I realize I’ve been away from this blog for too long, but I believe God is leading me back, so please hang in there and stay tuned! In the meanwhile, here is a composition from a photo I took several months ago. At the time I knew the message I wanted to use it for, but crafting that message took longer than planned. So often we chase things that seem to be great and wonderful, but in reality they may not provide any real or lasting value. Worse yet, they often rob from us precious time and resources that could be better invested. This also occurs in our spiritual lives, as we tell ourselves that what we’ve chosen to do is wonderful, worthy and fine. But if that path isn’t following Jesus Christ, and Him only, then we have become deceived. So check your map and see what destination awaits you on your present road.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Happy New Year! As the end of December approaches, we frequently offer that wish to the people we meet. Very likely the phrase is so overused that few take it seriously. On the surface it looks and sounds like a nice wish, but how do we qualify a happy year from a non-happy year? Are there things we can do to increase the odds of having a happy year, or is it simply a matter of luck? Many folks would probably suggest that something like luck, fate, karma, destiny, or serendipity are the key players in creating a happy year. More technical thinkers might add political elections, the world economy, or perhaps even the weather as critical for setting up a happy year. People in my demographic who are young at heart but getting long in the tooth will likely include general health and wellness as critical to set the stage for a happy year. I suppose that an individual’s worldview would impact how each of us would answer these questions – and how we define a “happy” year.
Economic prosperity, good health, happy memories with friends and family, a promotion at work, graduations, losing weight and quitting smoking are just a handful of many things we might consider important when we judge whether or not a year has been happy. Without doubt, these are all important things that can drive the quality of our day-to-day existence. To some degree we can do things to help assure successful results in these areas, but we really can’t control most of them. And even if lady luck, karma, fate showed up to help us out year-after-year, eventually the string of happy years will end. Over time we will lose all these things we treasure, and eventually we lose our lives. Then what?
Then what??? How you answer that will depend upon your worldview. From my Biblical worldview, every year that I have been counted among those of Jesus Christ, is a happy year. Happy in the sense that I am one year further in my Christian walk. One more year of growth in my faith and trust in Him. One more year of experiencing how He answers prayer. One more year being the recipient of His amazing grace and mercy. So what happens after I use up all my “happy” years benefiting from these riches? Then the best of all awaits – spending eternity worshipping my Savior in His heavenly kingdom! And each year I become one year closer to obtaining that ultimate gift which He has prepared.
So for me, my string of happy years began when I accepted Christ. At that point, I became a new creation. That doesn’t mean that I suddenly stopped sinning, or don’t miss my dear friends and family who have passed away, nor have I reached some kind of perfect status from an earthly standpoint. And while I still sin too much, stray from His leading all too often and lose my patience too frequently, each year for the rest of my life will be a happy year! If you want to make a New Year’s resolution that will last forever and can’t ever be lost, make this and every year hereafter a happy year by inviting Christ to take your sins away and be the Lord of your life.
The New Year
by Martha Snell Nicholson
Dear Lord, as this new year is born
I give it to Thy hand,
Content to walk by faith what paths
I cannot understand.
Whatever coming days may bring
Of bitter loss, or gain,
Or every crown of happiness;
Should sorrow come, or pain,
Or, Lord, if all unknown to me
Thine angel hovers near
To bear me to that farther shore
Before another year,
It matters not—my hand in Thine,
Thy light upon my face,
Thy boundless strength when I am week,
Thy love and saving grace!
I only ask, loose not my hand,
Grip fast my soul, and be
My guiding light upon the path
Till, blind no more, I see!
The lights of Billings, MT, seventy miles distant, illuminate the lower portion of the image and the Milky Way seemingly arises from the light.
When you get more than one Tern in a group, you get a committee of Terns. From watching this committee of Common Terns work, I think they got a lot more done than most committees I’m familiar with. As a group, the birds looked more like a swarm as they fished a South Texas estuary on Mustang Island, hovering above the water prior to making a less than graceful plunge. Despite the lack of diving style, they appeared to be pretty good at fishing given the high percentage of successful dives.
When Jesus Christ was recruiting disciples, He chose four fishermen to join His ranks, Andrew, Peter, James and John. I have not found any rationale spelled out in the Bible that explains why fishermen were selected, but it seems to me that their work ethic and daily routine would provide the foundational behaviors needed to do the job. The best fishing is often in the very early and very late portion of the days, thus fisherman would be used to working long days. In a time before refrigeration, fish couldn’t be stored for any significant length of time, therefore it was a daily chore to provide fresh catch everyday. And as any fisherman knows, fishing often calls for both patience and perseverance. Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” Matt 4:19. Today He still seeks us to be fishers of men, that we might help others obtain the saving grace that Christ offers.
I captured this image earlier this week near Hughes, North Dakota. Tired of fighting the strong wind gusts down low, he eventually found shelter in the rocks on the lee-side of a nearby hill.
Aiden Tozer was a well known evangelical minister who preached the Gospel in the middle 1900’s. His authored works remain popular and pertinent today.