Lectionary Texts: Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, Psalm 8, Revelation 21:1-6a, Matthew 25:31-46
Welcome, LORD, to our time together in 2012! Teach us, LORD. Give us ears to hear and a heart to receive what You have to teach us.
I know that whatever God does will last forever; itâ€™s impossible to add to it or take away from it. God has done this so that people are reverent before him. Whatever happens has already happened, and whatever will happen has already happened before. And God looks after what is driven away. I saw something else under the sun: in the place of justice, there was wickedness; and in the place of what was right, there was wickedness again! I thought to myself, God will judge both righteous and wicked people, because thereâ€™s a time for every matter and every deed. Â Â Â Â Â Ecclesiastes 3:14-17 (CEB)
I â€œblameâ€ my husband for the fact that I am rarely satisfied to read just the verses chosen to be in the Lectionary texts. He is the one who has taught me the importance to read a passage in â€œcontextâ€ which means more than just 3 or 6 or 10 verses. It might mean a chapter or two. And so today, it is these four verses that came after the noted passage in Ecclesiastes that tie it up for me, God’s first message in this new year.
God is. I do not know what 2012 will bring. But I know that God will be with me through whatever comes. I can count on Him for wisdom, encouragement, strength, and whatever I need, He knows what that is before I even know I have a need.
We are. I have a relationship with God. That is an extra-ordinary statement. My Creator has made it possible for me to come near and know Him. There is nothing that my Father God have the ultimate control. There is evil in this world. There is suffering. It appears to me that â€œthe bad guysâ€ are ‘winning’. They won’t. This passage in Ecclesiastes and Revelation 21passage brings a smile to my face because it is who God is in our relationship. And part of who He is â€“ is justice and righteous judge. There will be an accounting. That is a double-edge sword because it means that â€œthose peopleâ€ will receive His judgment for their evil â€“ but it also means that I should have holy fear for how I live my own life!
The relationship that I have with God â€“ the intimacy and genuineness that I have with Him that is bigger and more than any relationship that I have ever had â€“ I want to share that. I want the hurting people that I meet or pass every day to meet my Jesus, my Savior. I want to encourage my children and grandchildren, family and friends who already know Him to know Him more. That is my focus, my mission, in 2012.
Yahweh, our Lord, how magnificent is Your name throughout the earth!
You have covered the heavens with Your majesty.
Because of Your adversaries,
You have established a stronghold from the mouths of children and nursing infants to silence the enemy and the avenger. Â Â Â Â Â Psalm 8:1-2 (HCSB)