Matters of Faith: A NEW VIEW FOR A NEW YEAR!


by Rev. J. Loren Russell, Ba, MDiv.

Isaiah 6:1-3 NKJV
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory! (Isaiah 6:1-3 NKJV)

Acts 7:55-56 CEB

“But Stephen, enabled by the Holy Spirit, stared into heaven and saw God’s majesty and Jesus standing at God’s right side. He exclaimed, “Look! I can see heaven on display and the Human One standing at God’s right side!”

There is no doubt about it, we are blessed to be able to embrace a new year. For many, 2016 seemed like nothing but science fiction. There are many people who would have loved to have celebrated the arrival of this new year, but their fate said otherwise. Many were at the precipice yet did not see the dawn of this new year. I thank my God for each and everyone one of you and pray that this will be the best year you’ve ever had in your life. My prayer is that you have a new view in this new year.

In the two texts that I’ve selected for this article, we find the story of two men; one named Isaiah and the other Steven. Both had encounters with death; one experienced the death of someone he loved, the other faced his own death. Many times, it’s only at these critical times, times when we are most volnerable, that we have a significant encounter with the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. It seems that it all too often takes a tragedy to get our eyes to see, our ears to hear, and our hearts to open.

Isaiah is the author of the book that bears his name. He is the prophet of God who didn’t respond right away to the Lord’s call in his life. It took a death to open his eyes, to unplug his ears and to reach his heart.

Steven was one of the first deacons in the new church era, and became the first martyr, the first Christian to be killed for his belief. But the Bible says that Steven was filled with the Holy Spirit, and while he was being stoned to death, he looked up and there He (Jesus) was, standing at the right hand of the Father.

Both Isaiah and Steven saw the Lord; one saw Him when someone else died, the other at his own imminent death. It doesn’t matter how one comes to know the Lord or even when. What matters is that you come to know Him before its everlasting and too late. You either see Him standing at the right hand of the Father, or you see him on the bench as your judge. But you will have a new view.

Life is a remarkable thing. We didn’t ask for it, but we are in it. We often are frustrated with it, but nobody really wants their life to end. When it does come to an end, it will have ended before you would have liked, and your obituary won’t even come close to defining your life and what you will have meant to those who knew and loved you. Before long, all that will remain of your precious life will be fading memories until the last generation of those who knew you will themselves have gone from time to eternity and you will be no more.

So let me encourage you, as we launch into 2016, don’t wait for a tragedy to strike before your eyes see, your ears hear and your heart opens. Let this be your eye opener, your  amplifier, your heart regulator, and get.., a new view for a new year!

God Bless 

Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, MDiv is President/CEO of The JLR Company, and an associate minister at both Goodwill and Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio (internet), Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM., or by phone at 626-226-1448.  


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