New Year means many things .to many people: For some, sending and receiving gifts and greetings. For others, festivities, feastings, fun and frolic. For yet others, a time of reckoning and making new resolutions. As for our loving God, He wants us to enjoy His new blessings He is going to shower upon us abundantly in the New Year. To prepare us to receive these blessings, He pleads with us saying, "Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old"(lsa.43: 18). By the grace and help of God we want to consider seven things we should cease to remember, to enable us to enter into His full blessings, in the ensuing year.
Our wonder-working God can do "great things past finding out" (Job 9:10). What is impossible with men is possible with God (Luke18: 27). God, "with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning"(James 1:17) says, "Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring fort~ shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert" (lsa.43: 19). He wants us to forget our past losses, sorrows and sufferings, as He is going "to do a new thing in our lives. The enemy wants us to think always about our past disappointments and discouraging situations. In life's battles we are many a time wounded within ourselves. But our compassionate Lord pours fresh oil and heals our wounds (Psa.92: 10). Some people seek the help of fortune-tellers, drugs and tranquillizers and soon find that these can neither assuage their griefs nor allay their fears. But the new oil of the Lord does! The Lord fills us with hope, confidence and courage to face our future. He says, "I know the thoughts that I think toward you...thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end"(Jer.29: 11). Someone may say, "There is no hope for me". But in God, there is a future, full of hope for everyone. When we are drifting along without any direction in life, lost and confused in this wilderness-life, our loving Lord can make a way miraculously and bring us out of every confusion. If some of us feel worn out and fed up of life, He can cause refreshing rivers to flow in our desert-like lives to quicken us. Let us forget our past sorrows, suffering and losses and keep looking to Him and rely on Him whole-heartedly with faith, claiming Isa.43: 19 throughout the coming year.
We should next forget our past associations. We find in Psa.45: 10' 11, "forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord". God's clarion call to Abraham was very clear -"Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred"(Acts7: 3). He took his kindred against God's specific call- he took Tarah, his father and Lot, his nephew with him; perhaps under the color of an excuse that one was too old and the other too young to be left behind! After Tarah's death, the Lord repeated His call for separation again. "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred"(Gen.12: 1). God's call is without any compromise and is constant and consistent. This time, he took Lot with him and there had to be a strife between them to separate them (Gen.13:8). Family ties and friendship with unsaved and carnal people hinder God's great purposes for us. Unless we learn to forget our past worldly associations, God cannot be pleased with us.
Thirdly, the past traditions we once were steeped deeply in, can hinder the purpose and blessing of God. The Lord Jesus Christ had to pay a great price by shedding His precious blood, in order to redeem us from our past vain traditions and customs. "...ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ"(1 Pet.1 :18, 19). Our caste-systems, observing good and bad omens and auspicious and inauspicious times and days, have nothing to do with a child of God. Instead of worshipping and serving the Lord sincerely and in the Spirit, giving place to rituals and ceremonies must be done away with. We should see what the Word of God says and not what our forefathers followed.
Our past self-seeking and self-satisfying ways must be forgotten as a fourth prerequisite for God's great purposes to be fulfilled in our lives. The gracious Lord saved Lot when He destroyed Sodom. But Lot's wife "looked back" and became "a pillar of salt"(Gen. 19:26). The Lord Jesus Christ has warned in Luke 9:62, "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God". Paul could count what things were gain to him to be loss for Christ (Phil.3: 7). He could press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus because he forgot those things he had left behind (Phil.3: 13, 14).
The fifth thing we should not remember is our past accomplishments and achievements. Glorying over the past to gratify our ego is grievous in God's eyes. Paul, the great Apostle said of himself, I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God" (1 Cor.15: 10). A soldier who always finds pleasure in rehearsing his past victories is not fit for future exploits. Samson said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself". But "he wist (knew) not that the Lord was departed from him"(Jud.16: 20). In an automobile there are two glasses -the smaller one to see the rear and the larger one to see what lies ahead. Our attention should be more upon the future things to be attended to, rather than our past.
Sixthly, one has to forget his past worldly pleasures. Otherwise, it would be as "The dog is turned to his vomit again; and the sow that was, washed to her wallowing in the mire"(2 Pet.2: 22). At the time of their rebirth, some people in their first love and fervent devotion to the Lord throw away all useless magazines, dirty books and novels, cigarette packets, snuff-boxes and indecent costumes. After sometime, it is so painful to see the things they had thrown away, finding their way again into their lives!
Our Heavenly Father wants us, lastly, to forget our past failures. To forgive our failures, rebellion and sins, the Lord Jesus went to the cross and shed His precious blood. "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins"(Col.1: 14). When a sinner turns away from his sins, believes on the Lord Jesus as his Savior and invites Him into his heart, after confessing his sins to Him, he receives the assurance of the forgiveness of his sins and is set free from all sinful bondages. When the Lord forgives our sins, He forgets them. What He has forgotten, we should never try to remember again. "...their sins and their Iniquities will I remember no more"(Heb.8:12). One year has come and gone! If you are still struggling with your guilty conscience, confess: your sins to the Lord Jesus and accept Him as your. Lord and Savior. Don't postpone this decision, since "now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor.6: 2). May our loving Lord Jesus Christ help us to start this few Year forgetting these seven things, to come into the full enjoyment of His grace, mercy and peace!
FULLNESS OF JOY—2 - BAKHT SINGH
Now we find that the same truth is made clear to us through the story recorded in John 12:1-3. Let us see the condition of that family when the Lord Jesus Christ went first to Bethany, as we read in Luke10:38. When the Lord Jesus Christ comes to us the first time, His main purpose is to uncover our true condition. During His first visit to the home of Martha, she went to prepare food. Mary sat at the feet of the Lord. Lazarus was nowhere, because he had no interest in God's Word. He was a good brother, full of affection but no hunger or thirst for God's Word. Martha also was very hard working, very gifted in cooking, and had a large heart. But her heart was full of jealousy, and she had a bad temper. Mary was good and humble outwardly, but inwardly proud. The Lord had seen their sorrow and He went to change them. Through the very same sorrow, they came to know that their Master was not an ordinary man. He had power over death. The same power came into them and they became new people. Before the Lord Jesus could make them happy, He had to transform them completely. In the same way, those who want a happy home, must be transformed by the Lord Jesus Christ. They must be born again.
In John 12:1-3 we have a fivefold secret of a happy home and a triumphant life. When the Lord Jesus Christ came for the first time they received Him and welcomed Him, but they treated Him as a guest. But now they came to know Who He was. They gave Him complete charge. That is the first secret of a happy home. Accept the Headship and the Lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ in your home. He must be the Lord in your hearts and homes. In other words, before you do anything, you must consult Him. Before making any plan go to Him. Before shopping or spending money, go to Him. Do not do anything on your own. He is the living Lord. He will speak to you. Say to Him, "Lord, show me Thy will, and Thy plan for today, where to go and what to do". When He speaks obey Him.
Secondly, Lazarus is the symbol of resurrection. The same power is meant for you and me. In all your
difficulties, poverty and sickness or any situation, come to Him and ask Him for the power of resurrection. We overcome trials, not by will power or Bible knowledge or by long prayers or fasting or wearing simple clothes, but by the power of resurrection. Do not depend upon your human cleverness for victory. You will never succeed. Claim the power of resurrection by faith.
Thirdly, the food on the table speaks of the Word of God, which is our daily spiritual food. It is by hearing God's Word daily as a family, meditating upon it and claiming His promises that all our questions and all our problems can be solved. In very few homes, they have regular family prayers. They are far too busy. Hence there is no unity in the family. Hence problems keep on increasing. It is by having family altar, reading the Word of God together and claiming God's promises that we can conquer our trials.
Fourthly, Martha served joyfully. For a happy home, you must have joyful service. Serve others and help others. A Christian home is meant for that purpose, where many can be comforted and strengthened. Where there is more service, there is more joy.
Fifthly, Mary was full of gratitude. With humility and meekness, she expressed her gratitude to the Lord. She poured the ointment on His feet. It is by worshipping Him and thanking Him and praising Him that we make a happy home. Learn to thank God for everything. Do not murmur. Phil.4:6 speaks of giving thanks. Begin the day with thanksgiving and end the day with thanksgiving.
These are simple divine laws. First of all, acknowledge the Headship and the Kingship of the Lord" Jesus Christ. Secondly, enjoy the power of resurrection. Thirdly, meditate the Word of God and enjoy it fully. Fourthly, joyful service and fifthly, a spirit of praise and thanksgiving, to be able to thank the Lord for everything. All these make a happy home. May the Lord bless these thoughts to our hearts.