It is the renowned month of fresh starts, new resolutions, hopes and dreams.
My January started with the making of one birthday cake and two more looming on the horizon, our television seizing up and watching our firstborn drive off to his home, eight hours away.
While these things are not terrible, they are not how I envisioned the new year starting. My vision was to clean up, organize my house and writing life, and finish all those undone projects. You know, all in one week.
Fresh starts and new days don’t always start well. We have hopes and expectations of doing better, being better, stronger, and more determined, but they quickly fizzle with the reality that we are still the same old sinners, prone to the same old ways and thought patterns.
Unfortunately, I don’t always choose to start my day well. My thoughts wander with what I long to accomplish or perhaps avoid, the expectations others have of me or that I have put upon myself. My gut churns, my shoulders tense, and feelings of dread and fear creep into my soul.
When we start each day with the Lord, however, we gain joy and a reminder of hope, hope in His power and strength, His faithfulness.
His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.Psalm 91:4 NIV
In other bible versions, the translators used the word buckler instead of rampart. But I believe the Hebrew word for rampart (cheyl- pronounced khale) expresses it better. It means an army, entrenchment or wall, a force of power. Therefore, the Lord’s faithfulness surrounds and protects us so we can face each day, and each battle confronting us. He goes before us and is the force of power that can completely protect us. He holds us in His hands, and nothing or no one can grasp us from them (John 10:28). Whatever we face each day, we face with the Lord and because He has allowed it, for our best and His glory (which also is our best).
Our part is to ensure we are facing it with Him and not on our own, in our own strength and knowledge. Because on our own, we will always ultimately fail. It is inevitable because we are all broken, sinful people living in a sea of broken, sinful people.
So, no matter how your year started, how your month started, how your week started, or how today started, you can face it victoriously with joy and hope in God. Because you are not alone or forsaken, but deeply loved and cared for.
Let me pray for you, dearly beloved.
Father God, thank you for your faithfulness. As your Word says in Psalm 91:4, your faithfulness is our surrounding shield, a loving, protective force. Your faithfulness! We only need to trust you and your brawn. Here is where our faith comes in. Lead us in knowing you more and more each day and remembering to lean on your faithfulness and promises. You say in Isaiah 54:10, “though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed.” Remind us to find our hope, joy and energy for each day in you and you alone. Amen