Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Few Considerations as a New Year Begins
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

As we come to the close of one year and anticipate a new year of God’s providences, how can we discipline ourselves for godliness in a greater way? How can we fervently love Christ more and gaze upon His gospel with more frequency?

As a new year begins, I’d like to offer a few considerations.

1. Consider lessening your time on social media & with various entertainments & proactively devote more time to reading Your Bible.
I have no idea the amount of time you spend on social media but whatever the quantity of time you devote to it may be, consider lessening your time on these platforms and devoting more time to reading your Bible. Perhaps you’re a movie person or you’ve got that favorite show on TV you watch. Consider lessening the time you devote to such things and devote time to reading systematically, methodically, devotionally, joyfully, expectantly and faithfully through Scripture. 

2. Consider waking earlier in the morning and spending devoted time in prayer & communion with God.
No time is ever wasted in communing with God in prayer. Do you find that you struggle with your prayer life? Do you battle with saying the same old thing about the same old things? Does your prayer life lack vibrancy and joy and power? Consider waking earlier and praying the Bible. Consider turning to Psalms and read a verse, then turn it into a prayer back to God. Then go on to the next verse and so on. Prayer is a conversation with God whereby He speaks through His Word and we respond and speak to Him in prayer. Commune with Him regularly, early, and fervently!

3. If you're not a member of your Church, begin the process promptly and serve others be held accountable by your local church.
Maybe you’re a regular attender. And you’ve been attending church for some time. Or perhaps you may have recently relocated to a new area and you’ve visiting a church. But have you become a member yet? This is important as you need the accountability, the shepherd-care over your soul, and the responsibility to serve one another and care for others in your local church. If you’re not a member of a biblically sound, bible-preaching local church with biblical leadership, make it a point to begin this process at the start of the new year.

4. Make it a goal to hand out gospel tracts and share the gospel *weekly*.
Many Christians say: “I just don’t know what to say to the nonbeliever about my faith.” I would strongly encourage you to have a tract with you as often as possible and frequently give out tracts to people. If you don’t know what to say, let the gospel tract help you and guide you. You could say to a friend (or a restaurant server, or someone at the drive-thru window, or a cashier, or a stranger walking by, or a neighbor), “may I give you something to read? This changed my life!” Gospel tracts can often go where we can’t! They keep it simple, clear, cogent, and memorable. If you don’t know where to get good and biblically faithful gospel tracts, start with Marv Plementosh at www.onemilliontracts.com.

5. Consider eternity regularly -- eternal, unending hell & eternal glorious heaven.
We do well to ponder eternity. May God kindly stamp eternity on our eyeballs every day. May we live each day as if it were our last and may we seek to grow in grace today and walk in holiness and walk in a nearer communion with Christ more so than yesterday. May we consider the coming certainty of unending eternities. May we reflect on the terrors of hell and the joys of heaven. May we think much of Christ’s intercession for us in heaven, His return for us, and His preparing a place for us in heaven. May we ponder the everlasting hope and joy and bliss of being with the triune God and seeing Him face to face. O may eternity impact us in these days.

6. Live every day as it if were your last. Repent quickly. Be holy. Pray earnestly.
If God would supernaturally tell us that we would die at 12:00midnight tonight, how would you then live? May the prospect that today may very well be our last propel us to prompt repentance, diligent holiness, and earnest prayerfulness. May we hate sin as a destructive monster and may we love Christ and pursue joyful holiness in Him with tenacity and perseverance. May we pray hard and pray often. May we live so close to Christ that the nearer we get to heaven, the closer our communion is with Christ. Number your days! Life is short!

7. Gather with your church with the mindset: "how can I serve others and encourage them today?"
Fight vigorously against the natural inclination to go to church go ‘get’ something. Yes, we do gather with God’s people and receive the Word and edification. But let’s also intentionally cultivate the notion that we gather with God’s people to serve and encourage and give and edify others. So, starting with the new year, make it your goal to gather with God’s people and practically encourage them, greet them, say a kind word to them and minister to them. Perhaps this may take the form of a handshake, a greeting, reaching out to a visitor & inviting them to sit with you, writing a letter to someone in your church family, encouraging your pastor/elders, approaching young people and teenagers and encouraging them. Consider the idea of making it a point every time you gather with God’s people to find one person in your church family and as you’re talking with them, make it a point to pray right then, right there, together with them (and better yet, bring someone else who is nearby into that spontaneous prayer time to benefit and learn and observe this). See how God may grow you and use you as you have the mindset of selfless, sacrificial, Christlike service to others in your local church.  

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