Abide In Me

“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.”~~Rainer Maria Rilke
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is first-foot, “the first person to cross the threshold of a house on New Year’s Day.” I guess that would be me, since I went outside and came right back in, after I got up this morning.

Today is Commitment Day. This fits nicely with the theme of New Year’s Day, as it is always seen as a day of new beginnings.

We had a nice time with Rachel and Justin, last night. After they arrived, we talked for a while, then decided on ordering Italian food to be delivered to the house. We played Cards Against Humanity until around 10:00 or so, and they decided to head on back to Denton. Christi and I then watched episodes of Criminal Minds until about 12:30, stopping to watch the midnight celebration in Chicago as the new year came to pass in Central Standard Time.

I’m not sure what we have planned for today, so we’ll see what happens. It’s nice to have one more three-day-weekend to begin the new year. Next week will be tough, simply because it will be the first full week of work after having a couple of extremely truncated weeks.

Sunday morning, we are having a prayer and worship gathering at our church. There won’t be a sermon, just several prayer times, along with some worship songs. As for tomorrow, I don’t know what will happen, then, either. I did a bit of grocery shopping after work, yesterday, since I got off at noon, again, so we don’t need to do much, if any, of that.

I just remembered, we don’t have any 2016 calendars, yet! That will probably be on the agenda for the weekend, too!

On this date in:

45 BC–The Julian calendar took effect for the first time
1772–The first traveler’s cheques went on sale in London
1773–The hymn that would eventually become known as “Amazing Grace” was first used to accompany a sermon by John Newton, in Olney, England
1788–The first edition of The Times is published in London
1801–The Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland were united to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
1808–The importation of slaves to the U.S. was banned
1863–The Emancipation Proclamation took effect in the Confederacy
1873–Japan began using the Gregorian calendar
1885–Twenty-five nations adopted Sanford Fleming’s proposal for Standard Time, as well as time zones
1890–The Tournament of Roses Parade was held for the first time, in Pasadena, California
1892–Ellis Island opened to begin processing immigrants into the U.S.
1902–The first American college bowl game, The Rose Bowl, was held in Pasadena, California, between Michigan and Stanford
1908–The ball dropped for the first time in New York City
1934–Alcatraz became a U.S. federal prison
1939–Sydney, Australia, records a record temperature of 113 degrees F
1939–William Hewlett and David Packard formed the Hewlett-Packard company
1954–NBC made the first coast-to-coast color broadcast, telecasting the Tournament of Roses Parade
1971–Cigarette ads were banned on television
1984–American Telephone & Telegraph was busted up by the gummint
1985–The first British mobile phone call was made

Today’s birthdays include:

1449–Lorenzo de Medici
1484–Huldrych (Ulrich) Zwingli, Swiss Reformer
1735–Paul Revere, American patriot
1752–Betsy Ross, American seamstress
1895–J. Edgar Hoover, American FBI director
1900–Xavier Cugat, Spanish musician
1911–Hank Greenberg, American baseball player
1919–J.D. Salinger, American novelist
1919–Carole Landis, American actress
1919–Rocky Graziano, American boxer
1922–Jerry Robinson, American comic book artist, Batman
1935–B. Kliban, American cartoonist
1938–Frank Langella, American actor
1942–Country Joe McDonald, American musician
1958–Grandmaster Flash, Barbadian musician
1964–Dedee Pfeiffer, American actress, Michelle’s sister
1980–Elin Nordegren, Swedish model and Tiger’s ex-wife

B. Kliban was a popular cartoonist, born in Norwalk, CT, in 1935. He was probably most famous for his cartoon cats. He passed away in 1990. My favorite cartoon of his was this one that I believe I have posted before.

Kliban

Johann Bernoulli, Johann Christian Bach, Hank Williams, Maurice Chevalier, Victor Buono, Cesar Romero, and Townes Van Zandt are among notable deaths on this date.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

It’s a new year, so I’ll be starting some new devotional books. I’m also still working out how my daily prayer routine is going to look. Having read Timothy Keller’s book on prayer twice during 2015, I’m looking at some of his suggestions. I think I am leaning toward Keller’s suggestion of incorporating Evocation, Meditation, Word Prayer, Free Prayer, and Contemplation. In terms of how this will look in regard to this blog, I’m not sure, yet. I have a pretty limited amount of time, during weekday mornings. What may wind up happening is that this blog may become the “setup” time for the prayer time.

The resources that I will be using this year are: Daily Guideposts 2016, Praying With the Psalms, by Eugene Peterson, Devotions from the World of Sports, by John & Kathy Hillman, and My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. In addition, I will be ending each evening with a reading from Good Night, God, by David C. Cook. That seems like a lot, and may wind up being too much for my allotted time, especially considering that I intend to engage in some more serious Bible reading, as well. We shall see.

I’ll begin each morning’s devotional with the reading from Praying with the Psalms, by Eugene Peterson. I can think of no better way to begin a day’s spiritual exercise, than with the “prayer book” of the Scriptures.

Today’s reading comes from Psalm 1. (Unless noted otherwise, when I quote Scripture here, it will be English Standard Version copyright 2000 by Crossway Bibles.)

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

The person compared to a tree has deep roots in the ways of God. This person delights in God’s ways and meditates on them. The person compared to chaff does not care about such things, probably considering them “too limiting.”

“Thank you, God, for both the warning and the promise. The dismal prospects that surround the way of the wicked are nothing to shout about; the happy results of running in the way of your commandments are. Set my feet firmly in such a path, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

(From Daily Guideposts 2016)

All of my devotions had good ones to begin the year with, but I like the way the Daily Guideposts begins this year, with the theme for the year being “Abide in Me.” Consequently, I have already chosen my verse for this year, which will be John 15:4, Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

The verse for today’s reading is John 16:13, When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

Erin MacPherson writes of a New Year’s Day that began beautifully; “a spectacular sunrise, bright oranges and pinks peeking out over the leafless tress in our front yard, enticing us out of our fire-warmed house, with cocoa in hand, to enjoy the view.” Unfortunately, that same day ended with a trip to the ER, when her eight-year-old son crashed his bike, dislocating his jaw.

As she sat in the hospital, fuming about the new year that had already disintegrated “into a mess of pain and fear,” the Holy Spirit invaded her mind with John 15:4-5. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

As she looked at her son, “battered and bruised but okay,” she whispered, “I’m ready Lord. Bring on the new year,” knowing that this new year would continue to bring spectacular sunrises, but would also bring more crashes, pain, sorrow, and even fear, resulting in times when she would even wonder how to take the next step forward.

“Through it all, I have no choice but to choose–intentionally, wholeheartedly, and lovingly–to abide in God. Because together we are going to bear much fruit.”

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 23

Father, along with Erin, I pray, “I’m ready, Lord. Bring on the new year.” May the theme of abiding in you be my theme for the year, as well, bringing me to the place where I, too, can bear much fruit as I abide in Christ Jesus.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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4 thoughts on “Abide In Me

  1. Happy New Year, Jeff! I’m back on WordPress and will try to read blogs a bit more often in 2016. 3 day weekends are great. I haven’t been to work since December 22, so it will be hard to return 😉

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