I love the sign that exploded all over social media on New Year’s Eve: “I’m going to stay up on New Year’s Eve this year. Not to see the New Year in, but to make sure that 2020 leaves.” You can probably shout out a hearty AMEN. 2020 was unlike any year in my 71 years. But now we stand just inside the gate of a new year, 2021. I believe there are lessons to be learned from others who stood at a new beginning.
First, Adam and Eve found themselves in the very first NEW BEGINNING, CREATION. In God’s words: Gen 1:31 “And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” In fact, God uses “good” 7 times to describe the individual days of Creation. Lesson? Live life in God’s goodness.
Second, Adam and Eve were also part of the next new beginning, an ugly beginning.
Gen 3:24 “God drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.” Sin destroyed humanity’s home, or at least humanity’s right to live there. Losing that splendid home made life hard and painful on the outside. Lesson? If God says DON’T DO IT, then don’t.
Third, Noah & his family were the only humans at the next new beginning. Gen 9:18-20 “So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. 19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark. 20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord” Lesson? Seek righteousness in life; God is watching and will reward it.
Fourth, Moses and the children of Israel were at a new beginning, the beginning of the nation of Israel and their journey into their future. Num 10:11-13 “In the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth day of the month, the cloud lifted from over the tabernacle of the testimony, and the people of Israel set out by stages from the wilderness of Sinai.” They had spent 1 year at Mount Sinai, but now they were a nation, not just a band of slaves, and were ready for the trek to the Promised Land. Lesson? A time of preparation with God will always groom us for His plan for our future.
Fifth, Joseph and Mary were the only ones present at part 1 of the greatest new beginning ever: the coming of the Christ/Messiah. Lk 2:4-7 “And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” Lesson? Be prepared to be used by God because most of the time He uses faithful followers as His hands and feet, tools to accomplish His will.
Sixth, several people watched part 2 of the greatest new beginning ever. Lk 23:44-46 “It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.” The sacrifice of the Lamb of God had been made. Lesson? Never forget the price paid by Jesus so that you could spend eternity with Him.
Seventh, only a few saw part 3 of the greatest new beginning ever; a few women and a handful of followers. Mk 16:2- “And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; He is not here. See the place where they laid him.” Christ had risen from the dead, overcoming death, not only for Himself, but for anyone who would surrender to Him as their LORD. Lesson? Remember that the fear and sting of death has been crushed for the faithful follower of Christ.
Eighth, over 3,000 committed believers were part of the next new beginning. Ac 2:37-41 “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about 3,000 souls.” Lesson? God yearns to save souls, but it must be done His way, not ours.
So what is to be written about our journey in 2021? If we will learn from these new beginnings recorded in Scripture, then 2021 will be AMAZING.
1- There is not better place to live than in the goodness of God.
2- Beware God’s warnings; they are for our protection and blessing.
3- A life of righteousness holds everything that is truly valuable.
4- Preparation is critical to being useful to God.
5- Be a willing tool in God’s toolbox.
6- God believes that you are worth the body and blood of Christ.
7- Fear not death, Christ took that away for you.
8- Get saved God’s way; no salvation any other.
Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at email@example.com.
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