BY YOHAN PERERA
A blessed new year to all of you. By no stretch of the imagination, the past two years have been an easy time. The pandemic has forever changed our world and yet here we are gathered to thank God for the brand-new year. Many have speculated the year 2022 will turn out to be a better year while others are not sure. It’s a “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst” scenario. If you ask me, I am clueless, but remain hopeful. Here’s why?
COVID-19 has changed my world, but it cannot change my God. The word of God assures me he is my never-changing God in the ever-changing world, (Revelation 1:8). That promise is a fact because his goodness is a consistent reality in my life. Today even as we enter another brand-new year, I want to share with you three powerful acts of God that continue this year because he doesn’t change.
1. God still Speaks in the Year 2023
Psalm chapter 33 verse 9 – For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command. (NLT)
Only the New Living Translation uses the term “began” in this verse, among hundreds of other English Bible translations. The dictionary defines the term “begin” as performing or undergoing the first part of (an action or activity). Therefore, I believe “began” in this context refers to the precise moment in history when God spoke the earth to start spinning!
If you did not understand me, think of an idling car. It’s not until someone ignites the engine and shifts the forward gear the wheels start spinning and the car begins moving. Likewise, the earth had to start spinning before it became a suitable habitat even for the microscopic Amoeba. So, when God spoke the earth began spinning. He spoke again and everything else on earth came into existence.
What would happen if the earth stopped spinning? We will have a climatic disaster. What would happen if the earth started spinning out of control? We will have a catastrophe. It’s not a coincidence that the earth keeps on spinning at the right speed. It’s because God’s spoken word has set the right pace at which the earth must spin! The bottom line is there’s power in God’s spoken word.
Today, our problem is not that the pandemic has caused our lives to stop spinning, but that the pandemic has caused our lives to spin out of control. The good news is God still speaks in this new year as much as he did in the previous year. If your life is spinning out of control don’t attempt to gain control. It will only worsen the situation. Rather listen to God’s word and yield your life to his will. When you do, he will restore balance and order to your life, (Matthew 11:28-30).
2. God still Sends in the Year 2023
Galatians chapter 4 verse 4 – But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. (NLT)
Have you ever wondered what happened in the time between the ministry of Malachi and the ministry of John the Baptist? Even though many man-made events occurred throughout the period, there was no direct evidence of divine involvement. We refer to this period as the “400 Silent Years” since no new prophets rose during this time and God revealed nothing new to his people.
I remembered two popular songs while preparing this sermon. The Sound of Music and The Sound of Silence. Can silence have a sound? God’s silence was so disturbing you could tell that silence got a sound. Well, the good news is he wasn’t idle. He was setting the stage politically, geographically, and spiritually for Messiah to come. Four hundred years is a long time. His patience outran man’s patience, but God knows best.
No other verse in the Bible shows that our God is the God of order and balance like this verse does. He doesn’t shoot in the dark. He has a plan, a purpose, and an appointed time for every move he makes. There’s no such thing as coincidental with God. Nothing can take him by surprise. Not even COVID-19. He doesn’t rush his decisions. Everything is under his control.
I have got news for you today. Just because God is silent doesn’t mean he is not active in your life. Even when you feel the world has gone to hell, God has an individual purpose and a plan for your life, (Jeremiah 29:11). He used the circumstances of the year 2021 to smoothen the rough edges of your character and shape up your life because he still sends in the new year, and he wants to send you! He wants you to be his spokesperson in a broken world.
3. God still Fills in the New Year
Matthew chapter 14 verse 20 – And they all ate and were filled: and they took up that which remained over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. (ASV)
As I am nearing the end of my message, I want to consider Jesus’ great miracle of feeding the five thousand. There are two keywords in this passage. The first keyword is “compassion”. It was not an emotion but an observation of the crowd that stirred his entire self to its deepest depths. Everything else including feeding the five thousand he is said to have done later in this passage proceeds from his compassion.
The second keyword is “filled”. We are told those who ate were about five thousand men besides women and children. It suggests that 15,000 – 20,000 people including women and children may have been fed! The word “filled” indicates that every one of these people ate as much as they wanted. There was no shortage but excess. The disciples filled twelve baskets with the leftovers.
I once watched a few episodes of “The Hunger Games”. I never liked it, but the overall story is about people starving to death and being made to fight to the death. The winners are rewarded with supplies and riches but above all with food. That is not how Jesus fills the spiritual hunger of people that come to him. We don’t have to kill each other because Jesus has already sacrificed his life on a cross to fill the hunger of our souls.
People go to many fake sources in search of the true filling today. The atheists and skeptics claim there’s no such thing as hunger. Philosophers that offer empty words and the occult that creates the delusion of a filling are a few examples. Jesus on the other hand is the living bread that came from heaven, (John 6:51). He still fills the void and the emptiness in your life. All you must do is to let him do with your life as he pleases.
Someone said the only thing that doesn’t change in a forever-changing world is change itself. I strongly disagree. God never changes. In the meantime, if Jesus is a stranger to you, if you don’t have a relationship with him, I want you to know that he is waiting for you to welcome him to your heart, (Revelation 3:20). I want you to let him in because it is through him and only through him, that God will speak, send, and fill your life.