A Peaceful End

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Prayer:

Lord God, thank you bringing us safely through 2018.  We pray, let us leave this year behind in your grace and look forward to the next year with hope and anticipation.  Amen.

Devotion:

Luke 2:25-32

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

Simeon had seen all that he needed to see.  He was an old man.  He had lived his whole life.  It wasn’t perfect.  Far from it. Simeon knew that.  But now he was ready to die, and he wasn’t afraid of that at all.  Not even a little bit.  He had seen all that he needed to see.  He had seen the One whom he needed to see. 

This little baby whom he held in his arms is the Lamb who would take Simeon’s sins on his shoulders and die for them. This little baby whom he held in his arms is the One who would give him a “Not Guilty” verdict before God. This little baby whom he held in his arms is the One who would defeat death and give him eternal life.  Simeon wasn’t scared.  He was ready to leave this earth to spend an eternity with heaven.

It is the last day of 2018.  Are you ready to move forward into 2019?  Can you leave 2018 behind in peace without regret? Without guilt?  Without shame?

That might be hard to do.  You’ve sinned a lot.  You’ve failed and sinned in ways that you don’t remember.  You’ve failed and sinned in ways that you do remember, and that other people remember too. Can you leave those behind in 2018? Can you move on without regret, guilt or shame? Simeon could. Can you?

You can.  Your God has already moved on.  He says: “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). God has already moved on from your sin. He has forgiven it.  He has forgotten it.  He has hurled all of your sins in the depths never to be seen again.

If God has done that with your sins, you can move forward without guilt, without regret, without shame. So, leave the sins of 2018 at the foot of the cross and move forward in the freedom of forgiveness. 

Additional Reading: Psalm 31

Family Questions:

1.     What are some of the things that you regret from the past year?

2.     What does God say to you about the things you regret and are ashamed of?

3.     What do you hope to do for Jesus in 2019?

4.     What will Jesus do for you in 2019?

Going Deeper:

1.     Read Psalm 31 and highlight verses which give hope for the coming year.

2.     Summarize the message of the psalm in two sentences.

3.     Which is your favorite verse?  Why?

Prayer: 

The old year now has passed away; 

We thank you, O our God, today

That you have kept us through the year 

When danger and distress were near.

 

We pray you, O eternal Son, 

Who with the Father reigns as one,

To guard and rule your Christendom 

Through all the ages yet to come.

 

Take not your saving Word away, 

Which lights and cheers our souls each day.

Abide with us and keep us free 

From error and hypocrisy.

 

Oh, help us to forsake all sin,

A new and holier life begin!

Forgive the old year's sins, and bless

The new year with true happiness,

 

Wherein as Christians we may live

Or die in peace that you can give,

To rise again when you will come

And enter your eternal home.

 

There shall we thank you and adore

With all the angels evermore.

Lord Jesus Christ, increase our faith

To praise your name through life and death.