Thursday, January 01, 2009

Joy Comes in the Morning

“And now let us welcome the New Year
Full of things that have never been.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

I enjoy new beginnings. I like fresh starts. I embrace the idea of celebrating at every opportunity.

There’s often a large amount of planning that goes into welcoming January 1st each year. Invitations are giving. Decorations displayed. Party favours purchased. Special trays of goodies are prepared. We bid goodbye to the old year and anticipate the new with a spirit of remembrance and joy. For some this past year has held untold heartache. Losses that will remain until eternity. For others its been a year of challenge and growth. My heart holds so many treasured moments from 2008. Part of me doesn’t want to let go. Part of me wants to cling to the year that brought so much joy. Times of such breathtaking delight in my Saviour. Knowing His nearness. Embracing His promises. Abandoning fear and stepping out in faith. Seeing dreams come true. Hearing God speak. New friends who have become so precious that my heart can barely contain the happiness, that with even just the slightest thought of them my eyes are swimming in uncontained fountains of sentiment as they are more precious to me than gold.

This year as our family experienced some uncertainties over the holidays, both with my husbands employment situation and health challenges that I was facing, the Lord opened my eyes afresh to the gift of life He gives us each day. Every day should be a time of rejoicing. Each moment is a present to be treasured. His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness. As we enter this New Year, it is my desire to make it a year of praise.

Praise does not always come easily. Some days my heart is so overwhelmed with God’s goodness and grace that praise comes naturally. It is the response of all being right, well and good in my corner of the world. At other times I understand only too well that we are also called to offer a ‘sacrifice of praise’ (Hebrews 13:15). Praising God has absolutely nothing to do with circumstances. A heart filled with praise and worship comes from looking into the face of God and knowing He’s all I ever need. He alone is worthy of my praise! “In His presence there is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16:11b

To cultivate a heart of praise, I need to spend daily time with God. This year as I join many of my friends in reading through a chronological Bible over the course of the next twelve months, I want to allow Christ to probe every part of my heart. I desire that Christ have control of every detail. I don’t want to treat any part of His Word as familiar. Recently I was reading a passage that contained a verse I had memorized years ago, and as I skipped over it quickly to continue my reading, suddenly it hit me. I was treating the ultra-holy as ordinary. The power of God’s Word had lost it’s importance. I was skimming instead of savouring every line, phrase, word. I pray the Lord will draw my attention to every Word in His love letter to me and my reverence for Him will deepen. May nothing seem too small or insignificant.

Let’s celebrate each day and know that God is with us. He holds all the plans for our future and we can trust Him. His plans for us are good and He desires to give us a hope and future (Jeremiah 29:11).

I’m praising Him today - not for what He has done or is doing, but for who He is!

“Whatever happens, dear brothers and sisters, may the Lord give you joy …” Philippians 3:1 (NLT)

May His will be mine in 2009.
Happy New Year,
With love and prayers.

(For any of you interested, this year, on my other blog, "Pondering in His Presence", as a method of accountability for me, I will be writing a daily post as I read through a chronological Bible over the next 364 days. Join me if God gives you that desire.)

12 comments:

Beth E. said...

An amazing post...and so true! Forgive me, Lord, for treating your Word as ordinary!

May God meet every physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial need in your life!

Melinda said...

I received a one-year chronological bible for Christmas! I just read the first entry - I'll pop over to your other blog and see if the Lord is speaking the same things to our hearts.

Blessings,
Melinda

Nana 2 four said...

I popped over here from Yolanda's post. What a great word - amazing. I pray that your 2009 will be one of mighty works of God in your life.

Seeking Him,
Beth

Yolanda said...

We profit from the Word of God only when it takes root in us, and is so fixed in our hearts that it remains there.

-John Calvin

This was a quote I received this morning from our Pastor on Maui; goes right along with our scripture memorization! ;-)

2008 was the first year I ever completed reading through the whole bible, but I just did it from start to finish in NIV. I'm doing it again this year, in the NLT.

Love ya Miss Joy,

Yolanda

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

What a great post to start the New Year with! And you brought to my attention something that I am so prone to do ....."skim" instead of "savor"! And I want to savor more this year!!

God bless you Friend!
Marilyn

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

You write that daily post! I'm in. Thanks for reminding me about my praise and its necessity in my daily life. I have so much to be thankful for, predominantly the fact of God's grace that has saved me from hell. Too much to fathom.

peace~elaine

Beth E. said...

Thanks for the info about your other blog...I'm definitely checking it out! :o)

Susan said...

Gratitude = Joy!

Thanks, Joy!
Susan

Laura said...

Joy,

I love new beginnings too! I'm so glad He gave me one.

I just read your other post and so enjoyed sharing your thoughts on the Creation story. What I love about that story is how God spoke everything into being except us. He breathed life into us! Isn't that amazing. He could have just spoke us into being too...but I believe He wanted to create us with His touch.

So beautiful.

I look forward to reading more of your thoughts in 2009!

Sita said...

Joy, I started on Gen.1 today and I was struck anew that GOD Himself created..formed man... woman...me...I am His handiwork...now if that is not a fact that should blow me away, I don't know what is...such a beautiful post...you and Elaine share this beauty and elegance in your prose...oh wow..thank you..and do have a wonderful new year..
Love, Sita

Julie said...

Great post, Joy. God has truly been up to amazing things in your life... Thanks for allowing us a window in.

Hugs,
Julie

Amy L Brooke said...

Great thoughts. I love your perspective! You are such a blessing! :-)