A New Year, a New Word

A New Year, a New Word

A new year is upon us, along with those pesky thoughts of New Years’ resolutions. Well, resolutions are no temptation to me anymore. I’ve given up trying to change myself by my own self-effort. The indwelling Christ is my “Game-changer” and my “Life-changer.” And a few years ago, He brought a lovely “new thing” to my attention … the idea of a word for my year. So for the past several years, I have had my word. But my word had never stuck until in 2016 I stepped aside and allowed the Lord to “give” it to me, rather than trying to come up with one on my own.

So each year my word just seems to “find me.” Every year it has appropriately come in the midst of my “all too real-life”circumstances.

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Facing the New Year without Regret

Facing the New Year without Regret

Another year, another 365 days to accumulate regrets! Loved ones have passed into eternity; opportunities have flown by because we have delayed too long ... and on and on. So I'm sharing this, one of my most visited blog posts over the years. May we all be able to face the fresh regrets of 2016, many of which are valid, and place them in the loving arms of our Savior. Amen.

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Fear Not: a Conversation for Every Day of the Year

It's never too late to enter into this conversation. Hear your Lord speak to your heart: My child...

Fear not...you are never alone for I am with you!prayer

Fear not...you are never left out for you are one with Me !

Fear not...you are never condemned, but always accepted! I not only love you...I like you!

Fear not...you are always adequate with My adequacy...no matter how helpless and inadequate you feel!

Fear not...you are alive with my everlasting, indestructible life, no matter how dead you feel inside! I am your Life!

I AM in your "right here, right now," whether it be suffering in a hospital room or struggling over a wardrobe choice in your closet...and everything in between...I am with you!

Lord, I believe, help my unbelief...

You are my Courage, when I am afraid!

You are my Adequacy, when I am helpless and afraid of failing!

You are my Comfort Zone, and nothing You send me is outside of YOU, my Comfort Zone Christ!

You are my words, the Word, when my words fail me!

I invite you, O my King, my indwelling Lord...

into my fears...one by one...moment by moment...day by day...

into my mind and harassing thoughts...

into my nervous system and blood pressure that tends to be like the wind and waves being tossed to and fro...

into each and every thing I face today and for as many days as we walk together on this earth...

I chose YOU afresh this year... this day, my God.  Amen.

The Lord is ever present with us. Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy... and the God of peace will walk with you. Philippians 4:5b-9 VOICE

Immanuel's Land...even Now!

Many of us have said our tearful "good-byes" to loved ones in the past year.  Many of us will say those same "good-byes" to others this coming year.  In fact, there are those among us who may say our own "good-bye" to this broken, yet beloved, world. Where is the comfort?

Perhaps the comfort can come in the final lines of each stanza of an old, forgotten hymn:

Glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel's land!

hour glass, sands
hour glass, sands

I rediscovered this tender hymn at the memorial service of a dear brother, who went home to Jesus recently. The Sands of Time are Sinking is a song that I always knew as Immanuel's Land. My own title comes from that last line of each stanza.  These hauntingly profound words were the dying words of a "great" in the faith, Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661). Inspired by his story, the hymn writer, 200 years later, penned the words of this magnificent piece leaving us with a treasure, not only to sing, but to deeply ponder...and worship.

There is tremendous comfort in the truth that those who fall asleep in Jesus are enraptured, as we speak, with the glory of being in their Immanuel's presence!  As someone has once said, if you were able to ask them if they wanted to return, the answer would be an overwhelming, "NO!"

But even though Immanuel's Land speaks mainly about seeing our Savior face-to-face in heaven, I have discovered the truth of Paul's penetrating and amazing words of delight (which are alluded to in the second stanza)...enjoyment of our glorious Immanuel Jesus is ours to "taste" in the "right here, right now"!

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,    and no mind has imaginedwhat God has prepared    for those who love him.”

But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 NLT

Many spiritual kingdom revelations and intimacies can be for our "today."  When a heart is filled with the Triune God through the indwelling Holy Spirit, Immanuel's Land is here!

In that vein, take special note of the last 3 stanzas, and join me in declaring "Glory! Glory!"

The sands of time are sinking, The dawn of heaven breaks; The summer morn I'’ve sighed for - The fair, sweet morn awakes: Dark, dark had been the midnight But dayspring is at hand, And glory, glory dwelleth In Immanuel'’s land.

sunrise over ocean
sunrise over ocean

O Christ, He is the fountain, The deep, sweet well of love! The streams on earth I'’ve tasted More deep I’ll drink above: There to an ocean fullness His mercy doth expand, And glory, glory dwelleth In Immanuel’'s land.

O I am my Beloved’'s And my Beloved is mine! He brings a poor vile sinner Into His house of wine I stand upon His merit - I know no other stand, Not e'’en where glory dwelleth In Immanuel’'s land.

The bride eyes not her garment, But her dear Bridegroom’'s face; I will not gaze at glory But on my King of grace. Not at the crown He giveth But on His pierced hand; The Lamb is all the glory Of Immanuel’'s land.

THE SANDS OF TIME ARE SINKING TEXT: Anne Ross Cundell Cousin MUSIC: Phillip Palmertree


New Year Prayer and Encouragement

Frances Havergal
Frances Havergal

I love praise and worship music...and many of our contemporary songs express the heart of what we often go through in our lives. But time and again, what a treat to sink down deep into an old hymn book and enter the depths of communion expressed by saints of old.  One such saint of old is Frances Havergal and here are two of her little known hymns written to be sung at the beginning of a new year.

The first I discovered on facebook a few days ago...and then it just "happened" to be one we sang at church* today.  What a delight!  The second, also sung at church today, thrilled my heart.  In it the recurring theme of fear not discovers me again.  And the reality of God's presence with us pervades both.

Please enjoy, dear brothers and sisters, even if you don't sing.  Enjoy them as a poetic way to pray and worship your way into the year ahead.

Another Year is Dawning

Another year dawning
Another year dawning

Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be In working or in waiting, another year with Thee. Another year of progress, another year of praise, Another year of proving Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace, Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face; Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast; Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service, of witness for Thy love, Another year of training for holier work above. Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be On earth, or else in heaven, another year for Thee.

Standing at the Portal

Standing at the portalOf the opening year,Words of comfort meet us,Hushing every fear;Spoken thru the silenceBy our Savior’s voice,Tender, strong and faithful,Making us rejoice.

Refrain

Onward, then, and fear not,Children of the day;For His Word shall never,Never pass away.

Abba
Abba

“I, the Lord, am with thee,Be thou not afraid;I will help and strengthenBe thou not dismayed.Yea, I will uphold theeWith My own right hand;Thou art called and chosenIn My sight to stand.”

Refrain

For the year before us,O what rich supplies!For the poor and needyLiving streams shall rise;For the sad and sinfulShall His grace abound;For the faint and feeblePerfect strength be found.

Refrain

He will never fail us,He will not forsake;For His eternal covenantHe will never break.Resting on the promise,What have we to fear?God is all sufficientFor the coming year.

Refrain [youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Av5BKbgwbvc']

*Believers Assembly, Bellbrook, OH

Fear Not: a Conversation (a.k.a. prayer) for the New Year

My child...

Fear not...you are never alone for I am with you!

Fear not...you are never left out for you are one with Me !

Fear not...you are never condemned, but always accepted! I not only love you...I like you!

Fear not...you are always adequate with My adequacy...no matter how helpless and inadequate you feel!

Fear not...you are alive with my everlasting, indestructible life, no matter how dead you feel inside! I am your Life!

I AM in your "right here, right now," whether it be suffering in a hospital room or struggling over a wardrobe choice in your closet...and everything in between...I am with you!

Lord, I believe, help my unbelief...

You are my Courage, when I am afraid!

You are my Adequacy, when I am helpless and afraid of failing!

You are my Comfort Zone, and nothing You send me is outside of YOU, my Comfort Zone Christ!

You are my words, the Word, when my words fail me!

I invite you, O my King, my indwelling Lord...

into my fears...one by one...moment by moment...day by day...

into my mind and harassing thoughts...

into my nervous system and blood pressure that tends to be like the wind and waves being tossed to and fro...

into each and every thing I face today and for as many days as we walk together on this earth...

I chose YOU afresh this year, my God.  Amen.

The Lord is ever present with us. Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy... and the God of peace will walk with you. Philippians 4:5b-9 VOICE

Facing the New Year without Regret

Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past.Behold, I will do something NEW, now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19

Everyone has regrets...it's part of the human condition!

We regret our offenses:

  • hurts we have caused
  • sins we've committed
  • walls we've built up toward others

We regret our missed opportunities:

  • to take advantage of new, though frightening, possibilities
  • to choose love in difficult relationships
  • to die to our own selfishness in order to serve

And the lists go on...and the regrets can eat you alive

  • maybe because we can't believe we were so selfish or foolish!
  • maybe because we can't undo them!
  • maybe because those opportunities are gone forever!

But whatever the regret or the reason, if we are to begin afresh in the NEW YEAR, we need to put the past to rest...to rest, that is, in the hands of our Sovereign Father God.

Oswald Chambers says it well, speaking of the regret Christ's disciples must have felt when they didn't watch and pray with the Lord...

In the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples went to sleep when they should have stayed awake, and once they realized what they had done it produced despair [...regret?].

The sense of having done something irreversible tends to make us despair. We say, "Well, it’s all over and ruined now; what’s the point in trying anymore." If we think this kind of despair is an exception, we are mistaken. It is a very ordinary human experience. Whenever we realize we have not taken advantage of a magnificent opportunity, we are apt to sink into despair.

But Jesus comes and lovingly says to us, in essence, "Sleep on now. That opportunity is lost forever and you can’t change that. But get up, and let’s go on to the next thing."

In other words, let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him.

There will be experiences like this in each of our lives. We will have times of despair caused by real events in our lives, and we will be unable to lift ourselves out of them.

The disciples, in this instance, had done a downright unthinkable thing— they had gone to sleep instead of watching with Jesus. But our Lord came to them taking the spiritual initiative against their despair and said, in effect, “Get up, and do the next thing.

If we are inspired by God, what is the next thing? It is to trust Him absolutely and to pray on the basis of His redemption. Never let the sense of past failure defeat your next step.

Jesus is in the redeeming and renewing business.  He has promises that are sure:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.    1 John 1:7-9

So we can flip the page of the calendar to this new year...trusting that our Sovereign God is weaving everything in our lives-- past, present, and future--including our faults, failures, and yes, even our sin (because of His grace) into the beautiful tapestry of His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3-14: Romans 8:28-39).

My life is like a weaving Between my Lord and me I do not chose the colors He worketh patiently Sometimes He weaveth sorrow And I in foolish pride Forgets He sees the upper And I the underside

Not till the loom is silent And the shuttles cease to fly Shall God unroll the canvas And explain the reasons why The dark threads are as needful In the Weaver's skillful hand As the threads of gold and silver In the pattern He has planned

Author Unknown

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Be sure to see

Giving and Receiving...2013

Sue Cutting's Fleeting Sands of Time

Giving and Receiving...2013

What do you have that you did not receive? 1 Cor 4:7 NIV

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38 NIV

Giving and receiving...isn't that what life is all about?

But it seems that some of us are better at receiving than giving.  Others of us are better at giving than receiving.  Both can be virtues, can't they?

Graciously receiving recognizes that we need...hugs, forgiveness, help, family, community.  It humbles us.  And it brings joy to giver and receiver alike!

Giving lavishly, even recklessly, also humbles us...love, forgiveness, words, money, goods, service.   It proves that we don't really own what we have...we are God's stewards, His go-betweens!  And it too brings joy to giver and receiver alike!

Let's simplify our lives and move into 2013 as both lavish givers and gracious receivers.

What might that look like in your life?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Simple Living Keith & Kristen Getty

A rich young man came to ask of Christ "Good teacher, will you tell me What must I do for eternal life I've kept your laws completely." "Sell all you have, give to the poor Then heaven's treasure shall be yours." How hard for those who are rich on earth To gain the wealth of heaven

Now Jesus sat by the off'ring gate As people brought their money The rich they filled the collection plate The widow gave a penny "Now she's outgiven all the rest Her gift was all that she possessed." Not what you give but what you keep Is what the King is counting

O teach me Lord to walk this road The road of simple living To be content with what I own And generous in giving And when I cling to what I have Please wrest it quickly from my grasp I'd rather lose all the things of earth To gain the things of heaven

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Sue Cutting
Sue Cutting

Be sure to see Sue and her Fleeting Sands of Time

You might also like:  Facing the New year without Regret

Regret...or Re-NEW?

Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past.Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19

Everyone has regrets...it's part of the human condition!

We regret our offenses:

hurts we have caused

sins we've committed

walls we've built up toward others

We regret our missed opportunities:

to take advantage of new, though frightening, possibilities

to choose love in difficult relationships

to die to our own selfishness in order to serve

And the lists go on...and the regrets can eat you alive

...maybe because we can't believe we were so selfish or foolish!

...maybe because we can't undo them!

...maybe because those opportunities are gone forever!

But whatever the regret or the reason, if we are to begin afresh in the NEW YEAR, we need to put the past to rest...to rest, that is, in the hands of our Sovereign Father God.

Oswald Chambers says it well, speaking of the regret Christ's disciples must have felt when they didn't watch and pray with the Lord...

In the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples went to sleep when they should have stayed awake, and once they realized what they had done it produced despair [...regret?].

The sense of having done something irreversible tends to make us despair. We say, "Well, it’s all over and ruined now; what’s the point in trying anymore." If we think this kind of despair is an exception, we are mistaken. It is a very ordinary human experience. Whenever we realize we have not taken advantage of a magnificent opportunity, we are apt to sink into despair.

But Jesus comes and lovingly says to us, in essence, "Sleep on now. That opportunity is lost forever and you can’t change that. But get up, and let’s go on to the next thing."

In other words, let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him.

There will be experiences like this in each of our lives. We will have times of despair caused by real events in our lives, and we will be unable to lift ourselves out of them.

The disciples, in this instance, had done a downright unthinkable thing— they had gone to sleep instead of watching with Jesus. But our Lord came to them taking the spiritual initiative against their despair and said, in effect, “Get up, and do the next thing.

If we are inspired by God, what is the next thing? It is to trust Him absolutely and to pray on the basis of His redemption. Never let the sense of past failure defeat your next step.

Jesus is in the redeeming and renewing business.  He has promises that are sure:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.    1 John 1:7-9

So we can flip the page of the calendar to this new year...trusting that our Sovereign God is weaving everything in our lives-- past, present, and future--including our faults, failures, and yes, even our sin (because of His grace) into the beautiful tapestry of His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3-14: Romans 8:28-39).

My life is like a weaving Between my Lord and me I do not chose the colors He worketh patiently Sometimes He weaveth sorrow And I in foolish pride Forgets He sees the upper And I the underside

Not till the loom is silent And the shuttles cease to fly Shall God unroll the canvas And explain the reasons why The dark threads are as needful In the Weaver's skillful hand As the threads of gold and silver In the pattern He has planned

(author unknown)