We are beginning a new year, with 365 brand-new days ahead. What kind of year will 2009 be? What will happen during this period? How will we use this gift from God?

The Bible helps us to answer some of these questions. Ephesians 5:15-17 says, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (KJV).

Here are some important points we need to consider as we start the new year.

Our time in this world is limited. David the Psalmist wrote: “O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life” (Ps. 39:4). “The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have strength; yet their span is trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away” (90:10).

If the average life span is approximately 75 years, that means I have only 9,490 more days ahead of me. This makes me want to reflect upon my life. The Bible does not tell us to count on tomorrow because tomorrow may never come; the only time we have is today. This has taught me that the time I have now is very valuable

Always do your best. “Redeeming the time” means to make good use of our time in the best possible way, or to take advantage of all the op - portunities we have. Paul presents a good argument for that—”because the days are evil.” Wasting time or using it foolishly can be a problem. An overload of work and responsibilities can keep us from using our time wisely. One year contains 8,760 hours. That’s enough time to accomplish a great deal of good if we use it wisely.

Understand the will of God. Do you think God wants our minds to be filled with worry and anxiety and our agendas full of appointments? No! He wants us to make time for spiritual things, for the important things in life. Discovering God’s will for us in the new year should be our first priority, before we do anything else. Consider these suggestions before establishing your priorities.

1. Ask yourself who or what is most important in your life. I hope you will say, “My relationship with God.” If so, this priority will influence all other areas of your life. Putting God first means dedicating time to prayer, Bible study, church attendance, and witnessing.

2. Spend time with your family. Not only do we make a mistake, we also commit injustice when we do not dedicate enough time to our spouse and children. Moments together without the interference of cell phones, the Internet, and television strengthen good relationships and restore those that are dying.

3. Don’t let work rule your life. Today’s unemployment and financial crises mean that people are very concerned about their jobs. As Christians, we should be the most dedicated workers out there, but we must remember that we work to live; we don’t live to work.

4. Live in the present. Two things might prevent us from fully living in the present: the past and the future. Sad remembrances of things we’ve done or left undone in the past, and anxiety and worry about the future—these may destroy our ability to make good use of today. While it is important to learn from past mistakes and plan for the future, it is also important to enjoy the beauty of the present.

Another year is beginning, a new page in the story of our lives is about to be written, and the hope of a happy new year beats strong in our hearts. God wants to help us live for today, just as He wants us to focus on eternity. He wants us to bring the hope of salvation to those who do not have it. May we make the Lord’s will our own in 2009.

Happy New Year!

Jonas Arrais General
Conference Associate Ministerial Secretary