365 Meditations for Women by Women [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Sally D. Sharpe
eBook Category: Spiritual/Religion
eBook Description: This eBook offers a year's worth of daily devotional readings from twelve different women of faith. This eBook is for women of all ages. Each day's reading includes a focus Scripture verse from a mix of translations, a brief reflection, and a prayer.
eBook Publisher: Dimensions for Living/Dimensions for Living
Fictionwise Release Date: December 2004
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January 1 -- A New Beginning
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" (Isaiah 43:19 NIV)
When January first arrives each year, I think of the words of Louise Fletcher Tarkington: "I wish there were some wonderful place, called the land of beginning again." In a very real sense, there is such a place—the gift of a brand new year. It is a gift from God. What we do with it will be our gift to God.
There are three "time zones" in each of our lives: past, present, and future—or, if you prefer, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. This month we will explore how we should learn from the past, but not live there; live fully in the present; and trust that the future is in God's hands.
Eternal God, thank you for the blessings of the past year and the possibilities of the new one. Help me walk confidently in faith. Amen.
January 2--Rejoice in the Day
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24 NIV)
It was three days before Christmas, and the store was packed with last-minute shoppers. It sounded as if we had had a simultaneous drop in blood sugar. People were impatient, irritable, and pushy. Then it happened! A fatigued saleslady handed a package to the young shopper ahead of me and said woodenly, "Merry Christmas and happy new year."
"Oh, it is going to be!" replied the cheery customer.
"How do you know that?" asked the surprised salesperson.
"Well, there will be 365 days in the new year. If we live each of them in the spirit of the One whose birthday we are celebrating, it will be a happy new year," declared the young shopper as she jauntily walked away.
"She's right, you know," I said as I walked to the counter.
"I know," the saleslady replied. "Now, if I can only remember that for two more days!"
Loving and merciful God, thank you for your faithfulness in the past, and for your love made most evident through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Enable me to live each day through his power, rejoicing in your gift. Amen.
January 3--Live Fully Today
Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day." (Exodus 16:4a NIV)
The young woman in the department store at Christmas was right! Our time to live fully is today—not in worry about yesterday or in anxiety about tomorrow. I like the popular quotation attributed to African musician Babatunde Olatunji that says: "Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present" (African Music Encyclopedia).
God really taught us this lesson through the children of Israel during their days in the wilderness. Exodus 16:19-20 tells us that each morning manna was provided for their food. They couldn't save it for the following day or week because it would spoil. In a similar manner, we are given the gift of time in twenty-four-hour segments. Our supply for the day must be used by midnight tonight. We can't hold over a few hours until next week. How imperative it is for us to see each day as an incredible gift from God and to use it for God's glory.
Eternal God, thank you for the fresh mercies that come from your hand each day. Help me live fully in your Presence this day. Amen.
January 4--Look in Both Directions
Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life." (John 14:5-6a NIV)
"Stop and look in both directions before you cross the street." These were the clear directions my mother gave me each morning before I left for elementary school. They are good directions for all of us as we begin a new year. After all, the month of January is named for Janus, who, according to the Encyclopedia of Mythology, Religion, and the Unknown, was a two-faced Roman god of gateways and passageways who was able to look in both directions. He was also the supposed protector of new beginnings.
Of course, as Christians, we serve the true God of new beginnings. As the apostle Paul reminds us, "If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17 NRSV). So, early in this month, let us look in both directions, leaving behind the old tired thoughts and actions and walking buoyantly into newness of life through the power of the One who said, "I am the way and the truth and the life."
O God, who renews and refreshes our world with sunshine and rain, renew my wilted spirit. Amen.
January 5--Leaving Nonessentials Behind
Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1 NIV)
The year was 1980, and I was packing for a month away from home. My husband, Ralph, and I were taking two groups to see the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany. Realizing that we likely would encounter all kinds of weather, I was packing for every emergency. My suitcase was bulging! Even when I sat on it, it wouldn't fasten. Suddenly, I knew that the overstuffed suitcase was analogous to my overstuffed life. It was full of "stuff" and hectic activities. I was leaving little room for the spirit of Christ to cleanse, forgive, and empower me.
In the quietness of my bedroom, I stilled my spirit and prayed that as I removed the physical items from my suitcase, God would show me what needed to be removed and replaced in my spiritual life. In the next few days, I will discuss some of my confrontations. Perhaps they will trigger a response in your own life. Let's not be weighted down, so that we can "run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
May the Christ who has set me free through his death and resurrection enable me to remain free through his grace and forgiveness. Amen.
January 6--Throw Out Fear
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV)
Just as we remove items from an overstuffed suitcase, let us be willing to remove some harmful habits from our lives as we enter this new year.
In 1980, I knew that I needed to confront my fear of flying. I flew when necessary, but always fearfully, and often holding up my seat as if that small gesture would ensure safety. When I finally confronted my fear, I decided to do two things: (1) to follow Ralph Waldo Emerson's advice to "do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain," and (2) to increase my faith. Just as I trusted water to hold me up while swimming, more and more I began to trust Christ to be with me in life's difficult places. He stilled the troubled waters of my mind as he called to my remembrance this verse: "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
Since fear can block the power and presence of God in our lives, I challenge you to confront your fears. In the stillness of your quiet time, make a plan of action, and with the help of Christ, follow it.
Loving and most merciful God, thank you for being ever present in my life, bringing comfort and assurance. Amen.
Copyright © 2004 by Dimensions for Living