A very happy and blessed New Year to each one of you. We pray that the Lord will give you the best year that you’ve ever had in your life thus far.
At the beginning of every year Jill and I always ask the Lord to give us a scripture verse for the year. The Lord gave me a very interesting scripture verse, which I would like to share at length with you. It is taken from the old Testament, The Book of 1 Samuel 7:12 (NKJV), “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.””
I think at the beginning of a New Year we should not forget to count our blessings for they encourage us for the way forward. I have in my possession a stone carving of the figure of a person. This was given to me by a pastor when I preached in the northern part of Canada a few years ago. He said to me that this stone carving of a figure would be placed on top of a cairn of stones right in the middle of a snow-covered wilderness. The Inuit (Eskimo) on his sleigh, with his dogs who had been possibly travelling for some days and maybe starting to lose hope, would find this cairn of stones with a figure on top of it and it will tell him that someone had been on this route before him. That would encourage him to continue knowing that this route has been done before.
That huge stone which Samuel positioned at Mizpah was put there as a reminder that the Lord has been with us thus far. He has been with us through poverty and through riches. He has been with us through success and failure. He has been with us through sickness and through health, at home and when we are abroad. He has been with us when we have been at sea and when we have been in the land, and indeed when we have been flying in an aircraft. The Lord has been with us in joy and in sadness. Ebenezer (the stone) is only a mark in the road, it is not the end of the road.
So, we look forward, there is still a way to go, there are still more tests to come this year, more victories and more battles to be fought. There is more hard work to be done and more grace provided by God.
Even when death finally comes for us through sickness, or old age, the journey is still not over, for then, we face eternal life and sheer bliss with Jesus for ever and ever – meeting with loved ones who have gone before us
So, we shall be of good courage, because He (Jesus) who has helped us this far, will surely help us right through. He shall not fail me, or you.
I really believe that the key to the success of Israel’s survival, is their past, their Prologue. They never forgot how God had protected them in the past. Hence all the different feasts and festivals they keep faithfully every single year. I as many of you know, have had the privilege of speaking at the Feast of Tabernacles normally every year since 2003, but last year was the first one I could not make. The Israelites build little structures out of branches and hang fruit on the inside. Then they go with their families inside the structure (Succoth) and tell their children and their grandchildren how the Lord has protected them in the past for 40 years through the desert, when they were liberated from slavery in Egypt and of course that encourages Israelites to face the future.
As a young man working as a cowboy in Australia and going into a saloon (a pub), I found that every night at 6 o’clock there would be a voice recording that would come across the room and a red light would shine in the corner of the pub. Every single person, the rough guys and even those that were under the weather, would come to an instant standstill and they would stand to attention. They would hear a message come across on that tape recorder “Lest we forget those who have gone before us and have died.” They would remember soldiers lost in the First World War, the Second World War, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, etc. and no one moved for those few seconds. They would remember what the armed force had done for them.
I looked up the meaning in the Oxford dictionary of the word prologue: – “an event, or action leading to another, or from before.” You see you and I need to have a past in order to have a victorious future. So, we don’t live in the past, but we do draw tremendous strength from knowing what Jesus Christ has promised us that He will never leave us and He will never forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
So may this year of 2017 be your best year, may you remember that you can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13), that you may remember that God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19), that you will keep the vision before you and that you will look forward to the eventual reward one of these days, which is growing closer and closer to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. May God, bless you and we continue to pray for you, to love you and to work with you.
Please pray for us as we believe that the greatest harvest of lost souls that the world has ever seen is about to unfold. I have never been so excited in my life.
Yours in Christ Jesus,
Angus and Jill Buchan