Reflection, Steve Tomlinson

When I was a little boy the church my parents attended had a New Year’s Watchnight service. I loved this event because I knew I would stay up late. The evening began with food - lots of it, this would be followed by games, sometimes a movie and then dessert. Our final activity was to go into the sanctuary around 11:30pm where we would sing, listen to a short devotional and then the pastor would ask us all to kneel at our seats and pray for the new year. There was a lot to pray about. The Vietnam War was in full swing, crime was increasing, the Middle East was inflamed with hate - so we prayed earnestly.  At exactly midnight the pastor started the church’s chimes and we knew everything was now in God’s hands. It was a good feeling. It still is a good feeling. 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Reflection, Elba Ramirez

“DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED by the difficulty of keeping your focus on Me.  I know that your heart’s desire is to be aware of My Presence continually.  This is a lofty goal; you aim toward it but never fully achieve it in this life.  Don’t let feelings of failure weigh you down.  Instead, try to see your self as I see you.  First of all, I am delighted by your deep desire to walk closely with Me through your life.  I’m pleased each time you initiate communication with Me. In addition, I notice the progress you have made since you first resolved to live in My Presence” from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  This devotional gives me so much peace and joy because as much as I try to keep my focus on Jesus, the distractions of this world pressures me and I tend to wander.  However, God’s unconditional love for me reminds me, “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us”. Romans 8:33-34