VIDEO Number Your Days – A Prayer of Moses

So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

We arrive at this day every 365.25 days—the number of days it takes the earth to revolve around the sun. We call that period a year, and we call January 1 New Year’s Day. January 1 is a marker, telling us that time is moving on. Perhaps the most sobering reminder it brings is that our days are decreasing in number.

When things become scarce, we tend to treat them more valuably. The fewer dollars we have, the more careful our spending. The same applies to time. If we approach the end of our life with limited years left, we should be careful about how we live. For the Christian, that means asking a primary question: How am I doing with God? The Christian life is based on the idea of growth. Just as a healthy plant grows taller and more fruitful over time, so should our spiritual life. January 1 is a great opportunity to assess how we are growing in God.

Give thought and prayer today to where you are and where you could be spiritually at the end of this new year.

The year is made up of minutes: Let these be watched as having been dedicated to God.  G. Campbell Morgan

Psalm 90 • A prayer of Moses

Uncharted Waters

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. Isaiah 43:2

The ball drops in New York’s Times Square. The crowd counts down to Big Ben chiming. Sydney Harbor erupts in fireworks. However your city marks it, there’s something exciting about welcoming in a new year and the fresh start it brings. On New Year’s Day we push out into new waters. What friendships and opportunities might we find?

For all its excitement, though, a new year can be unsettling. None of us knows the future or what storms it may hold. Many New Year’s traditions reflect this: Fireworks were invented in China to supposedly ward off evil spirits and make a new season prosperous. And New Year’s resolutions date back to the Babylonians who made vows to appease their gods. Such acts were an attempt to make an unknown future secure.

When they weren’t making vows, the Babylonians were busy conquering people—including Israel. In time, God sent the enslaved Jews this message: “Do not fear . . . . When you pass through the waters, I will be with you” (Isaiah 43:1–2). Later, Jesus said something similar when He and the disciples were caught sailing in a violent storm. “Why are you so afraid?” He told them before commanding the waters to be still (Matthew 8:23–27).

Today we push out from the shore into new, uncharted waters. Whatever we face, He’s with us—and He has the power to calm the waves.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

What possibilities excite you as you look forward to a new year? What worries can you place in God’s hands?

God, thank You that whatever this new year brings, You will be with me in it.

Answered Prayers

Luke 11:1-13

We are commanded to persevere in prayer, and Scripture assures us God will answer. And while it may at times seem as if He’s ignoring us, that is not the case. Our heavenly Father, who loves us perfectly and knows all things fully, will certainly provide what is best when we ask Him. Oftentimes, unanswered prayer is not about God’s unwillingness to respond but has to do with requests made with wrong motives or limited perspective. We should keep three things in mind:  

•  First, we must make wise requests. When we ask according to God’s will, we have confidence that He’ll answer our requests (1 John 5:14-15). The purpose of prayer is not to manipulate God but to submit ourselves to His desires.

• Second, we should examine our motives. When we request something for purely selfish reasons without regard to God’s desires, we should not expect Him to answer (James 4:3).

•  Third, we are to trust god’s perspective. Man sees glimpses only of the immediate future, but God can see everything at once. He’s not slow about answering our petitions, because His timing is perfect (2 Peter 3:8-9).

Never give up on prayer, but as you present your requests, ask the Lord to reveal if you’re hindering His answer in some way. Remember, prayer is about His will, not ours.

Our Fresh Start

“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)

Everyone deserves a fresh start. As we start the New Year with resolutions and lofty ideals, it is good to remember that we can all renew our commitment. We can all purpose to gain even loftier heights in our spiritual journey toward Christlikeness. No matter how far we have ascended, we can go farther; no matter how low we have fallen, we can begin again.

How can this be accomplished? As the context of our text teaches, we must go back to school—the school of Christ. “But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus” (Ephesians 4:20-21). “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29).

As our text verses explain, we must both “put off…the old man” and “put on the new man,” clearly speaking of our manner of life, just as if we were changing clothes. If we as believers are hanging on to a few old rags, let this New Year see us obey this passage as an act of faith through the living Spirit of God: “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14).

This act of submission and desire will result as we are “renewed in the spirit [or attitude] of [our minds]” (Ephesians 4:23). The old man will not be removed or changed into the new but will be brought under control. The new man is a new creation of God modeled after Him “in righteousness and true holiness.” “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Ephesians 2:10). JDM

Ready? Thus Saith the Lord

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. —Psalm 119:105

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.

What the Lord Expects of Me

Put off concerning…[that] which is corrupt…and be renewed in the spirit of your mind. —Ephesians 4:22-23

For some of us last year was one in which we did not acquit ourselves very nobly as Christians, considering the infinite power available to us through the indwelling Spirit….

The man of illuminated mind will learn from his mistakes, yes even from his sins. If his heart is trusting and penitent, he can be a better man next year for last year’s fault—but let him not return again to folly.

Repentance should be radical and thorough, and the best repentance for a wrong act, as Fenelon said, is not to do it again….

Brother Lawrence expressed the highest moral wisdom when he testified that if he stumbled and fell he turned at once to God and said, “O Lord, this is what You may expect of me if You leave me to myself.” He then accepted forgiveness, thanked God and gave himself no further concern about the matter. WOS095-096

“Tell the backslider,” says the Lord, “I am married unto him.” Was there ever a tenderer message? SAN058

Salvation People

Hebrews 2:3

We are a salvation people. This is our specialty—getting saved and keeping saved, and then getting somebody else saved, and then getting saved ourselves more and more, until full salvation on earth makes the heaven within, which is finally perfected by the full salvation without, on the other side of the river.

We believe in salvation! We believe in old-fashioned salvation. Ours is the same salvation taught in the Bible, proclaimed by prophets and apostles, preached by Luther, Wesley and Whitfield, sealed by the blood of martyrs—the very same salvation which was purchased by the sufferings and agony and blood of the Son of God.

We believe the world needs it, that this and this alone will set it right. We want no other nostrum, nothing new. We are on the track of the old apostles’ salvation. The worst man that ever walked will go to heaven if he obtains it, and the best man that ever lived will go to hell if he misses it.

There is a hell. A hell as dark and terrible as is the description given of it by the lips of Jesus Christ, the truthful. And into that hell men are departing hour by hour.

Perhaps the most appalling aspect of this hell is its bondage. How devils and devilish habits rule it, and with what an iron yoke. Can these captives be delivered? Saved from sinning, saved into holy living and triumphal dying?

Ask the Salvationist and the answer will be, from both theory and experience, that the vilest and worst can be saved to the uttermost, for all things are possible to him who believes. Our redeemer is mighty to save.

We have salvation. We need it and we have it. There are think-so Christians, and there are hope-so Christians, and there are know-so Christians. Thank God we belong to the know-so people. We know we are saved. We know in whom we have believed, and the Spirit answers to our faith, and testifies in our hearts that we are the children of God.

Our work is salvation. Soul-saving is our avocation, the great purpose and business of our lives.

What is the business of your life? Not merely to save your soul and make yourself ready for paradise. Rescue the perishing. They are all around you. You are to be a copy of Jesus Christ. So consecrate every awakened power to the great end of saving others.

“How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3).

William Booth, Salvation Soldiery