Good morning! We welcome to this new year in Jesus' name.
"I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten...." - Joel 2:25a
If you will be entering year 2018 with the same attitude of 2017, then nothing change. Your minds need a change.
In order to learn something, for example a car, you first need to learn it in your mind. You need to fight the fear and only then you Re prepared to go down on a road.
When fear is in your mind you won't be able to prepare yourself.
Illustration: Maybe someday you have hung your pants to dry after washing and forgot. One fine evening when lights are out and you see a strange shadow and you get scared. That shadow is nothing but your pants. You see, how your mind makes you think.
Illustration: Among many chickens, was a young eagle. The eagle grew up with the chickens and ate what they eat. Because the eagle grew up with chickens, saw a strange big bird flying. Upon asking, chickens responded that it is an eagle. But you don't bother, we don't fly. That eagle died like a chicken.
You see, changing calender pages doesn't changes anything. Your mind need to be changed.
There are so many fears in your heart. Fear about money, job, relationships etc. Look unto God, who has prepared everything and He can restore as well as change. Do not allow enemy to fill fear in your heart. The enemy will lead you to destruction.
"But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it." - Numbers 14:24
In this book of Numbers one generation died in the wilderness, and the second generation was prepared to go to the promised land.
The Lord granted the prayer of Moses so far as not at once to destroy the congregation. But disbelief of the promise forbids the benefit. Those who despise the pleasant land shall be shut out of it. The promise of God should be fulfilled to their children. They wished to die in the wilderness; God made their sin their ruin, took them at their word, and their carcases fell in the wilderness. They were made to groan under the burden of their own sin, which was too heavy for them to bear. Ye shall know my breach of promise, both the causes of it, that it is procured by your sin, for God never leaves any till they first leave him; and the consequences of it, that will produce your ruin. But your little ones, now under twenty years old, which ye, in your unbelief, said should be a prey, them will I bring in. God will let them know that he can put a difference between the guilty and the innocent, and cut them off without touching their children. Thus God would not utterly take away his loving kindness.
"Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan and said to them, "Go up into the Negeb and go up into the hill country, and see what the land is, and whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, and whether the land that they dwell in is good or bad, and whether the cities that they dwell in are camps or strongholds, and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be of good courage and bring some of the fruit of the land." Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes. So they went up and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, near Lebo-hamath. They went up into the Negeb and came to Hebron. Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, were there. (Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) And they came to the Valley of Eshcol and cut down from there a branch with a single cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a pole between two of them; they also brought some pomegranates and figs. That place was called the Valley of Eshcol, because of the cluster that the people of Israel cut down from there. At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the people of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh. They brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land." - Numbers 13:17-26
We ruin ourselves by believing the reports and representations of sense rather than Divine revelation. We walk by sight not by faith. Moses gave the spies this charge, Be of good courage. It was not only a great undertaking they were put upon, which required good management and resolution; but a great trust was reposed in them, which required that they should be faithful. Courage in such circumstances can only spring from strong faith, which Caleb and Joshua alone possessed.
The searchers of the land brought a bunch of grapes with them, and other fruits, as proofs of the goodness of the country; which was to Israel both the earnest and the specimen of all the fruits of Canaan. Such are the present comforts we have in communion with God, foretastes of the fulness of joy we expect in the heavenly Canaan. We may see by them what heaven is.
And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, to the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word to them, and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land.
"And they told him, "We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan." But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, "Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it." Then the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are." So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, "The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them." - Numbers 13:27-33
We may wonder that the people of Israel staid forty days for the return of their spies, when they were ready to enter Canaan, under all the assurances of success they could have from the Divine power, and the miracles that had hitherto attended them. But they distrusted God's power and promise. How much we stand in our own light by our unbelief! At length the messengers returned; but the greater part discouraged the people from going forward to Canaan. Justly are the Israelites left to this temptation, for putting confidence in the judgment of men, when they had the word of God to trust in. Though they had found the land as good as God had said, yet they would not believe it to be as sure as he had said, but despaired of having it, though Eternal Truth had engaged it to them. This was the representation of the evil spies. Caleb, however, encouraged them to go forward, though seconded by Joshua only. He does not say, Let us go up and conquer it; but, Let us go and possess it. Difficulties that are in the way of salvation, dwindle and vanish before a lively, active faith in the power and promise of God. All things are possible, if they are promised, to him that believes; but carnal sense and carnal professors are not to be trusted. Unbelief overlooks the promises and power of God, magnifies every danger and difficulty, and fills the heart with discouragement. May the Lord help us to believe! we shall then find all things possible.
We thought about ourselves that we are grasshoppers. Do not belittle yourself in 2018 especially in your spiritual life, family, home, office etc. This is all your imagination, have a mind of Christ.
Illustration: Once a father showed him one t-shirt and asked how mych the price could be. The son responded 1 dollar. Father said go and sell it outside and sell it for 2 dollars. Go to a school where all rich people, draw a cartoon and sell it. Son did that and sold it for 20 dollars. Father was happy and told that "you are going to do very well in business." A few months after, son sold another one dollar t-shirt for 5000 dollars since he took one autograph of a very popular actress on it.
Do not degrade yourself. Have a mind of Christ. Do not have fear in your mind.
Everything is good but challenges are there. God can make your way and this is the restoration we are talking about.
Walk towards the Lord.
Illustration: A group missionaries went to africa along with coffin boxes in the hope that they will be working for the Lord and not returning home.
I am not giving you false promises in the year 2018 that your year will be good. But I know that God will lead us and He will guide us through our trials.
"And said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, "The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them." Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel." - Numbers 14:7-10
Moses and Aaron were astonished to see a people throw away their own mercies. Caleb and Joshua assured the people of the goodness of the land. They made nothing of the difficulties in the way of their gaining it. If men were convinced of the desirableness of the gains of religion, they would not stick at the services of it. Though the Canaanites dwell in walled cities, their defence was departed from them. The other spies took notice of their strength, but these of their wickedness. No people can be safe, when they have provoked God to leave them. Though Israel dwell in tents, they are fortified. While we have the presence of God with us, we need not fear the most powerful force against us. Sinners are ruined by their own rebellion. But those who, like Caleb and Joshua, faithfully expose themselves for God, are sure to be taken under his special protection, and shall be hid from the rage of men, either under heaven or in heaven.
Do not rebel against the Lord, glorify Him. In this new year, whatever challenges or problems you see, let God intervene and let Him guide you. Do not live in denial.
He is the provider, Jehovah Jireh. If your attitude is right, then God will say, "Do not fear!"
As a Church, I proclaim, we are not grasshoppers. We are the children of God, washed by the blood of the Lamb.
Do not consider yourself useless, picture yourself the way God pictures you. You can project yourself very great, but deep down in your heart, you are week. But remember, you are not a grasshopper.
Do not complain in this new year, bury every bad thought in Jesus' name. Think of something which is praiseworthy, profitable to the body of Christ. God's eyes are upon you. He will make you victorious.