New Year

How To Have a Glorious New Year

Would you like to have a glorious year in 2022?

The Biblical data regarding the issue of glory says that you can—indeed, it commands that you must!

What is the source of any glory that we hope to obtain? Is it to be found in achievements, investments, promotions, windfalls, victories or some other form of worldly success? Does its inspiration come from the sparks that flare from the fireplace on a cold January afternoon?

Of course, we know the answers to those questions. The only glory that you or I will ever manifest will be reflected from “the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8)1—Jesus Christ.

The New Testament uses the term glory a total of 154 times. Following His ascension back to heaven, Jesus returned to “the glory which (He) had with (the Father) before the world was” (John 17:5).

Thus, when Christ was unveiled to the exiled Apostle John, His appearance was very different than it had been when He last showed Himself to “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:20). His post-resurrection, exalted glory is described in Revelation 1:12-16 (note the correlation to Daniel 10:5-6). John’s reaction was to “(fall) at His feet as dead” (Rev. 1:17).

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Backing into 2022: Longing for the World-That-Was

By M.R. Conrad. Reposted from Rooted Thinking.

2022. What kind of year lies ahead of us? Will we continue living in this dystopian world or will we finally return to normal?

Longing for “Normal”

Normal was the way things were before. We knew the parameters, and we were accustomed to them. No one judged others by their medical decisions. When we wanted to go somewhere, we went without consulting the latest guidelines. We were aware that most media was designed to shape public opinion, but we could ignore it without consequence. We just lived. No, life was not perfectly smooth, impartially just, or always prosperous. However, we were, for the most part, used to the bumps. Because life was settled and generally predictable, we were able to look ahead and anticipate future plans. This was normal.

Then, the pandemic hit in late 2019. Then masks. Then closed borders. Then quarantines. Then inflation. Then the “new normal,” which, as yet, has not been completely defined. Social unrest spiked. Loved ones fell ill and suffered alone, barred from their families. Like never before in our lifetime, the world has been subdivided by quarantines, vaccines, ethnicity, celebrity, wealth, and travel restrictions. We look back and wish for better days to return.1

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Christmas in July . . . and August

Last year at this time I wrote a column about the concept of taking time during this final week of the year (or, if you still need it, the first week of January) to plan for the new year.

This period has become quite meaningful to me, and I have grown to love the idea of investing time in reading, reflecting, scheduling, goal setting and generally preparing for the year ahead.

As I am engaged in that exercise this year, however, I realize that my schedule is still too cluttered with things that must (or at least should) be done during the old year, but which could easily have been done earlier.

One thing I wrote about in last year’s article was my desire to enter into the fall and holiday season with confidence, focused on implementing the things I need to do—and enjoying them. I would like to expand upon that idea briefly here.

It seems to me that a successful plan for the new year ultimately involves setting the end of August as the cutoff for everything that I can possibly fit in before the last four months of the year descend upon us.

You see, in my role as a church ministries representative with The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, those four months are probably the busiest time of the year—and should be among the most productive, as well as meaningful, for me.

Each year, I plan to attend and exhibit in at least three ministry conferences in September and October, and one of them (the Shepherds 360 Church Leaders Conference) involves a trip to North Carolina.

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Sermon for New Year's Day

Sermon no. 1816, delivered on Thursday evening, January 1st, 1885, by C. H. Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.”—Revelation 21:5.

HOW PLEASED WE ARE with that which is new! Our children’s eyes sparkle when we talk of giving them a toy or a book which is called new; for our short-lived human nature loves that which has lately come, and is therefore like our own fleeting selves. In this respect, we are all children, for we eagerly demand the news of the day, and are all too apt to rush after the “many inventions” of the hour. The Athenians, who spent their time in telling and hearing some new thing, were by no means singular persons: novelty still fascinates the crowd. As the world’s poet says—

“All with one consent praise new-born gawds.”

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God Is Merciful: Reflections on 2020

I feel like I’m way out of sync. For me, 2020 was a year of unexpected blessing. Though some of what follows is probably in the category of self-indulgent (and boring) oversharing, I mostly mean it as an expression of thankfulness for undeserved mercies.

Work & Tech

In 2020, my work conditions improved a lot, as did the commute (home office!). At the same time, my work relationships—my connectedness to my peers—also improved, the reverse of what’s supposed to happen in a work-from-home dynamic.

I understand the “face to face is best,” bromide. It’s often true. In our case, our office already operated as a satellite of the main company facility pre-COVID, and all our involvement with company goings-on was remote. But it was awkward, low-tech., traditional remote. A single laptop and projector in one conference room connected with a similar set up out east. You couldn’t hear half the time. People laughed at jokes you missed. Meetings bred a sense of alienation rather than connection.

COVID pushed us all to Zoom and MS Teams and, just like that, we were interacting face to face. We could see and hear each person equally well—and be heard and seen equally well also. For us, Zoom meetings were a huge step forward in personal interaction.

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