May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you.
Hope is a beautiful thing. Like a flower that thrives on sunlight and water,
hope relies on the daily sustenance of the Word of God, of prayer, and
of experience shared with others who have received the gift. Hope is an elusive
bird to those who have no relationship with God or reservation in eternity.
Hope requires more than simply clicking red shoes or crossing our fingers.
It is a sweet and magnificent benefit of walking with Christ. Hope looks at
all that is true about the present, lifts the circumstances of life into the tender,
loving hands of God-and exhales in trust. Hope makes it possible to live
with our feet firmly planted on earth while our hearts and minds are committed
to a vision of life that is far bigger than we are.
A new year is like the fresh, crisp page of an untouched journal. We lift
our pen to the first day. This year will hold unexpected joys and sorrows,
moments of faith and fear, wishes fulfilled and dreams abandoned. There is
much we do not know. But there is much we do know with absolute assurance.
We know that God is in control and that his heart is good and merciful toward
us. We know that we are not alone. We know that everything that happens
in our lives and in the lives of those we love has already passed through our
Father's hands. And we know that we are loved.
Ripping into the Gift of Another Year
In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my
requests before you and wait in expectation.
The first of the month has always been my own personal holiday. I just love
ripping the old month off all my calendars and starting fresh on a whole new
page. How wonderful to look at those clean, fresh, unblemished squares representing
days I haven't messed up yet! And if you think I enjoy throwing away
the old month, just imagine how much I love celebrating a whole new
God has given us measurements of time so we have some perspective on
our lives. Think how hopeless we would feel if we were stuck in some stressful
situation and thought it would never end. But God gives us a new morning-a
new month, a new year-to start over again and again. With each new
start we lift our voices heavenward, laying out our hopes and prayers. Then
we "wait in expectation," as the psalmist said, to receive the gifts and blessings-and,
yes, challenges-God has planned for us.
Whatever comes, we know he will be there with us, throughout the day,
throughout the night, and as we begin afresh tomorrow. Without him, our lives
stretch out to a hopeless end. With him we have the endless hope of a heavenly
Father, thank you for giving me a fresh, new start every day, every year. Amen.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the
inner sanctuary behind the curtain.
anchoris used like this only once in the New Testament. The context
of Hebrews 6 underscores the impact of each word of verse 19. What is
"this hope" that the writer to the Hebrews speaks of? It is the hope that when
God gives his word, he cannot lie. In verse 17 we read, "Because God wanted
to make the unchanging nature of his purpose clear to the heirs of what was
promised, he confirmed it with an oath." When a person swears an oath, the
solemn affirmation of the truth of his or her words is anchored loosely in
human imperfection. But when God makes an oath on his own name, it is
immovable and unshakable. It is firm. It is anchored securely in his flawless
The writer goes even further by saying that our hope enters "the inner
sanctuary behind the curtain."
The New International Version Bible Commentarytells us: "That little room symbolized the very presence of God, but people
were not allowed to enter it. But hope can. The Christian hope is not
exhausted by what it sees of earthly possibilities. It reaches into the very presence
Christian hope has nothing to do with what is going on in this world.
Our hope penetrates right into the holiest place, the inner sanctum of God's
presence, where it anchors itself to Hope incarnate.
Almighty God, thank you that you are not like imperfect
human beings who break their promises. As I place my hope
in your solemn word, I can enter the very throne room
of heaven and anchor myself in you. Amen.
New Year's Commitment
Commit your way to the Lord.
One of the most reflective times for me is the start of a brand-new year. It
wakes up excited anticipation for the days to come.
I don't make New Year's resolutions. No! I have learned that my best
intentions collapse into an early grave by January 15. I have been resolving
to lose thirty pounds by the end of the year for the past thirty-six years. Baby,
. I have resolved to be completely out of debt by the end of the year.
Yeah, sure. Every time I make that my goal, I see something else I "need"
within twenty-four hours.
But there is one promise I have been able to keep from year to year: My
commitment to grow closer to the Lord. A personal reminder of my commitment
is under the glass cover on my desk.
Instructions for a New Year
Devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Show wisdom by your good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes
from wisdom. The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then
peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial
-James 3:13, 17
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless
the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
Now those are New Year's resolutions I
Lord, I commit my spirit and my life to you, in Jesus' name. Amen.