With Christ: A New Hope in a New Year

 

Beginnings with God

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:

The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The clock hand slowly moves,

Minute-minute—second-second,

Midnight strikes, the ball drops,

Crowds cheer a New Year-

Singing “Auld Lang Syne.”

The old with the new. Nostalgia for the past. “Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?”

We celebrate the New Year with friends and family who are part of our past. With      reminiscence of those shared memories, we look ahead to creating new ones in a new year. Moving into the new year, we bring the past with us–“for auld lang syne” (for “old times’ sake” 2 ) and much more, to the extent that the past can become more influential than the present. Although the past is always part of us, it should never be the greater part of us.

In God’s Holy Word, the Old Testament is a place to return to—and not to be forgotten for much more than “auld lang syne” —for it gives us background, history, lessons, and   applications important to understanding the New Testament:

18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Although this passage references happenings and events during the time of the Israelites, there are applications for us in the present. We, too, must not dwell in the past. We must do “a new thing” and become a new creation in Christ. God shows us the way in the Word of the New Testament:

**If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

**Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of    refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that He may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. (Acts 3:19-20)

** “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelations 21:4)

**Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (I Peter 1:3)

 The Apostle Paul gives us the resolution we need for this New Year: 

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

This resolution will be carried out and fulfilled if we remember this promise of help: 

I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

The clock hand slowly moves,

Minute-minute—second-second,

Midnight strikes, the ball drops,

Old year passing, I watch the fall,

 Then look up to Him– hope anew.

1 www.independent.co.up/arts-entertainment “Lyrics to Auld Lang Syne”

2 www.scotland.org  “The History and Words of Auld Lang Syne”

(Sharon  G. Tate blog 12/31/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

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The Savior Came in a Babe’s Form

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.   (Luke 2:1-7)                                 

The Savior came

In a babe’s form–

Eyes with God-sight,

Omniscient Presence.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”   (Luke 2:8-12)     

The Savior came

In a babe’s form–

Voice with God-tone,

To speak the Word.

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.”  (Luke 2:13-14)                                                 

The Savior came

In a babe’s form–

Heart of compassion,

Love to offer.

 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. (Luke 2:15-18)                                                                    

 The Savior came

In a babe’s form,

Mind of God–

Wisdom To amaze.

19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2: 19-20)                                      

 The Savior came

In a babe’s form–

Do we ponder still

And glorify God?

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord! (Psalm 150:6)

 (Sharon G. Tate blog 12/24/17)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

 

JESUS NEVER CHANGES—BUT WE MUST!

 

Hebrews 13:8—

New International Version:  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Revised Standard Version: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.

New King James: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

King James: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

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The message is the same: Jesus does NOT change. He does NOT read new interpretations of the Bible, reflect on the author’s views, and decide to compromise His own knowledge. He does NOT listen to a speaker in a large auditorium who claims to proclaim new wisdom regarding the Word of God, question His own understanding, and change His entire belief system. He does NOT follow the daily concerns expressed on Facebook, Twitter, messaging or the newscasts with a fear of tomorrow; His faith is NOT shaken. He does NOT become desensitized to the despair, poverty, war, and violence in the world. He does NOT take a break or tire from listening to and hearing the prayers of those who lift up their voices to Him in supplication.  “For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, He’s always totally Himself” (Hebrews 13:8 The Message). 

There is no one else we can count on to be the same always. As we grow up, we see different aspects of our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and trusted adults. These important people in our lives are changing human beings, and so are we.

For us, change is necessary in order to grow spiritually. We need to examine differing perspectives, question those views, hold them up against the Word of God, read and study the Bible, and talk and pray with others who are searching for the Truth. We need to be able to discern what truth is, who is speaking truth, and who is speaking untruth. We haven’t arrived at the state where Jesus is—to fully know and understand.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.” (I Corinthians 13:12 Revised Standard)

We don’t know now, but as Jesus promised His disciples, one day we will: “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” (John 13:7 NIV)

Our goal is to be more like Jesus, striving to reach that high standard—but we aren’t there yet. We can’t stay the same yesterday and today and forever to be like Him. We must change.

One day, we will know in full. One day, we will understand completely. One promised day, we shall be like Jesus:  “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2 NIV).

What changes do you and I need to make daily to become more like our unchanging Savior?

(Sharon G. Tate blog 12/17/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

Sing Praises to our Lord!

Approaching the Lord

In vocal praise

With words of song,

Penned from hearts

Joyful with love

To the God of grace,

Thankful with hope

To the God of mercy.

 

Throughout scripture, it is evidenced that men and women sang praises to the Lord:

Psalms 95:1– O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation.

Colossians 3:16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Exodus 5: 1-2 -Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord: “I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted. Both horse and driver He has hurled into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

Ephesians 5:19 – Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.

Psalms 13:6 – I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me.

James 5:13 – Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.

Psalms 105:2 -Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts.

1 Corinthians 14:15 -So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.

Isaiah 12:5 -Sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.

Acts 16:25 – About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

Psalms 71:8 – My mouth is filled with Your praise, declaring Your splendor all day long.

Hebrews 2:12– I will declare Your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing Your praises.

Psalms 104:33 -I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Approaching the Lord

With vocal praise,

Raising our voices

In song and hymn

To our listening God,

Who hears our hearts

Speaking love,

Offering thanks.

Let us be like the Psalmist David and sing to the Lord all our lives, offering praises to our God as long as we each shall live on this earth—and beyond into eternity with Him.

(Sharon  G. Tate blog 12/10/17)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

 

God, the Creator–The Only God

And God said, “Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”    (Genesis 1:26)

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The tech creations of mankind–

Computer, I Pad, Kindle, Smartphone.

When each “dies,” what parts of us are lost?

It is a question to ponder in today’s society–where technology continues to   advance exponentially at a rate that cannot, by some sources, be contained. The devices we use daily can become hardwired into our brains, our lives, our very selves. Will the creation overtake the creator as improvements and advancements continue with technology? It is a warning that has been written and signed by a number of those in the scientific community, including Stephen Hawking: “I fear AI may replace humans altogether.” 1

YET, we must remember there is One higher than anyone in the scientific     community Who has been here before our beginning. A response to Mr.      Hawking can be found in His Word:

Isaiah 43:7– “. . . [Even] every one that is called by My name: for I have created him for My glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.”

Isaiah 43:10—“Before Me no god was formed, nor will there be one after Me.”

Man will not be the “god” who develops the “creation” that completely destroys what the only true God has made, for we have been created for His purpose.

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Colossians 1:16-17 – 16 For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

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What parts of us are lost when our tech device “dies” will depend on our personal investment and engagement with a structure consisting of parts that are not   human, not God-made, and if we have made the device or technology a “god” in our lives.  The solution to that concern is found in His Word, as is every answer to every concern:

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:7-10)

Mankind–the creation of God.

If we live and die without Him,

What will we have lost?

1Medeiros, Joao. Artificial Intelligence. www.wired.co.uk

(Sharon G. Tate blog 12/03/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word