Monday, January 5, 2015
NEW YEAR ANTICIPATION
It is with anticipation and hope that we look into another year that dawns on planet earth. Life takes on both immediate and eternal dimensions when we are united with Christ. We find direction as we turn to God’s Word.
Paul, as always, directs our focus to where it ought to be. In his first letter to Timothy, his greeting consists of grace, mercy, and peace. “Guy King has suggested that grace is needed for every service, mercy for every failure, and peace for every circumstance” (Believer’s Bible Commentary, page 2109).
A note Scotch-taped to my vanity mirror reads, “ Look within and be depressed; look about and be distressed; look above and be at rest.”
We are exposed to sin, sorrow, and Satan every day of our life. Thousands of things are ready to distress us. Jesus says, “Look unto me” (Isa. 45:22). I am the giver of grace. I am waiting to lavish you with my grace and blessings. I am fully aware of everything that affects you. You have tried to solve your problems yourself. You have looked to others for solutions. It hasn’t worked. Now look to ME.
Paul’s second letter to Timothy again directs our focus. Paul was probably confined to a cold dungeon and awaiting his death. Nero was persecuting Christians to shift the blame from himself to them for a fire in Rome. Persecution spread across the empire —ostracism, murder,
and torture. Paul was waiting to die. It was at this time that he instructed and encouraged Timothy, and us, in our life values and focus. “Kindle afresh the gift of God that is in you” (2 Tim.1:6). Don’t give in to timidity. Depend on God’s power (1:7). Be ready to suffer for the gospel (1:8). Don’t be ashamed of the gospel (1:8). Witness, teach, speak up, hand out tracts, live a Christ-centered example.
Paul’s second letter to Timothy provides another challenge: Thanskgiving (and praise) in the midst of dire circumstances. For what do we have reason to praise? The pages from Genesis through Revelation are filled with reasons and examples to help us thankfully claim the promises and power of God. We must search out those promises. We must make them our own. We must not let go. And we must praise.
“As Vine put it: ‘It was according to the divine purpose that life, which was in Christ Jesus in the eternal past, should be given us’” (Believer’s Bible Comm., p. 2109). That’s a mind-boggling “looooong"way back! There has been a long time to test and prove it. There is an interval in which we believers are waiting. Waiting…until He comes. God, in His faithfulness, sent His Son the first time (Christmas). We wait with confidence that He will send Him again. May we live in faith and with faithfulness coupled with exuberant anticipation, “until He (Shiloh=the Messiah) comes” (Gen.49:10). “Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (Rev. 22:20-21).
To God be the glory! He has done GREAT things! And great things will continue through ALL ETERNITY! Praise His majesty forever.