It’s a misty early morning at the turn of the year. As the dawn light glides across the garden the contrasts of light and dark are accentuated. Shapes appear out of the darkness, beauties begin to be revealed – the shape of shrubs, tree stems, last year’s surviving dried grasses in their ochre and brown dress, teazle heads standing up proud. The mist adds a sense of mystery as a new day is opened up in front of us. Yes, it’s good to be alive on a new morning like this, even in mid-winter -a new day beckons. We are thankful for every new morning, with its freshness and opportunities.
New Every Morning
With a clean unspoiled sheet ahead of us—a fresh canvas ready for a new painting, a new day begins. We are so grateful that life is given us in daily portions with chance for a fresh start each morning. A new day of Grace – 365 opportunities to start over again, yesterday’s mistakes noted, its troubles forgotten. God gives us life ‘one day at a time’. I am a great believer in leaving unsolved problems to ‘sleep on them’. So often when next morning comes the problem is easily settled. Today is special and precious don’t waste it.
‘The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.’ Isaiah 50:4
Letters from ‘Home’
Ever since I was pointed to the example of Jesus in the Gospels, I have endeavoured to start the day with a time of quiet– to listen to God, through reading a Bible passage and to talk with him in prayer. He delights to listen, and so do we.
When the postman arrives with a letter, or a text message comes from someone you love deeply, before doing anything else you read and probably re-read the letter or the message a second time. It’s a delight to hear from so close a friend, as if you are talking with them face-to-face. We too, have the chance to hear every day from God, our loving Heavenly Father as we read the Bible with a listening ear –listening to the voice of God, with a listening heart ready to obey.
Someone has called the Bible ‘Letters from Home’.
People read the Bible in many different ways. Some even read online with their smart phone, others on their way to work listen by means of an ipod. I have always found commentaries or Bible Notes explaining the text to be helpful. The Bible is not always easy to understand at first.Though I have studied it for most of my life, nowadays I’m increasingly reading it as ‘Letters from Home’ – a very personal message from God’s heart direct to mine. The best time is when the Bible ‘warms our hearts’ as it did for those two disciples on the Emmaus road as the stranger (Jesus) opened the Scriptures to them:
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, Jesus explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself…….. Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
Luke’s Gospel chapter 24:27-32
‘There’s everything in this for life, and there’s all in all for death, and you’ll not want it beyond.’
From the Copsley Annals
I try to be often reading in the 4 Gospels. Luke is a favourite. To read about the loveliest Life ever lived is always an inspiration. Who can not be moved reading how Jesus graciously met with people, never turning any away who came in need. He was always healing people. and everyone who met him with an open heart was never the same afterwards- blessed and changed for the better. No wonder his most attractive life drew crowds, and it draws me. Someone once said Jesus’ whole body language said ‘Welcome!’, and it still does. I want to know this Jesus better -for him to step out of the pages of Bible history and walk with me- and he does!
A text for this new year could be the words of a modern hymn: ‘To make of life’s brief journey a new Emmaus road’.Those two disciples nearly missed a huge opportunity when ‘Jesus acted as if he was going further.’ Happily though, they ‘urged him to stay with them‘ and it was at the meal there that they realised this ‘stranger’ was Jesus, risen from the grave. Once invited, Jesus stays – forever. Wonderful reality!
Wishing you much blessing for 2017 – Richard