It is with thanksgiving and jubilation that I greet and welcome you into 2018. We certainly did not get here on our own merits; rather it is the grace and mercy of God that have brought us to this point in time. I am sure you may already have, but in the event you haven’t, I would invite you to have a serious reflection on your experiences over the past year. Like me, I am sure you have come through some trying times; you would also have had some experiences that you thought would have floored you. However, again, like me, you survived. Can you honestly identify what you did to overcome those situations that seemed so insurmountable? How did you do it? Well, again, like me, if you cannot rationally articulate how you orchestrated those victories, then I submit to you that God made a way for your escape.
One of my favourite scriptures provides a very comprehensive framework of our life with God. The passage to which I am referring is taken form Isaiah 43: 1-5. However, I will highlight the first five verses at this point and let them speak for themselves: “1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5 Fear not: for I am with thee: …”
For a precious moment, stop and listen to the doom and gloom that are being verbalized by world leaders for 2018 and beyond. You will become acutely aware that the trajectory of our political, social and economic structures, along with their various component parts, do not present a bright prospect for the conceivable future. The new “world order” cannot hold; it must collapse and plunge humanity into a dark abyss. Here is the point to be made - the people of God should not be surprised or dismayed by the world’s steady march from a democratic governmental system into despotic regimes, which will eventually cede power to one dominant world leader. Do you see where this is going?
Earlier I said that children of God should not be surprised by world events. I say that because we have been warned. Just take some time to read Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. The alarming thing is that experts will have plausible explanations for the collapsing world systems. However, none of these explanations will persuade people to turn to God. The Bible tells us in Hosea 4:6 that “…My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children…” The world is not interested in knowing God, therefore, it cannot comprehend the things of God because “ …the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned…” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
What shall we do for 2018 to preserve our salvation? “…Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near…” (Isaiah 55: 5). We have an obligation to propagate the gospel in order to help others to repent and give their lives to God. Isaiah 55: 7 tells us to “…Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon…”
For us the children of the Lord Jesus Christ, 2018 and beyond will be busy; the future looks bright and prosperous as we fulfil our mandate to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ all over the world. Our CEO has informed us that we are short-staffed and that there is need for an aggressive recruitment drive. He says “…The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few…” (Matthew 9:37). Not only should we “…Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth labourers into his harvest…” (Matthew 9:38), but we should also “…Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel [bid] them to come…”
There are many persons across the world who have a very dismal and pessimistic outlook for their future based on current happenings. However, as Children of the Living God, we ought to resist being caught up in that narrative because we do have much to rejoice about. We walk by faith and not by sight. Our light should always be shining so that we may provide light to those who are lost. There is much work to be done as Christian Soldiers marching in the Lord’s Army. As we work together for the Lord, let us keep our eyes on Him, because any day now He will be coming back for us. That is His promise, and we ought to stand firm on His promises because His words will never fail. God bless you. We know our future is bright with God because He is the lamp unto our feet. We will continue to walk into our victory in Jesus for 2018 and beyond.