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Ending the Year in Style!
The year is gradually coming to an end. For some, it has been a wonderful year of great blessings, breakthroughs and success. For others, it has been a year full of disappointment and crisis. While some would love the year to go on and never come to an end, others are praying for an accelerated end to the year with its litany of woes.
People have different ways of ending the year. While some prefer to party and drink into the New Year, others prefer to keep vigil and pray for the New Year. Whatever you choose to do, remember that you cannot live again the year that is about to end and you have never experienced the New Year coming.
There is, however, one thing you can do, you can end the year “in style.” Doing something “in style” ordinarily means doing something in a great or elegant way. As a child of God, you have a divine calling to end the year “in style.” That is, in the most elegant way you can in the spirit of Christ and the joyful celebration of his birth.
The best-known appeal is, of course, the decision to commit to Christ, for the first time or again. No matter how ‘ways’ this may seem, it is one appeal that you should never skip if it fits the key message. If you have just preached the gospel, invite people to respond to God’s call.
An appeal to invite a friend to the next service or to decide to start thanking God for His blessings every day and forgiving someone for how they have hurt you, all these can also be an appeal for something else. Whatever your appeal is, make sure it fits your key message and make it easy and practical. People need to know exactly what you want them to know, to feel or to do. If you do an ‘altar call’ of any kind, make it simple.
To do this, kindly pay attention to the following four Biblical injections towards having a blessed New Year.
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of our Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossian 3:17).
The first thing you need to do, is to look back at the 365 days in the year, think about what the Lord has done for you, your families and all your loved ones and do what the Bible says in Psalm 107 “ O give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Delight in the gift of life and thank God for being with you.
The reasons for you to give thanks to God are far beyond your circumstances and your choice. It is what God demands. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). This act of thanksgiving will help to make a room in your heart for God’s will to be done in your life, especially in the coming New Year. There is something special about people who praise and thank God, especially in difficult circumstances.
As Linda Schubert puts it, “people who praise and thank God, have a bright light in their eyes that reflects something beyond themselves. People of praise are people of faith. Their very lives state to the world that they trust their loving Heavenly Father, know he intends goodness for his Children, an expect extravagant answers to prayer.”
Whatever you may be going through right now, the “good” and the “bad” experiences in the year cannot outweigh the goodness and kindness of God in your life. All you need to do now is to give thanks and praise to God in all things. Give thanks with a grateful heart.
“Repent and turn from all your transgression lest iniquity be your run in (Ezekiel 18:30-33). To end the year in style, you need to examine yourself. Cast your mind back to the 365 days in the year, reflect on those areas in your life where you know that you have truly offended God and celebrate God’s mercy and compassion by making a sincere act of repentance.
This is not a time for you to hide your sins from God. Sin has a power to hold us down and block the flow of God’s love. We lose a lot when we hide our sins. “He who conceals his transgression will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” (Proverb 28:13).
Check those areas in your life where you need God’s divine cleansing, bring them to God and let him transform you and make you new all over again as you await the new year. Do not carry the filthiness of your sins and guilt into the New Year. The Bible invites you to know that, “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and cleanses us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
“And be kind to one another, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave us (Ephesians 4: 32)
Bitterness, resentment and an unforgiving spirit are excess loads that you cannot afford to carry into the New Year. In fact, you do not need them. Anybody who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass. Forgiving those who hurt you is one way of ending the year “in style” and it is the key to personal peace and happiness in the New Year.
So, let go of all bitterness, resentment and anger that you may be nursing against others. To remain trapped and bound in the chains of unforgiveness is not the wish of Christ for you prepare to embrace the New Year. ‘if you hold anything against anyone, forgive that person, so that your father in heaven may forgive you your sins’ (Mark 11:25). Christ says to you today.
As you prepare to end the year, make a decision to reconcile with people in your life. Resolve to set them free and set yourself free too. “Life is too short and too precious to waste being trapped and bound in the chains of unforgiveness,” says Linda Schubert. The ability to forgive marks you out a true Child of God.
“A Christian,” says Hannah More, “will find it cheaper to pardon than to resent forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirit.” Think about how beautiful it would be for you to step into the New Year with a heart cleansed of all bitterness, resentment and anger. Forgiveness begins with a decision, make that decision today. Choose to forgive.
“For just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification” ( 1 John 1 :9) Ending the year “ in style” demand that you renounce those negative and sinful habits cultivated in the year you are about to end.
“ The skin burst and the wine are spilt and the skin is destroyed; Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins and both are preserved” (Matthew 9:17). The wisdom in our Lord’s words behoves you to know that whatever was not profitable for you in the year you are about to end, should be tossed overboard as you sail into the New Year.
Dealings and relationships, thoughts and plans, ventures and actions that brought you great sadness, dejection, and regrets should be discarded before you step into New Year.
“A small decision now,” says Robert Schuller, “can change your tomorrows.” Thus, the decision and commitment you make now surely affect and influence your actions in the New Year. If you are determined to change for better, you will surely step into a better tomorrow in the coming year.
“The difference between an unsuccessful person and others,” says Vince Lombardi, “is not lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge but rather a lack of will.” Take stock of the areas in which you have been victorious and those areas in which you have not been successful in the year. And with a strong will, you can turn your failures into success in the New Year.
All you need is faith and courage. Are you ready to step into the New Year “in style”? Here and now, I wish you God’s abundant blessings in the New Year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Faithful Christians celebrate this New Year with a thoughtful and resolute awareness of their one true love – that, being, the presence of their Lord, and Christ. No greater and faithful friend can a person have than to possess creator, Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ,
To the non-Christian, there isn't any experience that genuinely incorporates the future with lasting hope. All that remains in this life, is the “ticking away,” measured in minutes, hours, days, and years – and, finally, the “end.” Those who do not embrace the Lord of Life cannot experience everlasting life once this earthly (temporal) life is soon, expended
© 2017 ODEWOYE FRANCIS SUNDAY