Should there be more now that the gifts are no longer hiddenÂ , theÂ feasts eaten, the family and friendsÂ departed, and for the most part the travel to and from along with the season is passing on? Do we hear the echoes of…Â butÂ waitÂ there’s more? Did your Christmas feel like an infomercial where just when you thought all the gifts were given out and the food servedÂ someone shouted wait”¦there’s more? Perhaps you were lucky enough to close out Christmas with allÂ that your family and you wishedÂ orÂ wanted and then some? Maybe you feel that your familyÂ gained more blessingsÂ than they needed or perhaps there were additions during the bargain after Christmas sales that heralds through the land each year? Do you find yourself looking around your home, like I do, and thinking we just have too much? If so perchance it is time to evaluate the true necessities of life that will move us closer to Christ.
As the New Year approaches I find myself vowing to get rid of the things we do not need or use. A New Year appears to bringÂ a fresh start and so it is time to get rid of the old and find a place for the new or maybe transform the old into new. Sometimes I think we need to stop and contemplate not only our possessions butÂ on what is really important in our eternalÂ life and God provided just the verse I neededÂ for this week’s focus, Isaiah 40:8.
”The grass withers and the flowers fade but the word of our God stands forever.” (NLT)
When we look at what is really important we must remember that we are mortals and that one day we will no longer be on the earth to enjoy our possessions, money, and or accomplishments as these are temporary things. God’s word however is permanent because it is eternal and stands alone as its truth is always constant. Our Christmas or possessionÂ happiness is temporary if it comes about only by the gifts we received or the food and fellowship we enjoyed. True and or real joy comes only from God’s word and the relationship found from learning and studying it allowing us to know God better. This is what is really important as it benefits not only abound for our life on this earth but eternal life as well.
Peter reminds us of this in 1 Peter 1:24-25 as he quotes the Isaiah verse and then tells us that earthly things are temporary and to stop yearning for them. This maybe harder for us than the people of Peter’s time as images of items inundate our lives as they tout their benefitsÂ to make our life better, easier, or more productive. They shout to us that we deserve the best because we work hard. The ads tell us we won’t fit in with our neighbors and friends without the latest possessions but the Bible tells us otherwise. In fact the Bible tells us consistently that we need to put our focus on GodÂ and His word.Â Christ reminds us of this on three separate occasions; in Matthew 5:18, as Jesus is teaching about the law; Luke 16:17, where Jesus is telling the disciples about the parable of the shrew manager; and Matthew 24:35 as Jesus speaks of his return. It seems pretty safe to say that if weÂ see repetition of the same theme by different people at different times in the BibleÂ we might want to take heed of this advice and follow it. Clearly the word of God is important whether it is 2014 A.D, 62 A.D., or 681 B.C. as the word isÂ permanent and eternal therefore we should certainly be aware of what it says but wait there’s more”¦
James 1:22 tells us,
”But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise you are only fooling yourselves.” (NLT)
Listening and reading God’s word is important but following ”“ putting into action the words is really the greatest plan and what God desires us to do. It is also what Christ told us to do. So as we become more in tune with listening, reading, and studying we then must follow the word orÂ to quote the famous athletic slogan, ”Just Do It”. We will begin to put our full faith in God for problems, needs and concerns we have in this world when we are well-rounded in God’s word.
So as we move forward in the New Year watching the Christmas celebrations and gains ”wither and fade” let us not forget that there really is more to the Christmas celebration than what we gained in possessions and thereÂ is more toÂ celebrating the birth of Christ. This is the beginning of a new covenant with God, sealed with the sacrifice and death of Christ that brings us, sinners, eternity. That is the ultimate deal for usÂ because wait”¦there is more; so much more than we can ever imagine.
Happy New Year to all of you! I pray each of us will make the time in the coming year to L. R. A. –
Listen, Read, and Act – more upon God’s word.