Happy New Year, everyone! I have been thinking about this pair of quotes from a sermon I attended last weekend, and they seem like a great way to start the new year.
1) “We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we know Who holds tomorrow.”
The start of a new year always bring the promise of new beginnings, but it also brings a promise of new challenges. Isn’t it interesting that we celebrate the birth of our Savior right before the start of the new year? Let that be reminder to all of us. We do not enter into the new year alone; we are accompanied by the greatest gift ever given to mankind. Immanuel. God-with-us.
2) “I am not as smart as God.”
Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of this, because the way my brain gets to churning some days I could accidentally conclude that I was single-handedly solving the entire universe of problems. (Anyone else sometimes find themselves in this situation?) There are days I have a lot of questions for God. Why is a big one. So is how. It is a comfort, at the end of the day, to know that even when I cannot reason something through to my own satisfaction, there is Someone else who can. There are some things I will never understand. And that is okay. We have a God who knows all things, and is working all things together for the good of those who love Him.
Whatever the New Year may bring, we can rest in the assurance that we are infinitely cared for. The days of our lives are held – perfectly, protectively – in the very palm of His hand.
For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13).
“If Jesus had come to earth with the mission not of going to the cross, but to do your job, how would He do it?”
It was a question posed at a recent luncheon I attended, and the ensuing conversation was thought provoking. What would Jesus do a little differently? A little better?
Sometimes we forget that Jesus likely worked as a carpenter before starting his “public ministry.” And yet, that carpentry work was just as public as His three years of travelling and preaching. What kind of carpentry work do you think He did? Do you think He cut corners and made benches that would collapse? Can you imagine his followers saying, “Wow, He’s a great speaker and you should listen to what He says, but don’t buy His benches…”
How do you think Jesus performed in His day job?
How many lives do you think Jesus touched with a different kind of hammer and nails than the ones that hung Him to the cross?
And what does that say about how we, as His followers, should be doing our jobs?
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).
“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.” ~Edward Abbey
Who among us would choose difficult over easy? And yet sometimes, isn’t that the point?
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint… (Romans 5:3-5)
Wow. This made me stop and think… How about you?
giving thanks always concerning all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God, even the Father (Ephesians 5:20)
Busy day? It’s easy to “forget” patience, kindness, and gentleness as we rush out the door. We must consciously integrate goodness and sharing into our routine. Do not neglect it!
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased (Hebrews 13:16).
What made YOU smile today?
This flower may look brilliant enough to be a standard stock image, but it is actually a picture a friend sent me – the result of her gardening (and photographic) prowess! It made me smile. How about you?
From the fullness of His grace, we have all received one blessing after another (John 1:16)
I was taking my morning walk this morning as I usually do – with my eyes half shut. Someplace between leaving my front door and returning is where I typically wake up. This morning my point of waking up occurred when I was turning for home and noticed someone standing off the road taking a picture. I stopped to see what she was photographing. There was a beautiful tree in full blossom. This tree was so full of flowers, I don’t think there was room for even one more bloom. In the early morning light, the white blossoms practically glowed. So I went home and got my camera and took a picture, too.
The tree in full bloom.
Blooms to the sky!
Here was a piece of God’s beautiful creation that I almost walked right by. What other beauty did I miss this morning?
What a shame it is to go through our days and never even see the beauty that is around us! Today, make it a point to keep your eyes open as you go about your usual routine. Be a witness to God’s creation. Stop and take a picture. Perhaps you will inspire someone else to do the same.
This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it! (Psalm 118:24 ESV)
I have often wondered what the appropriate greeting for Good Friday should be. You can’t say “Happy Good Friday” or even, “I hope you have a good Good Friday.” Good Friday is a day to commemorate something that is definitely neither happy nor good… even when we know the rest of the story.
But I feel like there should be some kind of acknowledgement. What does one say about Good Friday?
The answer – or at least an answer – came to me unexpectedly in the form of an email from a friend: We should say about Good Friday the same thing we should do about Good Friday.
We should contemplate it.
So here is my Good Friday greeting to all of you:
Peace and Contemplation –
A peaceful and contemplative Good Friday to you.
Lord, help us to remember what this day signifies. Help us to experience your peace even as we contemplate the day that Jesus died. What was I doing today at 9 a.m.? At noontime? At 3 p.m.? Was I standing at your cross? Was I recognizing that even here – because of here – there is peace?
It was nine in the morning when they crucified Him (Mark 15:25).
Yesterday as I was walking across campus I passed a small group of students dressed in red t-shirts with permanent black marker emblazoned across the front: FREE HUGS =)
Perhaps they were taking a page out of the book of the Purdue University Compliment Guys, or perhaps they were just trying to spread some cheer in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day. As I walked past them, one young man came bounding across the sidewalk with his arms opened wide.
“Hi, there. How are you?” He asked.
“Fine,” I said. And then, as he continued to stand in front of me, “Are you going to give me a hug?”
So he gave me a quick hug and then skipped back to his compatriots.
“Have a good day,” I called.
I love college students. You never know what crazy, whimsical, or insightful thing they will come up with next. Like giving away free hugs.
Have you hugged a stranger today?
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted… (Ephesians 4:32)
May we all find something today worth giving thanks for… because indeed there are many things… no matter what we may be facing.
Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing
Power and majesty, praise to the King
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name
~ Darlene Zschech, Singer/Songwriter
(If you’ve never heard this song, you can get an unofficial sneak peek on YouTube.)
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever (1 Chronicles 16:34).
Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!