The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And he thrust out the enemy before you and said, ‘Destroy.’ Deuteronomy 33:27 ESV
17 years ago we used to bring two of our grandsons to church. At three and one years old this was a challenge during the song service, while I was alone with them and Nancy sang with the worship team. Nathan, who was the older, was generally happy to sit and clap his hands – but not AJ. Oh no, he wanted in on the action and decided that I had to hold him so he could see what was going on! Now, I loved holding him in my arms for the first song, but by the chorus of the second, he started getting heavy and by the third I was desperate for some help. Today’s verse talks about God’s everlasting arms and I discovered that mine most definitely were not!
As we enter this new year, with all of its challenges, opportunities and scary unknowns, we need the One whose arms alone can carry us through. If we will trust Christ as Savior, then whatever we face we can know that God’s got us in His arms. They are underneath us even when we are at our lowest and He will never let us go!
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NIV
God sometimes has a way of working that seems strange to me, and none stranger than the weather during our trip to Texas to be with family over the Christmas holidays. All their plans to show us the sights, were frozen in place by temps that plummeted to 10 degrees on the second day. Of course, for those of you up in Buffalo, that might seem pretty tame, but compared to our Florida weather it felt like Siberia! So, rather than seeing a cattle drive, the lake or a park, we huddled indoors with our grandchildren, and what a blessing those ten days turned out to be. There is no scenery in Texas or anywhere else that compares to their smiles!
Though we did make it out to eat twice, the most precious moments were starting a Bible study program with our special needs grandson, Christmas caroling briefly with them at a neighbor’s house and tickling our youngest bouncy grandson while we watched George of the Jungle! Yes, we slept in bunk beds and had to wait for the bathroom to open up on occasion, but now that I sit far away in our comfortable home, I already miss them! The flights were way overpriced, but the time was priceless. We can always make a few more dollars but we can never replace time that has rushed like the water over Niagara Falls and now is gone forever. Today, in my seventh decade of life, I have no regrets over the financial success I didn’t attain, only over missed opportunities to hug my children, wipe away their tears when they fell down or walk with them once more to the park. But I am thankful for the times when I listened to my wife, put down the newspaper, and went out to shoot hoops with our boys before they were gone. I hope you enjoy a few of the photos of our stay. Have a blessed day everyone!
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Ephesians 3:17-19 KJV
I love how my fellow blogger, Barbara recently suggested over on My Life in Our Father’s World that we choose a word as a theme for the year. I have been thinking about that ever since and with the New Year looming ahead I have chosen the subject of prayer as my focus for 2023. It is not that prayer is not a regular part of my life, or that this is an entirely new area for me to discover, but that my heart has been stirred, or rather pricked by the Holy Spirit about the coldness of my life. Where is the intensity that I once knew, the love of Christ that long ago brought tears to my eyes as I interceded for others? In the Fall our church completed, “40 Days of Prayer” by Pastor Rick Warren, and as our small group discussed it and I went through the journal I wished it would never end! Though the study now sits on my side table, I have determined to pursue God with a faith that works by love in my prayer life more than anything else in the coming year. What about you? What goals has God been speaking to your heart about? Maybe like Barbara, you could join the “One Word Community” to help in your journey. Whatever you do, listen to the Holy Spirit’s direction and follow Him. He alone knows the way ahead and what He has planned for our lives. Because of His love for us we can put all our trust in Him. That love is way beyond anything we can ever understand and by it alone can we know the heart of God. If you are looking for a daily devotional resource to help you in your prayer journey, I am offering here my newly revised and edited 365 Days with Jesus devotional. Each day’s reading begins with a verse, then in a short simple way applies it to everyday life and every month starts with a poem, a theme and a verse. Whatever you choose, I wish you all the best in all the 365 days that lie ahead on your path!