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Welcome to the New Year… of the Lord
By Rock Church - January 13, 2004

What do you want to get out of this New Year?

The clock is ticking on another year
The clock is ticking on another year

What kind of New Year's resolutions have you made this year? Most resolutions sound very similar, sounding something like, "I'll lose weight, exercise more, and spend less," but what promises have you made to God for the New Year?

Is there a calling that you have been putting off? Has your heart been pulled to talk to someone about the Lord, but you haven't gotten around to it? Keep in mind that when you break these resolutions you're not just breaking a promise to yourself, you're breaking it to the Most High God.

What Does God Want for You? Is Your Will Aligned with His?

Beware of thinking "I'm a Christian, I'm always aligned with the will of God." This is a dangerous way to live, and with such arrogance, it is likely you aren't actually aligned with His will. Remember even Christ himself submitted to the will of the Father:

And He went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. Matthew 26:39

When the Holy Spirit leads you in something, realize that God is communicating with you. Don't take it for granted when God requests you to do His work, but rather take in the true majesty of the situation. We can take God and His communications so lightly, but we should stop and take a moment to think about the awesomeness of it.

Out of the billions of people on the earth, God Himself has asked you to do something for Him. The fact that He singled you out of such an enormous crowd should be humbling in itself. Who are you to say, "God, I can't," "they'll think I'm stupid," or, "it's too embarrassing."

Do you believe you would be able to say something like that if God asked you for your service while standing before Him on His throne? Think about it … what would you say? Would any doubt even cross your mind, or would you just be thrilled that He picked you from the crowd to do His work?

How Can You and God Accomplish It?

God wants somebody who will obey
God wants somebody who will obey

To obey God is to worship God. Obedience is a form of worship and a statement to God that His will is welcome in your life. If obedience is righteousness, disobedience is sin, and there is no escape from our obligation to flee from sin. Ultimately, it boils down to whom you choose to obey:

Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? Romans 6:16

Think about the affect of your disobedience on someone other than yourself. We are here to further the Kingdom of God and tell everyone about the gift of salvation that Christ has given us. So, are you really going to tell the Creator of the Universe (and you), "No?"

Yet we do tell God no, more than we may think. We refuse God's request when we walk past someone that we are drawn to talk to and don't, or at times when we feel compelled to pray but put it off till later and eventually forget. We tell God no every time we let our feelings keep us from doing something for the good of His kingdom. Yet we've all done it, we've all said "no" at one time or another.

Now don't be discouraged that the will of God will not be fulfilled if we don't answer His call. If God wants to call a new believer to Him and we don't listen when the Holy Spirit urges us to evangelize, that does not mean their salvation is lost. God is God, and in the end His will always prevails. We simply lose out on the chance to please our Lord through our obedience, because when we say "no, God," someone else says "yes, Lord."

Are You Prepared for What Lies Ahead?

Christ told the Apostles in Luke 12:11-12, When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say. Remember these words if you ever feel worried about what you are going to say to when God leads you to present the gospel to a non-believer?

Prayer

The Bible says our prayers are like incense to God
The Bible says our prayers are like incense to God

The Bible says in James 5:16, the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. NKJV  What does that mean to you and me? Are you righteous, or in other words, are you in right standing with God? Do you want something availed? If so, pray effectual and fervent prayers. It's that simple.

Use Christ's prayers while He was here on earth as a guide for your own. By praying with discipline and passion we are pleasing God, for the prayers of the saints are as a sweet smelling incense to God. Psalm 141:2 and Revelation 8:4

Faith

Now you may ask, "What makes an effectual prayer?" Christ says in Mark 11:24, Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. The belief that we shall receive what we pray for, or faith in God's promise, is what makes an effectual prayer.

Faith is the basis of our salvation. Faith is the basis our existence. Faith is the basis of our daily protection. If we don't have faith, we don't have God. Jesus told Simon Peter, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. Luke 22:31

Remember, there is no way that we can ever ruin God's plans. We can only miss out on the opportunity to be a part of them.

And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. James 5:15