VIDEO Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, New Year

You shall not go out with haste,…for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard. —Isaiah 52:12

Security from Yesterday. “…God requires an account of what is past” (Ecclesiastes 3:15). At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise when we remember our yesterdays. Our present enjoyment of God’s grace tends to be lessened by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual growth for our future. God reminds us of the past to protect us from a very shallow security in the present.

Security for Tomorrow. “…the Lord will go before you….” This is a gracious revelation— that God will send His forces out where we have failed to do so. He will keep watch so that we will not be tripped up again by the same failures, as would undoubtedly happen if He were not our “rear guard.” And God’s hand reaches back to the past, settling all the claims against our conscience.

Security for Today. “You shall not go out with haste….” As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, forgetful delight, nor with the quickness of impulsive thoughtlessness. But let us go out with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ.

Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

Jesus Christ reveals, not an embarrassed God, not a confused God, not a God who stands apart from the problems, but One who stands in the thick of the whole thing with man.  Disciples Indeed, 388 L


John MacArthur explains Isaiah 53 to Ben Shapiro

One Day Closer to Christmas

Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:20

“I can’t believe Christmas is over,” my dejected daughter said.

I know how she feels: The aftermath of Christmas can feel dreary. Presents have been opened. The tree and lights must come down. Listless January—and, for many, the need to shed holiday pounds—awaits. Christmas—and the breathless anticipation that comes with it—suddenly feels eons away.

A few years ago, as we were putting Christmas stuff away, I realized: no matter what the calendar says, we’re always one day closer to the next Christmas. It’s become something I say frequently.

But far more important than our temporal celebration of Christmas is the spiritual reality behind it: the salvation Jesus brought into our world and our hope for His return. Scripture talks repeatedly about watching, waiting, and longing for Christ’s second coming. I love what Paul says in Philippians 3:15–21. He contrasts the world’s way of living—with “mind[s] set on earthly things” (v. 19)—with a lifestyle shaped by hope in Jesus’ return: “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 20).

The reality that our “citizenship is in heaven” changes everything, including what we hope for and how we live. That hope is fortified by the knowledge that with every passing day, we’re indeed one day closer to Jesus’ return.

By:  Adam Holz

Reflect & Pray

What are some of the things you hope for in this world? How do you think your hope in Jesus influences and affects the earthly things you long and hope for?

Father, thank You for the hope that I have in Jesus and in His return. When lesser hopes compete for my heart’s affection and attention, help me to lift my eyes to You

In the School of Faith

Just like the disciples, Jesus is training us to be like Him through His Word and difficult testing that will result in us being tools for His good purpose

Matthew 14:22-32

Jesus spent time developing His disciples’ faith because He knew it would be essential for the tasks ahead of them. For over three years, the 12 men attended “classes” where Christ was their instructor in both word and action. Sometimes He used verbal instruction, but many of the lessons were taught through demonstrations—such as healing the sick, casting out demons, feeding thousands, and calming the sea. 

At times the disciples’ understanding was slow or faltering, but Christ never gave up on them. He reproved them when they exhibited a lack of trust (Mark 4:40) but also commended progress (Matt. 16:15-17). His objective was to establish their faith so He could accomplish His work in and through them. 

The Lord has the same goal for us—to increase our faith so we can do the work He has planned for us (Eph. 2:10). Faith building is a necessity for every Christian, and God has two primary means of going about this: Scripture tells us what to believe about Him; and tests place us in difficult situations that stretch us to believe and rely on God instead of our own understanding (Prov. 3:5). Each time we believe Him, our faith grows

All Your Need

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

God is a wonderful provider. He provides the air and the rain and all the real necessities of life, even for those who don’t believe in Him. The very life that all in their right minds seek desperately to keep going as long as possible has been given by God. As Paul reminded the pagan Greeks at Athens, “He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25). He had previously reminded the pagans at Lystra that God in each nation “did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17).

He even provides for the needs of the animals. “These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season” (Psalm 104:27). He cares about every little bird, for He created them too. “Not one of them is forgotten before God” (Luke 12:6). He cares too for all the beasts of burden. “Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?” (1 Corinthians 9:9).

Yes, indeed, He does! But if not one sparrow can “fall on the ground without your Father” (Matthew 10:29) and not one ox must ever be denied the food he needs to do his work, then we can be sure that God is concerned about you and me. “Your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6:26).

New Year’s Eve should be a time of thanksgiving, especially for any true believing Christian. Like the lives of the martyrs, like that of Christ Himself, there is suffering and sorrow in each of our lives here on Earth, but if we are honest in our memories, there have been infinitely more blessings, year after year, so this should be a day of gratitude. HMM

The “How” Of Praise

Praise Him with trumpet blast; praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with flute and strings. Praise Him with resounding cymbals; praise Him with clashing cymbals (Psalm 150 vv. 3-5).

We are to praise Yahweh with every kind of musical form and instrument available!

In ancient times great national feasts and sacred occasions were ushered in by the fanfare of the trumpet (2 Chron. 5:1-14). These trumpets were most likely rams’ horns, primitive versions of modern valve trumpets and flugelhorns (Ps. 150:3). David’s harp was also a simple instrument, which he played sensitively and gloriously, but was not a modern-day pedal harp.

Timbrels (tambourines), strings, and flutes are mentioned as vehicles of praise in verse 4. Joyous celebrations of victory were marked by the use of these instruments accompanied with dancing (149:3). Dancing was an integral part of Hebrew worship. Miriam danced to the tambourine (Exod. 15:20-21). So also did the women who greeted Saul and David in their moments of victorious celebration (1 Sam. 18:6-7). King David was so elated by the return of the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem that he broke into dancing (2 Sam. 6:14-16). Because of the influence of asceticism, many today feel that any movement of the body to music is evil. However, liturgical dance is certainly biblical, and the body is to be a reflector of his grace.

In verse 5, clashing cymbals are mentioned. In fact, Asaph, one of the premiere musicians in ancient Israel, was a cymbal player (1 Chron. 15:19). So we see that every kind of instrument, form, and sound is called upon to praise God—solemn and festive, percussive and melodic, gentle and strident, dissonant and consonant, fast and slow, stirring and meditative.

The church is just beginning to take advantage of the technological revolution—synthesizers, digital recording techniques, etc. Our challenge is to praise the Lord with our whole being and with every instrument at our disposal. We are to take the old-fashioned message of the gospel and translate it into the language of today. Luther did it in the sixteenth century. Sankey did it in the nineteenth century. Rodeheaver did it in the early twentieth century. Let us follow in their footsteps and in the steps of David, that greatest musician of the ancient world!

Personal Prayer

Dear Lord, help me to praise you with my whole being—heart, soul, mind, and body— and with all the instrumental forms, sounds, and inventions available to me.

Commending Our Savior

At that time those who feared the Lord spoke to one another.—Malachi 3:16

It is vital to share Christ with others: experience and expression are the alternate beats of the Christian heart. And if these two things are not in operation, the Christian heart ceases to beat. Then what happens? We settle down to dead forms, dead attitudes, and dead prayers.

This matter of sharing, however, must not be limited only to evangelism. It applies also to sharing with other Christians the things God has shared with us.

If God has shown you something today from His Word, then it is imperative that you share it with another Christian. As we have been saying, nothing is really ours until we share it—the expression will deepen the impression. So in seeking to stay spiritually fresh, discipline yourself to share appropriate issues with your Christian and non-Christian friends. Many do not do this. They are disciplined in their quiet time or their study of the Scriptures, but they have never disciplined themselves to share. Someone has defined a Christian as one who says by word or deed: “Let me commend my Savior to you.” There is no better definition.

I saw a cartoon in a newspaper which showed a woman putting a garment around the shivering body of a little girl. Behind the woman stood Christ throwing a cloak around her shoulders. The title of the cartoon was this: “A proven assembly line.” It is indeed. Give out to others, and it will be given to you—pressed down and running over. Especially running over.

Prayer

Father, I reach up to You with one hand and reach out to those in need with the other. Give me some word or message to pass on to a non-Christian or one of my Christian brothers or sisters this day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Jr 20:1-9; Ac 4:20; 2Co 4:13

What was Jeremiah’s confession?

What does believing produce?

Resolutions

Romans 13:11-12

I do promise—my God helping:

Firstly, that I will rise every morning sufficiently early (say 20 minutes before seven o’clock) to wash, dress and have a few minutes, not less than five, in private prayer.

Secondly, that I will as much as possible avoid all that babbling and idle talking in which I have lately so sinfully indulged.

Thirdly, that I will endeavor in my conduct and deportment before the world and my fellow servants especially to conduct myself as a humble, meek and zealous follower of the bleeding Lamb, and by serious conversation and warning endeavor to lead them to think of their immortal souls.

Fourthly, that I will read not less than four chapters in God’s Word every day.

Fifthly, that I will strive to live closer to God, and to seek after holiness of heart, and leave providential events with God;

Sixthly, that I will read this over every day or at least twice a week.

God help me, enable me to cultivate a spirit of self-denial and to yield myself a prisoner of love to the Redeemer of the world.

Amen and Amen.

I feel my own weakness and without God’s help I shall not keep these resolutions a day. The Lord have mercy upon my guilty soul. I claim the blood; yes, oh, yes, Jesus died for me.

To live, to love, to serve my Savior Lord and meet His glad “Well done” at the finish of the fight is my highest ambition.

William Booth, They Said It