The World Greets the New Year
We are now standing upon the threshold of another
New Year. To our friends we say, "Happy New Year." To God as we enter
this golden gate of opportunity we may well pray: "So teach us to number
our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."
If we could but forecast the future, how carefully
we would conduct our affairs and order our lives! We would be more useful, more
gentle, more patient, more full of the fragrance of plain goodness.
Three hundred sixty-five days ago we greeted the
year that has just passed. We entered its portals with hope in our hearts and
good will toward all mankind. Today as we look back, we see many broken
promises and opportunities wasted for doing real service in the world. We may
correct tendencies, and find pardon for sins committed, but we can never
retrace the steps that have already been taken. How important, then, that we
begin this new year with all sins confessed and forsaken, and with such an
intimacy of fellowship with Christ that He can reproduce in us His character.
The age in which we now live is plagued with the
vice of sin in every conceivable form. J. Edgar Hoover, chief of the G-men,
says that in the United States 4,300,000 persons are engaged in some form of
crime, and that it is costing $15,000,000,000 annually. Today twenty percent of
our crimes are committed by persons who have not yet reached the voting age.
The outlook is far from encouraging when we consider that here in America one
fifth of our murderers and our machine-gunning desperadoes are little beyond the
Surely the Apostle Paul had a prophetic glimpse of
our day when he wrote: "This know also, that in the last days perilous
times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous,
boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without
natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce,
despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures
more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power
thereof: from such turn away." 2. Timothy 3: 1-5.
The world seems to have gone pleasure mad. Someone
has said: "The world is a crazy board on which chess is being played by
the rules of poker, with jumping beans for pawns, and spinning tops for kings
The cry of war is in the air. Even the children are
affected by it. During the year that has just passed more than 1,300,000
persons have been killed in the Spanish civil war. We have also seen Japan
invade North China, devastate Shanghai, and defy the League of Nations. War
Commissar Klementi Voroshilov, widely recognized as Joseph Stalin's No. 1 aide,
has warned that the Red army and air force, the largest in the world, is
prepared for a war the Soviets consider is becoming imminent. "To the
incendiaries of war," he suggests, "we answer that we do not want war, but we are ready for war, and we do not fear
Great Britian has announced a $7,500,000,000
program for preparedness. Sir Thomas Inskip, Minister for the Coordination of Defense
in England, said: "I hope that the whole community may be prepared to forego the pleasure of seeing new
buildings erected in order that the Government may not be handicapped in
completing its armament program."
What do these things mean? Let the Bible answer.
"For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and
there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All
these are the beginning of sorrows." Matthew 24: 7, 8.
Surely we are living in the days of this "beginning
of sorrows." But thanks be to God, there is a brighter day ahead. To the
burdened, trusting ones come these heartening words: "Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of
the Lord draweth nigh." James 5:8.
The coming of Christ is the only panacea for the
ills of this old world, the only hope of the poor and oppressed, and of all
those who are scourged with the lash of injustice. "Every man that hath
this hope [of Christ's coming] in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure."
I John 3:3.
The close of 1937 brings us one year nearer to the
glorious advent of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and to all those who love
His appearing the year 1938 is a happy New Year.
-Frank Loris Peterson, January-February 1938, The Message Magazine, pages 2, 18-19.