Hope For The New Year

Hope For The New Year

Ephesians 5:15“Be very careful, then, how you live not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s Will is.” {{more}}On Wednesday night at 11:59 pm, over one billion people all across the world will be watching as the “ball” drops in New York City’s Times Square. That got me to wondering about the history of the New Year’s Eve “ball” and what I discovered was intriguing. The 1st “time-ball” was installed on top of England’s Royal Observatory at Greenwich in 1833. After the success of that event, approximately 150 such time-balls were installed around the world but few survive and still work. The tradition is carried on today in places like the United States Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, where a time-ball descends from a flagpole at noon each day and of course once a year in Times Square, where it marks the stroke of midnight. New York actually held a New Year’s celebration as early as 1904, but it wasn’t until 1907 that they “dropped” an iron and wood ball and adorned with a hundred 25-watt light bulbs. It was 5 feet in diameter and weighed 700 pounds.From that date until today, the ball has dropped every year except 1942 and 1943 during the City’s WWII “dim-outs”. Crowds still gathered in Times Square during those years and greeted the New Year with a moment of silence followed by chimes ringing out from One Times Square. Over the years, the “time-ball” has undergone about 4 redesigns the most recent one was created for the Millennial celebration in the year 2000 by Waterford Crystal. It’s a geodesic sphere, six feet in diameter, and weighing approximately 1,070 pounds. It’s covered with a total of 504 crystal triangles that vary in size. Each of those triangles has a special designation: Hope for Fellowship, Hope for Peace, Hope for Wisdom, Hope for Unity, Hope for Courage, and Hope for Healing to name a few.The Name of the ball itself is the Star of Hope. Why would they call the New Year’s ball the “Star of Hope?” It is because each New Year is a time for hope. It is a time for opportunity. It is a time for us to grasp hold of our future our destiny. Proverbs 24 says,”Wise man has a powerful future waiting for him because he keeps his eyes on wisdom. By contrast, the fool has his eyes on something else his eyes are on the ends of the earth.”Proverbs 17:24 tells us that “We have the opportunity to “lay hold of our destiny and future” for this coming New Year. The hope for our future depends upon us. But that hope does not lie in “wishing upon a star,” which is essentially what those triangles on the Star of Hope actually are all about. The “hope” for fellowship, peace, wisdom, courage and so on are not based upon promises, but upon a wish for which we would like to see take place in the next year.What’s the difference between the two? And how can you avoid becoming like the wise man and get the best God wants to give us? Well, let’s take a look at the fool first “The fool’s eyes,” says Proverbs “wander to the ends of the earth.” This verse has always interested me because I can visualize this guy. Years ago, a friend told me about a woman he observed while he was picking berries in a strawberry patch. Her eyes were always wandering across the field looking for the easiest berries to find. And the fool is like that. He is always looking for the easiest berry in the patch. He’s always seeking an easy way to get ahead in his life. He is the guy who invests in the future by buying lottery tickets. He cannot seem to stay married because no person is ever good enough. He cannot keep a job because no job is good enough. He cannot stay in one church because no church is good enough. There is always a rainbow waiting for them over the next hill. Their eyes wander constantly to the ends of the earth. They are constantly comparing themselves, their families, their jobs and their potential to something else or to someone else. They are never satisfied and always hoping that the next ring they grab will be the brass ring. In the end, they have done less with their lives than they could have.By contrast, the wise man has two advantages over the fool. 1st he is focused. Proverbs 17:24 says,” A discerning man keeps wisdom in view.” He is not running all over the place looking for an easy way to live his life. He realizes that the only lasting success in life comes by sticking to the task at hand. You cannot make a success of life by looking for easy fixes or running pillar to post for solutions. The greatest achievements can only accomplished with consistent, focused effort. That is what the wise man does and he focuses on achieving one central objective.The wise man pursues wisdom in his life? That’s right, Wisdom. Solomon who wrote Proverbs was once asked by God to name the one thing he wanted. When Solomon asked for wisdom God responded, in 1st Kings 3:11-12, “Since you have asked for wisdom and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies. I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for both the riches and honor. So that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.” Solomon learned from experience that wisdom gained him an advantage in life. It gave him an edge. And it was that advantage, that edge, that gave him his wealth and power and position. Amen!After all, what is the purpose of wealth if you don’t know how to spend it? What’s the value of power if you don’t know how to exercise it? What’s the use of having a position of influence if you do not know how to use it? Too many people believe that if they only had power, wealth, influence, they’d be happy. And so they struggle and strain to gain those things… but they don’t have the wisdom to know what they have right now. And so they are never ever satisfied with what they have.Proverbs 17:24 says, “A discerning man keeps wisdom in view.” The 2nd advantage the wise man has over the fool is that he knows where to look for wisdom. Where did Solomon get his wisdom? He asked God. Why? Because wisdom comes from God. James 1:5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom then He should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” Amen!Now there are other places to look for knowledge and information, and even for what men value as wisdom and those places may seem to have merit. For example, these are examples of men’s wisdom: Look before you leap but he who hesitates is lost. Many hands make light work but too many cooks spoil the broth. Clothes make the man, but we should not judge a book by its cover. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.The wisdom of man has its weaknesses because man’s wisdom is always based solely upon what mortal men and women can experience and observe. Our experiences will always be limited and our observations will only be able to see so much. But by contrast – the wisdom of God comes from way far above. There are no limits to His vision. There are no boundaries to what He can see. He knows the Beginning from the End. In Isaiah 46:10 God tells us: “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” Amen!You show that you have the wisdom of God when you do what He asks us to do. Remember Jesus once told the parable about how two men built their homes. Jesus ended the parable by saying in Matthew7:26, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand but everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Amen!So, here are the ways to ensure a good New Year for 2009. The first is getting to know God’s Wisdom.Second, you must do God’s Wisdom. Third, you must repeat it constantly. If you hold on to God and to His wisdom and His power then you will succeed in this coming year. And you will lay hold of everything God wants you to have. Granted, it may seem to be that your future may be in doubt at times, but the end result will never really be in question. Now you know why there is hope for the New Year. Happy New Year!