats of the past, all that you will accomplish is to get depressed… We all have some defeats in our past; we all have lost some battles. But the saying is true… “Only those who never attempt anything are free from falling”
Perhaps you attempted a new business, and things did not went as planned… Perhaps you venture out in faith in a ministry, and well it did not flourished as perhaps you expected. Perhaps you said “last year during this time…” 2014 is the year of victory over some struggles in my walk with Jesus. And yet you stumble still in some other areas…
My friend in ether of those cases and in any other where you feel that you have fail or stumbled. I must remind you that God always lift up those who stumble.
Psalm 37:23–24 “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”
Perhaps you are on the other side of the street, and you had a blessed year, filled with great ventures and wonderful spiritual victories… and even though I am glad that you had a great year, I must still remind you, Do not to focus on Victories Past, but continue to focus on the battles to come.
You see, often looking at victories of the past, give us a false sense that we have arrived to Spiritual Perfection, that you are the Spiritual “Arnold Schwarzenegger” in his prime day. And that is dangerous place to be as well. And we tend to get complaisant.
Well we say… I have served the Lord with all my heart… once… I have shared the gospel with others… for while now… I was a sold out Christian… once…
The question is not what you have been; rather, are you sold out for Christ today? Are you sharing the Gospel today, are you on fire for Christ today?… Paul declared: à
Philippians 3:12–14 “I don’t mean to say that I have… already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
My friend, we need not to look back and focus on the things past, but we ought to look forward for what is to come… The Lord is not done, we are not in heaven Yet and there is still work to be done for His glory. WE must PRESS ON
- Looking forward, Paul said, to what lies ahead…
What is ahead? God’s continuous work of Grace in our lives. My friend, the word of God has such a power to change, to heal and to restore; our hearts, our souls and minds. Nothing else can cleanses you, wash you like the word of God does.
And He is not done yet; He has promised that He will not leave you unfinished. But you and I will not always be half-baked… some day, the bell will ring and you will come out of the oven in perfection. Paul wrote to the Philippians…
Philippians 1:6 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
Open doors for ministry: where can we share the Gospel, how to reach others around us. How to serve Jesus better, should always be on the front of our thinking. Jesus is the answer to all the world’s troubles. But He must be preached; He must be shared with the world.
I am happy to announce that begging this coming year, we are in the final process to own 105.9 FM, A frequency on which we will be able to raise a Radio Station, to reach our area with the Word of God… that is exiting news…
As the Lord opens up doors for you to serve, I encourage you to take them. If you want to grow in a deeper relationship with God, then you must learn that serving Him and His people, will draw you closer to understanding His heart.
Matthew 20:28 “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.””
So pray, ask the Lord, where have You called me to serve, where can I be of service to others.
- Never stop Looking Up…
Mark 13:32–37 ““…no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert! 34“The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his servants (slaves) instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!””
What has the Lord called us to do, personally, financially, spiritually and as a congregation… When Jesus comes, will He find us faithful doing what we are called to do? I hope the answer is Yes, He will, He will find me, working at His vineyard. And in order to do so, we must stay focused.
A New Year, would not be A New Year without New Year’s resolutions which are great, we all make them, we all want them to be true as well.
Here are the top 10 of this year…
1 Lose Weight,
2 Getting Organized,
3 Spend Less, Save More,
4 Enjoy Life to the Fullest,
5 Staying Fit and Healthy,
6 Learn Something Exciting,
7 Quit Smoking,
8 Help Others in Their Dreams,
9 Fall in Love,
10 Spend More Time with Family…
Yet statistics tells us: Only 75% of ppl maintained their Resolution through first week, only 71% Past two weeks, only 64% Past one month and 46% Past six months.. with only 8% of ppl keeping it through out the whole year… The question is what happened to the other 92%… They lost focus.
Could that happen to us? In our Christian walk, can we loose focus, and backslide, can we loose focus and become complaisant, can we loose focus and loose that fire that once burned bright and clear in our lives… The answer is… yes… We can loose focus on our Goal, and what is our Goal… To… Be … Like… Jesus…
We get distracted by everything around us, we begin to slack in our daily fellowship with our Savior, we start to slip away little by little, “it never happens over night” church is no longer a priority in our lives, Serving Him is no longer a principal to live by, we grow cold.
There is great danger not only for our lives, but also for the little ones we have been given to take care off… There is a great impact that we have in our children when it comes to knowing and living for Christ.
An American study found interesting results on the impact of parents who attend church:
 When both parents attend Sunday school, 72% of the children attend Sunday school when grown.
 When only the father attends Sunday school, 55% of the children attend when grown.
 When only the mother attends Sunday school, 15% of the children attend when grown.
 When neither parent attends Sunday school, only 6% of the children attend when grown.
How can we prevent that from happening to us? By Staying connected in fellowship, The writer of Hebrews said:
Hebrews 10:25 “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
Don’t neglect, rather come and be encouraged by one another, especially NOW that Jesus is coming soon… The word tells us, come and encourage one another, how? Praying, sharing with one another our burdens, and above all, hearing from the Lord’s heart.
Be faithful to His calling in your life. Don’t stop serving Him… Remember His calling for your life, stay focused on His faithfulness and how He is faithful even when we are not. Paul reminds us in his benediction to the Thessalonians…
1 Thessalonians 5:23–24 “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
Keep your eyes on Jesus: Just like Peter’s walking on water experience, the answer to our storms, it is not to stay on the boat in fear, but to come to Jesus in Faith, keeping our eyes on Him. (Matt. 14)
Even though the storms of life will rise, the winds will blow, the boat will be shaken by trials and tribulations, our answer remains the same… Keep your eyes on Jesus…
Hebrews 12:1–2 “…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
My friend, drop everything that is weighing you down, and run with endurance don’t give up, keep your eyes on Jesus. What is weighing you down today? Sin, Remorse, guilt. Toss it out, and anything that reminds you of it, like an old Italian lady celebrating New Year’s eve… Embrace the race set before you and run…