Today’s message summary of January 1, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:
God is the One who delivers us from year to year. He is worthy of our praise throughout the year, and we want to continue to do so through to the end of this year.
God wants you to receive something from Him, but He also wants you to give something, as well.
He can, and will, give you knowledge and wisdom. In return, He desires for you to live more like Jesus.
Statements, or declarations, give you a specific purpose. As an example, The Declaration of Independence declared that “all men are created equal,” and the United States Constitution was born out of this declaration.
Scripture also has a number of declarations that are intended to challenge the reader. It is important for the reader to take note of them in order to truly live in such a way that is to be more like Jesus Christ.
Look at this declaration that David makes, and then look at what follows his statement.
I love You, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I was saved from my enemies.
David reflects the love of God and notes the value of the relationship with God that reflect His different qualities and character.
There is one who speaks rashly, like a piercing sword; but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
It is important for you to believe that your words have a value to yourself and before others.
If you use the words, “I love you, Lord,” do you mean them?
Loving the Lord reveals God’s other attributes:
- My Strength
- My Rock (building on a solid foundation)
- My Fortress
- My Deliverer
- My God is my rock in whom I take refuge.
- My Shield
- My Salvation
- My Stronghold (KJV uses the word “Tower”)
When you lose sight of the Lord, you lose His value–His real significance in your life and all that He is to you and all that He can do for you.
Your declaration reminds you of all that Jesus is to you–His real meaning to you in your life.
There is a value in coming to church every Sunday in that it is a reminder as to who we are to serve every day. We are not to forget who we serve and who we live for. W. H. Brewster said, “Some things you can’t say, but you can sing.”
We also need to recognize that we make choices that we must reckon with. We can cry and moan over them, or we can get up and go back to living! Sometimes the situations that we are in occur well after we make the decision to put aside the Lord and not follow Him.
By the rivers of Babylon–there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion. There we hung up our lyres on the poplar trees, for our captors there asked us for songs, and our tormentors, for rejoicing: “Sing us one of the songs of Zion.” How can we sing the Lord’s song on foreign soil? If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem as my greatest joy!
Don’t allow your personal feelings to determine how or when you should praise the Lord. Even in the worst moments, God wants you to have the desire to sing the praises of God. People need to hear your voice to hear His message of hope, joy, peace and encouragement.
We, as believers, are strangers and pilgrims in this land. We are aliens in this world. That should not stop you from singing, preaching or telling others about Jesus.
As God has given you life for this new year, then he has a purpose for you through this year. We are called to serve Him.
1 Peter 2:11-12
Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you. Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation.
No one can steal your joy of the Lord. No circumstances can remove your joy of the Lord if you choose to rejoice in Him.
The Lord will honor your faithfulness to your declaration. He keeps His promises to us.
Because of Your servant David, do not reject Your anointed one. The Lord swore an oath to David, a promise He will not abandon: “I will set one of your descendants on your throne. If your sons keep My covenant and My decrees that I will teach them, their sons will also sit on your throne forever. For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His home: “This is My resting place forever; I will make My home here because I have desired it.”
He then carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, arrayed with God’s glory. Her radiance was like a very precious stone, like a jasper stone, bright as crystal.
Remember your relationship with your Lord and Savior and give Him honor and praise in the New Year.