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Separate Lambs From Goats, Joy From Agony

Our message for the start of 2018 is both prophetic and didactic, as we gain assurances of the beginning of greater things in our lives and the end of all manner of woes. It is a message that reminds us how to separate lambs from goats, remove wheat from waft and ensure goodness is not mixed with evil; because there is no communion between darkness and light.

As 2017 finally goes into the abyss of past tense, we look ahead with great expectations to better things in 2018, with high hopes of joy to take over from agony. Our desire is for 2018 to ensure a change to comfort and pleasure, as we mark an end to all form despair in our lives. That will surely be your portion in the Mighty Name of Jesus.

However, while keying into the promise of a new lease of life for us, there is the attendant warning that good things come only to those who stay on the right path.  Isaiah 43:19-20 reveal that is only God’s chosen ones that will enjoy the bounties of His promises. The passage states: “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.”

That is also the attendant interpretation we get from Exodus 12: 2-4, viz: “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:”

Pastor Ricky Kurth reminds us that all the promises of God are for ‘His People.’ The pastor puts it this way: “God wanted His ancient people to “remember” that their birth as a nation marked a new beginning for them, so he instructed them to “observe” this month as something special unto the Lord (Deut. 16:1). God’s people today often do the same with their spiritual birthdays. Many who can tell you the exact date they were saved consider the day worth remembering each year.”

Along the line, while talking about a new year, we are covertly pointing to the first month of a new dispensation. That also reminds us about the significance of ‘number one’ in our lives, not only as Christians but human beings in general. It would be noted that, universally, number one is synonymous with being the first among others. It is for the leader and the best. It is also the number that reflects our image as human beings, the only creatures on earth to stand up straight on two legs. No matter how monkeys, apes or baboons may try, then cannot stand steady and erect for long hours, as we do.

Above all, though, it is a divine number, which signifies one God. Furthermore, still on the high level of spiritual symbolism, number one represents the unity between God the Father and His Son Jesus (John 10:30). Jesus is ‘the one’ who makes the forgiveness of our sins possible. He is the one Mediator and Shepherd (1Timothy 2:5; John 10:16) in the life of a Christian.

That’s why 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (NKJV) tell s us: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

We cannot forget too that Jesus Christ is called the firstborn (Colossians 1:15), not only of the dead (1:18) but also among many brethren (Romans 8:29). He is also called the “first of the first fruits” (1Corinthians 15:20, 23), meaning He is the first of many resurrected to eternal life (Revelation 20:6). Christ told us He is our Alpha, i.e. first (Revelation 1:11, 17, 22:13).

Along the line, Peter tells us that it is only through the name of Jesus Christ that a person can receive salvation and live forever (Acts 4:10 – 12). There is no other name in all creation, in spite of many who believe in other paths to salvation, eternal life and so on, by which mankind can connect to God and fulfil their destiny.

Similarly, in his letter to the church at Ephesus, Apostle Paul emphasized the uniqueness of the Christian calling when he stated there was only ONE true spiritual body of believers where all share in one spirit (the Holy Spirit). True Christianity entails one hope, one faith, one baptism, one Lord and Saviour and one Father (Ephesians 4:4 – 6).

In the final analysis, we should try and make our ‘number one song’ laced with worship to God. Candace Crabtree reminds us that the Psalms are full of praise and singing new songs to God! When you find yourself in a scary new place, sing a new song of praise to our God! Praise is our weapon against the enemy and fear.  Furthermore, Psalm 40:3 declares: “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.”

Consequently, I pray that we will all sing the number one song of joy this year, which is reflected in Psalm 5:11 – “But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You.” That shall be the portion for you and I in this New Year of our Lord and first month of the New Beginning.

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