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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - Your Most Priceless Gift In The New Year

Robert Jeffress - Your Most Priceless Gift In The New Year

Robert Jeffress - Your Most Priceless Gift In The New Year
TOPICS: New Year

Hi I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to "Pathway To Victory". There's nothing quite like the prospect of a brand new year ahead. The calendar resets and we have a blank slate with 52 open weeks to accomplish our goals. So today, I wanna help you prepare for the most productive new year of your lifetime, and see the coming days and months as a gift to carefully manage. My message is titled, 'Your Most Priceless Gift In The New Year,' on today's edition of "Pathway To Victory".

One way I know it is the new year is I've lost my voice. Every first week of the new year, my voice goes, but I want you to know my loss is your gain this morning, because you're gonna gain an extra brief sermon today. I'm gonna try to hold out until the end, but don't confuse the brevity of the sermon today, with the importance of the message we're going to look at from God's Word. Today we're going to look at the 90th Psalm as we talk about your most priceless gift in the coming new year. Many people don't realize that Psalm 90 was actually written not by David, but by Moses. David lived in about a thousand BC, Moses lived at least 400 years earlier than that.

So this is the oldest of all of the Psalms, but it could not be more relevant than it is for today. Moses begins talking about the brevity of life. That's a constant theme that you see flashing throughout the scriptures, the shortness of our lives. In fact, in the preceding Psalm, Psalm 89 verse 47, the writer says, "Remember what my span of life is: For what vanity you have created all the sons of men"! And then Moses picks up that theme and Psalm 90 beginning with verse 1, and he does so by comparing the brevity of our life with the eternality of God.

You see, time is a matter of perspective. We talk about time racing along, or time sometimes crawling by like a snail, time is a matter of perspective. For example, have you ever noticed that two weeks on vacation is not the same as two weeks on a diet? Have you ever noticed that? Sometimes it moves quicker on vacation doesn't it, than on the diet? Or have you ever noticed how you can have some house guests that can stay longer in one hour than others can in a month? It's all a matter of perspective, and it's the same way with time. The fact is time moves at the same rate for everybody, but it's a perspective compared to what. And so Moses says, I wanna show you how brief your life is compared to the eternality of God.

Look at verses 1 and 2. "Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born or you gave birth to the earth in the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God". God has always existed, he is eternal. That's why it's just so foolish how the atheist, the humanist tried to explain everything we see in the universe today. You know what their explanation is for everything we see in our world, in the universe? They don't believe in God, so they say, "Nobody times nothing equals everything". Isn't that foolish to think that something could come out of nothing? No, the psalmist says, Moses says, God has been the constant "From everlasting to everlasting, you are God," God is eternal.

In fact, look at verse 4, "For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night". A thousand years is like a day to the Lord. He is not down to time, but we are, at least in this life. God has made each one of us a prisoner of time. In this life, we have a beginning, we have a middle, and we have an end. And to show how transitory our life is compared to the eternality of God, Moses uses two metaphors, two images. First of all, he describes our human life to dust. Look at verse 3. "You turn man back into dust and say, 'Return O children of men.'" Our human bodies are an accumulation of particles and chemicals. We dust, we were made from the dust of the ground and our bodies will return to the dust of the ground. And in the same way, our lives seem like they're over before they even get started.

In James 4:14, James summons the same theme when he says, "You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor". That Greek word "Atmos," you're just a mist that appears for a little while and then you're gone. Your life is just a vapor that appears for a little while, and then it vanishes. Not only that, not only is life brief, but life is uncertain. Moses reminds us, look at verse 5 about the uncertainty of life. "You have swept them away like a flood. They fall asleep in the morning they are light grass which sprouts anew. In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew; but toward evening it fades and withers away".

I like the way The Living Bible paraphrases verse 5. "We glide along the tides of time as swiftly as a racing river and vanish as quickly as a dream". We glide along the tides of time as swiftly as a racing river. What a great picture of life that is. You can be sailing along in your life enjoying all the great things God has given you, when suddenly out of nowhere you're overwhelmed by circumstances over which you have no control. May be an undesired divorce, an unexpected report from the doctor, an deserved termination from your job, and suddenly you realize out of control, you really are of your life's circumstances. That's what he's talking about here. Circumstances can overcome us very, very quickly.

That's why James wrote in James 4 verse 13, "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city and spend the year there and engage in business and make a profit.' Yet you don't know what your life will be like tomorrow. You're just a vapor that appears for a while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills and we live, we will do this or do that.' But as it is, you boast in all of your arrogance, all such boasting is evil".

Now don't misapply that, James isn't saying there's anything wrong with planning. Proverbs talks about the importance of planning. But remember, any plans we make are always subject to the sovereignty of God. Man proposes God disposes sometimes of our plans. Sometimes circumstances overwhelm us and we're out of control, or we think we are of what happens to us. You know this is the time of the year, the people are making predictions about the coming new year. Where will the stock market be in the end of the coming New Year? Which political party will gain control in the November elections? Will the COVID pandemic finally be over or just replaced by a new pandemic? Everybody's making their predictions. I'm no prophet, I can't predict many things, but there is one thing I can predict with absolute certainty.

Sometime during these next 12 months, something unexpected is going to happen to you. There is something that is going to happen to you that when you look back on it, at the end of the next 12 months, you're gonna say, "Wow, I never saw that one coming". Life is filled with uncertainties, it's like being on a racing river. So what should our response be to the fact that our life is brief, that it's filled with uncertainty? Some people make the wrong application. They adopt the hedonmystic phrase, "Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die". Since we don't know how many days we have left, since anything could happen, just grab all the gusto you can grab as the commercial used to say.

Now, Moses suggests a different application of those two realities. He said, because life is brief, because it is filled with uncertainties, treat it with value and that's how he applies these truths, beginning verse 10, when he talks about the value of our life. Understand and act on the value of life. Look at verse 10. "As for the days of our life, they contained seventy years or if due to strength eighty years".

Now remember Moses wrote this 3,400 years ago. You know over 3,400 years the lifespan of men and women has fluctuated greatly or so it seems. And yet I was looking just this week, you know what the lifespan of an average male in the US is? 78.6 years for women, they always outlive us 81.1 years, but there it is, just like the psalmist said, it floats between 70 and 80 years. Sure, some people live a lot longer, some people live a lot shorter, but most people live between 70 and 80 years of life.

I love the way The Living Bible paraphrases this passage. "Seventy years are given to us and some may even live to eighty, but even the best of these years are filled with pain and trouble, soon they disappear and we are gone. Who can comprehend the power of your anger God? Which of us can fear you as he should"? And here's the application. "Teach us to number our days and recognize how very few they are. Help us to spend them as we should". Life, time is a priceless commodity God gives to each of us. What makes it priceless? Well first of all, it is limited. It's things that are limited that have value, and our time is very limited. God may allot to you 70 years, he may give you 80 years, he may give you a few more, a few less, but God has a designated number of days, hours, minutes, and seconds that he has given to each one of you and they're taking away just like that.

Your time is very limited, that's why it's valuable. And yes, nothing takes God by surprise. Both the day of our death, the day of our date are written in his book. In Psalm 139 verse 16, David says, "Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them". Did you know before you were born, God wrote the date of your birth and the day of your death, an indelible ink in his book? But not only that, he wrote every day in between those two dates. Every day of your life was ordained by God before you experienced one of them. And yet those days are moving by very quickly. That's why time is valuable. It is limited, but here's the paradox, even though it's limited, secondly, it's determinative. And by that I mean how you spend these few fleeting moments that God gives to you, impacts greatly both your life now and your life eternally.

Let's talk about the eternal aspect first of all. The great paradox is, how we spend these few seconds seemingly that God gives us on earth, determines the kind of eternity that we experience. You see, this life is not all that there is seems that way, but it's not. The wisest man whoever lived Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 12 verse 1. "Remember your creator in the days of your youth before the evil days come and the years draw near when you say, I have no delight in them. Remember God before the silver court is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, and the picture by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed". Those are all images of the breakdown of the physical body and what happens? Verse 7, "Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, but the spirit will return to God who gave it".

There's more to us than this collection of chemicals and particles. We have a spirit, and that spirit is going to live eternally. And the most important decision we make in our brief fleeting life is, how are we going to face God one day? Are we gonna face his judgment? Are we going to face his forgiveness and be welcomed into heaven? For some of you right now, the most important decision you could ever make, is that decision to trust in Christ as your Savior, to know your sins have been washed away and that you will one day be welcomed into God's presence. You have no guarantee that even tomorrow you'll be able to make that decision. That's why the Bible says, today is the day of salvation. Those decisions we make in this life profoundly affect our eternal existence. And once we are saved, how do we spend the time that God has given us investing it in our kingdom, our agenda, or in God's kingdom his agenda?

2 Corinthians 5:10 reminds us that one day as Christians, we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one of us may be rewarded for what we've done in the body, whether it be good or worthless. Listen to me this morning, life is short, but what we do here on earth reverberates in the halls of heaven forever. That's why our life here is valuable. Yes it's limited, but it's determinative. How we spend our time determines the kind of eternity we'll experience one day. But how we spend our time here on earth also determines the quality of life we have right now. Jesus said in John 10:10, "I've come that you might have life and have it more abundantly". And to a large extent, how you spend your time right now determines what kind of existence you have right now. As you face the coming new year, how will you use the brief, the uncertain, the valuable gift of time that God has given to you?

I wanna close today by reading a piece that I got 20 years ago from John Maxwell. It was originally written by a ham radio operator. Some of you are too young to know about ham radio operators. These are people they're still around who are amateur radio people and they sit in their basement or in their garage talking to other people on their ham radios. This ham radio operator wrote a story he called 'A Thousand Marbles.' I think it'll make an impression on you.

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it's the quiet solitude that comes from being the first to rise, or maybe it's just the unbounded joy of not having to go to work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable. A few weeks ago I was shuffling around the basement with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began is a typical Saturday morning, turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it. I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band of my ham radio in order to listen to our Saturday morning swap session. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind. He sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business and he was telling whoever he was talking with, something about a thousand marbles.

I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say. 'Well, Tom it sure sounds like you're busy with your job and I'm sure they pay you well, but it's a shame you've been away from your home and family for so long, hard to believe a young fella like you should have to work 50 to 60 hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital.' He continued. 'Let me tell you something Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities.' And that's when he began to explain his theory of a thousand marbles.

'You see,' he said, 'I sat down one day and I did the little arithmetic. The average person lives about 75 years. I know some live more and some live less, but on average folks live about 75 years. Now then I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now stick with me Tom, I'm getting to the important part. It took me until I was age 55 to think about all of this in any detail. And by the time I had lived through over 2,800 Saturdays and I got to thinking that if I lived to be 75, I only had about a thousand Saturdays left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and I bought every single marble they had, and I ended up having to visit three toy stores just to round up 1000 marbles. I took them home, put them inside a large clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear, and every Saturday since then, I've taken one marble out and I've thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focus more on what's really important in my life. There's really nothing like watching your time here on earth run out, to help you keep your priorities straight.

Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign off with you and take my lovely wife out to breakfast. This morning I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure if I make it until next Saturday, then I've been given a little extra time, and the one thing we can all use is a little more time. It was nice to meet you, Tom. I hope you spend more time with your family and I hope to meet you again somewhere on this band.' Well, you could have heard a pen drop on the band when this fella signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning and then I was gonna meet up with a few ham operators to work on the next club newsletter. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. Come on, honey, I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast. What brought this on? She said, with a smile. Oh nothing special. It's just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles.

Lord, teach us to number our days, help us spend them as we should. That's a great resolve for the coming New Year.
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