1. The End Of Another Year
"But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end." Psalms 102:27
The Christmas wrapping paper has been used up, wadded up, and bagged up, ready to be picked up by the garbage men. The gifts have been put away and soon the tree and ornaments will come down. Another Christmas has ended and in a few days another year will come to an end. It would be depressing if that was all there was. But, as a Christian, I have the Lord in my heart all year long. I don't put Jesus away with my Christmas nativities, but I talk to Him and read His Word and walk with Him all through the year. So many of our Christmas carols invite us to "Come and worship" and just because we put away our Christmas music until next December, we can still worship our King. Our love and joy can also take up permament residence in our hearts. As we wait on the year 2014 to end, let's look at some of the things that will never end.
2. An Everlasting Love
"The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." Jeremiah 31:1
As we begin our look at things that will never end we see that the love of God is everlasting. People get married and vow that they will love each other until death, and a few years down the road they say, "I just don't love you anymore." We don't have to worry about God's love. He says in His Word, "Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love..." Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. We may leave our first love, as the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2, but God's love is eternal.
"35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:35-39
3. Praise And Worship To God Forever And Ever
"8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever." Revelation 5:8-14
I turned on my CD player last night and listened to my favorite Christmas CD as I washed up my dishes and cleaned in my kitchen. I read this week statements from some who said that Christmas music starts so early they are tired of it by Christmas. Not me. I don't think I would ever get tired of Christmas carols. We sing, "The Old Rugged Cross" and "Near The Cross" more than just at Easter, and I could sing Christmas carols all during the year. God is worthy of our praise all the time. These scriptures in the book of Revelation tell us that "ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands" of angels praise the Lord and "every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them" give honor and glory to the Lamb for ever and ever. Singing songs of praise to our Lord is just a small token of gratitude in comparison with the way we will be able to praise Him in our glorified bodies.
4. The Kingdom Of Christ Will Have No End
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." Isaiah 9:6-7
We just came through the Christmas season and this is a wonderful prophecy of the Lord Jesus that I often see on Christmas cards. In the fulness of time the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and also proclaimed that the kingdom of Jesus would have no end. " And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." (Luke 1:30-33) When Jesus taught His disciples to pray He said, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10) I believe that the disciples thought Jesus was going to set up His kingdom on earth while He was here. In Mark 10 when Jesus is trying to tell the disciples that He will be condemned to death in Jerusalem, James and John ask to sit on His right and left hand. Jesus did not set up His kingdom here on earth, but He gave His life to save others. John later saw the Lord in His kingdom while he was exiled on the Isle of Patmos. "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." (Revelation 11:15) Just as we sang in our Christmas carols, "He shall reign for ever and ever."
5. The Word Of God Endures Forever
"For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven." Psalms 119:89
"Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever." Psalms 119:160
"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever." Isaiah 40:8
Each Christmas the battle against Christ seems to grow stronger. Small groups of people are able to remove nativity scenes from towns that have been there for many years. Shopping centers refuse to say, "Merry Christmas" so they don't offend those who don't believe in Jesus. It seems as though people think they can change the meaning of Christmas by saying "Happy Holidays" and "Seasons Greetings". There was even an add for Holiday Trees. This year I saw several articles about Christians who took a stand and put up billboards praising the Christ of Christmas. When I celebrate Christmas, I am celebrating the birth of my Lord and Savior. No matter what the world does to try to change Christian beliefs, God's Word will never change. God's Word is the hope of salvation. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." I Peter 1:23-25) The Word of God will stand forever and ever. Christians can rejoice in the truth of God's Word. For those who refuse God's Word, it is a two edged sword of judgment. God's Word will stand forever!
6. We Will Be With Our Lord And Christian Friends For Ever
"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." I Thessalonians 4:16-18
We had some dear Christian friends over and it was a joy to spend the morning with them. We have been friends with their family about 15 years but we rarely get to see them. We made ornaments and several tins of snacks. We ate lunch, played some games and enjoyed talking about many different things. As they were leaving, I wondered when we would be able to see them again. It is so good to make memories with friends, and even greater when they are Christian friends because I know that when this world has ended, I will see them for ever. I know some older preachers that say they are nearing the time they will go by the clods, or by the clouds. I believe that we are that close to the Lord coming again. He is coming again! And I believe that it will be very soon. Then we will "ever be with the Lord." That is wonderful! And it is a comfort to know that I will also be with my Christian friends. I will see my Dad again and others that have gone on ahead of me, and those who meet the Lord in the air. Are you ready? Forever is a long time.
7. God Is God, From Everlasting To Everlasting
"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." Psalms 90:2
Happy New Year! With all the trouble in the world today there may be some that question that we can have a happy new year. If I didn't know the Lord, I would be one of them. But I know God and He knows me. I have faith in my God because He was from everlasting and He reaches to everlasting! He was here before creation and He is the Creator. I can read that in Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." God is my hope and I put my trust in Him to by my guide through the next year. Preacher Tim Tripp used Psalms 4 as his text and I want to share those verses with you. Because I know God, I can say with David in verse 8, "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety."
"1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
2 O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.
3 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.
4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.
6 There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
7 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety." (Psalms 4)
8. You Can Have Everlasting Life
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:16-18
"Today is the first day of the rest of your life!" I don't know who said that first, or how many times I have heard it through the years, but it is perfect for today. Not only do you have a new awakening to a new day, but you have a new year which could open to new beginnings. The perfect beginning would be a new life in Christ Jesus. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (II Corinthians 5:17) We can make New Year's resolutions and have every intention of keeping them but only Jesus can give new life, an everlasting life with love, hope, peace and joy. We read in John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." This is not promising to go to church, or trying to be a better person. This is giving up on trying to work your way to heaven. Jesus did it all. He gave His life on a cruel cross to pay for your sins and mine. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9) Only Jesus can wipe away all the sin and dirt of our past and give us a clean slate, a new life, and make us a new creature. Salvation is as simple as A, B, C. Admit that you are a sinner and need the Lord Jesus for salvation. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation. Confess to Him in faith and turn from the old life, and find new life in Christ Jesus. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9-10) God has given us a new year, a new day, but we are not promised tomorrow. Please put your faith in Him today.
9. "His Mercy Endureth For Ever"
"O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." Psalms 107:1
Forty one times in the Old Testament you can find the phrase, "His mercy endureth for ever." I don't know of any other five word phrase repeated that many times in the Bible. Chapter 136 of the book of Psalms gives example after example of God's mercy to the Children of Israel, each one ending with "his mercy endureth for ever." I chose this today as a supplement to yesterday's post, "You Can Have Everlasting Life." There may be some reading this devotional site who think they have fallen too deep in sin for the Lord to save them. Please listen as I say to you, "His mercy endureth for ever." There may be some who were raised in church and they turned their backs on God at some time in their lives. Again, I repeat God's Word, "His mercy endureth for ever." Jesus told of a young son who left the father's house and when "he came to himself" he returned to his father willing to be a servant. Look at the father's response in Luke 15:18-24.
"18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry."
If you have strayed away from the Father's house and you are tired of trying to make it on your own, why don't you go back to the Lord today? The writer of Hebrews gives us this promise of mercy and grace. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)
10. The Lord Is My Strength
"He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." Psalms 147:3
I had some plastic crosses that I wanted to let my grandchildren paint over the Christmas holidays that resemble stained glass. I misplaced the paint and after spending so much time looking for it my mind went back about 45 years, when I was in elementary school. I took a glass, gallon jar to school and painted it in art class. I painted a window on one side, like you were looking into the jar through a window to see what was in it. On the other side I think I painted an aquarium with different types of fish and sea life. I was proud of it and so excited when the day came to take it home. One minute it was on my desk, and the next minute it was shattered on the floor. I don't remember what happened to make it fall to the floor. I do remember that I had to go to the janitor's closet and get a broom and dustpan and clean up all that remained of my beautiful artwork. For our devotionals we have been talking about things that never end. But sometimes things, important things in our lives, come crashing down and we are left to pick up the pieces. We may not remember how it happened, but we remember how much it hurt. I think I hid my tears in the room that day, but I am sure I cried as I walked home from school. The painted jar was not important to anyone else, but to me it was a great loss that could not be replaced. As I grew older there were more things, pets, even people in my life that broke my heart when I lost them. And I often did not understand at the time why I had to lose them. But, maybe each loss made me a little stronger for the next one. All the things in this life will come to an end, but we can find strength in the Lord. He alone can restore our joy. God can help us pick up the broken pieces that shatter around us. God can heal broken hearts and lives. The prophet Habakkuk had a message of woe to the Children of Israel but we can see his faith in the closing verses.
"17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments." (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
11. That Which Shall Be No More
"And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." Hebrews 10:17
"As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." Psalms 103:12
Today I bring to an end our series on "Things That Never End." We looked at some really good things that will never end, such as God's love for us, His kingdom, God's Word, everlasting life, and God Himself who is The Everlasting Father. All of these things in God's hands will never end. In fact, I am in God's hands and will be forever. "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." (John 10:27-29) There are some things that it will be a joy for them to end. First of all, my sins will be remembered no more. The Lord has given me forgiveness from my sin, but sometimes I remember the past and ask forgiveness for sins for which I have already been forgiven. Past memories can sometimes bring sadness, but one day it will all be forgotten. John tells us a few more things that will end in Revelation 21:1-8.
"1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."