by Steven Chan
As we start the New Year, 2017, it is a common practice to wish our friends, colleagues and loved ones a very Happy New Year. It is good to wish everyone well. The editorial board of this weekly bulletin wishes all our readers a blessed New Year, 2017.
It is good to start the New Year by resolving to improve our relationships with one another by adopting the principles of godly conduct as given by our Creator (Titus 2:12). One should not have ill-will or ill-feelings towards others. Jesus taught us how we are to conduct ourselves towards those who are our “enemies” (those whom we do not like or who do not like us): “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt 5:44-45). The rationale for loving our enemies is because our Heavenly Father loves them too, and if we wish to be children of God, then we need to do the same. The Bible reminds us in Eph 4:32: “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
It will also be good if we can resolve to follow the instruction of God which He gave to Joshua after the death of Moses and before the Israelites went over to conquer the Promised land as recorded in Joshua 1:6-9:-
“Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:6-9)
- Let us resolve to be “very strong and courageous” in living our faith and sharing them with others – that we observe and do according to all that the Lord has taught us). “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood…” (Eph 6:10-12)
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” (2 Cor 10:3-5).
“that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith… Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3:16-21)
- Let us resolve to meditate on His words continually (“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night”).
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim 2:15, KJV)
“Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine… “Give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.” [Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.- 1 Tim 4:13,15, NASB]
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Psa 1:1-3)
- Let us resolve to stay the course in following the Word of God (“do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go”).
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Tim 4:3-5).
For the sake of clarity, the religious observance of Christmas is unquestionably rooted in “fables”!!! Why would a disciple of Christ want to mix the pure unadulterated truth with the fables which are the result of the vain imaginations of men!? Since the world knows that Christmas as the birth of Jesus originated from pagan practice and is associated with red-nosed reindeers and sleighs and mistletoes, etc …how are we going to convince them that Jesus was truly a historical person? If it is good to celebrate Christmas – don’t you think that God would have revealed that to us – and the apostles would have celebrated that as an example for us to follow? Why are brethren not respecting what the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Cor 4:6: “ that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.” Isn’t the religious observation of Christmas “thinking beyond what is written” since it is not written anywhere in the Bible?
Sadly, there are brethren who are not contented with what the Bible clearly teaches or have been revealed to us; they want to challenge the established body of truth as revealed through the apostles – for which we are exhorted to contend earnestly (Jude 3): “some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck” (1 Tim 1:19). Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth…. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.” (Titus 1:13,16).
- Let us resolve to trust and depend on our Lord who has promised that He will be with us (“do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lordyour God iswith you wherever you go”).
“For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Heb 13:5-6)
2 Cor 9:8: “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” Rom 8:31-39: “ What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?…. Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers…shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Let’s pray for one another and let’s help each other walk the way of God circumspectly so that we will have blessings and good success from our Lord: “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 2-4)