January 3, 2017
We entered a new year, 2017, this week and in a few days a new administration will take over in Washington, D.C. Remember the admonishment by Paul in 1 Tim. 2:1, 2 to pray “for all men: for kings (presidents) and for all that are in authority (Congress & local officials); that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
Something else as we come into a new year, as a little 99 year old lady in our congregation used to remind everyone – “we are another day closer to heaven.” So, let us live like it.
Another subject that is “heavy on my mind and heart” is your progress in your Christian life this new year of 2017. In concluding the great Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 7:24-27), our Lord vividly portrayed to His disciples the contrast of the consequences of two types of hearers. The truly wise, who hears and performs the Word of God, is the man who built his house on the rock; when the rains, winds and flood came, his house stood firm. On the other hand, the foolish man built his house upon sand and when the same calamities came, it fell. The foolish man depicts the man who hears God’s Word but does not apply it to his life. The fool hears God’s Word in a careless, superficial and haphazard manner, where he eventually suffers for it.
The wise man knows the efficacy and power of God’s Word and approaches it with reverence, fear and trembling, with the intent to perform it. Such an attitude will make that man (and you) blessed and prosperous in all his (and your) ways. (Joshua 1:6-8; 1 Kings 2:3, 4; Psa. 1:1-3)
The foundation of the “house” requires the arduous and painful process of digging, stone-lifting, rock-breaking. The wise man knows his toiling is not in vain. The foolish man, lacking resolve, purposefulness and diligence, ultimately experiences a disastrous outcome when the calamities transpire. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to take heed to how we hear and read God’s Word in the coming days of a new year.
Remember the words to the seven churches in Revelation (2:7, 11a, 17a, 29; 3:6, 13, 22) “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Consider these attitudes and conditions for your life as you begin reading and listening and studying God’s precious Word, the Bible.
- Realize you must be saved and using spiritual principles to understand God’s Word. Some folks never get God’s Word (2 Tim. 3:7), it must be spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:24). In other words, make sure you are saved (Eph. 2:1, 5, 8).
- Realize you must stay teachable and humble. How is your attitude toward the Word and the preacher? Check yourself out (Psa. 139:23, 24; 2 Cor. 13:5). As we seek to know and grow in grace, we need to be humble and contrite (Isa. 57:15; 2 Cor. 12:9, 10). We need to learn from our Savior, in Matt. 11:29, 20.
- Realize you should have a devotional life. Plan on spending much time with the Lord in Bible reading, study and in prayer (Psa. 63:1; Mark 1:35; Psa. 1:2; Josh. 1:8).
- Realize – this is most important – that you need to obey and apply God’s Word to your daily life. James warns us in 1:22, “Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” Now look at James 1:25 and stop and think how this applies to your daily walk. Notice how Ezra “…had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it…” (Ezra 7:10).
Friends, the foolish man’s house was destroyed – Matt. 7:27b. It is my prayer that your life and walk in 2017 will not end up that way but will be as Matt. 7:25b, “and it fell not.” Determine by God’s grace and enabling that the coming year will be one of substantial spiritual growth for you and yours.
Thankful for another year,
Pastor Frederick W. Carroll
Psalm 119:15, 16