Week of January 1

The Year of Our Lord

Day One. Every year we make ambitious plans and resolutions. Every year it seems that we cannot live up to our own expectations. Are your goals to get healthy? Maintain a budget? Spend more time with family? Read some great spiritual books? What if 2017 is the year that we commit ourselves to seeking God’s plan for the new year, instead of our own? We learned last year that the direction we are headed determines our destination. Consider for a minute in what direction you are heading. This year, make your commitment to orient yourself towards godliness. Read Zech 1:2-4. Are there areas in your life where you need to repent and return to God? If we return, what does he promise for us? Take a few minutes today and ask for God to reveal any ways that you need to return to Him and then ask for the strength to pursue His path in those areas. Trust in the Lord… lean on Him, and He will direct your path. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Day Two. As we move forward into a new year, we are choosing to pursue God and His direction for our lives. When we trust in Him, we can know that he will protect us. God tells Zechariah (2:5) that He will be a wall of fire around the city of Jerusalem as a safeguard against their enemies. Think about that. What walls have we built up for protection instead of reliance on God Himself? Read Psalm 23:4. In this Psalm, God is the great shepherd who keeps his flock safe as they pass through uncertainty. The Shepherds rod and staff not only serve to keep the sheep moving in the right direction, but also provide protection from the enemies that would be poised to attack. Spend some time reflecting on ways that you have sensed God redirecting you onto the proper path and consider how He has in those times been protecting you. Pray that He would continue to direct your path in the coming year.

 Day Three. What comes to mind when you think of the word “glory”? Do you think of an epic battle scene in a movie where the hero has just overcome the threat from an enemy? Or do you picture a beautiful sunrise over the snowcapped mountains? Read Romans 2:28-29. Paul tells us that true circumcision - or true faith - is a change of heart directed by the Holy Spirit. As we are changed we are glorified as the beauty and magnificence of God is reflected in us. Think about what steps you can take to align yourself with the Spirit of God within you. Consider if your words and actions appropriately reflect the beauty and magnificence of God. Pray for strength and trust God to work within us.  Those around you will notice a difference…His glory in you.

 Day Four. Read Zech. 3:3-8. Do you think you are unworthy of God’s love? Do you feel disqualified to be the reflection of His glory? Not one of us can be right before God on our own. No man, regardless of merit, is capable of the achieving righteousness. What God did for Joshua in this passage, he is willing to do for us. In Romans 3:23-24, Paul writes, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” Have you taken the step of trusting in Christ for your own purification? If you have not, consider taking that step now. If you have, then be confident that the Spirit of God is at work in your life and He sees you as righteous.

 Day Five. As we end this first week of the new year, we have been reminded that the direction of our steps determines our destination. If we follow His lead, He will protect us on our journey. We have also considered the steps that we should take to become right in Him and to reflect His glory. Today, let us remember the power that moves us along this path. Read Zech 4:6-7. Just as Zerubbabel was to build the temple by the power of the Spirit of God, our journey is empowered by that same Spirit. Consider the path that God has set you on. Have you experienced trouble? Have you been set back by temptation? “… there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” (Rom 8:1-2). Live in that freedom. Thrive in His power. Follow His path. Make it your prayer today that the Glory of God will shine brightly through you in 2017.

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