"Boast not thyself of tomorrow;

for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."

Proverbs. 27:1

"And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof:

but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."

1 John 2:17

Obedience to the will of God is of supreme value and

is our only safety in the New Year!

Many people, even some Christians, live their own way and care only to fulfill their desires. They live by their will and not the will of God. They spend all their lives to satisfy themselves and pursue their own glory. They never realize the real purpose of their lives in this temporary and mortal world. They only start to think differently when tragedy happens to them, and they are disappointed when they find out that their will is not worth much compared to God's will.

                                              A year untried before me lies.

What it shall bring of strange surprise,

                                                 Of joy, or grief, I cannot tell;

                                                 But God my Father knows well.

                                                 I make it no concern of mine,

                                                 But leave it all with Love Divine.

                                                                                 — By R.M.Offord

The magazine article summarized the life of a former winning NCAA basketball coach and network sports announcer. Throughout his colorful coaching career, he had been obsessed with the game and with winning. But years later, stricken with cancer, he came to realize the triviality of the goods and values to which he had been passionately devoted. "You get sick, and you say to yourself, 'Sports means nothing,' and that feels terrible." Because he had spent little time with his wife and children, he confessed, "I figured I'd have 20 years in the big time, who knows, maybe win three national titles, then pack it in at 53 or 54 . . . . I was going to make it all up to them, all the time I'd been away . . . . It sounds so silly now . . . . But it went on and on, that insatiable desire to conquer the world." Our Daily Bread, October 17, 1997

Christians must not only grow and understand God's will, but they must also grow in obedience. Obedience is the key to God's heart. Obedience is one of the most critical responsibilities of the believer. The Lord rewards their obedience. "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12), "and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1:9,10).

As long as we are close to God, we will be able to know His will. The apostle John tells us how important it is to follow God's will: "And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" (1 John 2:17). John expected that anyone who is born of God would obey the will of God. Throughout the epistle, he describes this kind of lifestyle. Obedience to the will of God is of supreme value, and it is not optional for the born–again believer. Preacher A.J. Gordon once said, "If the Lord's business is made your principal business, I assure you that you will repeatedly have divine guidance in your Christian life."

There are times we make a mistake when we think that God is not guiding us because we cannot see far ahead of us. However, this is not His technique. He only guarantees the steps which the Lord gives us, not the next mile. "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way" (Psalm 37:23). J. Oswald Sanders states: "It is our duty to do our duty." Our responsibility is only to do our duty, which will cover a large area of our life, and for the rest, we have to wait for God's guidance.

God shows His will to us, primarily in two ways. First, through His Spirit: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come" (John 16:13). Second, God makes known His will through His Word: "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105).

If you are a good man or woman of God, do not wonder what lies ahead in the New Year. Do not be confused or afraid. It is a matter of obedience to God's will because God is in control. You will be energized by God's power when you trust in grace while you obey in faith. Rest in God's sufficient power. Live like He asks, and you will face the future with confidence when you do what is right. You will never regret your actions as the NCAA basketball coach mentioned above.

Once a country preacher was teaching his Sunday School class when Mrs. Smith appeared confused. "Pastor," inquired the elderly lady, "I am a little confused about the doctrine of election. Could you explain it more clearly?" The pastor cleared his throat and replied, "You know what an election is when we elect the President. It is the same in the Kingdom of God. There is always an election going on. Only three votes are cast. The Lord is always voting for you. The devil is always voting against you, but you have the deciding vote!" — Author Unknown

The Bible says, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other..." (Matthew 6:24). In our lives, we have to make a decision to serve the Lord or the devil. Seeking the will of God will help us to make the right decisions. He is glad to reveal His will to those who are hungry and thirsty to follow His directions. "Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy" (Psalm 33:18). When we make decisions, we must have the same attitude as Jesus when He said, "not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42).

Former President Ronald Reagan once had an aunt who took him to a cobbler for a pair of new shoes. The cobbler asked young Reagan, "Do you want square toes or round toes?" Unable to decide, Reagan did not answer, so the cobbler gave him a few days. Several days later the cobbler saw Reagan on the street and asked him again what kind of toes he wanted on his shoes. Reagan still could not decide, so the shoemaker replied, "Well, come by in a couple of days. Your shoes will be ready." When the future president did so, he found one square-toed and one round-toed shoe! "This will teach you to never let people make decisions for you," the cobbler said to his indecisive customer. "I learned then and there," Reagan said later, "if you don't make your own decisions, someone else will"Today in the Word, MBI, August, 1991

If we do not make the right decision, we will pay for it now and will regret it in the future. Our success or failure in life depends upon our decisions and choices. Every day we are making decisions. Our decisions form and build the complexity of our lives and the structure of our personality and character. The choices we make will affect the directions of our life, but the decision we make in this life about Jesus Christ will

forever set our eternal destiny. For the ones who accept the Lord Jesus as Savior, the matter of making a choice is still open regarding how that Christian life shall be lived.

We have numerous examples in the Bible where people made right and wrong choices. For example, Abram made the right choice, but not Lot.

            "And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it

             was well watered every where...Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan;

and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.

             Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain,

             and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked

             and sinners before the LORD exceedingly" (Genesis 13:10-13).

We also see the right choice Moses made. As a result of it, God used him. "Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season"

(Hebrews 11:25).

As a young man, I made the decision to follow and serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15 says, "choose you this day whom ye will serve... but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." This verse had a tremendous impact on my heart and daily life. I framed this verse, and I placed it above the door in the entryway of the kitchen in my house. On the way out, next to my front door is the verse, "be strong in the Lord..." (Ephesians 6: 10). Whenever people come to my home, these verses become visible to them and sometimes become a subject of discussion. Sometimes, people cannot leave without being convicted by God's Word - even if I may not speak a word to them.

In our lives, we have to make a decision to serve God or the devil. The question for you is: "Do you want to live closer to the Lord this year?" The choice is yours. God has promised to be with you and for you. You merely need to align your will with His. This is one election you need to be sure to vote for the winning party! This is the most important choice you have to make and follow this year and the years to come. God always honors the choices you make for Him. Remember, King David said, "let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for his mercies are great..." (2 Samuel 24:14). David had sinned against God. However, by choosing to fall into God's hands, the Lord forgave him, uplifted him, and blessed him. David realized that God's arm is strong to strike, but His love is strong to save.

The strength, purpose, and effectiveness of your Christian life will depend upon what goes on in secret between you and God. You need to spend time in His presence day by day. May it be said of you, as it was said of Mary: "Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her"

(Luke 10:42). The choice is yours. I hope and pray your choice will be for the Lord this year as King David and Mary chose, and you and your house will serve Him with all your heart. It is the only way to be a "shoe-in" for an abundant life! Remember, a life lived for self will end at the grave. A life lived for Christ by serving Him, will have an eternal impact!

by Ted Matamis, copyright © 2019. All rights reserved.

Happy New Year

Throughout the New Year, and each step of the way,

May Christ be your portion, your joy and your stay.

With God's precious precepts your daily delight

To lead and encourage in paths that are right.

"The Lord is my Shepherd," how precious the word!

He'll lead in green pastures, His promise is heard.

"Beside the still waters"--what comfort and rest!

What peace there is found upon Jesus' breast.

His "goodness and mercy," each day may you prove,

His comforting presence, His infinite love!

With richest compassions, each morning anew,

May multiplied mercies be showered on you!

"My cup runneth over," His grace so abounds,

That fullest enjoyment in Jesus is found.

"The Lord is my portion," this may your soul say,

And you will be happy each step of the way.

--Lois Beckwith

* * *

• "What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year." — Author, Vern McLellan

• "God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with him." — Missionary, Jim Elliot

• "The center of God's will is our only safety."Author, Corrie ten Boom

• "Every time you make a choice, you are turning the central part of you, the part that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before." — Scholar and Author, C. S. Lewis


If you are a good man or woman of God,

do not wonder what lies ahead in the New Year.

Do not be confused or afraid.

It is a matter of obedience to God's will

because God is in control.

You will be energized by God's power

when you trust in grace while you obey in faith.

Rest in God's sufficient power.