Greet The New
Year With Prayer
By Lois J. Stucky
Not many people in ages past have been able to see as we living today, not only an approaching changeover into a new year and a new century, but also into a new millennium. Does this unusual happening call for a special reaction from us Christians?
Some Christians endeavor to greet each new year on their knees--if not in company with others, then alone with the Lord. While some in the community celebrate the occasion with firecrackers or gunshots, or gala toasts and drunken revelry, these wise Christians choose to meet the new year in fellowship with Jesus. It marks another milestone on the road of life, traveling toward a glorious eternity with Jesus. It is a time of "Thanksgiving for the past; faith for the future," to borrow an expression used by some churchmen. What it might mean to this world if all Christians greeted the new year on their knees!
We are almost 2000 years nearer the coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ than the early Christians who looked with such eager anticipation and expectation for His return. Is this hope alive and shining in our hearts? As children of the day we are told to be not sleeping but watchful (1 Thessalonians 5:5-6). So awake, sleeping Christian! Watch and pray lest that day "come upon you unawares" (Luke 21:34).
While we can look up with the joyful hope that our redemption draws near, we are tempted to look around in dismay. We live in an hour of deteriorating morals and crumbling institutions. It makes the heart tremble and grieve for oncoming generations, if Jesus tarries.
But praise God, this world is not our final home. We take comfort in belonging to a group made up of people of every kindred and tongue, and people, and nation (Revelation 5:9). We have the holy privilege of being part of what is destined to be a "glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but...holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:27), and a place with God is being prepared for us.
I was stirred as I read Don Kenyonís article on page 6, with the thought of the nearly 2000-year span of the Church since its inception after Christís ascension. What a grand procession of saints! God is unfalteringly gathering His Church in spite of the opposition of men and devils. Godís plan will not fail. Blood, sweat and tears go into the structure, but one grand day it will be finished. The Bride Beloved in Blood-washed garments of purest white, will be presented to the Heavenly Bridegroom to rule by His side.
Some illustrious saints stand out in that great span. Though God is the Master Builder, He uses human hearts and hands as His laborers. Some saints have built with "gold, silver and precious stones" that endure to the glory of God. Others have built with "wood, hay and stubble" that are consumed away (1 Corinthians 3:12).
Our individual lives touch that span for a few brief years at most. I ask myself, what is my life contributing to the building of Christís church during lifeís little while? Please consider, friend, what is your life contributing? It is a great privilege God gives us to invest the best of our lives into building that which will outlast this world and will endure throughout Eternity!
Oh, let us take care to what we devote our brief life span! God help us make choices that will fulfill what He intended that we should contribute to building the Church. Christ gave His life and died on Calvary for the Church, demonstrating His unfathomable love for her. Surely for the Church we can live a life of love and service. We all invest our lives in something. To think, we may invest it in something that will count for Eternity!
Even if the hour in which we live is part of the "perilous times" of trouble and decay at the end of the age, let us strive to see that our individual lives are holy and without blemish. Let us hold high the banner of the cross. This is not popular nor attractive to most, but the cross and the Blood shed there, are precious to us who have found through it an entrance into the Heavenly Kingdom.
We are called to hold fast to Godís Word and conscientiously walk in ways He has set for us, even if it is considered old-fashioned. We are to build our lives and our churches on the firm foundation of Godís Word and not on the shifting sands of manís teachings which deviate from that Word.
We are to love not the world nor the things in the world. The doors of our hearts and of the Church must be barred against the ways of the world that cater to the flesh and lean upon man and his knowledge, education and technologies. It is expedient to use some of these things as God leads, but our trust must be in our God. We are not to be enamored with the world but rather to set our affections on things above where our precious Lord is, where we can breathe pure holy air and not the polluted air of the world.
We are to be filled with the Holy Spirit so our lives manifest heavenly love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance, and not manifest the evil works of the flesh.
As Christians letís go against the "me first" mindset of this hour. Letís make our greatest concern to be not the preservation of our own lives and comforts and pleasures, but rather service to God and to others. Let us, even if crisis times come, speak words not of complaint but of courage; not of fear but of faith; not of hopelessness but of confidence in God.
Friends, let us meet the new year, the new century, the new millennium on our knees. Let our reaction to these unusual days be one of strengthening our faith in God, humbling our hearts before Him, seeking His renewal in our souls, pleading for His fullness. He is our sustainer, our sufficiency, whatever Y2K might bring. In fact, we ought not wait until December 31 but seek God with all our hearts now.
Some are facing the dawning of the year 2000 in fear and trembling. Others face it with arrogant, irresponsible attitudes. As Christians let us face it in faith, in humble confidence in God and in readiness to serve as He directs. Let us use this hour to glorify Him in whatever ways He sets before us.
Let us lay hold of His promises to pour out of His Spirit upon all flesh and by our faith and prayers, help prepare the way for that. There is yet a vast harvest that may be brought in if we pay the price in faith and prayer. Oh, that God would so move by His Spirit among His people that the time ahead, if Jesus tarries, will be glorious hours for the Church! True, for some it might be the glory wrought in purifying fires or even in martyrdom. Jesusí way to the throne was through the cross and the grave. For whatever of good or hardship that lies ahead, we have His precious promise, "Lo, I am with you always."
Thank You For Your PartIn Herald Of His Coming
Your letters, your gifts, and your prayers are a vital part of Herald of His Coming ministry. Without the part you take, there would be no Herald of His Coming. As you join with us, we are able to print and mail around 86,000 copies of Herald of His Coming monthly, and as well, send hundreds of copies of Salvation heralds and Classic Books in magazine format plus smaller amounts of other literature. Regular mailings go to over 150 countries of the world.
The first item in the News and Prayer Briefs on page 11, may surprise you as you read how rapidly and how far afield some zealous cultists are going with their teachings. Their sincerity and wholeheartedness make it all the sadder that some of their teachings deviate from Godís Word. The true Jesus must be preached! The true Gospel must be propagated in purity and in power! We are deeply grateful to each of you who is putting your shoulder to the wheel with us that together we might make a telling effort in that direction.
The message God gives us to preach is one of hope for a dark hour. The God and Saviour whom we proclaim are surpassingly full of grace and goodness toward all who will humble themselves before them. We cannot hold back, can we? Rather, we can know the joy of wholehearted service, and sacrificial giving for the sake of Him who is our very life and breath.
Brother Moore used to encourage people to "pray for us when you get into a red-hot prayer meeting!" So we say to you, when the Lord is helping you prevail in prayer, please include Herald of His Coming in your asking! Weíll be very grateful. And might our dear Lord bless you as only He can, until the day when Jesus comes with full reward.
Praise God With Us--
* For all standing with us with gifts and prayers so printings and mailings of Herald of His Coming continue regularly on schedule.
* That God is doing a good work in hearts and lives through the printed messages.
Please Pray With Us--
* That God will use a quantity of Hear, O Israel papers going to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, to bring light and salvation to many Jewish people.
* That local volunteers will be available to help in the work as needed.
* That there will be a minimum of disruption to receiving and sending mails overseas after January 1, since it is said that many of the countries to which the Herald is mailed are not as prepared as is U.S.A. to meet the potential Y2K problem. Pray also that we have no disruptions with the computers in the office here. We have taken steps to be compliant.
* That copies of Herald of His Coming being mailed to libraries will be well displayed and will be read by patrons of the libraries. Thank God for those who write in to receive regularly after reading the paper for the first time in a library.
* For readers who are incarcerated and who ask prayer as they seek to live for Jesus in their difficult setting. Many are new Christians. Ask God to make the Herald messages of special blessing and help to them.