First Things @ First
As we are all aware, 2020 has been an extremely challenging year. As I write this morning, the struggle continues across our country to 'get hold' of something that makes sense. Something that consistently reinforces the need to take another step in the continuing journey home.
Many have been sidelined for various reasons over the past year, but we don't have to remain on the sidelines in 2021. It is possible to live even when facing death! Believers have done it for thousands of years and we should as well! As David shared with his closest friend Jonathan, "there is but a step between me and death' (1 Samuel 20:3). Mankind has been living with death ever since Adam refused to honor the word of God and obey it. That will not change in 2021 unless the Lord returns for His Church. As a faithful pastor once said, 'each one of us is one heartbeat away from hereafter.' Everyone must live prepared for death or death will surely separate them from life.
The Bible says, "Without faith, it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6 God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him! He rewards us with blessings of strength, of assurance, of peace and wellness. More importantly, God rewards those who seek Him with a Spirit of holiness and wholeness of soul.
That is the decision before us as 2020 ends and 2021 begins. Should we decide to do anything else or less, we shall surely falter in our faith.
The Bible also says, "...for whatever does not originate and proceed from faith is sin." Romans 14:23 (Yes, you read that correctly.) In other words, whatever is done without a conviction of its approval by God is sinful. As followers of Christ, we must filter everything we hear, read, think, and do through the Word of God. In doing so, we will better be able to live in the will of God and fulfill His divine purpose.
In all circumstances, the opportunity to be drawn nearer to God is available as our faith is driven deeper into the soil of His person. From there, we are better positioned to direct others to Jesus who saves, satisfies, and secures the believer with His promise.
As believers, as disciples of Christ, we live in the world in a way that honors God and exalts Jesus! How long we have to do that is entirely and eternally in His hands!
Believers have access to blessed assurance in Christ, therefore, "no weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me, says the LORD." Isaiah 54:17
J.A. Motyer shares this comment on the preceding verse, Isaiah 54:16, "The Creator begins all things, maintains them in being, controls them in operation and guides them to the destiny he appoints. If this great God were at work only in the ‘nice’ things, how grim would be our plight in this menacing world; but he is at work, and in full operational control of all things. He is God the Creator, alike in charge of the initiating agent (54:16a) and the ultimate agent (54:16d).
AMEN & AMEN!!
I don't know what 2021 holds for any of us any more than I knew what 2020 would be like in December of 2019. I have chosen and must continue to trust God who does. He has been there every step of the way, even when the way seemed uncertain. He is faithful!
Pray for those who are sick, care for those who are dying, comfort those who are grieving and don't forget to live every day in a way that exalts Christ as we continue the journey.
Praise be to God who provides all we need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus!
Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
We'll pick this up in a different format in 2021, Lord willing.
In His Grip,