Volume. XXV, No. 27
Sunday, 02 January 2011


Facing The New Year With A Christian Perspective


Blessed New Year to one and all! Will the year 2011 be a blessed year to you? Some people hope it will be. Some are just hoping it will not be as bad and tough as the previous year as the global economy turned for the worse, the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. With the prospect of wars and rumors of war in the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions, the continuous threat of terror attacks around the world and the economic downturns in the U.S.A. and Europe – it looks like the year 2011 will be as challenging, if not more so, than the previous year. What do you think we can do? Perhaps, some people would just go home, bury their heads in a pillow and pretend the world and problems do not exist. Others might be so overwhelmed by this bleak outlook and the potential challenges and problems that lie ahead of them and simply do not know what to do. But as God’s people, we should face life’s problems and challenges differently—from a Christian perspective. We should not go into hiding or pretend that challenges and problems don’t exist. Neither should we get overwhelmed by these challenges and problems. The prophet Habakkuk tells us how to face the New Year, even a year that might not look promising from the human perspective. Let us consider this book briefly and see what we can learn from this great prophet of God.

Face the New Year with a Fresh Vision of God (Habakkuk 1:1-2:1)

Firstly, Habakkuk, just like many Christians today, struggled with God’s seeming silence, inactivity and indifference toward the things happening in our world. The prophet questioned God’s “inactivity” in the midst of lawlessness and injustice. The desperate and disillusioned prophet cried, “O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save?” (Hab 1:2) The Psalmist also expressed a similar cry, “How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked?” (Ps 82:2) According to Habakkuk chapter one, God answered him by saying that, in fact, He has been doing something all along. God assured him that He knew full well of the wickedness and injustices of the land, and He revealed that the fearful vengeance upon the wicked would be executed shortly (Hab 1:1-11) and these judgments would be inflicted by a nation, namely Babylon, more wicked than themselves (Hab 1:12-17). Having been revealed of God’s plan, the prophet learned that God’s seeming silence never means inactivity or indifference. God is always in control of the world’s affairs and events. God is not indifferent to injustice and to abuses. He has set a day of reckoning (Dan 8:19; Matt 25:13; Jn 5:25-29; 1Pet 4:7; Rev 14:17) on which He shall judge all the wicked before Him.

 

Face the New Year with a Commitment to Trust God (2:2-20)

Secondly, God’s answer caused Habakkuk to further question God. It is difficult for Habakkuk to imagine why God would use the Babylonians to carry out the judgment. But Hab 2:20 describes God as being in control: “But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” Indeed, God is the Sovereign Creator who directs the world’s and man’s affairs. He rules and overrules from his holy temple absolutely. In other words, God was saying, “leave the matter of judgment to me. I know what to do, and I will do exactly what foreordained before the foundation of the world. Just trust me.” Isn’t this true to most of us today? Instead we like to say to God: “Why aren’t you doing this for your people? Why do you allow this to happen and let the wicked triumph over your people?” If there is one thing we need to learn, it is this; dear Christians, It’s time to be silent before God. There should be no room for complaining or questioning of God’s doing. We must trust the LORD as the absolute Sovereign over this universe!

We also need to learn how to wait for God’s promise. Our hope lies in the coming of the promise God made. What is the promise? The writer of Hebrews helps us understand what to wait for. Hebrews 10:35-39 says: “35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. 36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” So do not throw away our confidence; it will be richly rewarded. We need to persevere so that when we have done the will of God, we will receive what he has promised. For in just a little while, “For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” (Heb 10:37) What does the author of Hebrews want to tell us? The author wants to tell us that the object of our waiting is not a thing, not a what, but a person or a whom! We wait for God! God’s presence, His revelation is our source of strength in times of trouble! Dear Christians, have we ever thought like this before? Does this not give us the strength and grace for us to persevere through even the most dismal days of our life? In other words, to know that He is with you is the key to Christian life - a commitment to trust the Lord! Isn’t the appearance of GOD itself exactly what we are longing for and what we will be receiving? In the glorious vision of New Heaven and New Earth, the Apostle John says, “And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.”(Rev 22:4)  Habakkuk’s tells us further that such waiting for God is not to be done passively, but to wait in faith, or to wait faithfully. The righteous person will remain faithful to God. While waiting he continues to be faithful to his covenant with God.


Face the New Year with a Commitment to Rejoice in God (Habakkuk 3:1-2)

Lastly, Habakkuk also shows us what kind of prayer we should pray (Hab 3:1-2) as we face the challenges and problems ahead with a commitment to rejoice in God! He said that God’s people should pray for great renewal of God’s fame and God’s work.  He prayed, “…revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:3-15 declares God’s deliverances. He saves his people. Habakkuk 3:16 teaches us how to face our worst fear with great faith in God: “When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops.” Then Habakkuk 3:17-19 gave us one of the most amazing expressions of faith. “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19  The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds\' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.” To Habakkuk, there was ample reasons for him to always rejoice in the LORD because He believed that the Lord is His strength and being the God of all flesh, is there anything too hard for Him?” (Jer 32:27) Our divine call is not to wait in silence. Not biting our tongue while waiting in disbelief, confusion and sorrow. We are called to live joyfully because we know that God is in control knowing that we could trust Him. For He is the LORD God almighty who saved us from the damnation and eternal hell fire in His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! So let us rejoice in the LORD and in His salvation as the prophet Habakkuk did!

Conclusion:

As we begin the year, let us do away with false hopes and illusive sense of security of life and the “easy believism”. Our heavenward journey might be full of challenges and problems and our lives might not be a bed of roses, but our hope is in a Sovereign God who rules from His holy temple. Express our trust in Him by rejoicing in Him everyday for the rest of your lives for we shall see the face of our dear Lord face to face – and nothing else really matters!

Blessed New Year to you,

Ps Weng

 


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements
*Kitchen Rosters: Team Leader: Sis Suzane Lim. Next Lord’s Day: Team Leader:  Bro Cong Pham.
*Session wishes all members & worshippers a Blessed New Year.
*Hope Bookstore - open 12:30 - 1:30pm. Books & cards are for sale.
*Deepest sympathy to Sis Chrisanthi Selvanayagam & family on the home-going of her uncle to the Lord last week.
*First “Tiny Tots Sing-a-long” session commences on Tue, 18 Jan, at 10 am. For  further information please contact Sisters Bernadette Ng or Josephine Wong.
*Flower Roster - volunteers still needed for and after May to bring flowers for Worship Service 2011.
*No Men’s Fellowship Meeting this month.
 
Looking Ahead
*Batam Missions 20-23 Jan 2011.
*YAF Adelaide Uni O-Week - 21 & 24 Feb 2011.
*YAF Welcome Evening (TBA)
*Easter Family Bible Camp 22-25 Apr 2011
 
Praise & Thanksgiving
1. Journey mercies: Dn Colin & Sis Grace Gan & family (Halls Gap); Dn Wai Kin & Sis Mavis Wong & family; Bro Boong Atijatuporn (Adel); Mrs Amy Ang (S’pore); & others who have arrived safely at their destinations.
2. Our Lord Jesus Christ - for His redemptive work.
3. Church activities - over the past week.
4. Success in exams for our Year 12 students.
5. Freedom to worship God in Australia.
God’s mercy, guidance & provision in 2010

Prayer Items
1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Colin Creaser; Makoto Kobayashi (JPN), Elton Law, & Len Pearson; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Lydia Fan, Myung Ki, Choon Fong Lee (KL), Nan van Buuren; Gillian Ong, Lehia Paauwe, Margaret Pearson, Julie Tan, Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden; & others in affliction.
2. Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & Ministry, Life University (Sihanoukville); Khmer Bible students.
3. iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim & ministry.
4. IBPFM (USA) - Rev K Coleman, Board & Missionaries around the world.
5. Ministry in London - Ps & Sis Ki.
6. Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries.
7. Ps & Sis  Weng - ministry in Hope BPC.
8. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
9. Journey mercies: Dn Colin & Sis Grace & family); Dns Joyce Gong; Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong; Bro Youwen Yeap; Sisters Lydia Fan (Adl) & Clara Sim (S’pore); & all those who are travelling.
10. Job - Sisters Judy Li & Corinne Teng. Jobs for our uni graduates this year.
11. Good health in pregnancy - Sis Myra Horenung (Mindanao).
12. Church Finance - God’s provision of funds.
13. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
14. God’s comfort - Sis Chrisanthi Selvanayagam & family, & those still in grief.
15. Batam Missions - for organisers & team  members; for safety & protection; & for fruitful ministry. Restrain on the Moslem extremists & protection of believers.
16. Hopefuls & worshippers away at this time of the year. For safety & protection.
17. Dn Christanto & Sis Jenni Budiman & family as they prepare to leave Adelaide permanently for Perth; & Bro John & Sis Josephine Wong & family to Melbourne for three years.
18. Flood victims in Queensland.
19. New graduates starting work this year - guidance & encouragement

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063