May you increase in the knowledge of the Lord this year.
So often the media tends to focus on the negative things happening in the world. Now, I am not suggesting that we should bury our heads in the sand and pretend everything is going well on planet earth - obviously it is not. But there is still a lot to look forward to.
When Jesus walked up to river Jordan to be baptised by John, to the outside person looking on, it must have looked like a very ordinary affair.
Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. Matthew 3:13 (NASB)
After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." Matthew 3:16 - 17 (NASB)
The Acts of the Apostles however implies that the above incident marked the beginning of Jesus? ministry (Acts 1:22). These humble beginnings were the rumblings of something that grew to touch the whole world.
The God of history has never been one to stand still. The God who spoke the world into being and - bang!. . . there was light! The same God is still creating today. God?s inspiration grants mankind the knowledge to bring forth new inventions.
A recent example is the invention of plastic chips by Cambridge University announced by the BBC on 3 January 2007. This new discovery is expected to make the silicon chip that currently drives everything from household computers to mobile phones look like ancient technology within a few years.
The future library may well be one sheet of ?electronic paper? that can contain hundreds of books. Future computers will no longer need breakable monitors.
All this technology has been available ever since God created the world. It has taken mankind this long to discover it!
Metaphorically speaking, so often we as Christians are happy to display our silicon chips. We sit admirably at the river Jordan recounting the wonderful experience of our baptism and the reassuring voice that thundered out of heaven. We fail to consider the possibility of greater depths beneath the surface.
Things like the power of His resurrection - not the mental assertion of Christ?s resurrection that we often mechanically profess but the living reality that would cause our moral, social and ecclesiastical conduct to reflect the beauty of the ?life of Christ? within us.
Today many Christians and even ministries are built on reputations and not character. Reputation is what people think you are, character is what you really are. Although people may admire your reputation God sees your character.
Jesus did not live on the reputation of his baptism; he moulded himself after the character of God. Without the latter the church would not exist.
Speaking of John the Baptist Jesus said
Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. Matthew 11:11 (NASB)
John had the Holy Spirit upon him to do God?s will; we have the Holy Spirit within us to be God?s will.
When you read through the Book of Acts the one ingredient common in all the sermons was the death and resurrection of Jesus (Acts 2:14-40; Acts 3:11-26; Acts 4:5-12; Acts 7; Acts 10:34-48; Acts 13:16-41; Acts 17:22-34; Acts 26). The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives within us (Romans 8:11-13). Ponder the significance of that!
May you grow dissatisfied this year with your silicon chips.
May you move on from the reputation of your baptism.
May the pursuit of a godly character become your ambition.
May your increase in the power of His resurrection.
May you care less for your reputation and more for your character.
May 2007 be a good year for you.
And all the people said ......