I would like to share the follow letter with you that I published on tfchistory.com. I pray that it will be an encouragement to you as you face the new year. —Wayne
Dear Alumni and Friends,
We have now embarked on another New Year, 2009. I remember the concerns of the decade of the 2000s when the clock struck 12:00 midnight on December 31, 1999. We had planned and prepared for the worst possible scenario because of the computerized world. But nothing major happened. In fact, we went through the next several New Year celebrations forgetting our concerns and living for the moment.
Now, however, we come to 2009 with new concerns and many of these are well founded—the instability of our nation’s economy and the global financial market can tempt us to feel fearful. However, God wants us to remain steady and to prepare for what He has for us in this upcoming year. May the following words help you to become more prepared for this New Year and the future as you walk closely with the Lord.
In I Chronicles 12:32 we read about the sons of Issachar, “Men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do.” These men saw the challenges before them but they also understood the faith it would take to get through the times in which they were living. They had wisdom and insight, which come only from God, to know what they needed to do. As we enter this year, we need the same thing: wisdom and insight so that we will know how to respond to our changing world.
We must remain in God’s Word and be committed to prayer consistently. This means we must be spiritually alive. In I Corinthians 2:14–15, Paul wrote, “A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually [discerned]. But he who is spiritual appraises [or discerns] all things.” In order to do this, we must have a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
We must be awake in our senses to know what is going on around us. We can stay well informed but we also need to run all that we hear and learn through God’s grid, which is His Word. This is certainly not the time for us to have our heads in the sand. The author of Hebrews 5:14 wrote, “Solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
We must continue to do God’s business because we know “There is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it results in death.” Jesus Christ is the Way the Truth and the Life, and we must be so in tune with Him that He can lead and guide us at every turn. If we do this, we will know right from wrong, good from evil, and we also will be able to approach this New Year totally unafraid.
We also must stay alert. In Ezekiel 33: 7-9, God instructs His watchman to watch and then to warn others. As God’s servants when we discern the dangers and pitfalls that are sure to come in this New Year, we need to warn others. We can see with spiritual eyes what the unsaved world is missing. In order to do this, we need to remember to be alert and faithful because God has promised that one day Jesus Christ is coming again.
As Christians we are the “watchmen on the wall” giving warnings but also giving a blessing by reminding all who draw near that Jesus Christ is alive and is still in control. And no matter what happens in the future, He holds all things within His omnipotent hands. It is my prayer that you will glorify and honor our Lord and Savior in this New Year in all that you do and say.
Serving alongside you,
Dr. W. Wayne Gardner
Toccoa Falls College