Matters of Faith: What’s New

By Reverend J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv

Revelation 21:1-6 NKJV‬‬‬‬

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.”

As we approach the end of 2018, people everywhere begin looking at the things they want to eliminate and things they want to add to their lives. If you had a good year, you are probably planning to continue doing those things that bought you happiness. If, on the other hand, things did not go as planned, you are more than likely looking at making changes so that 2019 is a better year. Whether you are looking to maintain or make small, medium or wholesale changes in your life, the things of 2018 will have passed away and you will have to walk into a new beginning. New Year resolutions are made with great resolve and enthusiasm. Unfortunately, many resolutions are broken before the first 24 hours of the new year have passed.

In the text, John the Revelator writes about seeing a new heaven and a new earth, the dwelling place for all the saints. But the resolution that would permit access would have had to be made long before it descended from God. If you read the preceding chapter, Revelation 20:11-15, you will see that there was a Great Judgment where everyone who’s name was not found written in the Lambs Book of Life were cast into the lake of fire. Only those whose names were found there would live in the new heaven and the new earth that John saw coming down out of heaven from God. In the book of Matthew (25:44-45) Jesus shared that the treatment of others is essential in that process: 44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’

Of all the resolutions that will be made, the most significant and the one with eternal consequences is the one that will prepare you to enter the new heaven and the new earth. The Bible says that our souls are eternal and that we will live either in the new Jerusalem or in eternal torment.

The prophet Daniel (12:2) said “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Jesus concludes his statement in (25:46) with these words: “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” It’s clear that everyone will live eternally. The choice that we have is where!

Please consider prayerfully what your New Year resolution(s) will be for 2019.

My prayer for you and us collectively for the New Year is that we will reflect the strength and courage that has been abundantly given to each of us to work for a world of reason and understanding.

  • I pray that we will reflect the good that lies in each of our hearts, and that day-by-day it will be magnified so that we will come to see more clearly not that which divides us, but that which unites us;
  • I pray that each hour of our lives will bring us closer to a final victory, not of nation over nation, but of ourselves, over our own evils and weaknesses so that the possibilities of a new year will bring with it, joy, beauty, hope, and above all, love and abiding Faith;
  • I pray that we live our lives in such a way that our new year will garner new commitments that brings blessings of peace – the peace to build and grow, to live in harmony and empathy with others, and to plan for the future with confidence;
  • I pray that your resolution will be to have your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and that you would share your resolution with those you love.

What’s new? Only what you determine in your heart, in your mind and in your spirit.

A Happy and Blessed New Year to each and every one of you!

God Bless +++

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial &. Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen by phone” at 626-226-1448. Be sure to Friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook and email us at Order your copy of Matters of Faith: The Book at Book Blues.

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