Pondering The Past Year & Preparing For 2006
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 1/1/06
Psalms 90:12 "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."
The Scripture passage that I begin this message with is a part of the prayer of Moses. It is a wise prayer for us as we begin 2006. Essentially Moses is praying, "Lord, help me to carefully consider my own fragility, and the shortness and uncertainty of life that I might make the wise choices in life.
That brings me to the first point in this message titled "Pondering The Past Year & Preparing For 2006."
Psalms 62:5-8 "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. 7 In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. 8 Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah."
I do not think that anyone had any idea of the degree of devastation that Hurricane Katrina would leave behind. "Americans watched, horror-struck, as more than 1 million people fled their homes, while tens of thousands were stranded without food, water or power…[and] even local, state and federal agencies proved unable to aid its residents." (Time: Year In Review).
Hurricane Katrina was the greatest natural disaster to strike the United States in since its founding. Your children and grandchildren will read about it in the history books of the future. But, why am I bringing up Hurricane Katrina? Because it illustrates the truth that our first cry for help should not be the government, but God. Turn with me to Psalms 62:7-8 "In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. 8 Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah."
Many people have come to look at the "government," whether local, state or national, in an almost god-like fashion. Their first cry is to the government for help. They expect "government" to fix any and all of their problems.
As I ponder the problems relating to Katrina, too much time was wasted on finger pointing as to whom was to blame for not dealing with the problems quickly enough during and after the Katrina disaster. There should have been a national call to go to God in prayer for wisdom and strength for "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalms 46:1. As we face 2006 I believe that our first cry for help should be to God.
It is important to ponder the brevity of life and prepare for death! There are two passages of Scripture that come to my mind on this point. The first is Psalms 90:10 "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." The second is, James 4:14 "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
There were many obituaries of famous people in 2005 – Frank Perdue (Perdue Chicken), John De Lorean (of car fame), Johnnie Cochran (lawyer), Bob Denver (Gilligan), Eddie Albert (Green Acres), Sandra Dee (Gidget), James Doohan (Scotty on Star Trek), Arthur Miller, (Death of A Salesman), Prince Rainier III (Prince of Monico), Pat Morita (Mr. Miyagi of Karate Kid movies), Gordon Lee, (Porky or the Little Rascals), Molly Yard (N.O.W.), Peter Jennings (ABC News anchor), Johnny Carson, Terri Schiavo, Chief Justice William Rehnquist or Karol Wojtyla (John Paul II).
Regardless of whether you have some degree of notoriety or none at all, we will all die sooner or later and we had better be prepared, because God is no respecter of persons. There is only one way to Heaven…God’s way.
Perhaps you are thinking, preacher, this is the first day of 2006, why do you want us to think about such a morbid topic as death? Well, the preacher of old said it was better to go to a funeral than to go to a party. Turn to Ecclesiastes 7:2 "It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart."
It is important to think about death because, you can only prepare for it while you are living. It does not matter if you are a prince, a lawyer, a pope or just an ordinary person; the only way to be prepared for death is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. We read in John 5:24 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."
Life is short. Death is certain. There is no chance in eternity to change your destiny, so be sure Christ is your Savior TODAY.
There is one more thing I ask you to ponder. Turn in your Bibles to
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."
Review 2005 in you mind and evaluate how you feared God and kept His commandments. Have your grown in the Lord? Have you obeyed the Lord. Now, set some goals for 2006. Set some Bible study goals (2 Timothy 2:15-16). Set some prayer goals (1 Timothy 2:1) Set some witnessing goal (2 Corinthians 5:19-20) . Set some giving goals (2 Corinthians 9:7). Set some spiritual growth goals (2 Peter 3:18). Set some service goals (Galatians 5:13). Stretch yourself spiritually (Philippians 3:14).
Let me review. Here’s how to prepare for 2006 –
Our First Cry For Help Should Be To The Lord
Life Is Short, Be Sure You Are Prepared To Meet God
Live For The Lord