Philippians 1:20-21, "I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."
Author Randy Alcorn recalled a two-month missions trip that he and his family took some years ago that included a visit to Egypt. While in Egypt, Alcorn's hosts took him to visit an abandoned graveyard located at the end of a garbage-lined alley. The host pointed out one tombstone in particular—that of William Borden (1887-1913), heir to the Borden dairy estate. William was a millionaire by 21, but he renounced his fortune, giving nearly all his wealth to missions. His heart's desire was to take the gospel to Muslims in China. On his way to China, William stopped in Egypt to study Arabic, but four months later he contracted spinal meningitis and died at the age of 25.
I dusted off the inscription on the headstone of Borden's grave. After describing his love for Christ and his commitment to and his love for the Muslim people; and his sacrifices for God's kingdom; the inscription ended with some words I wrote down on the spot—and I have never forgotten them to this day. The inscription ended with, "Apart from faith in Christ there is no explanation for such a life."
Then Alcorn wrote, "And I thought, Lord, what's the explanation for my life?"
A new year is like a blank page or a white canvas. What will be written and what scenes shall be painted? Each decision will be a line on the page or a color on the canvas. By year's end 2015 what will you title this work? May I suggest one? Write in such a way, paint in such a manner, that at the end of the project you can title it, "Apart from faith in Christ there is no explanation."
Prayer: Abba, Father, thank you for the gift of a new year. I place it at the foot of the cross. I want to give it back to you to make it into that which will bring you glory. Help me to lift Christ, that he may become greater that I may be less, by my life or by my death, that in all things he may be exalted. In his name, amen.