Daily Devotion - Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I haven't taken my Christmas decorations down yet.  I tell myself that I will wait until Epiphany, which is tomorrow.  Come to think of it, maybe I will wait until the official end of the holidays--the last Bowl game, which is next Monday night. 

Anything to avoid having to climb on to the roof again so soon after almost sliding off of it.  I wore the wrong shorts when I was putting up the Christmas lights in early December.  They were slippery shorts and didn't really cling all that well to the shingles.  Yes.  I was wearing shorts in December while putting up my Christmas lights.  Everyone wants to live in Florida.  

I had a neighbor once who left his Christmas lights up until February--faithfully lighting them each night.  Maybe they were just on a timer, but he lit those suckers up a full two months after Christmas ended.  I guess he didn't want to go on the roof either.  Or perhaps he just liked his lights and wanted to look at them for more than just a month.  

Sometimes it's hard to let go of the past.  I often feel this acutely at the onset of a new year.  On the one hand, I am excited about a fresh start, a new year to do things better, to be a better person.  But on the other hand, I'm also tempted to want to stay right where I am.  The effort that it's going to take in order to move forward can seem like more than I can muster.  

The easy thing to do would be to just not move, to not even try.  After all, it took so much work to get to where I am now, right?  Why tempt fate?  Right Here seems like a pretty good place.  Maybe I should just stay Right Here and enjoy it for a spell.  Over There is kind of shadowy and uncertain.  What if Over There isn't as good as Right Here?

One of my favorite verses when I was a kid was Joshua 1:9.  It captured my imagination for some reason.  Joshua is speaking to the Hebrew people who have been wandering in the wilderness for forty years.  The time has come for them to move forward at last and step into the Promised Land.  They are afraid, and the future is uncertain.  

Joshua says to them, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified and do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."  

Right Here was probably okay for the Hebrew people, but Over There was better.  God had a future for them that was full of promise, prosperity and peace.  They would wander no longer.  They would finally be His people in the land that He had given to them--something that they had only imagined in the past.  

May you be filled with the courage to step forward from Right Here toward the Over There that God has prepared for you.  May you be filled with the kind of hope that comes from realizing God keeps God's promises, and God's promises are filled with blessing.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always.  Amen.  


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