As we approach a New Year it appears that the world is sinking faster and faster into darkness. The news of what is happening would allow a person to quickly assume that we are sliding into even darker darkness if that is really possible, and it is, it appears! And, the year-end news summaries verifies that it has been and is getting more and more ridiculous. Paul tells Timothy that…
2 Timothy 3:1 (NKJV) But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come
He goes on to describe what we are actually living with in our world as 2007 comes to an end and 2008 begins to dawn on the horizon.
2 Timothy 3:2-5a For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.
However, I believe that the Lord would have us approach the New Year with tremendous optimist and without a drop of pessimism. Isaiah the prophet saw this spiritual darkness where every man – including believers – seems to be doing what is “right in their own eyes” as in the day of the Judges. He saw the spiritual darkness and the gross darkness of man’s heart and resultant life style.
Isaiah 60:2a For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people
But he was not pessimistic – instead, he was very optimistic for God showed him that when darkness settled upon the people God’s light would then shine even more brightly. In context the darkness and gross darkness mentioned is an opportunity for God’s glory to be seen upon His Church.
Isaiah 60:1-7 Arise, shine; For your light has come! and the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. “Lift up your eyes all around, and see: they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall see and become radiant, and your heart shall swell with joy; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you. The multitude of camels shall cover your land, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come; they shall bring gold and incense, and they shall proclaim the praises of the LORD. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together to you, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you; they shall ascend with acceptance on My altar, and I will glorify the house of My glory.
The Lord would say:
“Let your hearts be gripped with tremendous optimism as you approach another year in service to the Lord, your God. For it will be a year of an increase of My tangible presence in your midst which will attract non-believers and lukewarm followers as it intensifies and as My people respond to what I am doing. Those living in darkness and gross darkness will come to your light for you are salt and light in your world and your light and influence will increase as you respond to My Spirit in this New Year. Do not be pessimistic or fearful but know that the Kingdom of My Son is ever-expanding and not shrinking; His influence and His Lordship is constantly increasing and will continue to do so until “the whole earth is filled with His glory” (Isaiah 6:3).
For in these last days My Church and the Kingdom will be like a fishing net that succeeds in catching fish of all kinds (Matthew 13:49). Be prepared, for as My light and My glory rests upon and increases upon My people in this New Year many will be caught in the nets of the Gospel and there will be a great harvest. Begin now to be expectant and optimistic for the Lord of the Harvest is already at work.
O, some may say that we have worked hard and caught nothing. And I would say, do not be discouraged. It is a new day and a new year and things will be different. Listen intently to My directions and obey My voice and as you hear My instructions let down your nets for a miracle catch.
It is a new year and a new season with a renewed focus. We are to be about our Father’s business which is ‘to seek and save the lost’ (Luke 19:10)