A NEW YEAR
Another year has bit the dust. I do not know about you but it seems that time is flying back. If just seems like a few days ago we were welcoming 2018 and now here is 2019
I trust you had a wonderful Christmas season. Christmas at the Gibson home was special as our daughter, her husband and their two children made the trip up from Virginia. We had a great time with our children, their spouses and our four grandchildren. Ryliegh, our five year old, has just learned to read and it so much fun listening her read just about everything she sees. Her joy of discovering this new world has been wonderful. Our oldest granddaughter, Lauren, is in her first year of middle school and has started playing the trombone. She brought it with her from Virginia so she could practice. I am sure the time will come when she will be very good but she is not there yet. While it may not sound the best right now, I still love to hear her practice because it is something new she is learning and something she enjoys. Our daughter sent us a video of our grandson playing his saxaphone, her granddaughter playing her trombone and my daughter playing the keyboard. They may not be ready to go on America's Got Talent but to hear the three of them playing together was priceless. I trust the Christmas season brought you and your family some special memories also.
One of the things that many people do at the beginning of the new year is make resolutions. People resolve to go to the gym or lose weight or quit smoking or many other things. If you walk into a gym during the first two weeks of January, you will find a full house but come back in February and you will notice a big difference. Wendy's even as a commercial that tells you that if you have started your resolution to lose weigh, do not watch the commercial. Then they show a new hamburger they are offering to tempt you into breaking your resolve. The sad thing is that is the way of most of our resolutions.
I was reading an article by Dr. Jim Denison that I feel is very appropriate for the new year. I want to share portions of it with you.
"William Barclay once wrote, “A man will never become outstandingly good at anything unless that thing is his ruling passion. There must be something of which he can say, ‘For me to live is this.'” Paul was passionately committed to God’s “ruling passion” for his life: “that I may know him” (Philippians 3:10). I am convinced that this is the greatest resolution any of us can make in this new year. Knowing Jesus intimately is the most transforming, empowering, joyful way of life humans can experience. It is the purpose for which we were made. Nothing else can take its place."
In his book Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis wrote that before we become Christians, we each take as our starting point our ordinary self with its various desires and interests. When we become followers of Christ, we know that we will need to give up some of these desires and interests and add others in their place. We will have to go to church, read our Bibles, pray, give, serve, and so on. But we are hoping that when all the demands of our religion have been met, we will still have the chance to get on with our own lives and do as we like. We are like an honest man who pays his taxes but hopes there will be money left over for him to spend as he wishes.However, this is not the way of Christ at all. To quote Lewis, “Christ says, ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked–the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself; my own will shall become yours.'”
One of the reasons we have difficulty doing what God desires is that we often feel we have to do it by ourselves. We forget Jesus has given us His strength to help us be all He wants us to be. We focus our eyes on our circumstances instead of focusing on Jesus and who He is. The gospels tell us of the disciples were out on the sea at night and a storm comes up. Jesus is not with them but He sees the difficulty they are having so He begins to come to them, walking on the water. When Peter sees Jesus, he asks Jesus if he can join Him on the water and Jesus invites him to come. For a few minutes, Peter took his eyes off his circumstances and looked at Jesus and he began to walk on the water towards Jesus. Then in the midst of this great miracle, he takes his eyes off of Jesus and begins to look at his circumstances. When he does, he begins to sink and immediately cries out to Jesus to help him. Jesus does but He would not have don't so if Peter had just kept his focus on Jesus. How many times do we find God doing wonderful things in our lives and then troubles arise and we begin to focus on the troubles? We call out to Jesus who helps us but if we had kept our eyes on Him and the good things He was doing, we would have come through victorious without the fear of failure.
Our theme the year at Heritage is "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus." Throughout the year, we will be taking a fresh look at Jesus and as we see how great He is, we will find our passion to give Him our all. We invite you to join with us as we fix our eyes on Jesus.
On behalf of my wife, Darlene, and the Heritage Christian Fellowship family, I want to wish you and your family a very happy New Year. May the Lord bless you abundantly this year. We hope you will come visit us this month.
Until next time, may God bless you,