Words of Worth

Out with the Old….

December 31, 2011

Beginnings and endings are important.

Today we will officially “end” the year 2011 and at the stroke of midnight we will “begin” 2012. Many people will spend some time during these daylight hours being reflective, thinking back over the past months and remembering trials and triumphs, comings and goings, maybe even some beginnings and endings. Others will be looking forward and planning for the New Year – outlining strategies for jobs, exercise routines or gathering the supplies for a new hobby.

As we end our series on the Names of God, the very last name – the one we will “end” with is also a beginning with no end. The prophet Isaiah said, “Behold a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” Immanuel means “God is with us.” This baby boy called Immanuel was the beginning of the next phase of human history. God became flesh and dwelt among us! He was physically and genuinely in the flesh and He was and is with us.

Many nights after I tuck my daughter in bed (because endings are important and tucking her in is part of our ending routine), she will ask, “Are you staying upstairs?” Most nights I am, but if I need to accomplish a few more tasks, I will give her a time frame of when I will be back up WITH her. This comforts her; she knows I am nearby; she needs to feel my presence.

“God is with us.”

When Jesus came, the landscape of the world changed forever. He ushered in the New Covenant. Our hearts of stone had the chance to become flesh and because He is “with us” He knows every ache, every point of joy, every temptation, and every disappointment we feel and face. He is with us through them all – from beginning to end. You are never alone. You can be comforted at all times by knowing He is with you. Immanuel.

Because Jesus knew endings were important and the time came for Him to physically leave the earth for a while, He comforted His disciples with these words, “I am with you ALWAYS, even to the end of the age.”

As I typed these words the sun came up so you could say this day is beginning. God is with me. At the end of this day (if I stay awake til midnight which is doubtful) I will still be able to say, “Immanuel – God is with me.”

I am not alone. You are never alone. Begin and end this last day of 2011 in the light of His presence. Immanuel. God is with us. (CT)

PS – What’s an ending without an addendum?

Because it is the beginning of a New Year, a lot of folks are looking for a devotional book. Listed below are two devotionals we used throughout 2011 and a book by Tim Keller that we found to be an incredibly insightful and rich study of the Gospel of Mark.

The Daily Light – A Scripture daily devotional first published in 1875 by Samuel Baxter. The Daily Light contains a morning and evening reflection found in the Scriptures with each reading relating to a particular theme. It contains no commentary but lets the Word speak for itself.

Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith
This is a “unique” prayer book. Each day includes a Scripture reference and an inspirational prayer born from moments of great faith and times of crisis.Everyday Prayers is a pathway to growing in grace you will want to explore on your daily walk throughout the year.

King’s Cross by Timothy Keller
A relevatory look at the life of Christ as told in the Gospel of Mark, Keller shows how the story of Jesus is at once cosmic, historical and personal, calling each of us to look anew at our relationship with God. King’s Cross is written for both the skeptic and the faithful, for those struggling to understand who Jesus is and for Christians seeking to know Him more intimately.

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