“FACING THE NEW YEAR”                              By Pastor Yau

Joshua 1:1-9                                                     December 28, 2003

 

INTRODUCTION:

       As the year of 2003 is drawing to a close in a few days, we will enter a new year regardless of your choices.  Instead of facing the new year either with fear of uncertainly or with a sense of out-of-control, as children of God, we have a better way to face the uncertainty and challenges of the new year.

       The scripture reference we have today is in a similar way as Joshua and his people, the Israelis, were facing the uncertainly of entering the Promised Land.  If you will go to read the passage and then read this article, I am sure the Lord will speak to your heart lead you into a new year with confidence.  The following five steps Joshua faced may help us prepared for a good year.

 

ACKNOWLEDGE “GOD IS IN CONTROL”:

       Anyone who is familiar with the historical events, the Exodus and the Entry of the Promised Land, will see the hands of the Lord God were in control from the beginning to the end.  The fact of these events did not just happen. They happened within the range of God’s wisdom and plans. Nothing that had happened was outside of God’s mind. GOD IS IN FULL CHARGE of all things.  And this is a very important concept to God’s children when we face the uncertainly of the future.

       Many people want to keep God out of their lives. They want to control their destinies and everything in them.  That is exactly why people have fear, worries and stress. We need to confess our nature, finite human beings.  We appear in a short while in the long history of God’s creation. Dependence in God doesn’t make us small. It only makes us secure and save in His hands.

 

SEEING THE GREATER PLANS OF GOD:

       God, being omnipotent, doesn’t do things “one step at a time” like we do.  He sees the history of the universe, as well as our individual life, at a glance from end to end. There is no small changes needed to be made or courses need to be altered. We, as individuals, communities or nations, are all in His plans, the greater PLAN. He designs all things to fit into His purposes for His glory.  All we need to do is to find out what His plan is and seek His guidance to place us in the places He intends for each one of us. The value of us, individually or corporately, depends largely on if we are in the proper position He plans for us to be.   The fact that some people never find fulfillment of their lives is because apart from God’s GREAT PLAN,  man has no, if any, meaning in himself.

 

FOLLOW HIS GUIDEBOOK ALONG THE WAY:

       God never leaves anyone with a task without giving him direction or instruction.  As He asked Joshua to meditate on His Laws day and night, He asks all His children to read His guidebook, the BIBLE, each day to familiarize of His leadership and direction.

       Too many people, including some Christians, encounter undue troubles, setback and failures, all because they neglect to follow the GUIDEBOOK God has provided for them. Read His Words. Spend time to understand His will. Find out His way of doing things, and be obedient to follow, even if they do not fit your plans or tastes. Walk in His path and you will not go astray.

 

DRAW STRENGTH AND COURAGE FROM HIM:

       Three times in vv. 6, 7 and 9, God promised Joshua to be strong and courageous.  No one will think that leading a massive congregation of some 4 to 5 million people to conquer Cannon would be an easy job.  No one would think that everything on the way would be nothing but smooth ride. Biblical records give us facts of many setbacks, troubles, failures, oppositions, conflicts on the inside as well as from the outside. God knows Joshua needs to be strong and courageous.

       To fail is human. To have setbacks is part of God’s plan. They are not the end of the world. To lose heart or to have no courage to get up and get going is the end of the world. We all need to draw strength and courage from God. We need to look to Him when we are down.  He is the ONE who can pick us up and help us get going. Never stop until God stops.

 

MAKE SURE THAT GOD IS WITH YOU ALL THE WAY:

       Few people understand the importance of the promise Jesus made to His disciples at the end of the Great Commission: Behold, I will be with you always even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)  King David says in Psalm 23:4, ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” He was talking about God was with him.  God promised the same presence to Joshua as he was about to face the greatest challenge of uncertainly in his life.

       I can’t understand why some people, especially those who call themselves children of God, would like to run their lives alone thinking they can handle all things by themselves. Just imagine what a blessing and confidence we will have knowing that God is there with us, watching every step on our way, leading everyway possible.  To ignore God or to refuse His presence is to forfeit the greatest assurance in life.

 

CONCLUSION:

       We don’t have to face the new year like those who have no God. If we learn from  Joshua and put these FIVE steps into practice, we will be able to welcome the new year with confidence and joy, knowing that God has in store for us blessings await us to discover.

 

HAVE A BLESSED NEW YEAR OF 2004.