A New Year

Written by: John Sernaque

Dear Reader,


We have just begun a New Year. We reflect back on the previous year and conclude that there were things we could have done different, done better. The old adage says that “hindsight is 20-20.” Pun intended. As we begin our year of the Lord 2020, we can decide and choose to do things, not as we have done in the past, but as God outlined for us in the instruction manual of life, the Holy Bible.


Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. Proverbs 4:10

We all know that New Years resolutions fade very quickly without bringing any positive results. Ever wonder why? The answer is that we rely on our own strength, our own intellect, and our own will when setting out to achieve our goals. This does not work. If we take the time to understand the principles that God has outlined in the Bible, our chances in achieving our goals are exponentially increased. But just knowing these principles is not enough. Again, if we set out in our own strength and wisdom, we will continue to fail.


Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But 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 2:13-14


They were convinced; they believed Jesus to be the Son of God; but it was not in harmony with their ambitious desires to confess Him. They had not the faith that would have secured for them the heavenly treasure. They were seeking worldly treasure. {COL 105.2}


And today men are eagerly seeking for earthly treasure. Their minds are filled with selfish, ambitious thoughts. For the sake of gaining worldly riches, honor, or power, they place the maxims, traditions, and requirements of men above the requirements of God. From them the treasures of His word are hidden. {COL 106.1}


It is through the strength and wisdom of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus that we will accomplish our goals. Not our will but let Thy Will be done. This is another critical component to our success. If we continue in our ways, and if it is not God’s will, we are continually setting ourselves up for failure. How can we know what God’s will is for us in our life? What is our calling and purpose? We are to serve the Lord with gladness.


Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Psalms 100:2


Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: 2 Timothy 1:9-10


Faith and Good Works—1895—Our acceptance with God is sure only through his beloved Son, and good works are but the result of the working of his sin-pardoning love. They are no credit to us, and we have nothing accorded to us for our good works by which we may claim a part in the salvation of our souls. Salvation is God’s free gift to the believer, given to him for Christ’s sake alone. The troubled soul may find peace through faith in Christ, and his peace will be in proportion to his faith and trust. He cannot present his good works as a plea for the salvation of his soul.


But are good works of no real value? Is the sinner who commits sin every day with impunity, regarded of God with the same favor as the one who through faith in Christ tries to work in his integrity? The Scripture answers, “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”


In his divine arrangement, through his unmerited favor, the Lord has ordained that good works shall be rewarded. We are accepted through Christ’s merit alone; and the acts of mercy, the deeds of charity, which we perform, are the fruits of faith; and they become a blessing to us; for men are to be rewarded according to their works.


It is the fragrance of the merit of Christ that makes our good works acceptable to God, and it is grace that enables us to do the works for which he rewards us. Our works in and of themselves have no merit. When we have done all that it is possible for us to do, we are to count ourselves as unprofitable servants. We deserve no thanks from God. We have only done what it was our duty to do, and our works could not have been performed in the strength of our own sinful natures.

The Lord has bidden us to draw nigh to Him and he will draw nigh to us; and drawing nigh to Him, we receive the grace by which to do those works which will be rewarded at his hands.—The Review and Herald, January 29, 1895. {3SM 200}


How can we draw neigh unto the Lord? Getting to know Jesus and having a relationship with Him. Keeping our eyes on Him and taking them off ourselves.


But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:9-10


Always going to the throne of grace in prayer. Totally surrendering your will to God. God will always answer prayers according to His will. But there is a condition to answered prayers. You must give up any known sins. If you pray to God and are knowingly holding on to a sin, your words will fall to the ground and your prayer will not be heard nor answered.


If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear [me]: Psalms 66:18


The new year is in front of us. You can choose right now to put away all your sins and surrender your life to Jesus. The transformation and blessings to come in your life will be amazing. If you come to God in true repentance, with a contrite heart and spirit, God will give you a new heart. You will become a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new. Ask God to give you the strength and wisdom to overcome sin and thank Him for giving you the victory over sin. This year and the rest of your life are before you. Will you serve the Lord with gladness? Will you claim the victory that Christ Jesus won on your behalf? I pray that you do and that you may secure your place in God’s heavenly kingdom. Amen.


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