Preparing For The New Year

Ellen G. White

"Let children and youth understand that the work of disciplining them is required of their parents by the Lord, and that if children become impatient under this discipline, if they are displeased when they are restrained from evil, they are displeased and impatient with Christ and his commands."

The Work of Preparing for the New Year

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when is old, he will not depart from it.”

Review and Herald, December 24, 1889

Children may become missionaries for Jesus; and are there not youth who will give themselves to their Saviour before the new year comes? You need not wait for a special revival effort to be made; even today you may become soldiers of Christ. If you would be children of God, come to Jesus just as you are, and tell him you want to be his. Tell him that you want to love and obey him, and no longer do those things which are not pleasing in his sight. You are not to wait for any special feeling to know that you are accepted of him. Jesus bids you come to him, look to him, believe in him. He will accept you just as you are; for he can take away your sin, and give you strength to do those things which are pleasing in his sight. He loves you although you are sinful, and it is because he loves you that he is grieved with your wrong-doing. You cannot be happy while living in sin. You can be at peace only by choosing the right way. The psalmist says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” {RH December 24, 1889, par. 1}

I need not address you as children and youth who have never been instructed; for you have been taught in the Sabbath-school, you have had brought before you the manner of life that is pleasing to God. We sincerely hope that at home your parents have given you instruction in harmony with the teachings of the heavenly Master. The principles and rules taught by those parents who love and fear God, are not new principles or original rules. They are precious old rules from the Lord of heaven. The experience of parents who love Jesus will be valuable to their children, as it will enable them to apply the principles of God to the daily lives of their little ones. Let children and youth understand that the work of disciplining them is required of their parents by the Lord, and that if children become impatient under this discipline, if they are displeased when they are restrained from evil, they are displeased and impatient with Christ and his commands. {RH December 24, 1889, par. 2}

Jesus clothed his divinity with humanity that he might have an experience in all that pertains to human life. He did not leave plans for the welfare of youth and children in obscurity and uncertainty. He became a child, and in his life we find an example of what is the proper development of childhood. He was subject to his parents. Then why should children and youth be surprised if their God-fearing parents manifest prayerful solicitude for them, and watch with anxious interest over their course during the period when their characters are forming? Parents realize the perils to which their children are exposed, and they feel the responsibility that rests upon them to teach their children what is the right way both by precept and example. {RH December 24, 1889, par. 3}

Abraham is an example of what parents should be. The Lord says of him, “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.” The Lord commended Abraham because he cultivated home religion, and used his authority and influence as priest of his household, to promote the fear of the Lord. The God of heaven has spoken to parents concerning the course they should pursue in educating and training their children in the way of the Lord. Parents are not only to instruct, but to restrain and command. The wise man says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when is old, he will not depart from it.” {RH December 24, 1889, par. 4}

There are parents who, through indulgence of their children, fail to give them the discipline that the Lord designs they should have. Abraham did not betray the sacred trust committed to him, through overfondness for his children. He followed the directions of Heaven. He knew that he was answerable to God for the manner in which he instructed his children. He was to train them that they might come from the ranks of Satan, and march under the banner of Prince Emmanuel. {RH December 24, 1889, par. 5}

There are a few days before the old year closes and the new year begins. Will it not be most pleasing to the Lord for parents to give earnest attention to the salvation of their children? Will it not be pleasing to God for the children and youth to unite in this work with their parents, that the entire household, without further delay, may seek the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while he is nigh? Hear the important words of instruction that the Lord has given: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Let parents confess that they have neglected to properly instruct their children, and let children confess that they have broken the fifth commandment. Satan is working upon the minds of the children to lead them in the path of disobedience, that they may follow in evil ways. If he can obtain the control of one child’s mind, he can, through that child, gain the control of others, and turn them from the instruction given in God’s word, in the Sabbath-school, and from the sacred desk. {RH December 24, 1889, par. 6}

Children and youth, will you celebrate the new year in a way that will meet the approval of God? Will you give your hearts to Jesus, who gave his own precious life that he might take you from the enemy’s ranks, and place you under this own blood-stained banners? Jesus died that you might no longer remain the property of Satan, but become his own dear children. The inspired apostle says, “What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” {RH December 24, 1889, par. 7}

Every day that you remain in sin, you are in Satan’s ranks; and should you sicken and die without repentance, you would be lostNo one can force you to give your heart to Jesus, no one can compel you to throw off the yoke of Satan. You may choose to do his bidding, to be children of the wicked one; you may rob God of your time, you may refuse to serve him, because the infatuation of sin, the service of Satan, is acceptable to you. But can you afford this? Can you afford to rob God by withholding that which he has purchased for himself? Would you choose to please the Lord’s worst enemy? Would you have Christ make all that sacrifice on Calvary’s cross for you in vain? Jesus has given every evidence that he loves you, in that he died to make you happy through the treasures of his grace in this life, and to make you happy in the future immortal life. {RH December 24, 1889, par. 8}

Will parents repent on their backslidings from God? Will they obey the laws of God? His heart of love is drawn out to the needy, to the destitute, and to the perishing. What else but blessing will follow those who are obedient? The parents who administer to their children after the example of Abraham, by the combined influence of authority and affection, will find the favor of God. God has told you, fathers and mothers, that a certain course must be pursued by those for whom Christ has died, and this is the very course you should pursue to meet the approval of God. The Holy One of Israel has laid out before you plain rules for the guidance of all within the home circle. From this high standard of the Lord there can be no departure. The first principles of holiness must be taught to the children both by precept and example. The Lord calls upon fathers and mothers in every family to take hold of this work of educating their children in the fear of the Lord. Lose no time. Sabbath-keeping parents, and even ministers, need to closely examine their children’s course of action, and their own course in regard to them; for if these children are growing up without a knowledge of Christ, without conforming to the precepts of God, the parents will be held responsible. These children, by words and works, are communicating the knowledge of evil to other children. Their influence is to lead others to disregard the claims of God. Children and youth need to be daily instructed in the fear of the Lord. Their inclinations and desires are to be restrained, and turned in the right channel of the precious lessons of Jesus. Let parents find out the good way of the Lord themselves, and walk circumspectly in that way; and when perplexity comes, carry it, not to your neighbors, but to God, that you may bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. {RH December 24, 1889, par. 9}

Children who have once given their hearts to God, and have grown indifferent and cold, unthankful and self-indulgent, disobedient to their parents, should seek the Lord anewLet them come to Jesus just as they are, confess to their parents their sins of disrespect, their disregard of home authority; let them confess to their associates their sinful course in dishonoring their Saviour, and Jesus will receive them again to his favor. Let them acknowledge that they have been acting as children do who have never claimed to love and obey God. This is the very work to be carried on in every household; and if the parents have not encouraged their children in keeping the way of the Lord, if they have allowed temporal matters to engross their attention, and have failed to instruct their children in righteousness, leading them step by step up to God’s holy standard; if they have been impatient and full of fault-finding, they cannot expect the Lord to bless them, unless they confess their own neglect of duty, not only to their children, but to those who have been injured by their unrighteous course of action. {RH December 24, 1889, par. 10}

We ask, Shall there be earnest work done in the few days left of the old year, in preparing our souls to begin the new year aright? Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. In seeking the Lord you may make a degree of progress that will surprise you, if you only enter upon it sincerely, humbling your hearts before God. {RH December 24, 1889, par. 11}

Many have discarded home religion. But we have no time to devote to self-serving and unimportant matters. One writer has said, “There are only two kinds of persons who can properly be styled reasonable: those who serve God with all the heart because they know him, and those who seek him with all the heart because they know him not.” The truth must be planted in your hearts, and become an abiding principle that controls your life. God is at work. All the angels are doing his bidding in diligently working with parents, that the truth may be imprinted upon the soul. Fathers and mothers must be sanctified through the truth if they would have a sanctifying influence upon their families. God requires Christians to be active and earnest, that the souls of those dearest to them may be saved. Those who work for the souls of their own household, will feel a deep interest for their neighbors and for the youth and children about them. There is plenty of work to be done that involves eternal interests. While the powers of darkness are active, plotting for the suppression of God’s truth, and making more dense the darkness that surrounds those who are already in darkness, that they may be zealous, sanguine, and determined in their own evil way, shall not those who know the truth for this time be zealous advocates of it? Shall they not awaken to their God-given privileges? Shall those who are enlightened, who are made the depositaries of heavenly treasures, be cold and indifferent? Why, I ask, do not the works of those who claim to know the truth, correspond to the far-reaching principles of the truth? If death is the wages of sin, as we know it to be, then why not cease to sin? Why not come into sacred nearness to God, and by his grace, repress sin in your family? Why not lay a firm, commanding hand upon your children? Have you the tenderness of Christ? Have you the love of Christ that you can require obedience without mingling impatience with your authority? Will you have power from God and the persuasiveness of Christ in your home rule? Then far more will be done than is now accomplished. {RH December 24, 1889, par. 12}

Members of the church must awake, and do their part, and God will work mightily in behalf of his commandment-keeping people. Will every family in our several churches think seriously, prayerfully, before the old year closes? Have you old grudges? have you difficulties, envyings, jealousies, heart-burnings? Let Jesus come in and cleanse the soul-temple. Let parents and children make the most of the present opportunity, and set their hearts in order. Where difficulties exist among brethren, let them carry out the injunction of the apostle: “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” {RH December 24, 1889, par. 13}


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