“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing My recompense with Me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Revelation 22:12-13

We are a month into 2013 already; can you believe it!

That usually means most of us are still putting “2012” on our checks and correspondence. All of this takes me to the point of this devotion. I think it’s time to say thank you to Dionysius Exiguus.

And just who is Dionysius Exiguus? I’m glad you asked.

His name means “Dennis, the Small” or “Dennis, the Short” or, in all probability, “Dennis, the Humble.”

At any rate, Dennis is important because of an idea he had, a pretty good idea. You see, up until the sixth century, the Western calendar centered around the most important date anyone could think of: the founding of the city of Rome.

Dionysius Exiguus believed, quite rightly, that a worn-out city’s birth could hardly compare in importance with the Savior’s coming into the world.

Further, Dionysius understood that while Rome’s rule had been established and maintained by violence and war, Jesus ruled in human hearts and souls by virtue of His perfect life, His sacrificial death, and His glorious resurrection.

With those thoughts in his mind, Dionysius did considerable research and ended up redoing the calendar. Jesus’ birth was the turning point of history, and from then on things were marked “before Christ” (BC) or “after the year of our Lord,” Anno Domini (AD).

The only down side of the story is this: while Dionysius was great at coming up with ideas, he was pretty bad in arithmetic. It was only after his new calendar had been adopted and used throughout the Western world that somebody bothered to check his math. Sure enough, it was found wanting. Dionysius had made a mistake of about four or five years, which means Jesus was born four, or five years BC or Before Christ.

This is just a roundabout way of saying that in this New Year, with all of its unanticipated and unknown events stretching out before us, it is right for us to remember just who is in control of time and eternity.

The Creator, the Redeemer, the Sanctifier still is at the helm. In His grace, mercy and love, He has promised to be with us at every tick of the clock, and with every turn of the calendar. “Lo, I am with you always. I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Matthew 28:20, Hebrews 13:5)

Who could say such a thing? Who can make such a promise? “I am with you always!”  Only God can be with us Always;  only he who is “the Alpha and the Omega;”  only he who is” the First and the Last”; only he who is” the Beginning and the End,” the eternal one.

And, no, I didn’t forget about those secularists, historical revisionists, those politically correct thinkers who are pushing this Common Era and Before the Common Era (CE/BCE) baloney. No matter which letters you like to use, something still happened 2,000 years ago that changed the calendar. (Jeremiah 23:27-a)

Either way you write it: Jesus is the center of all history and the center of all your todays and tomorrows. He is with you right now and will be with you throughout the remaining months of this year. He is in control. He will be with you when you’re down and out; he will be with your going-in and coming-out. Whether you feel most alone in the darkness or the twilight he is with you. very step you take is guided by his capable hands. Mountain tops and valleys are all the same to him. He is God Almighty who fills all eternity.  Beneath us his wings of love abide, no matter what may be the test.

Sometimes we must soldier on through the thundering night as the darkness seems to cling to our very soul. As the morning wings of the dawn bring forth a new day, so his strength renews our spirits day by day. So stay close to Him; for the closer lou are to his light the further you are from the darkness of this world. Remember him in the little things, like the salving of your wounds, and in the big things, like deathlessness, and your coming  immortality.

As creation travails for perfection so do we;  but like creation we will never get there on our own. The mystery of death, the mystery of pain and suffering is to each one of us a timeless mystery that we cannot understand. There are seasons in our lives when we are all crushed and tormented beneath the grinding wheels of time and chance,  Like wild animals these mysteries are no respecter of persons. Nevertheless, we know that in him we have a boundless and endless life that will never die. By the power of his infinite-being he lifts us from the fathomless ocean of despair  above the earthly clouds of doubt.

One day the birth of time will be no more, and suffering will be no more. No more falling stars, no more troubled seas, no more thorns and thistles, no more hawks and doves, no more warring nations;  just ultimate, infinite, absolute paradise; north, south, east and west  with the universal Christ ruling over all.  Reaching that blissful goal is worth it all.

Only In-Him will it be “Always!”

The Best Us Yet To Be!

Pastor Bryant