Encouraging Words for Today ~ December 31, 2011


By Lucinda Secrest McDowell

What do you most need as the new year begins?

More TIME? More money? Better HEALTH? A job? A spouse? To lose 20 pounds? To lose 120 pounds? Reconciliation with a loved one? Freedom from an addiction? More PATIENCE? A new Book Contract? Freedom from fear? More purpose and passion for living? A baby?

A miracle?

I ask you this question because it is what I ask myself as the New Year approaches and we all face an unknown future. I have prayed for a promise from God to cling to in 2012 and can find no better words than Peter’s own proclamation:

“God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life & godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” II Peter 1.3

If I am to believe God’s Word, then I can face 2012 knowing that God will provide ‘everything I need’ for the unique story He has called me to live. But only if I appropriate ‘His divine power’ and deepen my own ‘knowledge of Him’. The next question then becomes, ‘am I willing to do that?’

           Yes, I am willing to step out in faith and embrace ALL that God calls me to in the coming year, trusting His divine power, grace, and mercy. Back in the dismal time of The Great War (WWI), a man named Hugh Kerr wrote a hymn that I’d like to sing to you as a prayer today:

God of our life, through all the circling years, we trust in You;

In all the past, through all our hopes and fears, Your hand we view.

With each new day, when morning lifts the veil,

we own Your mercies, Lord, which never fail.

God of the coming years, thro’ paths unknown, we follow You;

When we are strong, Lord, leave us not alone; our faith renew.

Be now for us in life our daily bread,

our heart’s true home when all our years have sped.

~Hugh T. Kerr 1916

            May I suggest a helpful exercise as the year begins – a blank page, a fresh start? Write down a list of what you most NEED during 2012. Then, make this your “Impossible Prayer List”, always remembering that though our needs often seem impossible to meet, ‘nothing is impossible with God’ as the angel Gabriel told Mary. Also, try to keep a “Gratitude Journal” all year, DAILY writing down ONE THING you are thankful for that day…you will soon find you cannot write only one thing. Your life will change… Lastly, I’m going to take a cue from Frank Laubach’s words in 1930 about being more open to others and their needs.

“To be able to look backward and say, ‘This, this has been the finest year of my life’ — that is glorious! But anticipation! To be able to look ahead and say, ‘The present year can and shall be better!’ — that is more glorious! I have done nothing but open windows — God has done the rest. There has been a succession of marvelous experiences of the friendship of God. I resolved that I would succeed better this year with my experiment of filling every minute full of the thought of God than I succeeded last year. And I added another resolve — to be as wide open toward people and their need as I am toward God. Windows open especially downward where people need the most!”

~ Frank Laubach in “Letters By A Modern Mystic” 1930

 Yes, this can be a grand year of both God providing everything we need and also using us to help meet others’ needs.

And all we have to do is…. put one foot in front of the other. Go forth. LIVE FULLY!  It’s 2012. Happy New Year. May yours be one of Grace, Peace, and Mercy.


©2012 Lucinda Secrest McDowell


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  1. Hi Cindy,

    We are so much on the same page. Much of what I am offering in the Living Intentionally resources at http://www.moretobe.com and in my year long series at the http://www.InternetCafeDevotions.com resonates with your philosophy, too. No surprise, as I think we are such kindred spirits. I pray for God to bless your New Year richly!

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