Starting the New Year Right
It’s a new year, and it’s time to make our resolutions. Unfortunately, we often have a hard time keeping our resolutions, yet we still make new ones each year. What makes us so determined to start new habits this time of year? We all want (and need) a fresh start. We all have regrets, and we want a clean slate to work with. Whether we are talking about accomplishing goals in work or school, relationships, or checking something off our bucket list, we all want to be able to look back at a time when we started to make right decisions. What better time to do this than now at the beginning of a new year?
God knew that we would have a need for a “fresh start.” The problem is we don’t go a day without mistakes. God has provided what we need to grow spiritually and consistently: a clean slate every day! His mercies are renewed every morning, not just at the beginning of a year (Lamentations 3:22–23). What a great, encouraging truth! Because of God’s mercy, we can have an equivalent to New Year’s Day every day. Not only are God’s mercies renewed all the time, but He offers to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness whenever we confess our sins to Him. (I John 1:9) We can start the new year right because of God’s mercies.
Pastor Jim Scudder Jr.
Question & Answer
Question — Did Judas go to Heaven?
Answer — No. Judas never trusted Christ as his Savior.
Let’s see what the Bible says about Judas before he betrayed Christ.
…For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him…. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve. (John 6:64,70–71)
Judas went through all the motions of a disciple. He went with the others to preach the gospel, he sat under Jesus’ teaching, and he even oversaw the group’s finances. However, Judas never believed in Jesus. The Savior didn’t fit Judas’ expectations of the Messiah, so Judas betrayed the One Who chose him.
After Judas betrayed Christ, the Jewish leaders condemned Jesus to death. Judas had a change of mind about his actions and sought to undo them. But when he returned the money, it was refused. Though Judas could have put his trust in Christ for the complete forgiveness of his sin, he went and hung himself.
Reaching the World
Recently, I had the privilege of traveling to visit our missionaries in the Philippines. There are so many things I would like to share from that trip, but here are a few highlights.
• We visited Asia Baptist Bible College and a couple Dayspring graduates that work there: Pastor Keith and Rebecca Birginal.
• While visiting different churches and a pastor’s conference, we handed out Evangelism Made Simple books (that were printed in the Philippines) to hundreds of pastors!
• My book, Why Life Hurts, was translated into Tagalog and handed out to many pastors as well.
• We also had many copies of Dr. Phil Stringer’s book, The Faithful Baptist Witness, printed in the Philippines.
• We met with some pastors that VIG helped a few years ago when they were hit by Typhoon Haiyan.
• We visited Dayspring graduates, Pastor Matt and Rina Wolff, and their church, Bible Baptist Church of Bahay Pare.
• We visited Dayspring Bible Baptist Church, which is pastored by another Dayspring graduate, Pastor Edwin Samson.
• We went to Pastor Resty Rivera’s church, and while we were there, they renamed their church Dayspring Bible Baptist Church as a surprise for us!
• We provided many physical needs for our missionaries and their churches.
• We saw many people trust Christ as their Savior!
Pastor Jim Scudder Jr.