Devotion For December 31

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10

This is it — the last day of another year. In a few hours, the sands of time will have run through the hourglass and a new year will be upon us. For the next few days you will continue to write this year’s date on your letterheads and date your checks incorrectly before the reality sinks in — a new year is upon us.

To understand that the next year is merely an extension of last year makes it a bit less overwhelming. Like a birthday, you are only a day older than you were yesterday, not a year. The mileage markers on the highway not only tell us how far we have come, but how far to the next town; likewise, we want to know what is in the future.

As Baron Rothschild once said, “Hats off to the past but coasts off to the future…” Yet, with the unknown comes the opportunity to be a little uneasy — whether its a child who faces his first day of school or an adult who faces his first day on a new job, we are apprehensive, yes, even a bit concerned about what lies ahead. Generally, the reason we are uneasy about the future is that we have not made peace with the past. Failures haunt us and we wonder if the future may be but a rerun of yesterday.

Lloyd George, a former British Prime Minister, was playing golf with a friend on one occasion when they went through a fence. His partner pushed the gate closed but did not bother to latch it; yet George, seeing the failure, went back and secured the gate. When questioned why, George told of an old doctor friend who lay dying. After calling his family and friends to his bedside, he gave these parting words, “Close every gate through which you have passed.” Lloyd George went on to say that he owed more to that bit of wisdom than to anything else he had ever heard.

“Close ever gate.” To close the gate on yesterday’s failure will require two things: God’s forgiveness and your forgetfulness; His forgiveness and your willingness to close the gate. When God forgives you, you can face the future, knowing that yesterday’s failure is no blot on tomorrow’s page. That is closing the gate on it.

The second thing to do is to latch the gate…forgive yourself, which at times is harder to do than to find God’s forgiveness. Yet, if God has given His Son to provide a rationale of forgiving us, why should we do less than to forgive ourselves, since He has forgiven us? Closing the gate gives hope for tomorrow.

R.M. Offord put it like this: “A year untried before me lies. What it shall bring of strange surprise, of joy, or grief, I cannot tell, But God, my Father, knoweth well. I make it no concern of mine, But leave it all with Love Divine. Tis thus I fortify my heart, and thus do fear and dread depart. O year untried! Thou hast for me naught but my Father’s eye can see. No ill can come but He can cure; His Word doth all of good insure. He’ll see me through the journey’s length, for daily need give daily strength. Upon my Father’s Word I rest, Whatever shall be will be best.”

But, of course, not everybody has that confidence because they have not made a complete commitment. If you are one of them, may I urge you to make that commitment today? We would love to show you how you can place your trust in a living Savior today! What can be a better start to the new year than to be fully committed to Jesus Christ?

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