Following are two excerpts from my daily devotional “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”. The first is the entry for December 27, and contains some resolutions that might be helpful to us all. The second is from January 1, which contains sentiments that might be helpful as we embark on this journey through a brand new year.
TODAY IS… December 27
a wonderful day to look at things differently.
“How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me?” Psalm 116:12 NIV
As the New Year approaches, many of us look forward to the end of the current year saying, “I hope next year’s a lot better than this one!” As if the stroke of midnight that changes one day to another holds a magical allure to us, we look at the approach of midnight December 31 as a chance to “start over.” Of course, the only true way to start over is to accept Christ into our lives, repent of our sins, and ask God for His forgiveness which really wipes our slate clean.
Be that as it may, perhaps God doesn’t mind a tiny bit of indulgence, so let us look at January 1 as a new beginning. There is no better time to prepare for the future than to use the Gift of Today to do it. As the New Year approaches, the pen and paper come out and ‘resolutions’ are made with which we hope to truly change in a positive way for the next year.
The most common resolutions are to lose weight and quit smoking. While these are both extremely important things to consider for our health and well-being, why don’t we look at things differently for next year, especially if we are among those who are glad this year is ending?
Let’s begin by looking back over the past year and taking note of all of the blessings we have received from God. Many of us will discover that some of God’s blessings accompanied those events which contribute to our looking forward to a new year. But if we think about it, we can see that we learned and grew as a result of those things and that God demonstrated His love for us time and time again. We should be less thankful that the year is ending, and more thankful that God was with us every step of the way.
If we really want to change, we will need God’s help, so how about considering some of these suggestions for resolutions?
· I resolve to thank God every day for all He does for me.
· I resolve to look for Christ in every person I meet.
· I resolve to do something significant in service to God and my brothers and sisters each day.
· I resolve to spend less time on the couch and more time on my feet doing the Lord’s work.
· I resolve to pray for other people every day.
· I resolve to think more about God so that I am less inclined to think about things I shouldn’t.
· I resolve to think less of myself and more about those around me.
These are a few suggestions you can claim as your own and then say, “I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of His people.” (Psalm 116:14 NIV).
TODAY IS… January 1
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 NLT
A new day. A new month. A new year.
So what are you going to do with it? In the beginning, God did something good. He created something of infinite wonder and beauty. Should you not do something good with the beginning that you have stretched out before you right now?
Of course you cannot do anything as remotely spectacular as what God did, but then, He doesn’t expect that. If you feel unsure or tentative about your ability to do anything that will have any impact, perhaps the words of Helen Keller will serve to reassure you:
“I am only one. But still, I am one. I cannot do everything. But still, I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I CAN do!”
God is love, and He showed us His love by creating the world and the life that was to inhabit it. A good way for you to begin would be to return that love with a commitment to try a little harder each day to make His creation a better place. You can do this by spending a little time each day reading the Bible and asking God for help in understanding His Word and putting into practice the simple concepts repeated throughout its many inspiring pages.
None of us will ever be perfect, but we do have the ability to mirror God’s character by the way we conduct ourselves in daily life. It is far too easy to slip into bad habits and mirror the crudeness, immorality, and inconsiderate character that today’s society so often exposes us to. But with the determination to begin something beautiful and full of meaning, it will soon be apparent that what people see when they look at you is a mirror image of God’s love, patience, kindness, and forgiveness.
You see, you cannot do everything. Only God can do that. But you can do something to take advantage of today.
Make it the beginning of something good.