New Year's Day
Monday, January 1
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Delight in His Word
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord;and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Psalm 1:1-2 KJV
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"That week between Christmas and New Year's Day is always so exciting for me," Meredith said to her friend, Jan, as she poured herself a second cup of coffee. "I wake up on New Year's Day with so much anticipation for the coming year."
"Really?" Jan asked, "Do you feel that way every year?"
"Yes." Meredith smiled. "And I especially love how, as I start fresh with my Bible reading plan each year, I discover how the Word of God speaks something new to me. I have notes in my Bible from years past, but lots of times, I see something new and different."
"Wow, you read your Bible every day? I don't," Jan admitted, "though I know I should."
"Well, there are days I miss. When it happens too often, I start to feel detached. I need that connection with God every day. That time really empowers me and gives me a sense of His presence. I know I've come to know Him — and myself — better through reading His Word."
Lord, I make afresh commitment to truly abide in Your Word this year. Help me read, discover, delight, and live in Your truth.
Tuesday, January 2
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A Daily Walk with God
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, Where are you?
Genesis 3:8-9 AMPC
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Are you an on-time person or are you constantly running late? Does the tardiness of others or your own put a strain your friendships? Imagine what it would be like to have an appointment with God every day. Time allotted not to do anything in particular, but simply to spend time with Him, sharing your heart in conversation and companionship.
That must have been what it was like in those early days of Eden. How did Adam and Eve feel knowing God would come down from heaven just to spend time with them? Were they excited to see Him or did they take His presence for granted?
You can experience God each day. He desires to spend time with you. He wants you, His child, to share your heart with Him. Are you there, waiting to hear His voice? Take the time now to walk, to abide with Him today, though prayer.
God, forgive me for allowing the busyness of life to consume me. Remind me there is nothing more important than abiding in You.
Wednesday, January 3
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"The Delight of My Life"
The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God's Spirit — it looked like a dove — descending and landing on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: "This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life."
Matthew 3:16-17 MSG
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If you're a parent, no doubt you've experienced much delight in your children. From the moment they were born, you took pleasure in being a part of their life, experiencing a relationship with them as you watched them grow.
God the Father wanted a family. After Adam, the first son, who God created from the earth, fell to sin, there was a chasm between God and His family. Jesus came to restore that breach.
In Matthew 3:16-17, God declared Jesus to be the "delight" of His life. Through Jesus, God is the loving Father of many sons and daughters today — including you (see Romans 8:29).
Just as God delights in Jesus, He also delights in you. He does so the same way you delight in your own children.
Rejoice that "the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory" (Psalm 149:4 NIV).
Father, thank You for delighting in who I am and who You created me to be. It gives me great pleasure to know I belong to You.
Thursday, January 4
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In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.
Psalm 4:8 NLT
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"Mommy," Christian called out as Ellen turned to leave her preschooler's bedroom, "I can't go to sleep without Bear in my bed." The family's five-year-old cocker spaniel, scheduled for minor surgery the next morning, was spending the night at the vet.
"Oh, honey," Ellen whispered, trying to soothe her son's fears. "Bear will be just fine. He'll come home from the vet tomorrow."
"But, I can't go to sleep. He always lays here by me. I don't want to be alone. Will you sleep with me tonight?" he asked.
"I'll lay down with you until you fall asleep," Ellen said. That seemed to appease Christian. She felt his tiny fingers in her hair. It's probably what he does to Bear, she thought.
As she lay there waiting for her son to doze off, she thought about her own need to feel safe. She remembered the many nights she laid awake, feeling alone while her husband was deployed for nine months overseas. Just a month into his deployment she discovered God's incredible promise to never leave her. Knowing He kept her safe throughout the night, she felt amazing comfort in His peaceful presence.
Thank You, Lord, for Your promise of peace. You are always with me. You will never leave me alone.
Friday, January 5
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Just Following God
"I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you."
Genesis 13:16-17 NKJV
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Sarai's family worshipped other gods (see Genesis 20:12; Joshua 24:2), yet the Lord Almighty asked her husband to leave everything they'd ever known for a land they had never seen, saying, "Abram, pack up and start walking. I'll show you where to go."
The Bible doesn't say if Sarai struggled with the grief of leaving everything familiar or if she embraced it with excitement and expectation. Whatever her attitude, Sarai followed Abram as he followed God.
Sarai and Abram, just ordinary people, trusted God for something bigger than they could have ever imagined. They just stepped out, confident God would deliver all He promised.
Although Sarai at some later crossroads had her moments of doubt, struggled to believe God's promises included her, and battled her earthly circumstances and thoughts, she continued to follow the Lord.
Like Sarai, God has called you to walk with Him. He has set you apart to follow Him and live according to His way. Choose to do so today.
God, I choose to walk with You. No matter what the earthly circumstances are surrounding me, I trust You to lead me on the right path.
Saturday, January 6
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Unity with the Father
"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. ... Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
Matthew 5:44-45, 48 NIV
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The biggest challenge facing you today is probably a person — what she said or did — or didn't say or do — to you or someone you love. Relationships are difficult on any level — from someone you've never met who takes your parking place, to your closest friend who makes a disparaging remark about you, to your perfect prince who acts like a frog.
It's easy to get caught up in the drama when someone pushes your buttons or you feel used, abandoned, mistreated, or hurt. Society is full of people looking for revenge and a way to make someone pay for wrongs done to them. As a child of God, you can choose another way — your heavenly Father's way.
He responds with grace and forgiveness to both good and evil people. He is the calm in the middle of the storm. He desires to put His love, poured out lavishly upon you, to work in you and let it operate through you. You can rest in His peace, knowing He chose a perfect way for you.
Father, thank You for pouring Your love out on me. I desire to walk in unity with You, allowing Your love to flow through me and responding in peace to all.
Sunday, January 7
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Consistent in Prayer
"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
Matthew 6:6 NIV
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Jennifer walked into the breakroom to find her friend, Rhonda, pouring herself a cup of coffee.
"Good morning," Jennifer chirped, almost dancing toward Rhonda.
Rhonda smiled. "Look at you, all bursting with sunshine and happiness. Don't get me wrong; I'm glad to see you so cheerful, but this is three days in row. What's up?" "I've had a hard time transitioning to my new position here, and my personal life has been a mess — as you well know. The truth is, I've not spent the time I really should in prayer, and I finally saw the movie, War Room, that you were telling me about. It really inspired me to take my time with God seriously. I'm making it a priority every day, and I can really tell there's a difference in my relationship with Him."
"Well, keep it up," Rhonda replied. "I'm sure your quality time with God is making a huge difference in your heart, if that glow on your face is any indication."
Thank You, Father, for our time together. As I open my heart to You in prayer, You pour into my spirit all I need for my day. Help me be faithfully consistent in my prayer life. You are my priority.
Monday, January 8
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I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky-jewelry, moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way? Yet we've so narrowly missed being gods, bright with Eden's dawn light. You put us in charge of your handcrafted world.
Psalm 8:3-6 MSG
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You have family and friends that you love. You think about them and visit them. You carry them in your heart. You feel their hurts and celebrate the good times in their lives. You desire to stay connected to them even when you're apart.
In today's verse, God is asked, "What is woman that You think about her? Not only that, but You visit her?" The writer takes notice that as God's creation, He thinks about you. He longs for a relationship with you. He wants to visit you and spend time with you. He is always with you, even when your thoughts are not on Him.
God holds you close. You are precious and valuable to Him. His relationship with you runs deeper than even the tie you share with friends and family. You are lovingly connected to the Lord of the world without end.
God, I am Yours and You are mine. Thank You for loving me unconditionally and desiring to have a relationship with me. You astound me.
Tuesday, January 9
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The LORD kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised. She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would.
Genesis 21:1-2 NLT
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God faithfully directed Abraham and Sarah as they left their friends and family to follow Him. Their journey was not without challenges and opportunities to doubt, and yet, in His own time, God proved to them His friendship and faithfulness.
God is your faithful companion as well. As you read and study God's Word, you come to know Him more and more. His Word describes His character, His nature, and His promises to you. Whatever He speaks to you through His Word, you can trust Him to do what He says He will — and when He will.
What promises has God made to you? Do you remember times when He proved Himself faithful?
Regardless of what you're going through today, God is your faithful friend. Remind yourself of His presence and His promise to walk with you — to never leave you or forsake you. Hold fast to Him and His promises!
Lord, You are my closest, most faithful friend. I trust You to keep every promise You've made to me. Because I know I can count on You, I'm holding tight to You as You walk with me through my life journey.
Wednesday, January 10
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A Sure Foundation
"These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit — but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock."
Matthew 7:24-25 MSG
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Jennifer sat numbly in church. Her mind faded from the platform as her pastor's words faded. She and her husband, Clark, were navigating a hellish ordeal. Suffering silently, they had told no one but God.
Her heart lost, her mind continued to slip away. Her eyes fell on a young mother sitting a few rows up from them, slowly rocking her baby. Before Jennifer knew it, she herself was rocking, too.
As tears ran from her eyes, comforting and powerful promises from God's Word broke into her mind. The healing scriptures she'd read so many times, flooded her, and she began to feel alive again. As her body moved back and forth in that same calming motion as that mother rocking her child, Jennifer, in her heart, knew it was her Savior gently rocking her back to life.
When life hurts, I will run to You, God, my healer. In Your presence I find just what I need. No matter what I'm facing, Your healing words rock me gently back to life.
Thursday, January 11
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Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. "Lord," the man said, "if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean." Jesus reached out and touched him. "I am willing," he said.
Matthew 8:2–3 NLT
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What compels you to take the actions you take each day?
Jesus' heart of compassion compelled Him to help, to intervene, to take action. The love of God shed abroad in His heart moved Him to touch the untouchables, accept the rejected, dine with the unclean, and see those whom society preferred to remain invisible. Jesus couldn't help but reflect the heart of His heavenly Father among even the most unlovable people.
Sometimes it's difficult to see a homeless person on the street or someone who is being treated unjustly or taken advantage of. The Spirit of God living inside of you opens your eyes to see, gives you ears to hear, and softens your heart to understand in a way most people can't comprehend. Perhaps He's showing you something so you can pray for that person. Maybe He wants you to give someone a smile or say a kind word.
Allow God to speak to you about how He'd like you to respond with compassion as you walk with Him each day.
Lord, forgive me for closing my eyes to the pain others experience. Show me how I can be Your hands and feet to those You bring across my path, to listen and respond with a heart like Yours.
Friday, January 12
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This Very Moment
LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may oppress no more.
Psalm 10:17–18 NKJV
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Nola climbed behind the wheel of her car and turned slowly down her street toward her son's elementary school. Although it was only a ten-minute drive, each day she was determined to experience the moments with God and her son. In those ten quiet minutes, she felt the Lord's presence as she began to pray, thanking Him for her blessings and then listening for what He might impart to her heart.
As she pulled into the pickup line and waited for her son, she smiled, knowing this was another moment in time she would never get back. As he climbed excitedly into the backseat and began to spill out the details of his day, she caught a glimpse of the sparkle in his eyes.
Determined to hold each moment close instead of wishing her life away, she drove back toward the house slowly, drinking in the experience, cataloging in her memory the things her son chose to share.