WELCOMING 2009


With the passing of the year 2008 and the beginning of 2009, I am looking forward to what I hope is a much better year than the one just finished. It would be very easy for me to simply look on 2008 as a year to forget (if I could), given the many difficulties that I had to pass through during the year.

Among the most difficult events of the year was my near fatal car accident in February 2008. I have been recovering from that accident for the entire year and still have a way to travel until I can again be confident that I am as fully fit as I can expect to be. Yet even here, I can be thankful that I wasn’t killed and that I have been able to return to work, am approaching a condition in which I should not be affected to greatly in the long term as a result of the accident, etc.

My greatest loss in 2008 was that of my dear friend Rebecca in June. She was my dearest friend whom I loved greatly. I have missed her every day since she died and will never forget her. This was the tragedy of 2008 for me, far surpassing the car accident and anything else that happened. Her death left me shattered and it is a blow from which I will never fully recover. Yet it was a tremendous privilege to have been given the opportunity to know her at all and to count her as my dearest friend for as long as I was able to do so is something I will forever be thankful for. Thank you Rebecca for giving me a place in your heart and in your life – I was blessed for knowing you.

There have been financial difficulties also from which I am beginning to emerge and I think this has been for the good, even through the immediate hardships that resulted. They will be for my good for the rest of my life and I look forward to the continuing recovery ahead.

2009 has the promise of a rebuilt life and that of continuing personal reformation which excites me as much as it will challenge me. When I left my previous employment in 2007 I thought the rest of my life was about to begin and a second chance presented itself. However, 2008 has been a continuance of that transition period and 2009 may well be the beginning of my second chance at life – so to speak.

I know I ended 2007 feeling very relaxed and contented with where I was at that exact moment and the ride ahead is something I look forward to. I have an agenda of personal reform, life changes and interests to pursue throughout 2009 – I now go ahead seeking to fulfil them as best I can.

Unlike New Years’ resolutions, I can have the confidence that progress can be made in these areas without the fear of simply failing to achieve what I have set out to do. With the Spirit of God operational in my life I have a living force that is more powerful than any of the obstacles that I can foresee and that I will in time confront. By the grace of God I can go on. Praise be to Him – I know my Redeemer lives!!!

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THE DISAPPOINTMENT OF SIN


As one continues in the Christian life one becomes more disappointed with himself whenever he falls into sin, especially if it is a besetting sin. There seem to be those sins which a person is more especially prone to and when once entered into the habit of falling into that sin again it is extremely difficult to get out of that developing pattern. For this reason it is very important to take preventative measures to ensure that you don’t allow yourself (by the grace of God) to again go down the familiar paths of your besetting sins.

How difficult indeed it is to climb back out of the mire once you have allowed yourself to fall into it yet again, perhaps for the ‘nth’ time. But even here, in the midst of the mire and sin, the Lord is able to be gracious to you. Sure He is not pleased with his children falling into the same besetting sin again, yet He is gracious to grant us a true spiritual recovery from it. There needs be a true confession of sin and a true turning from it again to the Lord, with a God-given determination to not pursue the path of besetting sin again. This by grace is a certain possibility and reality for the true child of God.

The truth of the perseverance and preservation of the true child of God ought to be a real comfort for the Christian in this his time of greatest trial, continuing in a path of a besetting sin. He desires to be no more on that path, yet finds great difficulty in getting off it. Yet He knows the true child of God will never finally fall to never recover and loose his place in the eternal kingdom. Far from being an excuse to continue in sin, this should be an encouragement to continue on resisting sin and developing a resolve to be done with it. This should not develop a sense of complacency in the Christian, but rather an ability through the gracious provision of God to actually confess sin, repent from it and follow in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Here there is a motivation, when looking on the face of He who has loved Him with an eternal and immutable love, that will constrain him to be done with sin and be for the Lord and His ways forevermore, with a renewed passion and determination.

Yet be not fooled, for the way ahead is not easy, but a daily battle resisting sin and the attempted advances of the evil one and the world into the life of a Christian. The battle is daily intense, and if not the reason is perhaps because of a capitulation to the enemy already. A prayer for daily grace and ability to fight the battle is a given that every true child of God daily admits through that habitual practice of true prayer and groans that cannot be uttered. May God grant me grace, that I too might continue this daily fight and not give in to an enemy who speaks in such a seductive manner to my heart and mind, yet who has no real care for my soul.