Today is Tuesday, December 31, 2019. The Seventh Day of Christmas. The Eve of Holy Name. Peace be with you!
Tomorrow is New Year’s Day, 2020.
Today is Make Up Your Mind Day. “Make Up Your Mind Day just goes to show that there really is a day for everything.
“This one is aimed at those who may be just a little (or a lot) indecisive. So to all you undecided people out there: no matter whether you have a habit annoying your friends by struggling to pick a dish at a restaurant, or trying to decide if you’re really, really ready for that career change, this is the one day when the choice has to be made. No excuses, no procrastination, no ands, ifs or buts—this day is your chance to stop putting things off for fear of responsibility and get things done. And what a better day to do this than New Year’s Eve, when you’re standing on the brink of a whole New Year and perhaps wondering what you could do to make it your own?
“While it may seem a little scary at first, especially to those unaccustomed to being decisive, the ultimate goal is to take control of you life by making a decision and sticking with it. It’s celebrated by being brave and taking chances, and by learning something new about yourself along the way.”
So as I approach 2020, while I have not made “New Year’s Resolutions” in over a decade, I have made up my mind that a few things are going to be different in this next year. They involve music, prayer, and health. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
I’m going to meet up with my pastor/friend in a little while, this morning. Since I’m taking my last day of PTO (Paid Time Off) for 2019, I’m not at work today. He and I have not yet had an opportunity to meet and discuss the books we are reading for the Renovare Book Club, this year. So, since I have the day off, I suggested meeting this morning. So we are meeting at a coffee shop at 10:00 AM to talk about books. If you recall my new t-shirt, that’s one of the five things that I like almost as much as reading.
After that, I will be bringing home lunch for S and me, then I will probably spend the afternoon playing Days Gone on the PS4, until C gets home from work. We don’t really have any plans for the night. We aren’t big New Year’s Eve partiers, these days. Is that a word? I don’t think it’s a word. Partiers? Partyers? There are red spellcheck lines under both of those. Oh, well. Whatever. We were invited to a get-together at a friend’s house, but C has not been feeling well for the last few days, so I reckon we’ll just stay home chill. Will we stay up until 2020? That remains to be seen. I might, but if I do, I’ll probably be playing on the PS4. Or watching a show on Amazon Prime or Netflix. Who knows???
The Shadow knows!
We’re both off tomorrow for the first holiday of the new year. Then it’s back to work for two days, then another weekend. 2020 is a leap year, so Christmas and New Year’s Day will be on Friday, next year. So it will be at least four years until we have those holidays in the middle of the week again.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
But I call to God, and the LORD will save me.
Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.
He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.
God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old, Selah. because they do not change and do not fear God.
Today I am grateful:
1. For my last day of PTO for the year.
2. That my PTO resets tomorrow!
3. That the Lord redeems my soul in safety my battles (Psalm 55.18).
4. For examples of people such as Brother Lawrence in doing everything we do to the glory of God.
5. For the things God will do in me in 2020.
Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!
Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.
His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.
He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.
And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.
From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.
On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts!
Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!
Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!
Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds!
Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and maidens together, old men and children!
Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the LORD!
“Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him,
and to be born of a pure virgin:
Grant that I, who have been born again and made your child by adoption and grace,
may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit;
through my Lord Jesus Christ,
to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory,
now and for ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)
(From Faith That Matters)
Do All As Jesus Would, by Dallas Willard
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10.31
“The specific work to be done–whether it is making ax handles or tacos, selling automobiles or teaching kindergarten, performing in the arts or teaching English as a second language–is of central interest to God. It is work that should be done, and it should be done as Jesus himself would do it. Nothing can substitute for that.”
I agree with Willard on this. When we are “at work,” whatever it is that we do, we should do our best to do the work as Jesus would do it. Furthermore, while we are on the job, we should give our full attention to that job, which means that “religious activities” should take a back seat to that job. That doesn’t mean that we are not engaging the power of God in our work, or even that we don’t pray during the job. Personally, I don’t consider prayer as “religious activity.”
Richard Foster, in Streams of Living Water, calls this idea the “Incarnational Stream.” It is the action of living our daily lives to the glory of God, no matter what it is that we do. In his book The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence, who was assigned the menial task of washing dishes in the monastery, says, “Nor is it needful that we should have great things to do. . . We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God.”
Willard writes, “Our intention with our job should be the highest possible good in its every aspect, and we should pursue that with the conscious expectation of a constant energizing and direction from God. Although we must never allow our job to become our life, we should, within reasonable limits, routinely sacrifice our comfort and pleasure for the quality of our work, whether it be ax handles, tacos, or the proficiency of a student we are teaching.”
So, if we are followers of Jesus, we should do all of our work for his glory, doing it the way we believe Jesus would do it if he were us. Because we love him, we do everything to his glory, whether we eat or drink or make ax handles or tacos.
2020, bring it on.
Father, as a new year approaches, I pray that I would fulfill your purpose for me in 2020. I pray that I would take this mindset along with me, wherever I go, in whatever I do. May I go to work each day with the intent of doing my work as Jesus would do it, to the glory of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. May your Spirit inspire me and drive me to everything in a spirit of holiness and devotion to you.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Grace and peace, friends.