Daily Archives: January 2, 2021

Spiritual Progress

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Spiritual Progress

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“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2 (NIV)

You don’t have to remind me that Christmas is over. It’s the day after New Year’s and I don’t have any days off for a good while. But it’s worth glimpsing back to the Wise Men of Christmas in order to press on in this new year.

Some believe these men traveled for over two years to see the Christ Child. They were committed to finding the King. I wonder that about myself. How committed am I to seek after Jesus this year? But that is my desire.

The first way I desire to seek Him is in prayer. I want to be devoted to prayer. It’s a privilege that is often ignored or taken for granted. At least it is by me. I have access to the God of the universe, and often I count on my puny self to get me through the day.

Jesus said in Matthew 26:41,

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (NIV)

Since I understand that I am weak, I am asking the Lord to help me stay alert in prayer. That is one way I will seek Jesus this year.

Another way I will seek Jesus this year is in His Word. I’m reminded of the time in John when several of those who followed Jesus turned away. Jesus asked the disciples if they would leave too. Peter said,

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68 (NIV)

Often Peter said the wrong thing at the wrong time, but this time he was spot on.

Immersing myself in God’s Word is life to me. It’s just that I often settle for the junk food of this world instead of the wholesome Word of God. I’m seeking God through His Word by belonging to a Bible Study at my church. We meet almost weekly. This gives me accountability in my study. I also take notes in church and attend Sunday School with others my age. Together we gaze into God’s Word and grow.

What is your plan for this year? Don’t get side-tracked with this world. Don’t fall asleep like the disciples.

You’ve heard the saying, Wise Men Still Seek Him?

That is my desire for me and for you this year.

Happy and Blessed New Year!

The Key to a Happy New Year

By: Jeff Schreve, crosswalk.com

For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him?
Ecclesiastes 2:25

Let me be the first to wish you a Happy New Year!  Happy New Year is an often-heard, post-Christmas statement of encouragement and well-wishing. To be sure, everyone desires a happy new year … but how does a person actually experience a happy new year? What is the key to having 2019 really be a happy one for you?

THE HAPPINESS CONFUSION

Many people equate happiness with money and materialism. To them, happiness is a million dollars. Others equate happiness with good physical health. To them, happiness is an in-shape body hitting on all eight cylinders. Still others equate happiness with personal achievement. To them, happiness is a big promotion, or graduation, or a milestone achievement.

Years ago, I read a true story about tennis star, Boris Becker. He was the youngest man to ever win Wimbledon, achieving victory in 1985 at the tender age of seventeen. In the late 1980s, Becker was on the mountain top of fame, fortune, and personal achievement. Yet, he was so unhappy and on the brink of suicide. Becker was quoted as saying, “I had won Wimbledon twice before, once as the youngest player. I was rich. I had all the material possessions I needed. It’s the old song of movie stars and pop stars who commit suicide. They have everything, and yet they are so unhappy. I had no inner peace. I was a puppet on a string.”

Isn’t that amazing? Becker had all the things the world says will make for happiness, yet he was so incredibly unhappy. Could it be that true happiness is not found in health, wealth, and achievement?

TRUE HAPPINESS

The Bible makes it clear that true happiness comes when you and I are right with God. When we are yielded to Christ and His will, then we can experience true happiness—inner peace and unspeakable joy. Are you right with God today? Are your sins confessed to Him? Are you living surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ?

Blaise Pascal, the seventeenth century mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer, and philosopher astutely said, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”

Let me encourage you to take sober inventory of your life today. Are you trying to fill the inner vacuum with health, wealth, achievement, or the like? Those things will never make you truly happy; they will never satisfy the deep longings of your soul. The only One who can do that is Jesus.

Start your year off right by bowing your knee and your life to King Jesus. Give Him first place in everything … for that is the key to true happiness.

Streams in the Desert – January 2

Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t

And there was an enlarging, and a winding about still upward to the side chambers: for the winding about of the house went still upward round about the house: therefore the breadth of the house was still upward and so increased from the lowest chamber to the highest by the midst (Ezekiel 41:7).

Still upward be thine onward course:
For this I pray today;
Still upward as the years go by,
And seasons pass away.
Still upward in this coming year,
Thy path is all untried;
Still upward may’st thou journey on,
Close by thy Saviors side.
Still upward e’en though sorrow come,
And trials crush thine heart;
Still upward may they draw thy soul,
With Christ to walk apart.
Still upward till the day shall break,
And shadows all have flown;
Still upward till in Heaven you wake,
And stand before the throne.

We ought not to rest content in the mists of the valley when the summit of Tabor awaits us. How pure are the dews of the hills, how fresh is the mountain air, how rich the fare of the dwellers aloft, whose windows look into the New Jerusalem! Many saints are content to live like men in coal mines, who see not the sun. Tears mar their faces when they might anoint them with celestial oil. Satisfied I am that many a believer pines in a dungeon when he might walk on the palace roof, and view the goodly land and Lebanon. Rouse thee, O believer, from thy low condition! Cast away thy sloth, thy lethargy, thy coldness, or whatever interferes with thy chaste and pure love to Christ. Make Him the source, the center, and the circumference of all thy soul’s range of delight. Rest no longer satisfied with thy dwarfish attainments. Aspire to a higher, a nobler, a fuller life. Upward to heaven! Nearer to God!
–Spurgeon

I want to scale the utmost height,
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray, till heaven I’ve found,
Lord, lead me on to higher ground!

Not many of us are living at our best. We linger in the lowlands because we are afraid to climb the mountains. The steepness and ruggedness dismay us, and so we stay in the misty valleys and do not learn the mystery of the hills. We do not know what we lose in our self-indulgence, what glory awaits us if only we had courage for the mountain climb, what blessing we should find if only we would move to the uplands of God.
–J. R. M

Too low they build who build beneath the stars.

Love,

Winning Strategies

by Inspiration Ministries

“Let me pass through all your flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every black lamb, and the spotted and speckled among the goats, and they shall be my wages.” – Genesis 30:32 ESV

Laban and his son-in-law Jacob finally agreed on his compensation for years of labor. Jacob asked to remove every black lamb and the speckled and spotted sheep and goats. Laban agreed to the odd request.

Jacob took “fresh sticks of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white streaks in them.” Then he “set the sticks that he had peeled in front of the flocks in the watering places.” The flocks bred in front of the sticks and “brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted.” Jacob also employed a strategy to attract stronger animals during the breeding process (Genesis 30:37-42).

It all worked amazingly well. As a result of this strategy, Jacob’s resources “increased greatly” (v. 43). He was blessed with huge numbers of sheep, camels, and donkeys, and many servants. Explaining his strategy, Jacob made clear that God gave him these ideas in a dream. And His angel provided him with details he was to employ. He succeeded mightily because he followed God’s plan.

Through his obedience, Jacob demonstrated how God leads us and gives us strategies that can apply in business, finance, agriculture, and even ministry – in any area of life.

God can guide you in many different ways. And He can give you insight and winning strategies on any subject. Commit the issues you face to Him. Be sensitive to His leading and open to new ideas. Be ready to employ
the strategies He gives you.