Dec 28, 2020
Join us as we explore God’s ancient wisdom and apply it to our modern lives. His word is as current and relevant today as it was when he inspired its authors more than two and a half millennia ago. The websites where you can reach us are alittlewalkwithgod.com, richardagee.com, or saf.church.
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Thanks for joining me today for "A Little Walk with God." I'm your host Richard Agee.
How will you start your new year? Will it start with hope or despair? Do you think 2021 will be better or worse than in 2020? Will we get better at coping with the problems we face in the growing pandemic or will we get worse in our coping skills? I ask those questions about the pandemic elephant in the room because many think the vaccine on the street is the instant answer. But there is a problem with that thinking. You see, for herd immunity, it takes at least 70% of us having the vaccine for herd immunity to become effective assuming the virus’ mutations don’t hinder the vaccine ineffective.
It has taken a week to immunize the first million in the US. Assuming we get better at it and can get ten times better at immunizing our population of 332 million, that still takes us more than half of next year to reach that magic 70% threshold. Until then, our population remains at risk of illness and death at the hands of the pandemic. And to immunize the world’s population, which still endangers us in this global economy in which we live, will take two or three years at best, convincing the richer nations to pay for the vaccines for the poorer countries. What we still don’t know is how long the immunity lasts or if, like flu vaccines, we will need to take it periodically. If so, we may never escape the devastation COVID can cause worldwide.
And if the coronavirus stays with us, the economic downturn stays with us until we figure out how to live and work with social distancing. It means a completely new way of life for all of us. How we build our office spaces, our schools, our manufacturing plants, our restaurants and social gathering places, and every other place people gather to do things. The virus will affect every part of life if we must live with it from now on. Life has and will continue to change, it will be a question of how quickly we can adapt. Can we do that in just one year? We haven’t so far. We’ve relied on the government to help fix something it cannot fix. If we continue to expect the government to give us the answer, we will not have a very good 2021.
So, what do we do with a new year coming into view? Friday, we tear the last page off the old calendar and begin a new one. Many people will make resolutions they won’t keep. Many will start diets that last a few weeks. Some will begin both and stick to them until they reach their goals. A very few will decide it’s time to start that Bible reading plan and get closer to God in the new year. Some of those people will stick with it a few weeks and quit, but I hope more than ever before will stay with those plans and find real solace and peace in God’s word in the coming year. He is the answer to our problems.
In fact, God’s grace provides such remarkable peace and comfort in times of strife, despair, and hopelessness, that it the best time to resolve to give him praise. The lectionary Psalm this week points out our reluctance to praise as it lists humans last it its litany of who gives praise to God. Listen to the words of the 148th Psalm and let it lift your spirits today.
Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host!
Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created.
He established them forever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.
Praise the LORD from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command!
Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!
Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds!
Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and women alike, old and young together!
Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the LORD! (Psalms 148:1-14 NIV)
Jesus told the Pharisees that if the people around him didn’t shout their Hallelujahs during his triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem, the rocks and hills would cry out their praise. All those inanimate objects of creation knew the importance of the one entering the city. He was and is the creator and sustainer of all things, of all life. He deserves praise. If people didn’t praise him, the animals around him would sing his praise because even in their ignorance, they knew he created them and was and is the son of the living God.
Our problem, we as the highest of the created order thought we could be like God from the beginning and we still think that. We think we know so much only to find out every day how little we really know. God is omniscient and lets us find out more about our universe a little at a time. Think about how much we have learned about this world in the last fifty years. In 1969, men first stepped onto the surface of an unearthly surface, the moon. Only two years ago, Voyager 2 left what we think is our solar system and entered what we think is interstellar space to find out space isn’t as empty or cold as we thought.
If our sun were the size of a basketball, earth would be the size of a pea, and the black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy where we live would be 5,000 miles away. The black hole would also be the size of a basketball, but thousands of times as dense as our sun. So dense, light can’t escape the force of gravity that pulls it into that dark mass. Our galaxy is a medium-sized galaxy among the billions of galaxies we have counted in the sky. All which God created when he said, “Let there be light.”
In our arrogance, we think we know so much, but we haven’t begun to know what God knows. We don’t know how the earth and our universe began. We don’t know why it holds together or why the galaxies are flying apart at hundreds of thousands of miles per hour. We don’t know how the brain works or how memories are stored within the electrical impulses between the neurons. We don’t know how mass turns into energy in nuclear reactions or how to reverse the procedure if Einstein’s equation follows normal mathematics rules so that. We aren’t even sure how many planets or moons exist in our solar system. Now some think there might be a small blackhole ninth planet beyond Neptune circling our sun. We are a truly arrogant species.
What will make 2021 better? Stop and give God the praise he deserves. Read his word. Let his voice, spoken through the prophets, the authors he inspired to record his text centuries ago, come alive for you. Talk to him as a friend in prayer. Imagine him in a chair beside you and talk to him. Share from your heart your every care and burden. Then listen to his guidance. Remember, it will never disagree with his word. He hasn’t changed and never will. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So, listen to his advice and follow it.
Then just praise him. Praise him for all he has done for you. Praise him for the creation he allows you to enjoy. Praise him for the breath he gives and the life he brings. Praise him for the opportunity to share his grace with others. Praise Him for the gift of salvation and the washing away of the guilt and stain of sin in your life. Praise him that no matter what this new year holds he will still be the same. Nothing that happens in 2021 will surprise him or change him. He is still the answer for bringing peace and comfort and joy to our hopelessness and despair. Praise him today and every day and the new year will be one of joy the world will never understand until they have Christ in their heart. Have a happy and blessed new year.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible-based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.
Scriptures marked NIV are taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV): Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™. Used by permission of Zondervan