Today is the 31st of December of 2014. Today is New Year’s Eve of 2015. Is today the end or just the beginning?
Did you finish 2014 strong? Do you know what you want to change or improve upon? Do you know where you missed the mark? Do you realize the impact you have made on the world around you? Do you know what things you should keep doing? Do you achieve your goals for the year?
Are you preparing? Are you getting prepared for a new beginning with 2015 just around the corner? Do you have a list of things to consider? Do you have a list of things you want to accomplish? Are you setting new goals for the coming year? Are they realistic? What will 2015 have in store for you?
So what is today for you? Is it the end? Is it a new beginning?
This morning’s reading starts at an interesting crossroads too. Is it the end of Jesus’ ministry or is it just the beginning of what is yet to come? We see people trying to make things happen but unable to do so. We see Jesus make a statement which opens the door for them to move forward in their plans to find Him guilty and put to death. We know the rest of the story, but today’s reading from Mark finishes here…
Jesus before the Council
(Matthew 26.57-68; Luke 22.54, 55, 63-71; John 18.13, 14, 19-24)
53Then Jesus was taken to the High Priest’s house, where all the chief priests, the elders, and the teachers of the Law were gathering. 54Peter followed from a distance and went into the courtyard of the High Priest’s house. There he sat down with the guards, keeping himself warm by the fire. 55The chief priests and the whole Council tried to find some evidence against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they could not find any. 56Many witnesses told lies against Jesus, but their stories did not agree. 57Then some men stood up and told this lie against Jesus: 58“We heard him say, ‘I will tear down this Temple which men have made, and after three days I will build one that is not made by men.’”
59Not even they, however, could make their stories agree. 60The High Priest stood up in front of them all and questioned Jesus, “Have you no answer to the accusation they bring against you?” 61But Jesus kept quiet and would not say a word. Again the High Priest questioned him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed God?” 62“I am,” answered Jesus, “and you will all see the Son of Man seated at the right side of the Almighty and coming with the clouds of heaven!” 63The High Priest tore his robes and said, “We don’t need any more witnesses! 64You heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?”
They all voted against him: he was guilty and should be put to death. 65Some of them began to spit on Jesus, and they blindfolded him and hit him. “Guess who hit you!” they said. And the guards took him and slapped him. — from Mark 14
Perspective is what let’s us know if it is the end or just a new beginning. Perspective is a point of view, so where are you seeing this from? They thought it was His end. He knew it was a new beginning! As we look at today, what is today for you? Are you wrapping things up? Are you getting ready for what is yet to come?
This past year was incredible for me. It’s been a year of change, not only with it being my first full year at the new company, but also in the things that my children have chosen to do. It’s also a year of preparation as God has positioned me for 2015 to step in and step up not only at work, but also with church and with Hope Alliance for Kids. God’s plans are better than my plans! God’s plans are bigger than my plans! His plans are for good! His plans are to give me a hope and a future! So as 2014 comes to an end, I am preparing for what God has for me in 2015! Greater things are yet to come here! Let’s not try to do it all in our own power, but let’s do it with the power of the Spirit that is within us! The Spirit given to us by God! Let’s walk in faith believing and trusting God at His word!
Today’s reading continues into Galatians…
Law or Faith
1You foolish Galatians! Who put a spell on you? Before your very eyes you had a clear description of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross! 2Tell me this one thing: did you receive God’s Spirit by doing what the Law requires or by hearing the gospel and believing it? 3How can you be so foolish! You began by God’s Spirit; do you now want to finish by your own power? 4Did all your experience mean nothing at all? Surely it meant something! 5Does God give you the Spirit and work miracles among you because you do what the Law requires or because you hear the gospel and believe it? 6Consider the experience of Abraham; as the scripture says, “He believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous.”
7You should realize, then, that the real descendants of Abraham are the people who have faith. 8The scripture predicted that God would put the Gentiles right with himself through faith. And so the scripture announced the Good News to Abraham: “Through you God will bless all people.” 9Abraham believed and was blessed; so all who believe are blessed as he was. 10Those who depend on obeying the Law live under a curse. For the scripture says, “Whoever does not always obey everything that is written in the book of the Law is under God’s curse!” 11Now, it is clear that no one is put right with God by means of the Law, because the scripture says, “Only the person who is put right with God through faith shall live.” 12But the Law has nothing to do with faith. Instead, as the scripture says, “Whoever does everything the Law requires will live.” 13But by becoming a curse for us Christ has redeemed us from the curse that the Law brings; for the scripture says, “Anyone who is hanged on a tree is under God’s curse.”
14Christ did this in order that the blessing which God promised to Abraham might be given to the Gentiles by means of Christ Jesus, so that through faith we might receive the Spirit promised by God. — from Galatians 3
So let’s build our faith this coming year! Let’s become righteous oaks that will stand the tests of time! Let’s become pillars of righteousness for God! Let’s allow our faith to grow and the Spirit received from God to shine in and through us! Are you still breathing? Then He’s not done with you yet either! So let’s learn from the past and prepare for what is yet to come! Lean not on your own understanding, but put your trust in God! Don’t try to go it alone, God’s plan is that we will depend on one another! Lean on Him if you aren’t sure what to do! Ask Him for wisdom and He will give it to you without finding fault.
If today is an ending or today is a beginning, let’s allow the joy of the Lord be our strength! Let’s finish strong! Let’s prepare for a new beginning! And let’s trust and see all that God will do in and through us!
The Happiness of a Good Person
1Praise the Lord! Happy is the person who honors the Lord, who takes pleasure in obeying his commands. 2The good man’s children will be powerful in the land; is descendants will be blessed. 3His family will be wealthy and rich, and he will be prosperous forever. 4Light shines in the darkness for good people, for those who are merciful, kind, and just. 5Happy is the person who is generous with his loans, who runs his business honestly. 6A good person will never fail; he will always be remembered. 7He is not afraid of receiving bad news; his faith is strong, and he trusts in the Lord. 8He is not worried or afraid; he is certain to see his enemies defeated. 9He gives generously to the needy, and his kindness never fails; he will be powerful and respected. 10The wicked see this and are angry; they glare in hate and disappear; their hopes are gone forever.
— from Psalm 112