I simply cannot believe how quickly each year passes for me as I get on in age! My Momma was so correct in her saying, “The older I get, the faster time flies!” How right she was!
The lesson the Lord led me to share with our children at this past Wednesday night’s service was “God is My Fortress.” (Wednesdays are my turn with them and what a privilege to serve my Lord in this way!) I read Psalm 18:1-2 to them as they colored their pictures of Jesus holding the children in His arms in the garden. “I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” I kept it simple for them in that there will be times in our lives when our parents may not be there when we are scared of something or we need help with something, but Jesus is always there with His strong arms open. I showed them a picture of a fortress/castle and, of course, all children know what ‘forts’ are. What fun to build a fort with all our blankets from our beds pulled over the kitchen chairs to crawl under and hide in. 🙂 Who hasn’t done that?
So, to my question, “How did you ring in the New Year!?”
As I have grown in the Lord, I have learned that partying it up for the New Year is not the best way to ring it in. I like to remember the next day (without a sick stomach and horrendous headache, and ugly regrets) the closing of the old and beginning of the new. I am thankful for my Lord’s Grace and forgiveness for when I let Him down in the past year, and ask Him for His help to keep reaching for Him to know Him more in the coming year. Will I still stumble? Of course, until I am physically in His presence, but my wish is to get up quickly from those stumblings and learn what He is teaching me from them, and continue putting one foot in front of the other for His glory and honor. One thing I know for sure, as long as I am “dwelling” in Him, He will be my fortress and my refuge and my strength! My protection!
On a more adult level, I love Psalm 91. Notice the words “He that dwelleth”. The Hebrew word for dwelleth is yashab (yaw-shab’) meaning to sit down, remain, to settle, inhabit, abide, tarry, continue, establish, endure… I think you get the point. Some would wish to receive God’s promise of protection, “shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” without the stipulation of living in Him. God Jehovah is a Good, Righteous and Just God. He rightfully expects us to abide in Him to receive His promises. He loves to spend time with us. When we are not abiding in Him, we are abiding or living in this sinful, evil world which is God’s (and our) enemy.
I can think of no better way to start a New Year than to renew my commitment to do my best to dwell in God’s presence and strive to know Him more. That habitation requires my time with Him in His Word and in prayer, constantly seeking His will each day, so that I am less and He is more. That is the only way I can die to my selfish self and let the light of His Spirit shine forth to draw others to Him. How I have grown to love being in His presence, and being protected by His loving arms.
1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.