Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Look back and looking forward

Early in the eighteenth century, the Scottish poet Robert Burns adapted a poem written by ‘an old man’ and produced the well known song Auld Lang Syne which is sung throughout the world on New Years Eve when the final minutes of the old year fade out and clocks strike midnight and the New Year is welcomed in with great excitement. I am indebted to Wilkipedia for information and translation of Burn’s words into English to understand what the ballad is all about. It seems to convey reflections of courtship days laced with an abundance of supping ale. No wonder the sentiment is popular today when “Eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” (Matt 24:38) is widely practiced.

Sometimes it is good to reflect, to look back and contemplate the good times spent with family and friends, to think upon places visited during the past year and meeting new people. Of decisions that changed the direction of business interests, evaluating things that are of no consequence and dropping them to be freed up for better things.
In times past, businesses used to ‘Take Stock’ at the end of the year, whereas now in this computer age they are more likely to take stock at the end of each days trading.
Individuals respond differently when contemplating the recent past, some despair and see no light at the end of the tunnel, some choose to turn over a new leaf and make New Year’s Resolutions only to be disillusioned when will power breaks down. I’ve been there, I said I will stop drinking, stop gambling, stop swearing, good resolutions but like pie-crusts they are made to be broken, thankfully I then got converted to Christ and He dealt with all my bad things, He took them away and gave me a new life. That is the answer; it is not a new leaf that we need it is a new life, to be born again by the Holy Spirit.

It is true that many of us have been disgusted by the antics of Bankers and Politicians during 2009. Greed in the financial markets produced a global meltdown, resulting in thousands of families losing their homes by repossession, thousands losing their jobs when companies shed employees to avoid bankruptcy. What sticks in the throats of many people is that the Bank chiefs that got us into this mess are being paid obscene bonuses, and Members of Parliament who claimed obscene expenses are not made accountable for their actions. Reward for failure on the part of the bankers, and no dismissals for the slippery MP’s. is unjust.
Trying to be positive in looking forward into the New Year one cannot find much to cheer the spirit and give us the feel-good factor. Thankfully, the Word of God has everything we need to direct our lives in the right way and give us so many positives for our hearts and minds to dwell on that the peace of God acts as a sentinel, garrisoning the mind (Phil.4:7) even in troublous times.

In Luke ch.17:32 Jesus said, “Remember Lot’s wife” causing His listeners to reflect upon what took place when the judgement of God fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham had prayed specifically for deliverance for Lot and his family, knowing that God was not going to allow those wicked cities to continue in homosexuality, but destroy them with fire and brimstone. Prov.14:9 says, “Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.” They did it then, they do it now. Lot’s sons-in-law mocked him when he warned them that God was going very soon to destroy those cities. They ignored that warning and perished the next day. Lot, his wife and two daughters were told by the angels not to look back as they were led out of the city, but Lot’s wife disobeyed, she did look back and was turned into a pillar of salt. How salutary is that for anyone reading this who is not saved? The hand of a messenger from Heaven was leading this woman, yet she perished! She looked back.

Previously in Ch.9:61 He said, “And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” The call of the gospel demands that Christ is Lord of all in everyone’s life.

The apostle Paul is a wonderful example for positive thinking in relation to the future. He said in Phil. 3:13, “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” It is good to be objective, to have goals in life, particularly in the service of the King of Kings, knowing there is going to be a review and a reward for faithful service. Paul’s evaluation of what he was religiously, a Pharisee of some standing, he said a few verses earlier, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” To be prepared not only let go former things that men regard valuable, but to estimate them as dung and to dispatch them accordingly, to have a higher goal in view, to glorify Christ in every part of his life, this was his main objective.
As we enter a New Year have we got such ideals before us, “For to me to live is Christ, to die is gain”? Perhaps you are not a Christian, then read Luke ch.17 and see the parallel conditions of Noah’s day and Lot’s day in relation to our day and the coming of the Lord. Be warned you have not got long to get saved. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”
Happy New Year to all my readers and God bless you all and make 2010 a really blessed year for you.

Stan Burditt
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