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Dear COA Family,

Blessed Lunar New Year!

What is one blessing this year that I can leave with you that is most meaningful and helpful for you?

I believe it is the prayer of Moses, the man of God: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

Just this week alone, I had been to four separate wakes and funeral and had to conduct three of the services. Two of the deceased were elderly persons, one of them middle-aged and one a young man in his twenties. They all died of different causes, most from sickness; the young man from a tragic accident.

Yet all of them have one thing in common to remind us: life on earth is unpredictable, fragile and time-bound. No one can say for certain that they will definitely live to ripe old age. If anyone thinks that their life will certainly last for a long time, they are living a delusion.

Even for those who can live till a hundred years of age, Moses correctly points out in Psalm 90 that their lives are like the new grass of morning: “In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered” (Psalm 90:6). In the light of eternity, a hundred years is but a drop of water in the ocean of time.

So, the key thing for us each day is to live our lives in wisdom that makes our lives most purposeful and meaningful, because they will soon pass away. We can do so by reading and knowing God’s word, continuing constantly in prayer for our family and loved ones and serving God and others through the ministry and work that He has apportioned for us.

Such a blessing may seem like a wet blanket or a depressing thing to say at the cusp of celebrating a new year. No one, especially for the Chinese, wants to be reminded of their mortality at New Year.

But it is different for us Christians. We know God’s ultimate purpose for us is to be prepared to live with Him in eternity. And anything that prepares us for that will be serving as the greatest benefit for us.

So Moses the man of God is right and his words are fully appropriate for us at this Lunar New Year.

Help us, O Lord, to remember our mortality and the truth and immortality of Your words, so that we may live for You in wisdom, effectiveness and fruitfulness all the days of the coming year and the rest of our lives. Help us in this so that we may obtain the eternal reward that You have prepared for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

God bless,
Revd Ian