We’re at the beginning of a new year. This is a time when people are contemplating making changes in their lives. They think about how things have been going and consider what they would like to change to make their lives better. Let me urge you to consider what could be one of the most significant changes that you could make. Resolve, make up your mind, to be in Bible classes every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening, as consistently as you possibly can be. If you have children, resolve to bring them to Bible classes every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening.
We’ve crossed over the threshold of time, moving from one year into another. This article is number thirty six in a line of bulletin articles I’ve been privileged to write, as a full time gospel minister, at the beginning of a new year. Four such articles have come at the beginning of a new decade, and one served to usher in a new century and millennium. I suppose it’s common for a preacher to mull over, to a somewhat greater degree, just what he should write at the beginning of a new year. He wants to say something profound, something that will stimulate thoughtfulness and action in a positive direction on both an individual and a congregational basis.
Foolishness can be observed in various forms all around us, even in our own personal lives. In some forms foolishness is basically just harmless fun, as long as it is not carried too far. Everybody needs to take some time to relax, have some fun, as my parents used to put it, cut up a little. As long as it is kept in proper perspective, with no harm being done, that kind of foolishness can actually be productive, having a rejuvenating effect and contributing to having a good time without negative consequences.
Many passages of scripture speak of God’s love for mankind. Jesus stated, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” ( Jn. 3:16 ). Paul wrote, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” ( Rom. 5:8 ). John also wrote, “In this is love , not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” ( 1 Jn. 4:10 ). What God did, in sacrificing “His only begotten Son,” was certainly a supreme act of love.
The greatest gift that has ever been given is salvation through Jesus Christ. Paul wrote of this gift in his letter to the Romans. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” ( Rom. 6:23 ). In his letter to the Ephesians Paul stated, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves;it is the gift of God ,” ( Eph. 2:8 ). The Hebrews letter calls it “the heavenly gift” ( Heb. 6:4 ).
The face of our culture is changing before our eyes. The evidence of this fact can be observed by looking in a number of different directions. Space will not permit journeying down all of those tracks in this article. But computerized technology may be the biggest influence affecting and shaping much of the change. It seems that only our imaginations limit us as to what continued changes lay ahead.
Would you like to change your life? A great many people would. There are many specific areas in which people would like to see their lives change. Many would like to become more secure financially. Others would like to change jobs or careers. Some would like to improve their educational status. Many people have serious relational difficulties they would like to change. A great many are trapped in the despair of some addiction they would like to overcome. Some have a self-image problem they would like to improve. The list goes on and on…
"Call to Me, and I will answer you..." (Jeremiah 33:3). What a blessing is prayer! Through prayer God has enabled us to be able to talk directly to Him, to personally present to Him all of our needs, concerns, thoughts, and fears. He has promised us that, because of His unlimited power, our prayers can make a difference for good, they change things (James 5:16). But, the scriptures are clear that there are people to whose prayers God will not listen. Why would God not listen to somebody's prayers?
“Call to me, and I will answer you…” ( Jer. 33:3 ). What a blessing is prayer! Through prayer God has enabled us to be able to talk directly to Him, to personally present to Him all of our needs, concerns, thoughts and fears. He has promised us that, because of His unlimited power, our prayers can make a difference for good, they change things ( Jas. 5:16 ). But, the scriptures are clear that there are people to whose prayers God will not listen. Why would God not listen to somebody’s prayers?
Hello, my name is Steve Higginbotham and I am an impulse buyer. There, I feel better now. But it's true, I'm the kind of guy for which they make commercials and design eye-catching packaging. When I go shopping, if I see something on the shelf I like, I put it in the buggy. Consequently, my children never miss an opportunity to go shopping with me, and my wife rarely sends me. But this "impulse buying" has sometimes led to some very poor purchases. You see, I don't check the price like I should, and it's not until I'm at the checkout that I realize how expensive some items are. Well, at this point, I'm too embarrassed to say anything. I don't want to hold people up in the line behind me by putting it back. So I proceed with the purchase, that has now lost its luster. Now if I can change subjects, is that not precisely why we choose to sin? Impulse. If we fully comprehended the cost before the transaction was made, we wouldn't make it. But we go on our impulse. Immediate gratification. And we don't worry about the price until we get to the checkout. Well friends, let me remind you that there will be a "checkout" some day, and we will have to pay for our "purchases." Therefore, I would encourage you, as well as myself, to learn self-discipline, and make life-choices based, not upon today, but upon eternity.
Gary L. Hutchens