Daily Devotion for December 31, 2013
New Year’s Eve
Seventh Day of Christmas
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?*
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.
*(literally, old long since, i.e., days gone by)
Prayer of St. Edmund
O Lord, into your hands and into the hands of your holy angels, this day I entrust my soul, my relatives, my benefactors, my friends and enemies, and all who confess your holy name.
O Lord, by the merits and prayers of your son, Jesus Christ, keep me today from all evil and unruly desires, from all sins and temptations of the devil, from a sudden and unprovided death, and from the pains of hell. Enlighten my heart with the grace of your Holy Spirit. Grant that I may ever be obedient to your commandments. Let me never be separated from you, O God, who lives and reigns forever, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Prayer to Look Beyond Appearances
Heavenly Father, I confess that in my life, I have been more attentive to someone who was beautiful and ignored another who was not. I have judged people by the way they look, by how old they are, by how they are dressed; and yet I know, in my heart, that all souls are beautiful to you and that you have commanded us to love one another, not through the sinful eye of our body and our emotions, but through the perfect eye of your Spirit.
Help me, I pray, to see other people as you see them. as fellow souls shrugging to find you. Let me not be deceived by appearance; let me not be misled by my prejudice. Let me not compare the outside of other people to the inside of myself, nor believe that the circumstances of my birth defined a standard that others are supposed to meet. Let me see my own imperfection, and not that of my fellow man, this I pray,
A Prayer to Follow the Star
Lord, may I be like the Wise Men who were guided to you by the Star of Bethlehem. Give me the wisdom to seek you, a light to guide me to you, the courage and persistence to search until I find you, the graciousness to worship you and the generosity to lay my gift before you, who is my King and my God for ever and ever.
The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant; Make me perfect in every good work to do your will, working in me that which is well pleasing in your sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
How to Treat Others
Treat people as if they are what they ought to be and you will help them become what they are capable of becoming.
Abraham and the Covenant
When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly." Then Abram fell on his face.
And God said to him, "Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you.
And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God."
Notes on the Scripture
We are about to start our new calendar year. It is the time of beginnings, the time of renewal and fresh starts. The membership of Weight Watchers triples in January; gyms hire temporary employees. It is the time for getting down to the business of what is important to us in the long term.
Although these are usually intended to be permanent lifestyle changes, very few people keep their New Year's resolutions for more than a few months, if that. Don't fall into the trap of biting off more than you chew. It is better to do too little, and establish it as a permanent habit in your life, than to do too much and be doomed to failure from the first eager, ernest day.
You cannot establish a covenant with God; God's covenants are established by Him. People can only accept or reject. You can, however, give God a gift of daily discipline that will benefit you. And since we hope that our actions of devotion are pleasing to Him, perhaps you can accomplish that as well.
Take an impossibly small amount of time, say, ten minutes. If that is too much, five minutes. If that is too much, two minutes. And every morning (either early or at midmorning), do the most important thing you can possibly do for yourself. Go into a quiet place. If you have a hectic morning in your house, go into your room and lock the door, and let everyone know that you are not to be disturbed under any circumstances. The world is not going to end if you do not participate for five minutes (no matter what your children may tell you). Turn off the ringer on the telephone.
Sit in a comfortable spot, with your head upright, and close your eyes. Then take a deep breath and empty your mind. Meditate about God and the day to come. If you have read our Daily Devotional or read the Bible in the morning, you can take a phrase from the Scripture or one of the prayers as a starting spot. Or if you do it before your morning time of prayer and reading, it will put your mind in a state to receive God's word.
Relax and let God center you. When outside thoughts intrude, gently brush them away. Most importantly, time yourself on your watch.
You will want to stop immediately and get back to work. Don't do it. Persist until that anxiety alleviates!
If you do this, the minutes you spend will be returned to you ten times over. You will start your day with a lot less anxiety, confusion and turmoil. You may not even know how much confusion your mind has been in, until you lessen it. Satan loves to distract us from our purpose; if we spend every second trying to solve immediate problems, the most important things will never be addressed.
Best of all, this is a sustainable habit. If you do this for a few weeks, you can do it for the rest of your life. I do this, and if my mind starts to worry over things, I use the phrase “God give me the peace to do Your will” or even the simple word “Jesu” to relax and recenter my mind.