Daily Devotion for December 31, 2010
New Year's Eve
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.
Prayer for the Morning
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me.
For our restful sleep at night,
For the rain and sunshine bright,
For the love that Thou dost send,
For our homes and for each friend,
For the day and all its pleasures,
Grateful thanks we render now.
May our lives pass on the blessings,
None can give to us, but Thou.
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make me perfect in every good work to do his will, working in me that which is well-pleasing in his 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.
That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; That our daughters may be as pillars, As gracious and steadfast as statues in a palace;
That our barns may be full, Supplying all kinds of produce; That our sheep may bring forth thousands And ten thousands in our fields;
That our oxen may be well laden; That there be no breaking in or going out; That there be no outcry in our streets.
Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!
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, 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.
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. You cannot successfully spend your entire life "in the moment", but life constantly tries to force this upon you. If you 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" to relax and recenter my mind.