No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:5
Beginnings are watershed moments: the beginning of a new career, life in a new city, starting college—even the beginning of a new day, hour, or minute. Every new beginning is a step of faith because we don’t know precisely what events will transpire. There could be trials and there could be triumphs. But there is one thing we do know: In Christ, God is with us always.
Some beginnings are bigger than others. When Joshua took over the leadership of Israel from Moses, the challenge was huge: Guide a couple million souls into the Promised Land of Canaan, get them settled in their apportioned areas, and keep the peace while worshiping God faithfully. On the cusp of that great adventure, God made Joshua a promise: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” And to confirm: “I will not leave you nor forsake you.”
That is the promise of Immanuel: “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Whatever you begin today, God is with you.
God never promises to save us from adversity, only to be with us in the midst of it. David Watson
The Courage to Face Difficult Tasks – Dr. Charles Stanley
I constantly remember you in my prayers. 2 Timothy 1:3
“Several years ago I was prompted to pray for you often, and I wonder why.”
That text message from an old friend came with a photo of a note she’d kept in her Bible: “Pray for James. Cover mind, thoughts, words.” Beside my name she’d recorded three separate years.
I looked at the years and caught my breath. I wrote back and asked what month she began to pray. She responded, “Sometime around July.”
That was the month I was preparing to leave home for extended study abroad. I would be facing an unfamiliar culture and language and have my faith challenged like never before. As I looked at the note, I realized I’d received the precious gift of generous prayer.
My friend’s kindness reminded me of another “prompting” to pray, Paul’s instruction to his young missionary friend Timothy: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people” (1 Timothy 2:1). The phrase “first of all” indicates highest priority. Our prayers matter, Paul explains, because God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” about Jesus (v. 4).
God moves through faithful prayer in countless ways to encourage others and draw them near to Himself. We may not know someone’s circumstances when they come to mind, but God does. And He’ll help that person as we pray!
Reflect & Pray
Who comes to mind that needs your prayers in this new year? How can you remind yourself to pray for them often?
Loving God, please help me to pray often and to make a lasting difference in others’ lives through my intercession for them.
To learn more about prayer, visit https://bit.ly/2kTeSVt.
King Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived (1 Kings 3:12), and he was also blessed with wealth and power. Studying and exploring were passions of his, and Ecclesiastes 2 tells us he indulged in the world’s pleasures. So we might expect him to be content, but the satisfaction Solomon sought evaded him.
The king also tried to find contentment through personal achievement. He successfully built houses, improved the environment with gardens and parks, and carried out an extensive irrigation project (Eccl. 2:4-6). Though he seemed to have everything one could ever need to enjoy life, Solomon found it all pointless.
The story has a familiar ring, doesn’t it? Our world has many educated and successful people, but dissatisfaction with life is an all too common part of their story. While refusing to accept limits on its passions, our culture enthusiastically pursues pleasure. Sadly, such lack of restraint has ruined countless lives.
Solomon had the wisdom and resources to accomplish anything he wanted, but nothing brought lasting satisfaction—except God. True enjoyment comes when we align ourselves with His will. Any other way is meaningless.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
It is appropriate for Christians to begin the New Year by referring back to the beginning of the very first year. The first verse of God’s Word is also its most important verse, since it is the foundation on which everything else is built. Even God’s great work of salvation is irrelevant and futile without His prior work of creation, for only the Creator of all things could ever become the Savior of all things.
If a person really believes Genesis 1:1, he or she should have no difficulty believing anything else in the Bible. The very first object of saving faith (Hebrews 10:39) is the fact of special creation by the word of God (Hebrews 11:3).
The verse is comprehensive and scientific, viewing space (“the heaven”) and matter (“the earth”) as functioning in a framework of time (“in the beginning”). This space/matter/time “continuum” (as scientists call it) has not existed eternally, nor is it still being created, both of which heresies are standard beliefs of all forms of evolutionary pantheism (including most of the world’s religions and philosophies, ancient or modern). It was created—and even completed in the past.
This foundation of all foundations is, clearly, the only sure foundation upon which one should build a life, or an organization, or anything. A firm renewal of one’s commitment to special creation, as literally recorded by divine revelation in the inerrant Word of God, is thus the proper way to begin a new year, or a new home, or a new career, or a new family, or any phase of a Christian life. This is the time to confess and forsake all doubts and trust God’s Word! In the beginning of the first year, God created all things. At the beginning of this year, we should resolve to believe and obey all things in His Word. HMM
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Every new year is an uncharted and unknown sea. No ship has ever sailed this way before. The wisest of earth’s sons and daughters cannot tell us what we may encounter on this journey. Familiarity with the past may afford us a general idea of what we may expect, but just where the rocks lie hidden beneath the surface or when that “tempestuous wind called Euroclydon” may sweep down upon us suddenly, no one can say with certainty….
Now more than at any other time in generations, the believer is in a position to go on the offensive. The world is lost on a wide sea, and Christians alone know the way to the desired haven. While things were going well, the world scorned them with their Bible and hymns, but now the world needs them desperately, and it needs that despised Bible, too. For in the Bible, and there only, is found the chart to tell us where we are going on this rough and unknown ocean. The day when Christians should meekly apologize is over—they can get the world’s attention not by trying to please, but by boldly declaring the truth of divine revelation. They can make themselves heard not by compromise, but by taking the affirmative and sturdily declaring, “Thus saith the Lord.” TWP009-010
Lord, guide me carefully as I seek You in Your Word. Then use me mightily as Your servant as I boldly proclaim Your word in leading others. Amen.
Be strong and of good courage… fear not, nor be dismayed; for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.—1 Chronicles 28:20.
That we should serve in newness of spirit.—Romans 7:6.
Help us, O Lord! Behold we enter
Upon another year today;
In Thee our hopes and thoughts now centre,
Renew our courage for the way,
New life, new strength, new happiness,
We ask of Thee; oh, hear, and bless!
The year begins; and all its pages are as blank as the silent years of the life of Jesus Christ. Let us begin it with high resolution; then let us take all its limitations, all its hindrances, its disappointments, its narrow and common-place conditions, and meet them as the Master did in Nazareth, with patience, with obedience, putting ourselves in cheerful subjection, serving our apprenticeship. Who knows what opportunity may come to us this year? Let us live in a great spirit, then we shall be ready for a great occasion.
Walk cheerfully and freely in God’s service.
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Gen. 3:15
This is the first promise to fallen man. It contains the whole gospel, and the essence of the covenant of grace. It has been in great measure fulfilled. The seed of the woman, even our Lord Jesus, was bruised in His heel, and a terrible bruising it was. How terrible will be the final bruising of the serpent’s head! This was virtually done when Jesus took away sin, vanquished death, and broke the power of Satan; but it awaits a still fuller accomplishment at our Lord’s Second Advent, and in the day of Judgment. To us the promise stands as a prophecy that we shall be afflicted by the powers of evil in our lower nature, and thus bruised in our heel: but we shall triumph in Christ, who sets His foot on the old serpent’s head. Throughout this year we may have to learn the first part of this promise by experience, through the temptations of the devil, and the unkindness of the ungodly who are his seed. They may so bruise us that we may limp with our sore heel; but let us grasp the second part of the text, and we shall not be dismayed. By faith let us rejoice that we shall still reign in Christ Jesus, the woman’s seed.