I particularly enjoyed the reading from today’s (December 31) My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. This writing sets an excellent and wonderful tone for the new year.
“Our present enjoyment of God’s grace tends to be lessened by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual growth for our future. God reminds us of the past to protect us from a very shallow security in the present.
“God’s hand reaches back to the past, settling all the claims against our conscience.
“As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, forgetful delight, nor with the quickness of impulsive thoughtlessness. But let us go out with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ.
“Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.”
I wish each of us such a future! Blessings, Eric
God calls us to participate in a reciprocal relationship of love, but too often we are too busy, too “moral” (in our own eyes), too self centered to respond. More than three thousand years ago, when the people of Israel were forming their relationship with him, Yahweh instructed the Israelites to show their love for him by “walking in his ways and holding tight to him.” As we know, then and now, we fail in this walk. Yet God never gives up on us. He “delights in showing us unfailing love.”
And so at this time of year, we are again reminded of how much our Creator cares for us. We could not recognize his love in the abstract, so he came to live with us, to join us on our journey, to listen to our story. As Henri Nouwen writes, “the God of love who gave us life sent his only Son to be with us at all times and in all places, so that we never have to feel lost in our struggles, but can always trust that he walks with us.”
In his book, “Here and Now,” Henri Nouwen writes, “Joy does not come from positive predictions about the state of the world. It does not depend upon the ups and downs of the circumstances of our lives. Joy is based on the spiritual knowledge that, while the world we live in is shrouded in darkness, God has overcome the world. Jesus says it loudly and clearly: ‘In the world, you will have troubles, but rejoice, I have overcome the world.’
The surprise is not that, unexpectedly, things turn out better than expected. No, the real surprise is that God’s light is more real than all the darkness, that God’s truth is more powerful than all human lies, that God’s love is stronger than death.”
And through it all, we have the assurance in Hebrews that through Christ, we receive mercy and grace to help us in our times of need.