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Rom. 10:13-15 says, “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!”
Notice the words in v.15, “Good news of good things.”
I looked at what the Associated Press said were their top stories of 2010. Some of it was good news while other was bad news. There was more bad news than there was good.
Here are the top news stories of 2010 according to AP.
- GULF OIL DISASTER: The April 20 explosion at a BP-leased rig killed 11 workers and unleashed a deep-sea spill that ultimately spewed at least 170 million gallons of crude into the Gulf. Consequences included devastation for fishing and tourism industries, a huge and costly cleanup effort, a management change at BP, and creation of a $20 billion fund to pay for damages.
- HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL: After bitter political wrangling, President Barack Obama was able to sign into law one of his major campaign promises – a $1 trillion health care overhaul intended to expand coverage to more Americans. But Republicans used public misgivings about parts of the plan as a springboard for election gains, and the overhaul faced a welter of lawsuits challenging its constitutionality.
- U.S. ELECTIONS: President Obama called it a “shellacking” – an election in which the Republicans surged to a majority in the House of Representatives and gained more governor’s offices and legislative majorities. The Democrats were able to hang on to their edge in the Senate leaving the U.S. with at least two years of divided government.
- U.S. ECONOMY: Economists said the deepest recession since the Great Depression was over and consumers began to spend more as the year neared a close. But the unemployment rate stayed well above 9 percent, and home prices were weighed down by foreclosures and sluggish demand.
- HAITI EARTHQUAKE: Already the Western Hemisphere’s most destitute nation, Haiti was shattered by an earthquake on Jan. 12 that killed at least 230,000 and left millions homeless. Crucial reconstruction projects were slow to get started; disease and political instability added to the woes.
- TEA PARTY MOVEMENT: Though it lacked the trappings of traditional political organizations, the tea party movement had a profound impact on the 2010 election, influencing the stances of Republican leaders and enabling some maverick challengers to oust GOP establishment candidates in the primaries.
- CHILE MINE RESCUE: In a year of disasters and squabbles, this was a miraculous feel-good story. Trapped nearly a half-mile underground for 69 days after an Aug. 5 mine collapse, 33 Chilean miners were freed one-by-one while an entranced global audience watched on television.
- IRAQ: U.S. forces formally ended their combat role and looked ahead to planned withdrawal, while Iraqis endured months of bitter political haggling after an election that failed to heal Sunni-Shiite divisions.
- WIKILEAKS: First came the online postings of a huge batch of U.S. military documents from Iraq and Afghanistan, then WikiLeaks started releasing a cache of classified State Department diplomatic cables creating embarrassment for Washington in its dealings with other nations.
- AFGHANISTAN: After months of deliberation, President Obama ordered a troop surge in a major bid to turn the tide of the nearly 10 year old war. Intense fighting pushed the Taliban out of some longtime strongholds, but the militants remained resilient, and Afghanistan remained beset by corruption and ineffectual government.
Those are only the top stories. We had to get to #7 before we got good news and that wasn’t even in the United States. That’s the problem, we thrive on bad news.
As Christians, we’ve got some good news.
- It is good Jesus came to Earth.
- It is good Jesus declared his deity.
- It is good Jesus died.
- It is good Jesus conquered death.
- It is good Jesus destroyed the works of the devil.
Jesus said, “Because I live, you shall live also.” As we think about a New Year, there’s going to be negative things that will be recognized at the end of the year. As Christians, we don’t need to dwell on the negative, but accentuate the positive. Good news should be what God’s people think about. When we get to the end of next year I am sure there will be several things as we look back in reflection that we can truly say were “glad tidings.”
As I think about 2011, I think of several things that I would like to have take place:
I’d like to see people converted. God’s attitude toward the sinner is revealed in 1 Tim. 2:4: “Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” In America, we have decided that sin is relative. There is no standard of conduct, but the Bible if very clear that we have a sin problem. Rom. 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Is. 64:6 says, “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”But that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t draw us to Him. John 6:44 says, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”God made a way through Christ. 2 Cor. 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”Justification means the sinner is declared righteous based on the merits of Jesus. Sanctification means that righteousness is applied daily to the sinner.
Everyone is welcome at the foot of the cross. John 6:37 says, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) You don’t have to be a certain way to get Christ, come as you are and let Christ transform you.
I’d like to see God’s people passionate about ministry. Is. 44:22 says, “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud and your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.” We need to turn back to the Lord. Why? We have a tendency to take things for granted. The things of God become common place – no thrill, etc. Some evangelicals would have you believe that man does not exist for God’s benefit, but that God exists for man’s benefit. God becomes this great provider in the sky rather than the One who is worthy of our worship. We are looking for God to serve us rather than for us to serve Him. A general commitment to Christ substitutes for repentance. Emotional feelings replace true worship.
We tend to be foolish. Matt. 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” To put anything above the Lord is foolish, but we do it all the time. I think few people would admit that, but our actions speak louder than our words. I’d like to see people get more involved in the opportunities we have here. We tend to be impatient which further separates us from God. America has developed into a nation that doesn’t want to work hard. At 30 years old, we want what our parents had when they were 65.
I’d like God’s people resist Satan. James says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (Ja. 4:7) We cannot resist the devil in our own strength. We must first submit ourselves to God. Then we can stand against Satan in the strength and might of the Lord Himself. Resist his destructive plans. Satan is a destroyer. He will try to destroy your home, your church relationship, your testimony, etc. Once you say yes to Satan, it becomes easier the next time, and easier. Satan’s way is never good, but unfortunately, even Christians are too ignorant to recognize this.
Finally, I’d like to see Jesus come back in 2011. Phil. 3:20 says, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Jesus promised in John 14:3, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” We’re too attached to this temporary home. We work to have things that will pass away. We spend the majority of our time on things that have no bearing on eternity.
What do you want to hear and see by the end of next year? How many will you share Christ with? How will you serve the Lord by serving others? Will you live the life of holiness God has called you to live? How authentic will you be?