Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

I have never been one to get too excited about helping to usher in the new year. 
It is fun to gather with friends, which we usually do, but I definitely do not need to extend the celebration to midnight!
The best time I had commemorating the date was when the church we attended held a dinner and then ended the evening with an extended time of prayer.
It was a beautiful way to spend the last hour or so of the year!
And the perfect way to begin the next!
I was glad to usher in the year that time!

This year there was no gathering with friends in a home or a church.  I had not returned from West Virginia until the afternoon of the thirty-first.  Even if something had been going on, I would have been too tired to take part!
We all retired early and that included Matt and Mindy too!  So it wasn't just the older folks!

As the new year dawned, a few changes came with it for this lady and her family.
Matt and Mindy are in the process of moving into their own place. 
Yesterday I spent the day helping Mindy shop for many of the essentials needed to set up a home.
Until the other day all they possessed was a bed and a pizza stone!

Last night the young couple slept in their own place.
Tonight it was dinner for two.

The house is very quiet.
It feels empty.
Their cats are still with us and that means that we have Rue to entertain us.  Penny spends most of her time hiding. 
Both cats sense something is amiss.
Penny has gone deeper into hiding.  Sweet Rue seems unsettled and confused.
I know how she feels.

However, being that it is the first week of January, I am too busy for it to completely register yet!
Today was un-decorating day.
I know I will be finding decorations for a while still.  I always do.
At this time of year I always wonder whatever possessed me to decorate to the extent that I do.
It is much more fun to do the decorating than to undo it!

The rest of this week is marked for extended time with Papa.
We will be putting together my schedule.
I am intent upon writing the rest of my book this year and I believe Papa is too.
It has to happen, because I have ideas for four more books!

Before my honey's accident my time was my own and Papa and I had a grand time filling it.
Now the time that I can call my own is limited.
Today I was thinking how my time feels all chopped up.  I cannot give extended time to any one thing.
Papa will know how I should handle it.  I just need time to sit with Him and listen, which I am bound and determined to do this week!!

Well, He hasn't waited for me to get that extended time. 
When the Almighty wants to get a message across He has no problem repeating Himself.
Papa wants me to be blessed.

The word blessed, as found in scripture, is translated as happy in some versions of the Bible. That can be misleading though, in truth, it is a good word choice for those who understand the meaning of true happiness.

My Bible's notes define Blessed as those who are the objects of God's favor.
Ah, to experience the favor of God, now that is true happiness.

Psalm One Hundred and Twenty-Eight's first verse says:
"How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways."
I keep coming across the phrase The fear of the LORD.
It seems that Papa has chosen it for the opening theme for my new year.

At the beginning of each year I seek my God's direction regarding what my personal studies and devotions will comprise.
There are study guides, devotional books, and the like.   Papa draws my attention to a book here and few thoughts there, as the year winds down. 
All in preparation for January first.
Of course, the first and foremost source is my Bible itself!

A couple of months ago I felt impressed that reading through the book of Proverbs each month was on the list.
So that meant on the first day of January I opened my Bible to the first chapter of Proverbs.

It is so interesting to me that reading a familiar passage of scripture can bring fresh insight.
I know that I had memorized this chapter many years ago and to do so is to become very familiar with each and every word.
However, Papa had something to say to me and though not for the first time, His words grabbed my attention anew.

The theme of the book of Proverbs is wisdom.
We read of the characteristics of wisdom and the benefits of wisdom.
It is examined from many different angles.
Chapter after chapter.

There is a key verse in chapter One, which, I believe, sums up the whole book.
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction."
To fear the LORD is to revere Him.
To revere is to deeply respect and love, with awe and esteem.

After reading this chapter I opened Moody's Today in the Word.
In the introduction I read,
"A deep abiding reverence for the LORD can orient our hearts in the right direction."
The scripture for January first's devotional was Psalm One Hundred and Twelve.  It opens with this;
"Praise the LORD!  How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in His commandments."
The following day, of course, had me reading Proverbs Two, which urged me to seek out wisdom which will result in the fear of the LORD!

A devotional journal by Frances J. Roberts had found its way into my hands.   Her devotional Come Away My Beloved is one I have used many a year.  It is a treasure, so I was eager to get into this book, which draws from a number of her devotional writings.

Day two spoke of Noah's obedience being due to reverence for his LORD.
The same scripture reference regarding Noah was quoted in Today in the Word's offering for the day.

The message I have been getting is that trust and obedience are clear reflections of fearing my LORD.

Yes, fear Him, revere and hold Him in awe because He is worthy!
The passages that I referenced do not end with the exhortation to fear the LORD.
No, they are filled with promises of what will follow.
Read them for yourself!

I seek His guidance with a desire to obey Him, because I know He is good and wise. 
As I face changes and challenges I want to trust Him, because I know He is trustworthy and faithful to keep His Word.

There is an old hymn that says if we trust and obey then we will find happiness in Jesus.
There is no other way.

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