Daily Archives: January 1, 2018

January 1 The Measure of True Success

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1).

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God is more interested in your faithfulness than He is in your accomplishments.

Our society is success-oriented. We love success stories. We even have television programs that exalt the lifestyles of the rich and famous. But God’s standard for success is quite different. Unimpressed by our status or wealth, He looks instead for faithfulness to His will.

Paul understood that principle and diligently pursued his calling as an apostle—one of those unique men who were foundational to the church and who were recipients, teachers, and writers of the New Testament.

That was a high calling, and yet, judging from Paul’s lifestyle, most people would hardly call him successful—having suffered imprisonments, beatings, death threats, shipwrecks, robberies, hatred from his theological enemies, sleepless nights, hunger, thirst, and exposure to the elements (2 Cor. 11:23–27). But none of those things deterred him from obeying God’s will. His final testimony was, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). That’s true success!

Although we’re not apostles, we’re to follow Paul’s example of faithfulness (1 Cor. 11:1). That’s possible because, like the Ephesian believers, we are “saints [holy ones] … who are faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1). By God’s grace we’ve trusted in Christ as our Lord and Savior (Eph. 2:8–9) and have received His righteousness (Phil. 3:9) and His Spirit (Eph. 3:16) and every spiritual resource necessary for faithful, victorious Christian living (Eph. 1:3).

What remains is to cultivate greater love for Christ and more consistent obedience to His Word. Those are the hallmarks of a true disciple and God’s measure of success. Make it your goal that your life today warrants the Lord’s commendation: “Well done, good and faithful [servant]” (Matt. 25:21).

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Praise God for His wonderful grace, by which He granted you salvation and all the spiritual resources you need. ✧ Thank Him for His Word, through which you learn the principles of godly living. ✧ Ask Him for opportunities today to encourage the faithfulness of others.

For Further Study: Read Ephesians 1:3–4; 2:10; Titus 2:11–12. ✧ What is the goal of your salvation? ✧ Are you living each day in light of that goal?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 13). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

JANUARY 1 GOD IS ALWAYS FIRST AND WILL SURELY BE LAST

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the LORD.

REVELATION 1:8

God is always first, and God will surely be last!

In the plan of God, man is never permitted to utter the first word nor the last. That is the prerogative of the Deity, and one which He will never surrender to His creatures.

Man has no say about the time or the place of his birth; God determines that without consulting the man himself. One day the little man finds himself in consciousness and accepts the fact that he is. There his volitional life begins.

Before that he had nothing to say about anything.

After that he struts and boasts, and encouraged by the sound of his own voice he may declare his independence of God.

Have your fun, little man; you are only chattering in the interim between first and last. You had no voice at the first and you will have none at the last!

God reserves the right to take up at the last where He began at the first, and you are in the hands of God whether you will or not.

Adam became a living soul but that becoming was not of his own volition. It was God who willed it and who executed His will in making Adam a living soul. God was there first!

And when Adam sinned and wrecked his whole life, God was there still. Adam’s whole future peace lay in this—that God was still there after he had sinned.

It would be great wisdom for us to begin to live in the light of this wonderful and terrible truth: God is the first and the last![1]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

The Spurgeon Center | Spurgeon’s Top 4 New Year’s Resolutions

Spurgeon preached at least 14 sermons about the New Year in his 38 years at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Though many themes arise in his comments, belief is as pervasive as any.

“Oh, to believe from January to December!”

Spurgeon prayed and called for belief in every New Year’s sermons—for Christians and non-Christian. He hoped that the New Year would bring forth the new mercy of the new birth.

“I pray God that a new year may not be begun by you in sin, but may God begin with you at the fall of the year, and bring you now to know his power to save.”

“Ere yet the midnight bell proclaims the birth of a new year, may you be born to God: at any rate once more shall the truth by which men are regenerated be lovingly brought under your attention.”

“If this New Year shall be full of unbelief, it will be sure to be dark and dreary. If it be baptized into faith, it will be saturated with benediction. If we will believe our God as he deserves to be believed, our way will run along the still waters, and our rest will be in green pastures. Trusting in the Lord, we shall be prepared for trials, and shall even welcome them as black ships laden with bright treasures.”

Spurgeon’s New Year’s Resolutions

On the last evening of 1891 and first morning of 1892, Spurgeon gave two brief addresses. He hadn’t preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in several months because of sickness. He was a month away from death. In reflecting on 1891, he spoke about the God-intended lessons of the year, such as the “instability of earthly joys.” As friends came together again in the morning, he gazed upon the new year journey of 1892.

Spurgeon’s New Year’s resolutions involved seeing more than being.

“Let me tell you, in a few words, what I see as I look into the new year.”

So what did Spurgeon resolve himself to see? Here are the preacher’s top five resolutions:

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Sanctification > Resolutions: 6 Ways God Could Sanctify You in the New Year

Michelle Lesley

Happy New Year!

There’s just something about the beginning of a new year that brings with it a yen for getting a fresh start. We think back over the past year, evaluate what we’ve spent our time and efforts on – or what we should have spent our time and efforts on – and, invariably, there’s a desire to make this year better.

Lots of people will make lots of resolutions for 2018: to lose weight, to stop smoking, to exercise more. And by mid-February, some 80% of those people will have failed and given up on their resolutions.¹ Why? Partly because (statistically speaking) most of those people are lost and the flesh is exceedingly hard to tame by sheer “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” willpower. Even Holy Spirit-indwelt Believers can testify to the pull of the flesh.

Should we, as Christians make New Year’s resolutions? Is it…

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Why Did Early Christians And Pagans Fight Over New Year’s Day?

Romans looked forward to the free food and games that occurred at the annual New Year’s Day celebrations, but early Christian clerics were not as keen on the revelries. Long before the so-called “war on Christmas,” there was the war on New Year’s.

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