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Monday, January 2, 2012

Front view from our home with Scripture
A front sunset view from our home.
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"From Everlasting To Everlasting"

"And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years" (Genesis 1:14). "But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him" (Psalm 103:17).

Dillsburg pickle drop
In our area many communities imitate the dropping of the ball in New York City and personalize it with an item that reflects their own town. In fact according to the list in Wikipedia our surrounding area in Pennsylvania tops the list where objects are dropped during events on New Year's Eve. A dill pickle (left photo) is dropped in Dillsburg, while a 100-pound stick of Lebanon bologna is dropped in Lebanon north of us. They make Mars candy in neighboring Elizabethtown where a crowd gathers around a large candy bar dropped from the extension ladder of a fire truck! My brother lives in Easton, Pennsylvania, 90 miles away, where Crayola drops a ten foot crayon at 8 P.M. to accommodate little children's bedtimes.

I'm not sure how the dropping of the ball or other items on New Year's Eve originated (although I am sure I could look it up). For many it's a festive way to signal the passing of another year. However we are at an age where we are content simply to watch the ball drop in NYC if we manage to stay up till midnight!

Certainly there are many customs all over the world to mark this important turn of the calendar year. It should be without exception that we, as believers, reflect upon the faithfulness of God personally and in the cosmic realm as we embark upon another year of seeking to fulfill God's purpose for our lives. We desire that this bring rich assurance that can be applied immediately and also placed in reserve for the inevitable challenges ahead. We want to encourage readers by examining an aspect of God's incredible steadfastness and faithfulness so fitting to ponder today.

From the very beginning of creation God ordained the year as a time unit.  Along with days and seasons these are the three time units ordained at creation. All three are related to the creative work of God on the fourth day.

The annual unit represents the precise time it takes for the earth to revolve around the sun a single time, along with its rotation marking days and movement on its axis, which marks seasons. It's been absolutely fixed since the fourth day of Creation. What an incredible statement to express God's faithfulness! Indeed the hymn writer summed it up, "Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest, sun, moon and stars in their courses above, join with all nature in manifold witness to Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love."

As the new year of 2012 begins each of us deal with vacillating circumstances. This should remind us of our fundamental need to place our trust in God because He who has fixed the "sun, moon and stars in their courses above" loves us and cares deeply for us today. All may change, but Jesus never, glory to His Name! Rest in this promise:
"But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him."

One thing I know that I have found
Through all the troubles that surround
You are the rock that never fails You never fail

One thing I know that I believe
Through every blessing I receive
You are the only one that stays, You always stay

You’ll never change, You’re still the same
You are the everlasting God
You will remain, after the day is gone
And things on earth have passed
Everlasting God
(see video link below to listen to this song)

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Yesterday, today, and forever You are the faithful, changeless One, Father. Your works in the past are testimony to Your majesty, power, and provision for our lives today. Your presence today steadies our walk as You lead us in the paths of righteousness while we forge ahead in 2012. Your future blessings are waiting to be unfolded in our lives as we faithfully yield to You our heart, our soul, and our mind. We look to You for everything we need for life and godliness in this present age as we await Your soon return. Come, Lord Jesus, come!  Amen.

Grace and gratitude
Last week we shared some background information about the photo of the praying elderly man (known as Grace) and inquired from our readers regarding the history of the praying woman photo (known as Gratitude). A careful researcher found this interesting article.

Jack Brown, a reader of this series from Michigan, sent us an interesting study
he had done on God's promises that will bless our readers as they face 2012.

God's Promises For The New Year
  • He will be with us. (Genesis 3:12)
  • He will never leave us nor ever forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)
  • He will equip us with everything good for doing His will and work in us what is pleasing to Him through Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 13:21)
  • He will provide fresh mercy and grace every day for each day's need. (Lamentations 3:22)
  • He will accept our worship as we treat those in need with benevolence and live lives dedicated to integrity and purity. (James 1:27)
  • He will be reliable and trustworthy. (James 1:17)
  • He will give us wisdom generously when we ask Him for it consistently. (James 1:5-6)
  • He will grant us grace and lift us up when we choose to live humbly. (James 4:6, 10; 1 Peter 5:6)
  • He will give us new beginnings in Christ. (1 Peter 1:3)
  • He will restore, strengthen and steady us. (1 Peter 5:10)
  • He will care for us if we will give our cares to Him.. (1 Peter 1:7)
  • He will forgive all our sins if we will acknowledge them, turn from them and dedicate ourselves to stay away from them. (1 John 1:9)
  • He will produce the character of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in us by His Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23)
  • He will love us with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)
  • He will bless us, forgive all our sins, heal all our diseases, redeem our lives from destruction, crown our lives with love and compassion and satisfy the needs of our lives. (Psalm 103:2-3)
  • He will give us courage, strength and grace to redemptively deal with all we face. (Philippians 4:13; Psalm 31:2)
  • He will grant us success as we take in and live out His Word. (Joshua 1:8)
  • He will be our light, protection and salvation. (Psalm 27:1-2)
  • He will hear and respond to our prayers. (Psalm 17:6)
  • He will transform us by continually renewing our minds so we can think and live in His ways. (Romans 12:1 and following)
  • He will bring further along to completion what He has begun in us. (Philippians 1:6)
  • He will keep working into us His will and purpose so that we will do and want to do His will and purposes. (Philippians 2:13)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Everlasting God"  Video  New Life Worship  (This is the song which we posted the lyrics at the bottom of today's message. It is written by Glenn Packiam.

"From The East Unto The West"  Video  The Odes of Solomon  We heard this song on our local Christian radio station today and it has a contagiously catchy melody!

"Eternity"  Video  Brian Doerksen

List of items dropped on New Year's Eve.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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