New Year, New Beginnings

The old year, with its burden of record, is fast passing away. The new year, with all its possibilities, will soon be ushered in. What advancement have we made in the knowledge of Christ during the past year? Are we prepared to show, more decidedly than ever before, that we are on the Lord’s side? At this time, when the nations of the world are wavering between infidelity and idolatry, are we prepared to stand as faithful ambassadors for Christ? Shall we not, at the beginning of this new year, give ourselves and all we have to God? Shall we not listen to His voice, which calls us to a renewed contest, to a more thorough consecration of ourselves and our intrusted capabilities to His service? {ST, January 2, 1901 par. 1}

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To God we owe all we have and are. In Him we live and move and have our being. We have not been forgotten by Him. In His book each human being has a page, on which is recorded his whole history. Constantly and untiringly God is working for our happiness. The treasures which He has placed within our reach are numberless. “The Lord is good to all; and His tender mercies are over all His works. Thou openest Thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.” He is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. The earth is full of His goodness. Creation proclaims, with myriad voice, the forbearance, love, and compassion of the Almighty. {ST, January 2, 1901 par. 2}
Thru all the ages God has manifested for the human race a love that is without a parallel. He so loved man that He bestowed on him a gift that defies computation. That the abundance of His grace might be revealed, He sent His only-begotten Son to our world, to live a man among men, to spend His life in the service of humanity. In our behalf the Son of the Infinite God was numbered with the transgressors. Christ was the channel thru which the Father poured into the world the rich stream of His grace. God could not give less than the fulness, nor was it possible for Him to give more. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” {ST, January 2, 1901 par. 3}
God has made us His stewards. To every one He has given some talent, which is to be improved and returned to Him. Every one is the possessor of some trust. Time, intellect, reason, money, the tender ministry to which some are adapted,–these are the gifts of God. From the lowliest to the highest, all have been intrusted with the goods of heaven, and all are called upon to make a return to the Giver. {ST, January 2, 1901 par. 4}

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The first thing we are to do is to give ourselves to the Lord. Life, with its endowments and privileges, is God’s gift. Let us remember that it comes from God, and is to be wholly consecrated to Him. Let us say with Paul, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is thru the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” {ST, January 2, 1901 par. 5}
When we have given ourselves to God, we shall be willing to give Him what He has given us. All we have and are is to be laid at Christ’s feet. We have been bought with a price which can not be estimated, and we should count it a privilege to co-operate with God by denying self, by giving of our earthly possessions to make it possible for those in the darkness of error to hear the truth. Each soul saved is worth more than a world; for he is saved unto eternal life. Those who invest their means in this work double their talents. {ST, January 2, 1901 par. 6}
Whether or not we give mind, soul, and strength to God, it all belongs to Him. God speaks to each human being, saying: “I have a claim on you. Give me your zeal, your capabilities, your energy, your means.” He has a right to ask this; for we are His, redeemed by His boundless love and by the agony of the cross of Calvary from the service of sin. On no account are we to devote our powers to self-serving. Day by day we are to return to the Lord that which He has intrusted to us. And we are to ask Him, not only for temporal blessings, but for spiritual gifts. He who asks in faith, believing that God will fulfil His word, and who acts in accordance with His prayer, doing God’s will in all things, will receive rich blessings from on high. And as he receives, he is to impart to those who need help. {ST, January 2, 1901 par. 7}

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The Christian has been given the management of his Lord’s goods. Great trust is reposed in him, and he is to treat the property in his hands with as much care as if it were his own; yea, he is to be more exact in his treatment of it, putting more thought, more energy, more devotion into his work, because he has been trusted to stand in his Master’s place. His interests are to be bound up with the interests of his Master. He is to lose all selfishness in working for the One who has honored him by trusting him. If he were to use for his own advantage any portion of the goods intrusted to him, he would prove himself unworthy of the trust placed in him. He would sacrifice his honor at the shrine of mammon. {ST, January 2, 1901 par. 8}
Christ warns us against laying up treasure on this earth, “where moth and rust doth corrupt.” He urges us to use our goods for the advancement of God’s kingdom. He sees men risking everything to secure earthy riches, crazed with the prospect of getting gain; and, lifting up His voice, He cries, “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” In comparison with the value of one soul, the whole world sinks into insignificance.  Mrs. E. G. White.  {ST, January 2, 1901 par. 9}

Although in one sense the first day of the new year is no more to God than any other day, yet He often puts into the hearts of His children at that time a desire to begin the new year with new resolves,–perhaps with plans to carry out some worthy enterprise,–and with purposes to depart from the wrongs of the old year and to live the new year with new determinations. {AUCR, January 5, 1914 par. 1}

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In God’s plan for His ancient people, He gave the command, “On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle.” We have no tabernacle to set up as had the children of Israel, but we have a work of building to do, the importance of which all need to understand. Let us remember that character is not the result of accident, but day by day it is forming for good or for evil. Great importance attaches to this work of character building; for it is far-reaching in its results. We are builders for time and for eternity. Few realize the power of habit. Examine your own heart and life in the light of God’s Word, and ask yourself, “What has my record been for the year that is just closing? What advancement have I made in the Christian life? What victories have I gained? And what have I done to help others, and to lead them to Christ?” {AUCR, January 5, 1914 par. 2}

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God has not placed you in the world to lead an aimless life. He designs that you should be useful, and reach a high standard of moral excellence. To each one some work is given. During the old year have you performed your appointed tasks with cheerfulness and fidelity, having an eye single to the glory of God? Opportunities and privileges have been granted you; what use have you made of these gifts entrusted to you by our Heavenly Father? Have you made yourself a blessing to those around you? Have you done what you could to make them happy and win them to Christ? {AUCR, January 5, 1914 par. 3}
All this is a part of your appointed work. God also requires each of us to subdue self, not giving the rein to self-indulgence or appetite, and to form characters that will stand the test of the judgment and go with us into the future life. {AUCR, January 5, 1914 par. 4}

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Shall the close of the year find you further advanced than you are today? Will you put away evil habits? Will you be considerate of others, faithful to do the work of a Christian? If you will carry the principles of right-doing into all the affairs of life, you will find that it will promote health of body, peace of mind, and prosperity of soul. You will have a strength, dignity, and sweetness of character that will have a transforming influence upon others. {AUCR, January 5, 1914 par. 5}
We are now entering upon a new year, and may it prove a beginning of years to us. If in the old year we have made failures, let us commence the new by rectifying these errors as far as we can. If the old year has borne into eternity a spotted record of opportunities neglected and privileges slighted, let us see that that of the new year is free from these blemishes. Its days are all before us; let us begin now to make the history of each as it passes, such as we shall not tremble to meet in the judgment. Let us fill each one full of loving, helpful work for others. Let us develop all our powers, and make of ourselves all that God designed that we should. {AUCR, January 5, 1914 par. 6}
In the keeping of God’s commandments there is great reward. A reward awaits the overcomer in the great day, when he shall hear from the lips of our Lord, “Well done, good and faithful servant”; and there is also a present reward in the peace and happiness that flow from the conscience at rest, from the sweet assurance that we enjoy the favour of God. “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.” To all who walk in His ways the new year will be crowded with goodness and blessing. Mrs. E. G. White. {AUCR, January 5, 1914 par. 7}

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