Want a Blessed/Happy New Year?
In the Holy Bible, God has made over a thousand promises, just waiting for us to meet God’s conditions (Matthew 6:33). Many of the promises take the form of an “if/then” statement. God says “if” we will do what He says, “then” He will bless us. Or, “if” we do not comply with His instructions, “then” He will punish us with unpleasant consequences. We need to understand, however, that this does not work the other way around. We cannot bargain with God, telling Him that if He will do something for us, then we will do something for Him. He is the Creator; we are a part of His creation. (He is the potter, we are the clay.) He is the Ruler; we are His subjects. He is the Judge; we are at His mercy. He is the Savior of those who repent (do an “about face” and are willing to turn away from their choices to break His laws) and submit to His authority (choosing to follow His orders—simply to do what He says, as a soldier would say to his commanding officer, “Yes, Sir,” and diligently carry out his orders); we need Him to forgive and rescue (save) us from an eternity of suffering. God has proved His love for us by providing salvation, and though He loves us, He does not need us, so we are in no position to bargain with Him. One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Psalm 84:11, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield, the Lord will give grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” This is an assurance that those who obey Him in thought, word, and action, being doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving themselves (James 1:22), will have nothing good withheld from them. Of course, that does not mean we will get everything we want, because sometimes what we want is not good for us. We are soldiers, after all, in a spiritual war. Then there is the promise in Psalm 37:4 that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart. Bro. June often quotes this verse and asks, “If you are truly delighting yourself in the Lord, what is the desire of your heart?” The answer: “Jesus, and to be more like Him.” So, if you want to be blessed this new year, choose to do what God’s Word tells you to do (obey/walk uprightly), and you will be blessed. It’s a promise! As I was writing this, I received a call from W.F., a young man who stayed at our Nacogdoches mission for several months back in 1998. He had been thinking about his past and as he thought about GODTEL he decided to give us a call, thank us for our help, and wish us a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. He had come to us from prison and said the structure of life at GODTEL (which includes two Bible studies daily) helped him begin to turn his life around. After leaving us, he drove trucks for awhile, had various odd jobs, and then established a lawn service which he operated for three years, until the oil industry laid so many men off who began to mow lawns to survive. Now he has only a few customers left so he is looking for work again. I told him his call had cheered up my day and that I was so glad we were here and able to help him all those years ago. He is living in West Texas, is married and has a son. He and his family faithfully attend church in Odessa. I am sure they would appreciate your prayers.
How Can We Say Thanks
The Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons at each of our three missions were so abundantly blessed by so many different individuals, groups, Sunday School Classes, Churches, schools, and businesses that we do not have the room to list them all. Some of the gifts were of volunteer service; collections of food items; a welcome shipment of 25 new towels; a collection of 71 coats and 26 blankets from a school group; beef, turkeys, and hams (which helped supplement the greatly-appreciated frequent donations of chicken from Tyson Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride); a bucket of coins (containing over $300.00); a large donation of personal hygiene items; freshly-baked pies; candies; cookies; entire meals prepared and served; Christmas gifts for our residents including some new shoes and enough neck scarves for everyone; boxes of socks from school “Socktober” collections (at all three missions); snack packets with bottled water; pizza; soft drinks (from the Coca-Cola Bottling Co.); and a variety of other items to help stretch our operating budget, brighten our days, and demonstrate God’s love for us. Our Christmas meals fed over 170 grateful people. For this and for your support throughout the year we offer sincere, heart-felt thanks to each of you who joined with us in this ministry. May God bless you.
The Year Ahead
We pray that you will have a year of spiritual growth that will bring you closer to Jesus. The Jewish Feast of Trumpets will be celebrated September 20-22, 2017. Many Bible scholars believe Jesus will return during this feast (when the last trumpet shall sound). Since the 1980’s I have been excited and hopeful as each year’s Feast of Trumpets draws near (and deeply disappointed when it has passed and we are still here). 2017 could be the God-appointed year. If you are not ready to meet God in judgment, I pray you will give Him your life and let Him live in you—today.