Happy New Year …
John 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
This is the first usage of the word “happy” in the New Testament. We see that happiness is connected with obedience: doing “these things.” Happiness here means “blessed.” This blessing from God for obedience is imposed by God Himself. It is imposed upon the doer without respect of his motive. Nor does it depend on the doer’s emotional response. He is blessed even in spite of his lack of it. Note that saying, “Happy New Year” to someone is a short prayer. It is saying, “I’m asking God that you might have a blessed new year.” So, Happy New Year, saints of God!
The Georgia Rock of Ages team conducted 7 prison revivals in December with a total of 43 inmates making profession of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. Our obedience to God’s Great Commission has blessed us this past year without a doubt. Here is a summary of statistics for the Georgia team in 2017:
We worked in 18 state prisons and 13 county jails. We conducted 82 hours of visitation. We held 182 services with 5760 in attendance. A total of 861 inmates and officers made profession of faith in Christ as Savior. Happy cannot describe it!
Let me tell you about G., a young inmate we had a Divine Appointment with in Evans County Jail this month. The jail is very small; 12 inmates was all (that rhymed didn’t it?). We began our meeting at 2pm in the common area of the dormitory. G. was in his bunk with his back turned toward us with his blanket made into a cocoon. He stayed that way while Richard P. and Eric P. preached. Sometime while I was preaching, G. got up and joined the group. I didn’t even see when he came in. When we gave the invitation, no one responded. As we were getting ready to leave, I asked G., “Have you been saved or do you need to be?” He said that he needed to be. So I had the privilege of leading him to Christ. Afterward, he confessed that he had been listening the whole time, even while he was in bed! We had a wonderful time sharing Scripture with him, and he seemed eager to learn. Was he blessed? I think so. Were we blessed? I know so. Were our supporting churches blessed? Phil. 4:17 says so. Happy New Year.