I know that one or two like the Easter and Christmas meditations from India. This is the 3rd they do every year - a meeting that takes the Indian bros and sis through midnight into the new year in prayer. (ignore the hymn titles in Telugu!)
“GROWING TOWARDS THE KINGDOM”
A New Year’s Eve Meditation - 31 Dec 2005 – Moinabad, India.
SONG: DEVANI STUTI INCHUDI (Commencing at 11.00 pm)
READING: Ephesians 2:10-22
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Un-circumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together grows unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye are also builded together for a habitation of God through the spirit.
MEDITATION – Christ has made peace for us with God, but to have that peace for ourselves we have to come to God through him – have we done this in 2005 – are we now, as the year draws to a close, at peace with God? “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3. Trust Him, don’t be anxious, “Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. End the year at peace with God and your brethren, for He will keep you in perfect peace if you trust Him. Only then can growth take place. Friction and turmoil prevent the growth, for the building made up of brothers and sisters is not properly joined together, and each member is not at peace with God through Christ Jesus. Spend a few moments now in silent prayer reconfirming your desire for peace with God and casting on Him your worries, as you enter a new year. If you have any friction or hurt in your heart with your brother, sister, ask the Father to remove it that you may enter the new year at perfect peace with your Father and His family, your family.
(Two minutes silence)
READING: 1 Peter 1:22-2:3
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
MEDITATION – Our children grow – from tiny Rachels to toddling Noahs; from lively Calebs to active Davids; from sweet Susans to young adults. So too there is our growth from babes in Christ to youth and from youth to maturity. The fruit of that growth, says Peter, is love – a love that ascends even higher than the beautiful love of brethren, to a sacrificial love that lays down itself even for its enemies. Natural instinctive love that springs of the flesh will wither, its beauty will fade, but the love that is born from above, will never fade, even under the severest provocation; will never shrivel and die, even under the most extreme conditions.
How can the Word produce such growth? First we must put it into our hearts. Let us resolve with full sincerity and committment that in 2006 we will daily do our Bible readings and feed on the Word. But the Word cannot grow to bring forth the fruit of love if it is struggling against the weeds of deceit, lies, envy and gossip flourishing in our hearts. Put these things away says Peter. The Greek is ‘apotithemi’ literally ‘cast away’. Let us do that now. Let us cast away into the destroying fire any deceit, lies, envy, gossip and bad thoughts of others, that our heart may receive the pure wholesome milk of the Word, and grow. For the Lord is gracious and it is by that grace that we grow through the Word.
SONG : “Lord thy word abideth, and our footsteps guideth,
Who it truth believeth, light and love receiveth.
When the storms are o’er us, and dark clouds before us,
Then its light directeth, and our way protecteth.
O that we discerning, its most holy learning
Lord may love and fear thee, this New Year be near Thee.”
READING: 2 Peter 3:13-18
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
MEDITATION – “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord”. Grace – ‘charis’ – the name of our Home. There needs to be a growth in our appreciation of the grace in which we stand. An increasing realization of our utter unworthiness, but of the all sufficient grace of a loving Father who throughout 2005 has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor given us what we deserve, but has lovingly and very, very patiently brought into our lives the things we need – not the things probably we wanted for 2005, but certainly the things we needed. There needs also to be a growth in the extending of that grace to others, that we too reach out to give all those around us what they deserve, but the light and love they so desperately need. As long as we feel our spiritual position depends on our works, we cannot grow, but are stunted by feelings of overwhelming inadequacy. Acceptance by faith of the “grace wherein we stand” will allow us in 2006 to grow and to “rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Rom 5:2) through each day of the year. But as grace is a product of faith, and was was brought forth by Jesus (John 1:17) , we must grow in knowledge of him. “Search the scriptures ….. for they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). Let us do this through 2006, that we may truly “know him, and the power of his resurrection”. (Philippians 3:10). As we walk with our Lord into a new year may we truly “know him”, “love him”, “serve him” each day.
Know him, know him, know him in the morning, know him in the noontime,
Know him, know him, know him when the sun goes down.
Love him, love him, love him in the morning, love him in the noontime,
Love him, love him, love him when the sun goes down.
Serve him, Serve him, serve him in the morning, serve him in the noontime,
Serve him, serve him, serve him when the sun goes down.
READING: Luke 12:22-28
And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?
MEDITATION – Have we grown during this year that is fast passing away? Maybe we have grown taller, more likely we have grown fatter. Growth cannot take place, says Jesus, just by thinking or worrying about it. You cannot directly bring about increase in either natural or spiritual growth by your own effort. All you can do is to provide the conditions for growth, and God will give the increase. Just as we plant and water the seed of the gospel for growth in others, and God gives the increase, so with our own growth. We will not grow spiritually without a real effort on our part to sow and water, to provide the necessary conditions for growth, a daily supply of the water and light of His word, the fresh air of prayer and the warmth of His love through fellowship with His people at every opportunity, and especially at the breaking of bread. This is what the first believers did; “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Acts 2:42 Will we be steadfast in our resolve to continue in these things during 2006? Is our steadfastness to walk with God through 2006 as firm as Ruth’s of old? “And … she (Naomi) saw that she (Ruth) was steadfastly minded to go with her”. Paul commands us “Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58). May Jesus be able to say of us as Paul did of the Colossians; “yet in the spirit I am with you, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in regard to Christ”. Dear ones, above all things let us be steadfast to our Lord in 2006, steadfast in providing the conditions for growth in our personal, family and ecclesial lives.
READING: Mark 4:21-29
And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath. And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
MEDITATION – Growth takes time. God in His wisdom has not changed over to instant growth methods, as man has changed to instant coffee. Most of us as children have planted seeds and impatiently looked every day, sometimes every hour for them to sprout up. More often than not we would forget about them, then suddenly afterwards we would notice they were up and growing fast without us even being aware of it. So first the leaf appears, then a flower stalk to herald that fruit will come, and finally the seed head appears and ripens and the harvest takes place. Each stage is important, and has its own value. The leaf bud is a sign of life, the flower brings beauty, while the fruit brings the plant to its true purpose. The lampstand of Moses’ tabernacle, the symbol of God’s word, shows this pattern, being decorated with all three stages, the leaf buds, the flowers and the fruit of the almond. It is the effect of the Word’s work when we really believe the Word – “the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe”. (1 Thessalonians 2:13). “The sower soweth the word” – says Jesus, and when lodged in good and honest hearts bears fruit. But it takes time. Do not get discouraged at your seeming snail pace spiritual growth – as long as the signs of life are there, the flowers and fruit will slowly but surely come - if we are steadfast to provide the conditions needed. Let us nurture this growth day by day in ourselves, our families and our ecclesias throughout 2006.
SONG 276: ID DEE KOORTHAKU SAMAYAAM PANIVARI THAROONUM
READING: Ephesians 4:1-16
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
MEDITATION – “truth and love” – both vital components if growth is to take place in our spiritual world – both with their source only in our Father, through His son. Have we throughout 2005 been “speaking the truth in love”? Whenever we speak we must be sure our words meet these two tests – “is it true?” and “is it a loving thing to say?” Unfortunately many things we say are neither loving nor wholly true. Numbers 23:19 tells us “God is not a man that he should lie” the inference being that men do lie! But we have been born again, we are the children of the living God. The children of men lie, but the children of God should not. Let us remember the well known verse,
“The head of this house is Jesus Who knows each heart and mind,
So when you speak, be sure your words, Are true, and pure, and kind.”
Many times something may be true, but is it a kind and loving thing to say? Is it pure and health-giving? Will it encourage rather than discourage?
Let us ensure in 2006 that our words build up, and not break down; that they will help the body of Christ, not just help ourselves; that they are words of love. It is the responsibility of “every part” – not just the elders, not just the brethren, but that which “every part supplies”. Let each one of us play our part in this new year in “building up the body in love”.
READING: 2 Thessalonians 1:2-10
Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
CLOSING PRAYER – (from 11.58 pm to 12.01 am)
A New Year's Eve Meditation
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