by Pastor Jeff Farnham
“And what shall I more say?…” (Hebrews 11:32)
Every year at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year, pastors and evangelists struggle a bit, wondering what they can say about these holidays that has not already been said. After all, what else is there to say? “…what shall I more say?…” that has not already been said about the new year? What can be included that is original or unique? In short, nothing. However, what can be written here is a repeat of some spiritually practical concepts.
One should make time for the Scriptures.
Each person should carve out a substantial chunk of the day and devote it to the Word of God. One should read and study that as if his very life depended upon it, for indeed, “…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” – Matthew 4:4
The daily schedule should not crowd out the daily discipline and the delighted devotion to the Bible. One can always push out something temporal and lay aside something carnal to allow for more and better time in reading and study of the Bible. The goal should be making time, lots of time, and real time.
One should make time for supplication.
As the believer observes the increase of the intensity and frequency of calamities, he ought to also increase his time of prayer. As Paul entreated Timothy to pray for the salvation of kings and others in authority, he linked that to the privilege of the saints living in peacefulness, quietness, godliness, and honesty (1 Timothy 2:1-6). As Paul wrote under inspiration, he often included prayers which the saints can pray, not in mindless recitation but in humble supplication (Ephesians 1:17-23 & 3:16-19; Philippians 1:9-11; Colossians 1:9-12 & 4:12-13). The type of praying that gets answers can be the sudden cry that takes a mere five seconds. Nevertheless, the ongoing plea that takes an hour is also a type of praying that should be common nowadays. Perhaps each person might covenant with God to cut his social media time in half and devote the first half to intercessory supplication, indeed “…effectual fervent prayer…” that “…availeth much.” (James 5:16).
One should make time for sanctification.
Baptists make use of words like sanctification and consecration as if they were automatic results of a one-time decision at an altar. These words have both a one-time and a full-time aspect. There is certainly a one-time sanctifying work and a one-time act of consecration. However, there is also a full-time sanctifying work and a full-time lifestyle of consecration. The one-time facet of sanctification and consecration is attractive, taking only a few moments of one’s precious time. The full-time facet takes the purpose of heart of Daniel that lasts from the arrival at accountability, through adolescence, into adulthood, and finally agedness. One must submit himself to the sanctifying work of Scripture and the Spirit of God every day for this full-time working to render any lasting effect upon the life. One must choose consecration every day, every hour, even every moment, if he would make the one-time act of consecration a full-time reality in his life. Such holy resolve takes time devoted to resisting the devil, time reserved for denying the flesh, and time focused upon crucifixion to the world.
One should make time for services and for service.
Just do it is a mantra made famous by Nike brand. They, however, borrowed it from Mary, who told the servants at the wedding of Cana that whatever Jesus said to do, they should do. Services scheduled for Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday evening, revival evenings, and so forth, are important. Time must be made for them with a refusing to allow any other function to take precedent. The service of Jesus Christ, regardless of its classification, is important. Time must be made for playing an instrument or singing, for teaching a class, for knocking doors, for discipling a new believer, for witnessing to a co-worker, for helping a needy one, for relieving an afflicted one, for comforting a hurting one, for praying with a distressed one, or for cheering the crestfallen one.
One should make time for sweetness.
What a sour world one enters when he leaves his own front door. One must make certain others do not enter a sour world when entering his front door! Each person should be sweet to husband or wife, to son or daughter, to son-in-law or daughter-in-law, to pastor or evangelist or missionary, to neighbor or friend or acquaintance or co-worker, to teller or cashier, to teacher or student, to lawyer or client, to doctor or patient. One should just be sweet; he should do away with the bitterness, the sourness, the grouchiness, and the grumpiness! All this could be summed up in the concept of Christ’s living His life in the child of God in what has been called the exchanged life. Paul twice wrote of this in the practical realm, stating in Ephesians and Colossians that the saints should put off the old man and put on the new. As easy as this may sound, it takes time to remove old habits and develop new ones in their place.
Each person should launch this year as a year in which he schedules time for the Scripture, supplication, sanctification, service, and sweetness. Let it be predicted that he who will consciously and devotedly allot substantial segments of his time to these holy pursuits will avoid trouble. He who avoids trouble will also stave off the consequences of trouble; by avoiding the trouble and its consequences, he will have a beautiful and blessed year.