January 1, 1991 Issue
by Billy D. Dickinson

Although heaven is a place where they count not time by years, and "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day", (2 Pet 3:8), we who are pilgrims of this earthly domain have marked the passing of another year. 1990 is gone, never to be seen again, and 1991 is upon us. The old year with all its failures and accomplishments, as well as times of joy and grief, has emptied itself into the sea of eternity.

The new year should be looked to with faith and confidence, not with dread and fear. It's true that none of us know what 1991 completely has in store for us for each year always brings with it a certain amount of uncertainty. Will 1991 bring prosperity, health and happiness to each of us or will it bring sickness, pain and sorrow? Only time will tell. But in spite of all that may be uncertain about 1991, it is certain that God will still be sitting upon His throne and caring for His people! Let us not forget that God is still in control of this old world, ruling in the affairs of men and seeing to it that His will and purposes are fulfilled (Dan 4:17). Yes, Jesus is still Lord of lords and King of kings and it is certain we need to serve Him in 1991!

To a great extent, 1990 was what we made it to be. It's true that each year brings circumstances and events which are beyond our control, but even then we have a choice as to how we react to those things. So it will be with 1991. The new year will bring to us in large measure what we choose to bring to it. There is no reason why 1991 cannot be for us a great and prosperous year in the Lord if we will but look to Christ as our help and guide. Let's notice some things that the new year will bring.

1991 will bring with it many opportunities. Paul exhorts us in Eph 5:16 to "redeem the time." This means to make the most of every opportunity and to use our time on this earth wisely. Each year brings with it opportunities to do good or evil, to grow stronger or weaker in the Lord, to add to our knowledge of the scriptures or continue in ignorance and to save a soul or to act indifferently toward evangelism. As you look back upon the old year, how would you rate yourself in these areas of your life? Are you a stronger Christian today than you were a year ago? Do you know more about God's word than you did a year ago? Did you win a soul for Christ last year or at least try? If you can answer these questions in the affirmative, 1990 was a prosperous year for you. However, if you must answer any of these questions in the negative, you need to resolve to do better! As Paul wrote in Heb 6:9, "But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation...

1991 will bring with it many important decisions. Joel 3:14 speaks of "multitudes in the valley of decision." As with last year, decisions will be made which will have far-reaching consequences on both time and eternity. In fact, all of us will make decisions this year which will help to determine where we shall spend eternity! PEOPLE MUST DECIDE: Will I obey the Gospel or refuse salvation? Will I continue in sin or repent and change the direction of my life? Will I remain faithful to the Lord or quit walking in the light of God's truth? Will I come out of denominationalism and simply be a Christian or will I continue to live by the creeds and dogmas of men? Will I continue in digression and false worship or will I promote unity in the church by standing upon "a thus saith the Lord?" If in 1990 you made the wrong decision in regard to any of these matters, hopefully in 1991 you will have opportunities to make things right.

1991 could bring the year of our Lord's return. Who knows but that 1991 may be the very year when the trumpet shall sound and God chooses to bring this old world into judgment? Do you doubt this could be the case? Jesus warned in Matt 24:44, 'Therefore be ye ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." If our Lord were to return this year to judge the world, would you be found ready? Would you be found watching? How we meet the challenges of 1991, how we make use of our opportunities and how we decide the crucial decisions of our lives will determine whether or not we are ready for death and the judgment.

As we begin the new year, we need to determine just where we are headed. However, before we can really determine that, it's first necessary to see where we have been, because when one chooses to travel a certain road he also choose" to accept the destination to which it leads. David was once asked, "Whither have ye made a road today?".(I Sam 27:10). This is a good question to consider as we enter into the new year! In 1990, which road of life did you choose to travel and did it take you in the direction you wanted to go? Remember, there are only two roads in life for us to take-- we're either on the broad way which leads us away from God or we're on the narrow way which leads us to God (Matt 7:13-14). If you continue on the path you have been pursuing for the past year, just where are you headed? Where are you going to end up? The Bible says in Isa 55:6, "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near." If this doesn't sum up the aim and purpose of your life, you are surely headed in the wrong direction and need to make a turnabout!

Where are we headed? I can tell you where. Like it or not, we are all marching toward eternity. As Paul wrote in Rom 13:11, "...that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer that when we believed." Yes, this is where we are headed--toward the judgment seat of Christ!

In view of such facts, it is certain that men need to obey the Gospel in 1991. The Gospel is still God's means of saving the sinner (Rom 1:16). Men need to believe in Christ (John 3:18). Men need to repent of their sins (Acts 17:30). Men need to make a public confession of their faith in Christ (Rom 10:9-10). Men need to be baptized into Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). It is still true in 1991 that when Jesus comes again He will take vengeance on them who have not obeyed the Gospel (II Thess 1:8). "The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour. To lose one's wealth is sad indeed. To lose one's health is more. But to lose one's soul is such a loss that no man can restore."

As we begin the new year, our prayer for you is found in III John 2: "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." May the Lord be pleased with our efforts and bless us in 1991!

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