TURNING THE PAGE
Swiftly we’re turning life’s daily pages,
Swiftly the hours are changing to years;
How are we using God’s golden moments?
Shall we reap glory? Shall we reap tears?
These poignant words were penned by Mrs. Roy Carruth and set to music by that grand old gospel preacher and song writer, Tillit S. Teddlie. The song appears in many hymnals used by members of the Lord’s church and is sung with much meaning.
On December 27, 2017 I turned a page on another year of life as I reached the heralded four-score years. I sometimes wonder where these eight decades have gone! I know that the Psalmist was right when he wrote, “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).
At midnight on December 31 we all turned the page on another year of life. What did we leave behind in the old year? What will we take with us into the New Year?
In the New Year, let us turn the page . . .
From hate to love, realizing that “he who loves is born of God and knows God,” while, conversely, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).
From unkindness to kindness, knowing that we are to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). Let the pages of our new year be filled with kind thoughts, kind words, and kind deeds.
From impatience to a demonstration of that patience that God has with us. Let us determine to live in “all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:1-2).
From rudeness to graciousness, remembering that genuine love “does not behave rudely, does not seek its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5), but, like Christ Himself, is ever gracious, easy, kind, and good (1 Peter 2:3).
From coarse, crude language to language that is pure, chaste, and reverent, and the kind that we would not be ashamed to use in the presence of Jesus Himself. Christians are to “let no corrupt communication proceed out of [their] mouth(s) . . . nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting . . .” (Ephesians 4:29; 5:4).
From paralyzing fear to trusting faith. Let us not be as the one talent man who was afraid (Matthew 25:25), but in boldness let us remember that “this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:5). Let us ever keep in mind that God “has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
From irresponsibility to faithful stewardship and accountability to God and man. Let us be accountable as husbands, wives, parents, children, employers, employees, students, and, above all, as disciples of Jesus. In all of these relationships may we see ourselves as stewards (managers of that which rightfully belongs to another) and realize that “it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).
From any hint of compromise with evil and error to strong, unyielding convictions that are firmly rooted in the word of God. Let us “watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). Let us “earnestly contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) and make our personal lives “worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27).
From lukewarmness to burning zeal for the cause of Christ. Lukewarmness is the sin that makes Christ nauseated and will result in one being rejected by the Lord (Revelation 3:14-16). In the new year let us firmly resolve to be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, inasmuch as [we] know that [our] labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
He came to my desk with quivering lip.
The lesson was done.
“Dear teacher, I want a new page,” he said,
I have spoiled this one.”
I took the old page, torn and blotted,
And gave him a new one, all unspotted,
And into his sad eyes smiled:
“Do better now, my child.”
I came to God’s throne with a trembling heart.
The year’s work was done.
“Dear Father, I want a new life,” I said,
“I have spoiled this one.”
He took my old life, torn and blotted,
And gave me a new one, all unspotted,
And into my sad heart smiled:
“Do better now, my child.” (Kathleen Wheeler)
As we begin a new year, if we have never done so, let us turn the page on rebellion and disobedience to Christ, humbly repent of our sins (Acts 17:30), confess our faith in Christ (Romans 10:9-10), and be buried with Him in baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16), thus being “born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5), turning the page from a life of gloom and darkness to one of inexpressible joy and light (John 8:12; Acts 8:26-40).
(Note: The preceding article is an adaptation of one I wrote at the request of the editor and published in the Gospel Advocate, December 2017. It is used here by permission of the G.A.)
January 2, 2018