Tag Archives: The New Year

A Goal and A Job For 2015

Faith:  confident belief in the truth; belief not based on logical proof or material evidence; loyalty to a person or a thing.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from  yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Ephesians 2: 8-9

Believe:  to accept as true or real; to expect; to have faith or confidence.

Work:  mental effort or activity directed toward the production or accomplishment of something.

In John 6, we read of a crowd asking Jesus what they should do to do the works of God.   Jesus answered, ” The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

We are NOT saved by works, but we are saved FOR WORKS.  Before we get conceited or proud of our works or weary and burned out by them, let us remember: the work we are saved to do is to BELIEVE IN JESUS.   Perhaps much of what we do for the Kingdom of God is not effective because we extend energy devoid of belief.  Perhaps we extend energy believing the lie that the advancement of the Kingdom depends on us, rather than on the Power of God, working through us.  Perhaps we move forward without seeking God’s guidance and blessing in believing prayer.  All our efforts are wasted if they are not fueled by believing prayer.

Sometimes we are called to stand still and watch God work.  Sometimes we are called to work with him.  But we are always called to believe him.

Let us remember that all that is accomplished for the Kingdom of God is the work of God.  He gets the GLORY.   We have the great and awesome privilege of believing him, of cheering him on, of praising him.

Lord Jesus,  help me remember that my goal and my work for the year ahead  is simply and profoundly TO BELIEVE  YOU.

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A Prayer For The New Year


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As Christmas approached, I felt a need to once again visit the imaginary community of Mitford.  I had missed author Jan Karon’s  delightful characters and longed to spend time with them once again.  I  took Shepherds Abiding off my bookshelf and savored the re-read.

Toward the end of the book, the main character, Father Tim, prays.  His prayer touches my heart, and I cannot think of a better way to start the New Year than to pray it with you and over you.  I think this prayer must be from The Book of Common Prayer, but I am not certain.

“Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who settest the solitary in families: We commend to thy continual care the homes in which thy people dwell.  Put far from them, we beseech thee, every root of bitterness, the desire of vainglory, and the pride of life.  Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness. Knit together in constant affection those, who in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh. Turn the hearts of the parents to the children, and the hearts of the children to the parents; and so enkindle fervent charity among us all, that we may evermore be kindly affectioned one to another; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.”

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Bookends

One Christmas I bought a set of classy looking, heavy weight ceramic bookends that were shaped like a couple of volumes of books and painted beautifully.  I wrapped them carefully and put them under the tree.  It was a joy to watch my husband, who has always loved to read, open his gift.   These bookends, chipped after multiple moves, have been used for more than 40 years.

I recently learned that Johann Sebastian Bach used two phrases as bookends.   In a devotion from the Prayer Devotional Bible, Ben Patterson wrote,” In a very real way Bach’s works were bathed in prayer.  He often penned the letters JJ near the beginning of a score and SDG at the end.  JJ stands for Jesu Juva, Latin for “Help me, O Jesus”; SDG stands for another Latin phrase, Soli Deo Gloria,  “To God Alone Be the Glory.”

Bookends for life.  JJ at the beginning of every endeavor and SDG at each completion.  JJ for each morning and SDG for each evening.   SDG at the end of each year, and JJ at the beginning of each new one.  “Help me, O Jesus” was at the beginning of my life of faith, and “to God alone be the Glory” will be my final breath.

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