Celebration (A special thanks to Miguel Valdez from CTF, Soledad CA who sent us this great New Year Card)  Well 2011 is here!  What is it about the beginning of each new year that revives hope in some and dread in others?  Each year at 11:59 we wait in anticipation as the clock ticks away second by second.  The revelers, and those intoxicated on this world, end one year drunk and begin the new in exactly the same condition.

Then there are those who use the transition of one year to the next as a time to reflect on the past year. How many goals were reached? How many regrets were birthed.  It is a good time to take an inventory of our life.  Those of us who are truly living for God instinctively know this will be a year like no other.

In 1988 I truly believed the Lord Jesus Christ could return at any time.  In those days there was an expectation in the air of the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Someone wrote a book entitled Eighty Eight reasons why the Lord could return in 1988. Of course, no man knows the day or hour of His return so this book just threw fuel on the fire of the scoffers.  However, those of us who could see prophetic scriptures being fulfilled before our very eyes stayed on our toes and alert.  Most of us never thought we would see the year 2000.  Then January 1, 2001 rolled in and a new century began.

The Y2K scare rippled the planet with in-depth scenarios of what would happen when the power grids were shut down and massive computer failures occurred.  The seconds ticked away and at 12:00 midnight, January 1st, 2001 everything went on as it had before with no universal blackouts.  I do believe there was a specific reason why media hyped up the Y2K scare so much.  The company I worked for at the time spent massive amounts of time and money replacing the entire computer system and the coding.  So, apparently, businesses were very concerned.   Prior to the turn of the century the computer phenomena was still pretty much in its infancy and each country, nation, state, and business had their own systems.  Networking and working from the same platform was only beginning to emerge.  By scaring the world, businesses and governments were forced to upgrade their computer systems and eventually the world more or less was on the same platform.  It took something like Y2K for this to happen.  Satan has always used fear to manipulate and control the people.  Only those who have been born again have been delivered from fear’s grasp.

When we are dwelling in the Kingdom of Heaven we can always live in liberty and newness of life.  Each New Year brings in hopeful expectation of our Lord drawing ever closer to us, as He prepares us to spend eternity with Him. As the clock ticks away we can “Purge out therefore the old leaven (sin) that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened.  For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” (I Cor. 5:7)

For those who are reaching out for more of God, a New Year is a time to let go of the past and embrace the future with hope and expectation.  Light exposes darkness and as we invite the candle of the Spirit to search the inward parts, may He bring to surface things that need to be purged from our hearts and lives.

This past year someone referred to me as elderly and it was the first time anyone had said that before.  It was a wake-up call because I didn’t realize that in our society anyone over the age of 55 is considered elderly.  If you notice most of the stores that give “Senior” discounts begin them at the age of 55.  Is this just a “perk” or is there something more insidious behind this?  When that person called me elderly I began to feel old and before the day was over there were aches and pains I didn’t even know were there before.  I started feeling like a person who was winding down and “over the hill”, so to speak.  I had to get a grip on this kind of thinking, because the enemy of my soul was trying to get me to think about his kingdom of darkness which is death, decay, deterioration, degenerative (and the list goes on).

Through prayer I purposed to go back to the Word of God in faith, and not my feelings, and declare Romans 6:6. “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

I remembered the day, many years ago, when I was baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus for the remission of my sins.  I literally buried the old man (woman) that I had become, though I was only in my 30’s at the time.  Old man in scripture refers to the body of sin.  When we are talking about eternity this life is just a vapor, and God only sees newness (a New Covenant) and where He is taking us not where we have been.  “In that he saith, a new covenant, he hath made the first old.  Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” (Hebrews 8:13)

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17)

“And that ye put on the new man, after which God has created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Eph. 4:24)

“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 11:19)

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Gal. 6:15)

So here we are in a New Year – the year 2011. If we have shed the grave clothes of past sin we can enter into this new year joyfully and expectantly.  Ultimately, the Lord Jesus Christ rules over the affairs of men. “Behold the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.” (Isaiah 42:9) We do not live in fear of a terror attack, as so many, but look beyond any earthly chaos to an eternal Kingdom that is being prepared for us.

“And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new.” (Rev. 21:5)  “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)  “For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain.” (Isaiah 65:22)

In conclusion, what can we do to bring in this New Year?  Certainly we can pray and intercede for those who do not know this wonderful Savior, but our greatest task in the New Year is to enter His courts with joy.  King David learned this secret in his times of deepest distress.

“O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: His right hand, and His holy arm, hath gotten Him the victory.” (Psalm 98:1)

“I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.” (Psalm 144:9)

“Praise ye the Lord.  Sing unto the Lord a new song, and His praise in the congregation of saints.” (Psalm 149:1)

For He shall reign forever and ever.

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