A NEW YEAR MESSAGE
P. Samuel Manoharam
Let me at the outset greet all the readers of Light of Life a very blessed New Year. Let us thank and praise God for all His mercies in the past year and for extending His faithful care for our well-being to every day of the year. We believe God holds the future in His hand. So we need not fear about the future. We may move ahead with this assuring thought.
God's promises are unfailing and He will fulfil them faithfully for those who trust Him and depend upon Him. Some of these promises are: 1) "Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you" (Josh.1:9). 2) "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand" (Isa.41:10). 3) "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Heb.13:5).
Only three promises of God were mentioned, out of thirty-three thousand promises in the entire Bible. The Bible is God's Book of Promises for believers. God is interested in and concerned about every aspect of our lives, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, because of His immeasurable love and grace towards us. He wants us to be not only physically fit, but also spiritually fit to live in this world which is beset by many troubles keeping us constantly under stress and strain.
These wonderful promises are effective only when we repose our full trust and confidence in Him, who is our only source of strength. He wants us to draw on this source for our total care and well-being. These promises enable us to conquer fear, worry, depression, loneliness, helplessness and hopelessness in our lives. They assure us of God's help, hope, health, healing, peace, happiness, safety, security, protection and preservation.
God's promises are guaranteed, and He is faithful to keep them. One can clearly see God's very character behind His promises, which are packed with manifold benefits for those who believe in Him and in what He says. What is essential for us to obtain the benefits of these promises is to take hold of them, acknowledge them, claim them, and receive them.
It is said, "Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light." This means that what God has promised for our total well-being and our bright future in the Holy Scriptures should never be doubted by us, while passing through even very severe, dark and most agonising circumstances.
Faith And Hope Essential
Without faith in God who is our Hope, we cannot really start our journey in the New Year with confidence. Faith sees problems as opportunities. Afflictions are opportunities to prove God's faithfulness. Opportunities are disguised as problems. Problems have a role to play in the master plan of God for our lives. God specialises in working in the dark. When we find no solution to our problems, our faith in God finds another way. By exercising faith, our present adversity may become an adventure. Having true faith in God, we can trust Him in the dark as well as in the light. Faith lifts its hands up, through the threatening clouds, lays hold of God who has the power in heaven and on earth.
We should never make the blunder of cutting God to the size of our faith in Him. God expects us to have rock-like faith in Him. It is said, "A little faith in God will bring our soul to heaven. Great faith in God will bring heaven to our soul." Faith makes the up-look good. Faith makes the outlook bright. Faith makes the in-look favourable. With such a faith, we can experience God's best in life's toughest situations. Let us remember that God has great things in store for us.
There are thrilling possibilities of faith to a man of God. Great faith is built on the conviction that God can do anything for us, if we only believe according to His will. Unfortunately, most of us believe this, but few act on that belief. A strong faith in God gives tremendous amount of courage and boldness to face any problem and to overcome it with victory.
Faith grows by exercising it. It grows in exact proportion to our confidence in God. To increase our faith, we should start using whatever faith we now have. We have to do something that demands faith and expect God to honour it.
Hope is also essential for our very existence. Hope has the ability to keep us cheerful and happy even in adverse situations. Hope emanates from faith. Faith and hope are correlated. God wants us to live all the days of our life with hope, trusting in Him fully. So, how important is it for us to understand the significance of faith and hope, when we are entering the New Year? Faith in God can deliver us from all kinds of fears. Hope inspires us to live in the darkest hour also. The best thing we can do, while stepping into another year, is to willingly entrust our future to God, with faith in Him and fully depending on His promises and assurances. Faith and hope are mighty God-given weapons in our hands for our journey till the end.
As we are venturing into the unknown, the ending of which we cannot see, the paths of which are untrodden, the perils of which are unimaginable, really not knowing where we are going in our increasingly dangerous world, it is very essential and desirable for us to start depending upon God at the very edge of the New Year.
Past, Present And Future
No matter how dark was our past, with God, our future is bright. Equipped with God's power, we can march ahead in the New Year with confidence. It is said, "From the example of the past, the man of the present acts prudently so as not to imperil the future." This means we need wisdom to overcome the problems, failures and anxiety created by our past actions, and the fear of repeating them in the future, so that any anxiety, fear or doubt may not keep us from living to the fullest.
This kind of attitude will enable us to live well in the present and to press toward the goal we have to attain, keeping in mind that what is impossible for man is possible with God. So let us live fully in the present, as we gain wisdom from the past, and face the challenges of life in the future with courage, not letting the bleak past overshadow a bright future while entering the New Year. The backward look to recall what God has already done for us earlier, can give us confidence and hope, as we enter the New Year. With complete trust and confidence in God, we can look back and look ahead. It is good to look both ways. God's helping and guiding hand, which we experienced in the past, can give us courage and hope that the same hand can take sufficient care of us in the days ahead.
What we need is a fruitful spiritual life with a well-nourished soul, which is possible only when we walk with God, by spending sufficient time with Him, not looking towards the purely materialistic world. God's eyes will be upon us, holding our future in His divine hand, leading us through all situations, good or bad, if we let Him have His way. This will be a good start for us.
God determines our future according to His own plans and purposes. The Word of God says, "A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps" (Pro.16:9). This means God's plan for our lives may be very different from our own. But it is for our own good, if we entrust our lives to Him.
God alone can unlock the door to everything that really matters and He alone is the One who holds the key to all our needs. Acknowledging this truth will give us calmness of mind and joyfulness of heart as we proceed.
Trials And Troubles
In the New Year, we may have to encounter many problems, which are inevitable in the world we live. These may be considered as blessings in disguise because we learn many valuable, life-building lessons from them. Trials and turmoil in life are good. It is said, "Trials make us think; thinking makes us wise and wisdom makes our life profitable." Trials make us tough, which is good for us. Tough people are bold people. "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." So, problems and troubles are to be welcomed as opportunities and blessings from God. They make us strong and bold to face the realities of life and to conquer them. Life is a battle for us to fight to the end, without giving in to feelings of hopelessness and defeat, with God's assured help and power.
God may not always deliver us from problems and troubles, but He will certainly sustain us in the midst of them. We need to keep this truth in mind while entering the New Year.
Let us move forward and onward, forgetting the things that are behind and expecting great tomorrows, with faith in God. Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, placing ourselves and also all our tomorrows in the safe hands of God. Remembering God's faithfulness and forgetting past failures and mistakes can make entering the New Year a time of joyous anticipation. The old year is dead. Let it go. Look ahead, seeking God's way for our adventurous journey. It is this direction, onward and upward, that determines our destiny.
The 'Great Pilot' of the sea of life will take the command of our ship, voyaging with us, bringing us safely to the shore. We must begin the New Year with trust and confidence in God, to give us the needed vim and vigour for facing the turbulent times ahead, in the sin-soaked world.
The inspiring words of the song: "How sweet the name of Jesus sounds In a believer's ear" speaks about the immensity of God's grace towards His believers. With this spiritual light to elevate and embolden us, and standing on the promises of God, having faith and hope, let us gladly enter another year of adventure.
It is said, "What we see depends mainly on what we look for." This means a good, proper attitude and the right focus helps us to handle life cheerfully, even though it doesn't change our circumstances.
"We really don't need to know where we are going, if we really let God do the leading for us, in the unknown year ahead."