Dear Edgeboro Friends & Family,

Happy New Year! Over the last few Januarys, I have noticed that my attention gravitates, even more than usual, toward the Moravian Daily Text. I think it is a combination of getting a new book to use and having the opportunity to select new watchwords for the year. I find it captivating that for nearly 300 years, the Daily Text has offered guidance to millions with daily verses – verses that are selected in Herrnhut, Germany over a year before the day they are actually assigned. The Daily Text continues to give us new, timely, and unique ways of looking at scripture and applying it to our lives.

A new year is upon us, so let’s see what is in store for us on day one: January 1st – “So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left.” (Deuteronomy 5:32)

Right away from the Daily Text, we receive encouragement to continue on and not stray from the way of the Lord. This probably sounds like something you have heard before. Perhaps it sounds pretty basic – and that’s because it is!

These words were spoken by Moses to the Israelites before they got to the Promised Land. They occur just 11 verses after the Ten Commandments were first given and just six verses before what would later be called “The Greatest Commandment” (“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5). These are fundamental commandments that are just getting introduced to the Israelites now.

If you think about it, the Israelites are still getting used to God!

We often forget this because since the day we were old enough to understand, we were taught the Ten Commandments and told that we can pray to God whenever we wanted. In Deuteronomy, people lived in a time when the Ten Commandments did not exist and when God only spoke to a select few, like Moses, and not to everyone. (In fact, people thought that if God spoke to them, they would die!)

Everything they are hearing is new for the Israelites, and so it makes sense that Moses would be giving them a simple, basic instruction – don’t look left, don’t look right, just follow God’s commandments!

In this new year, God will continue to speak to us, sometimes in new and unfamiliar ways which, like the Israelites found out, might take some adjustments and getting used to on our part. We can only wonder how that might happen, but I hope that this first watchword can set the tone for the year and motivate each of us to listen closely and stay the course on God’s way when it does.

Let us give thanks for a living, dynamic, and relevant God – a God who is never out of date – the One who was, is, and will be forever and ever!

On God’s Way in 2018 with you,

Pastor Dan