Tag Archive | new year

The Way Up is Down

 Starting a new year and remembering what really matters…

 

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.   Mark 10:43

 

So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Matthew 20:16

 

For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”  Matthew 16:25

 

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things are passed away; behold, new things have come.”  2 Corinthians 5:17 

 

“As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;  As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”  2 Corinthians 6:9, 10 

 

“‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9 

 

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.”  Phillipians 3:7 

 

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine;
let me find Thy light in my darkness,
Thy life in my death,
Thy joy in my sorrow,
Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley. 

 

Arthur Bennett, Ed.  The Valley of VisionA Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions.  Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA.  2003

A Borrowed Prayer

Every year I usally write two prayers, as one year ends and another begins.  One usually is filled with tremendous thanks for God’s faithfulness; the other expresses my frail, yet growing, trust in the Lord for the year ahead (with a few personal requests thrown in :-).

But for today, I share a borrowed prayer, from The Valley of Vision [1], a collection of Puritan prayers. and devotions.  These prayers go far beyond my feeble skills to communicate humble thanks and dedication to the One who already knows my days before there is one of them!

 

O Lord,

Length of days does not profit me
except the days are passed in Thy presence
                                                        in Thy service,
                                                       and to Thy Glory.

Give me a grace that precedes,
follows,
guides,
sustains,
sanctifies,
aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from Thee,

but may rely on Thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire,
to show forth Thy praise;
testify Thy Love,
advance Thy Kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with Thee, O Father, as my harbour,
           Thee, O Son, at my helm,
            Thee, O Holy Spirit, filing my sails.

Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to Thy call,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.

Give me Thy grace to sanctify me,
Thy comforts to cheer,
Thy wisdom to teach,
Thy right hand to guide,
Thy counsel to instruct,
Thy law to judge
Thy presence to stabilize.

May Thy fear be my awe,
Thy triumphs my joy!

 

[1] Arthur Bennett, Ed.  The Valley of Vision:  A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions.  Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA.  2003

The end of a thing…

“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.”  Ecclesiastes 7:8

Everyone around the world is wildly celebrating the beginning of a New Year.  That’s just what we do.  But, as the Scripture above states, “the end of a thing” can be better than the beginning.  That’s not to mean I’m not excited about a new year; on the contrary, I look  forward to new days, new years, and new birthdays, as opportunities for personal redemption:  change, improvement, renewed commitments, and more.   But it’s both a sober and exciting thing to reflect on what the end of something means–whether it be fulfillment, completion, or significant growth in the right direction.

So, again I return to Spurgeon for few light thoughts 🙂  :

“Look at our Lord and Master, and see His beginning.  He was ‘despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” Would you see the end?  He sits at His Father’s right hand, expectant, waiting until His enemies are made His footstool!

“As He is, so are we in the world”(I Jn.4:17).  You must bear the cross, or you will never wear the crown; you must wade through the mire, or you will never walk the golden pavement.  Cheer up, then, poor Christian. “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.” 

“See that creeping worm; how contemptible is its appearance!  It is the beginning of a thing.  Notice that insect with gorgeous wings, playing in the sunbeams , sipping at the flower bells, full of happiness, and live; that is the end thereof!  The caterpillar is you, until you are wrapped in the chrysalis of death, but when Christ appears, you will be like him, for you shall see Him as He is!!   Be content to be like Him, so that like Him, you may be satisfied when you awake with His likeness!”

And there’s more…  In another devotional, Spurgeon gives us something to remember and rejoice in, as we reflect on 2008, and head into 2009:

“Even on this last day of the year, Jesus pleads with us and waits to be gracious to us.  Admirable indeed is the longsuffering of the Saviour in bearing with some of us year after year, notwithstanding our provocations, rebellions, and resistance of His Holy Spirit. Wonder of wonders that we are still in the land of mercy! 

Oh, for grace to come now and drink, before the sun sets on the year’s last day!”

“In the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink!’”  John7:37

Let us do that, before the clock strikes midnight!