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January 2013

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 teen age.

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 and queens!"

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 war."

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.