Bagpipes

Never Too Late For Auld Lang Syne

A cup of kindness is not what I thought about giving Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan.  It was at midnight on New Year’s Eve when Ed called from Melville. He yelled, “Happy New Year,” into the telephone. He wanted me to hear Auld Lang Syne being played traditionally in the background on the bagpipes.

Ed was not sorry that he woke me up as, he declared, “You need to start the new year right by seeing 2017 in its infancy. It proves you are getting your name in for good health, prosperity, and happiness before the supplies are gone.” It took a while to convince Ed that I needed to hang up, and get my sleep because New Year’s Day was also Sunday and I was preaching in the morning.  For the sake of old times, with Ed being my old neighbor for a decade, we said our good-byes with mutual best wishes for the coming year. Old years slip away and new years come but friendships last as long, as we live.

At the start of the new year, there is no shortage of free advice to consider. Advice and resolutions are like quicksand to me, instead of getting me going in a new direction, I more often end up stuck deeper in old habits. I excel at good intents, but my best intentions can pop at any time, like balloons at a birthday party. One year can end up being pretty much like the last one with a sense of treading water and not reaching the shore. Every day in any year, I intend to do the wise and right things, according, to God’s word, but my sinful nature also wants me to do the unwise and wrong things to satisfy it.

God’s word describes it this way, in the words of Paul: “I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being, I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.” Thanks, be to God there is a rescue from our split loyalties between God’ good will and the pull our sinful nature. There is no condemnation for those who have faith in Christ Jesus.

For old times sake, the fall into sin by Adam and Eve, God gave Jesus Christ his Son to be a sin offering for us here on earth. Jesus was able, to be sinless as he lived here, and he died as a sinless sacrifice for the punishment of, our sins. Those who believe in Jesus are not condemned for their sins. God does not count their sins against them for the sake of their faith in Jesus.

Every year there will be a struggle between God’s will and the tug of our sinful nature. Will we live in faith in the kindness of God for us in Jesus? Will we be God’s children? Will we sin and self-destruct, in our sinful nature?

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Raymond Maher
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