Something that we have been hearing and will continue to hear for a while is “Happy New Year.”
Last year ended with “12” and this year it ends with “13,” so are we in for a year of bad luck?
After much time in reflection, a series of incidents brought me to a new and truer light on what I am to write for this new year we’ve now entered. In fact, I’m writing this article 12.12.12, which is supposed to be a lucky day, LOL.
At the end of every year we, the American public are besieged with letters, commercials, adds and signs depicting, “The Season of Giving.” In my spirit I knew this was wrong. God did not call us to a season of giving, but to a lifestyle of giving. Giving should not be an annual thing, but a daily thing.
The commercialization of Christmas is the retail businesses way of getting us to “buy something” so we can give something. Many businesses make 40 percent of their annual profit during the Christmas season. Most charities push the “season of giving” theme because they pull in a great deal of their budget during this season, using “guilt giving,” on people. Even some “churches” or “ministries” use “the season of giving” theme as a tool to garner extra giving from their mailing lists.
But was it the season of giving? Two things were used of the Lord to awaken a new understanding in me. First, a quote from the Apostle Paul, found in Philippians 4:15, “…no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone.” Both acts were performed by that church, they gave into his ministry, but they also laid hold of a return on their giving. They were a receiving church and Paul said that was rare.
Next, a line from Hebrews 12:28 hit me while hearing the words of a quite familiar Christmas Carol. The passage states, “…we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.”
This passage came alive to me as these words from a carol spun in my head: “…let earth receive her King.” Then it began to come together. This is “The Year of Receiving,” receiving the gift of our King, His Kingdom and all it provides for us as Believers.
The completion came while listening to a pastor friend of ours at our Jubilee Celebration in December. Pastor Amato referenced Jubilee and that Hebrew season, when all debts were canceled and everything was set right. Every 50 years the children of Israel looked forward to “receiving” this season of being made free and whole again.
That was great for them, but God made a better Covenant with the children of the New Birth. Hebrews 8:6 calls it “a better covenant, with better promises.” We get more than they did, and not every fifty years, but every year, if we RECEIVE IT.
This promise of the Father was made to the church by our Redeemer in Luke 4:19, “...to preach the acceptable year of the Lord,” the year of Jubilee, the gift of restoration of all things, to those who would receive Him as Lord.
Let’s receive our King? Let’s receive His rule and reign, which reverses the curse and restores health, wealth and fullness? In this new year, as never before, let’s receive our King! Receive all He has provided for us in our New Covenant of abundance by receiving our liberation from any hand and all containment. Receive from the Apostle John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” as he said in 3 John chapter 1, verse 2, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
Our Father God sent His Son Jesus to lead us out of any and all captivity, lack, fear, failure or frustration.
This new year, our acceptable, joyful, jubilant year, will we RECEIVE our King and His reign, in and through us? As always, it’s our choice, so chose to receive Jesus as Lord!
The Rev. Billy Sanders is senior pastor of NorthPointe Church in Copperas Cove.