Today is the first day of the rest of your eternal life. I hope your New Year is every bit as beautiful as the promise. Titus 1:2 In body I feel like I have worked in Showbiz... Showbiz Pizza that is, as one of those moles in the whack-a-mole games. You know...sledge hammer...
Had a good service at church. I had the black-eyed peas in the slow cooker. Then after church, Travis set the table for me and made a pitcher of black tea for himself, while I cooked a pot of collard greens and the cornbread, macaroni, and baked potatoes, and simmered another pot of wassail. This all took about an hour, and by the time Larry and I had the food on the table and sat down for our New Years dinner, we realized Travis was sound asleep. Anybody who knows him, knows he sleeps like he is in a coma. He had not had any sleep, but had been up all night after the new year. So, Larry and I ate a dinner alone together. Though I missed Travis somewhat, our first time not having New Years dinner together, it felt kind of like a date eating alone with my husband :)
I had no energy left for the dishes after all the cooking. It took a half hour to clear the table and pack up the leftovers with Larry's help. Then we had company over for a little while, and I have been comatose myself in my recliner ever since. Didn't even make it to the evening service with Larry. So, the dishes are piled in the sink, and the sun has disappeared from the sky. They will sleep in the sink tonight. Nobody ever died from having a sink full of dirty dishes.
Genesis 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
We have just finished our first day of the year 2012, though we do it just the opposite of Jewish tradition with the evening being the first half of a day period, and the morning being the second half. Here in this verse in Genesis, the definition for a day is established for reference throughout the rest of the chapter. And, the words are repeated a total of six times (5, 8, 13, 19, 23, and 31.) But, at the end of this first day, God looks around at what He has done, and is the first to say that what He saw was good. (See verses 4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31) Therefore, I am a plagiarist when I tell you that God's world is very good. I stole those words from the Creator Himself. But, if you are still reading after I have "fetched a compass" around the point, then I would like to point out some observations about the first and second days of eternity.
God began with big plans. He started out on Day One of Eternity by turning on the light, so He could get to work. He had a universe in mind, and you and I in design stage, just like a young married couple trying to conceive their first child. They have a plan. They want a baby. They take steps to encourage that child into this world and their arms. They have big plans. They expect to need diapers, a crib, and many other things for this child. So, they both set to work making a place for this child in their world. "Daddy" did just that for us. He had big plans. He designed a world for us.
At this point, the earth was created, a spinning ball of water, warbling through the universe. On Day Two, God created an outer atmosphere around the earth, by causing some of the water on the planet to evaporate into an outer band swaddling the earth. This swaddling band of oxygen was called heaven... our sky. Without that, our view would be that of black space, like on the moon. At some later point (the Flood) God would bring these waters from the outer layer into a world wide deluge, removing our protection from the sun's harsher rays, expanding the oceans around the continents, and shortening our average life span. But, at that moment in time, we had a layer of water in the outer atmosphere. And, that was the end of Day Two's work for God. Strikingly, to me, is the absence of God saying that it was good, as He did on each of the other days of Creation, (and twice on the third and sixth days.) I can't help but notice, while I picture our Father God creating a swaddling band around the planet for us, that He knew we would sin. He perceived ahead that we would fall. He was silent in this knowledge, no commentary. He had big plans, yet those plans included redemption from the fall.
Now, when I planned my first child, I didn't plan the playground fights or the black eyes. I didn't plan the embarrassments or spilt milk. I certainly didn't plan the teenage rebellion and angry words. And, I thought I wanted to be a mother. What I wanted was to love a child. God would give me that opportunity to love. It included the challenges. Not our heavenly Father. He did the work of Day Two with the foreknowledge of a Fall, a Flood, a Crucifixion, a Resurrection, and a Second Advent. Acts 2:23 and Revelation 13:8. God knew the challenges of loving his children before He created them. And, He created us yet. Imagine that kind of love!
Now that you've thought about Day One and Day Two of Eternity, think about the fact that today is Day One, not just of 2012, but of the Rest of Eternity. Make it an Eternity with God. Take hold of your promising future, my brother and sister in Creation. It is very good!
The last day has arrived. Only 24 hours remain until the end of time. The books will be closed on this year and a new one will be opened. Not true is it?! Actually, you will feel no different at 12:01 am on Sunday than you do right now. Our life is not counted, nor accounted in years but in days, hours, minutes, and seconds. But, there will come a day. A day when time is no more, and the books will be opened.
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. Revelation 20:11-15; 21:1
I wrote a poem for a young girl's birthday titled, "What Will You Do With Today" which is posted on my poetry pages on this site under the "Spiritual Fiction & Poetry" tab above. (Notice that I recently changed the page navigation to add some of my fiction.) It points out the truth that God is counting our life by the days...not the years. Remember, Jesus said for us to take one day at a time, and that there was enough to worry about inside of a day, without borrowing from the next day's worries. Matthew 6:34 But, planning for change is never the same as worrying. One is reactive, the other is proactive. We plan for the future to prevent worrying. And, New Years is the best time to make those future plans.
Have you started on your New Year's resolutions yet? I mentioned change in my last blog, the change that God brings into our lives. But, there is another change to reckon with. That first change is an external change in the circumstances in which we live. This change is a change within our hearts, minds, souls, habits, beliefs, and desires. Look at that list of resolutions. Which category does most of your resolutions fall within? Maybe it is a mixed bag? Believe it or not, the easiest way to change your outer living circumstances is by changing something within yourself. If you want to lose weight, you have to change some thoughts as well as the habits. If you want to read more books, then you have to change some thoughts. If you want a better job, then you have to change some thoughts. It is the way you think about food, books, and work that affects your habits in those and other areas.
Change itself is something we often need to think differently about. I read a book years ago titled, "Who Moved My Cheese?" by Spencer Johnson. I highly recommend the book for those facing life changes. Sometimes life changes spark inner changes in our hearts and minds that will move us farther than we could have imagined. I always heard in the business world that sometimes it is good to make a lateral move to be able to climb vertically. This is true, because sometimes, "you can't get there from here."
"If you do what you've always done, you will get what you've always got." This maxim holds true. As a matter of fact, sometimes the best step is to step away, step ahead, step out, or step up. For when you are standing still, nothing will improve. That's why I always know that when things start happening, that God is working. The things that happen may sometimes seem surprising, or shocking, but they are meant to move us in the direction of our best life; of all our hopes and dreams. Romans 8:28 New Years Resolutions. To resolve means to decide. Have you made any decisions. I have always kept my resolutions. The year I decided to lose weight, I lost 50 pounds. I met my husband the year I resolved to date again. I learned Greek, and went back to College, and found a job here so I could move back home from Atlanta, and gave away Bibles, and read the Bible through more than 30 times, and the list goes on. Resolutions are not attempts, or promises, but decisions. This is something that happens inside your head. You have to change the way you think to carry out a resolution. Sometimes, you have to move the cheese yourself.
Sunday is the first day of a new year, so we will celebrate this newness just like we always have, by eating black-eyed peas for at least the 45th time in my life. We are so comfortable with the old, I don't see why we bother changing. Just imagine how much easier it would be to keep the year 2011. Then we wouldn't have to worry about that whole Mayan Calendar/ Doomsday thing. :) Funny thing about that is, they were obviously wrong. The Mayans were wiped out long before 2012.
Malachi 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
This verse is a beautiful allusion to newness and change. Here you have the picture of a baby calf whose Mamma is taken into the stall in late Winter before she calves, just in case she drops the calf at night while the farmer is sleeping. He might freeze to death before morning. So, after the calf is born, they remain in the shelter of the stall until Spring. Then, the farmer opens the stall door and the Mamma walks out into the sunlight, taking in the wings of the morning, for the sun's rays are the "wings" of the sun.
But, the calf is afraid to come out because he was "born in a barn," literally. That is all he has ever known, the stinky smelly stall where he has laid in his own waste for weeks on end. The farmer has to tie a rope around him and drag him out of the stall, out into the field. After a few scared minutes, the calf begins to notice the neat sights around him, and basking in the sunlight, he will begin to frolic around from one end of the pasture to the other, exulting in his new life with pleasure.
Jesus is the Sun in this verse, for it is speaking of the end times prophetically, just as much as it is speaking of a new day. Prophetic verses have a near fulfillment and a far fulfillment, just like a row of mountain peaks. This applies to when Jesus opens our world to a new light, and it refers to when Jesus will open the new world up for us to experience the fulness of His light.
"As the sun rises our infirmities decrease," according to the old Jewish proverb.
This proverb is true in two ways. When we are sick, it usually gets worse in the late hours of night. But, by morning the fever recedes. Likewise, sickness is more prevalent in the winter when earth is farther from the sun. But, as the Sun rises in the sky to its position over the equator in summer, the sunshine brings health to our bodies that was denied in the dark winter months indoors. This is true too of Jesus. As He rises in our lives, our weaknesses vanish, because we are strong in Him.
You may think life there in your old stall is comfortable, and you may fear this change, but I promise you it is for the good. God has unimaginable things in store for you... tomorrow. Each new day, each new year is a blessing and a beginning. Take hold on what God will give you. That is your blessing, just like Elisha's blessing that dropped from the whirlwind of change. Never fear Elisha, God is with you now, just as before. He does not change. Only the circumstances change for you to receive all that He has for you.
Revelation 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
A new year is upon us! Get ready for all things to be new.