It is with great joy that we officially welcome you to the new year and we could not be more grateful that we are all alive to see the new year. We have a lot going on which would include moving to our official website and restructuring the organization’ All we ask is that you remember us in your prayers, read, share, comment, subscribe and generally live your life better and for Christ. So what better way to start the year than a post that is geared towards highlighting important lessons for the new year.Now dig in.
Happy New Year! Yes, it is only right that we begin this with this age-old greeting. It is a new year and with it comes the usual, stock-taking, plans, resolutions and decisions to do better in the new year. For some there really is no need for the buzz and fireworks that accompany the start of a new year, yesterday has gone and today is here is the mantra they live by. If you were in Nigeria as at the 31st of December then you would be aware of the number of churches that had ‘cross-over’ services, the thanksgiving services to God for the gift of a new year, the supplications and finally the new year resolutions. Everyone decides on areas of improvements, habits that need to be dropped and new habits that need to be picked up. We write out plans on our diaries as a way of solidifying them; God to whom we pledge that we would be more serious about our walk with Him, career, finance and other numerous plans. We make plans on how we would be more intentional with our lives. However, before we know it these plans go flying out the window, we become the same way we were before these plans were formed and that brings up to the entire reason for this post.
A new year! A new beginning!
Why the hype? How do we begin the year? How do we ensure that this year does not become like all the other years gone by?
It is a new year and for us it is one that starts on a note of thanksgiving. Being thankful is not just an item to tick off our to-do list on New year. Being grateful is one habit we must cultivate as each day is another reason to be thankful for the gift of life, it is another opportunity to be better, to discover what the reason for our existence is and to live according to our purpose. What better form of thanksgiving is there than to live as Christ did and that is to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to God just as Christ did. You have but one life to live as the popular saying goes: “YOLO- You only live once” as such you need to make that life count for something. To live as Christ did is to embody Christ in every of our actions. This new year and indeed every day presents us a clean slate on which to begin anew. There is this Catholic Hymn I love, and it goes: “…Lord for tomorrow and its needs I do not pray, keep me my God from the stain of sin just for today.” The next day is not guaranteed, we only have but the present moment. We must learn to treat each day with the seriousness and importance with which we treat the beginning of every new year. Each day is a new beginning for us to blot out our mistakes, to live a little better, to change failure into winning, it does not have to take the start of a new year before we make all those plans to begin anew.
Just before the new year we celebrate the birth of Christ and his coming to earth holds lots of lessons that we can apply to our everyday life.
We start with his birth and one of the lessons we can learn is Humility, God humbles himself and comes as man to his creatures, He was born in one of the poorest areas in Israel, in a manager with the animals to teach us what it means to be humble. It however does not remove from his divinity, it does not change who He is, He is still God regardless of the circumstances surrounding his birth. Humility is a problem for most of us, the desire to exercise our authority over others, to laud our achievements and exert our power over seemingly inferior beings. God however calls us to a life of humility, Christ although He was God humbled himself and came to live among us and to die a shameful death on the cross for us. We have leaders both Christian and Secular who exert their power over their followers because to them God is using them. It is important to note that there is no powerful man of God, only a powerful God working through man and He can raise up stones to do his work. We as Christians are called to be teachers to all but students of Jesus our master. Our lives should be an example to all, our ways should teach others, show them the path to follow and not for us to conform to the standards of the world. Being humble does not take anything away from you, it doesn’t make you any less of who you are. Humility teaches us that we do not know it all, there is something to learn from everyone. We have to come to the understanding that all we are and have comes to us from God as such we all ought to make our boast in God.
We move to the Wise men and the gifts they offer to Jesus and their significance to us as Christians. Just as the wise men offered Christ gifts, pause for a moment and ask yourself what my gift to Jesus will be this new year and for the rest of my life?
- Gold which signifies Kingship. Christ asks us for our LOYALTY that we pay our allegiance to Him, that we hold on to Him in the good and bad times. He is our King, his kingdom one that has no end and if we remain loyal to him we become sharers of that Kingdom.
- Frankincense which signifies Priesthood. Incense was used in Jewish culture by the priests during worship to God. Christ requires from us that our life becomes one act of WORSHIP to the God who has created us. And what is worship? Romans 12 vs 1 rightly sums it up: “So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer.”
- Myrrh which signifies Death. It was used in Jewish time as an embalming oil. Christ died that we might have life. The bible in Romans 6: 23 says that the wages of sin is death and Christ the sinless one bears our sins, takes our place that we might live for him. Jesus asks us to offer our LIFE in service to him alone.
To sum it up, He is the way we must follow (Our King), He is the truth we must believe and worship (Our Priest) and He is the Life that gives us life (Our Savior).
And we move to the Baptism of the Lord. After John had baptized Jesus, the heavens were opened, and the voice of God was heard saying: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased…”
‘You are my beloved son/ daughter in you I am well pleased’
Stop for one minute and ask yourself:
Can God say that of me?
Can God say that of you?
Our Baptism does the following in our lives:
- Rebirth: We are born again in Christ, dead to sin and to the world and alive in Christ. So, this is the time to look back and renounce sin, death, the devil and his empty promises and re-born in Christ. Because when Christ comes into our lives, the quality of our life changes and we become the master to sin no longer slaves.
- Initiation: We become members of God’s Kingdom, adopted children of God, heirs of the Kingdom.
- Consecration: Consecration means to be set apart. As 1 Peter 2:9 puts it: “But you are the chosen race, the King’s priests, the holy nation, God’s own people, chosen to proclaim the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his own marvelous light.” You are called to be the difference this year, to let others see the difference. The difference is you.
- Empowerment: Baptism gives us the spirit of God and God’s Spirit empowers us to serve God and serve others. It also gives us the strength to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age. God’s spirit renews us as his followers.
We therefore should portray the attributes of people who have been baptized into Christ. God must be able to say of you: ‘This is my beloved Child in whom I am well pleased.’ You are different, set apart, you are now dead to sin, God’s heir, empowered to serve God and your actions must show this. Let this new year mark a new beginning for you. Let this be the start of an intimate relationship with God, a walk with your friend and Lord. Important to note is that God loves you and me, he loves you just as you are, not because of what you have done or not done. He knows you are a work in progress and he is not finished with you yet and the very fact that you are alive is enough proof that you are still important to him. Now is the time to ask ourselves:
What is God’s plan for me?
What is the purpose of my existence?
How am I living out that purpose and how do I plan to live out that purpose this new year and going forward?
How am I serving God this year?
How am I making the world a better place?
How am I being the difference?
How can I be a light to my world?
God has a plan for each one of us and they are all for good. He has a purpose for our existence and we must find out what that purpose is and align ourselves to it. Know this that for your sake God will not keep silent or rest until your vindication goes forth as brightness; meaning that he is constantly on the move working things out for your wellbeing. Let Him be God in your life this year because cut off from Him you will not survive. We need to learn to put our trust in Him and have faith that He does not fail. His love for us is constant and unfailing. He calls us to faith and an intimacy with him. He comes to make all that is imperfect to be perfect. Invite Jesus into your life every day and ask him to be your strength and sustenance. It is not enough to make plans and new year resolutions, it is God who gives us the power and the grace to live by them for it is not by power or by might but by the spirit of God and there is nothing impossible for him to do. Lean on Him.
This year you are called to “Show the way, Be the light.”
See you all next week as we continue with #Christianfiction Thanks for sticking with us. Stay tuned, God bless you all and do not forget that God loves you more than you can ever imagine. Do follow us on all social media handle @Godlywomenarising
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