Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Have a happy, healthy and holy New Year!

Wow it's so good to begin this new year knowing that our life and times are firmly in God's hands.  No matter what the inflation figures say, or the football pundits moan about, or the weather buffs warn about, those who know Christ and are trusting Him feel comforted by this great fact - God is still in charge!

I have been pondering what my priorities should be as I begin 2011.  Of course I long to be pain-free, and I do feel more hopeful about the latest development in this regard in my case. The pain team in London have decided to go ahead for full implantation of the spinal neuro- stimulator in me probably early in the year.  After the very disappointing start, the December trial of the kit turned out to be much more successful than expected, thank God!

But I have been thinking about the absolute priority of being ready for eternity. This became all too up-to-date for me in 2010 with the passing of my younger brother's long-term partner Janet.  Despite the tragedy of the illness that took her, she was granted the privilege, not given to all, to prepare for her untimely death during a period of weeks and then days.  I was with her in the final week, and saw the grace of God at work in her as she asked me to explain my faith again to her, and then she embraced God's love for herself.  I know I will see her again one day.  But what of the millions more who don't get any warning?  Surely if we believe the gospel we must become much more urgent about sharing it?

D. A. Carson says this: 'You cannot live faithfully in this life unless you are ready for the next.  You can't preserve morality or spirituality or doctrinal purity or faithfulness unless you are living in light of eternity' (taken from Be Still My Soul ed. by Nancy Guthrie, IVP, Nottingham, 2010, 115).  I really hope that I will take this on board in the coming year and do all I can to urge others to answer the question posed by the hymn-writer;

'Where will you spend eternity?
This question comes to you and me
Tell me, what shall your answer be?
Where will you spend eternity?'