“And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness – secret riches.” (Isaiah 45:3)
Grief visited this week. It threw shadows across my path as family and friends grieved over the loss of loved ones. People were left with sadness, tears in their eyes and empty spaces in their homes. There really were no words to say.
When hard times come, when the darkness has crept into our day, we can know that God is there with us, close. For He is close to the broken hearted. He knows our pain, our loss. He hears our whispers of fear and hurt and He catches every tear that we shed.
In during these times, we will discover treasures in the darkness. Treasures of God’s grace as we find the strength to get through. Treasures of friends gathering to show their love and care. Treasures of prayers and an awareness of God calling people to pray. Treasures of a deeper revelation of God’s love for us.
We find the laughter and the light grows stronger and brighter again.
The darker the night,
The brighter the day,
The fiercer the fight,
The stronger the faith,
So I place my hope in You
(Kristene Mueller – Redemption)
It’s funny how some days time can just seem to vanish. One minute you’re well ahead of schedule and then suddenly the time is gone – as if into a vortex or you’ve entered a parallel universe where you’re late!
Time – it’s such a precious commodity. A limited to 24 hours a day commodity! Life coaches and experts have many tips on how to make the most of your time. To be more efficient at work, at home. To make every minute count!
But it’s true, there are moments in our day for our taking. Across our days we have small slices of time – maybe just 5 minutes here or there where we can take a breather, grab a coffee even! These are moments too where we can turn our hearts towards God, to pause and be aware of His presence in our lives. It’s how we keep the conversation going with God long after our quiet time is over.
“In order to know God, we must often think of Him; and when we come to love Him, we shall then also think of Him often, for our heart will be with our treasure.” (Brother Lawrence)
“There is no sweeter manner of living in the world than continuous communion with God.” (Brother Lawrence)
“I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until the day of His return.” (2 Timothy 1:12)
Heavenly Father, I release to you the burdens that I have been carrying, burdens that You never intended for me to carry. I cast all my cares upon You-all my worries, all my fears.
Father, calm my restless spirit, quiet my anxious heart, still my troubling thoughts with the assurance that You are in control. I let go of my grip upon the things I have been hanging onto, with opened hands I come to You.
I thank You for Your promise to sustain me, preserve me, and guard all that I have entrusted to Your keeping. Protect my heart and mind with Your peace, the peace that passes all understanding. Father, may Your will be done in my life, in Your time, and in Your way.
(By Roy Lessin, DaySpring co-founder and writer)
I can think of no better way to start the New Year than borrowing words from my father’s New Year’s Day preach….
“As we gather together this New Year’s Day, in the Presence of God to worship Him and give thanks for the year that has passed and petition Him for the year that is to come, I want to underline for you this wonderful, hopeful, promise filled truth, that – Our God is a God who rejoices in offering us a new beginning – not just for now, not just for today, or tomorrow, or this year, but for life and forever.
No matter what has shattered and battered us in the past – long ago or just recently – No matter how badly we have failed and messed up our lives and others – our God, at this very moment stretches out His hand to pick us up, dust us down, wipe away our tears, heal our wounds, clean us up, and set us on our feet again.”
Happy New Year Everyone!
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
It’s an odd week. That week that’s bookended either side by Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. You lose track of what day it is. Are the shops open today? Normal times? And what about the Postman – does he come this week? And of course the inevitable conversation of what day does rubbish gets collected!
Sometimes it can feel like that with life. That you’re sandwiched between the promise and the provision. That you’re neither here nor there. Not at the mountain top but not in the valley either. Just in between. Or as A.A. Milne wrote in his poem, you are on a stair halfway, neither up or down. It’s the middle places that much of our life is spent. Spent waiting, hoping, standing in faith. We’re waiting for the answer to prayer, the healing, the provision.
But it’s in these times that we need to keep on, press on and hold on. We need to remember that God is faithful and true to His promises.
And if I’m right about what day it is, the rubbish goes out tonight…
“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)
“Peace on earth, goodwill to men”
I don’t know what your year has held. Perhaps like mine it has had its hard days amongst the good. But as we during these final few days of Advent look towards Christmas we get to celebrate that amongst the messy, the hard and the difficult, God is with us.
No matter what is going on in your life, no matter the hard times or the heart breaking. No matter the injustices or the wrongs, we can let the truth of Christmas resonate in our hearts – that God is with us. You see even in the midst of the sometimes not so merry circumstances Jesus – Prince of Peace, the Wonderful Counsellor is there with us. The promise of peace on earth, goodwill to men is an invitation for us today, a reality for us today.
We celebrate at Christmas not only that Christ was born but that He lived and lives today!
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” (Luke 2:15)
If there is one thing that has struck me afresh this year with Christmas, it is that it is a story of travellers. Of Mary and Joseph who would travel to Bethlehem to fulfil the prophesy of where the Messiah would be born. Of travelling Wise men following a star seeking a King. Even Angels travelling from Heaven to bring the good news. The shepherds leaving their flocks to go and seek the baby that the angel told them about. And of a God that would travel to earth to become a baby.
We are all travellers too. Travelling through life seeking an encounter with God. Maybe this Christmas you are seeking the joy that comes from Jesus. You might need from Him the peace that passes all understanding, the everlasting hope that only He can provide. Or maybe this year you wish for a fresh revelation of the love that Jesus has for you.
As we journey towards Christmas Day, and as each day we journey with God, may you find in Jesus what your heart needs.