There’s no use denying it any longer: 2012 is here! As we enter into this “New Year,” all sorts of new experiences come with it: new hopes and new fears for what the new year may bring; new possibilities – as well as the feelings of regret and loss that can come as time marches on. With all of the unknowns in the future, feelings of anxiety, fear, curiosity, or hope can settle into all of our hearts. But no matter what 2012 brings with it for good or for bad, Christians have a rock-solid confidence in two important doctrines: God’s sovereignty over 2012, and God’s providence for 2012.
The Sovereignty of God over 2012
No matter what the new year brings, we can be sure of this: God is in control of 2012. All times are in His hand, and since He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last (Revelation 1:8), we know that He makes the ends known from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). Every day that we live in 2012 has already been written in His book (Psalm 139:16), and nothing that happens to us can happen apart from His will. Life and death, health and sickness are in His hands (Deuteronomy 32:39). Neither a sparrow (Matthew 10:29 – 31) nor a hair from your head (Luke 21:16 – 18) can fall apart from God’s will. So for those who love God and are called according to His purpose, the future of the new year doesn’t need to be a scary thing, because He has promised that all things will work together for our good (Romans 8:28). As we make our plans for 2012, we should recognize God’s absolute power and control over all the decisions we make, and ultimately entrust ourselves and our plans to Him (James 4:13 – 17).
On January 19, 1563 the first edition of the Heidelberg Catechism was sent to the printers by Elector Frederick III. The catechism, penned by Zacharius Ursinus and Caspar Olevianus, has served as a masterpiece of theological and pastoral wisdom from God’s Word for Reformed Christians for centuries.
Q. 60 How are you righteous before God?
A. Only by a true faith in Jesus Christ; so that – though my conscience daily accuses me, that I have greatly transgressed all the commandments of God, and kept none of them, and am still inclined to all evil – nevertheless, God, without any merit of mine, but only by His mere grace, grants and imputes to me: the perfect satisfaction, righteousness and holiness of Christ; even so, as if I never had had, nor committed any sin: yea, as if I had fully accomplished all that obedience which Christ has accomplished for me; inasmuch as I embrace such benefits with a believing heart.
What’s so great about the Heidelberg Catechism? Here are ten characteristics for you: Continue reading →
For what is a man? What has he got? / If not himself – Then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels / And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows / And did it my way. / Yes, it was my way.
“My Way” Frank Sinatra
It’s my life / And it’s now or never / I ain’t gonna live forever
I just want to live while I’m alive / (It’s my life)
My heart is like an open highway / Like Frankie said I did it my way
I just want to live while I’m alive / ‘Cause it’s my life
“Its My Life” Bon Jovi
Tell my mother, tell my father / I’ve done the best I can
To make them realize this is my life / I hope they understand
“Second Chance” Shinedown
My only comfort in life and death is that I am not my own, but belong body and soul, in life and death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
Heidelberg Catechism Q. #1
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
With the overwhelming influx of information available, discerning readers must become selective in what they give their time to read. Just in case you missed ‘em, here are some links I found valuable, and hope you will also.
Horton’s Recent Chapter on Scripture
Dr. Rev. Michael S. Horton contributed to Christian Theologies of Scripture: A Comparative Introduction with his chapter “Theologies of Scripture in the Reformation and Counter-Reformation: An Introduction.” Download it from the link above.