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New Year, New You!

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!" Isaiah 43:18-19a

On this Very Spot

It's helpful to see how God works in the same place over and over agin. It can even become a sacred, personal journey. All through the Bible there are key events that stack up, one upon another - and they all happened in and around temple mount - Jerusalem. Each story helps us, not only to understand and grow in our faith - but when you take them together, you gain greater insight in all the things that were yet to happen.

Traveling Light

Just as "light" can light your way, so too we are looking for our way to be His Way. And just like someone's burden can be "light" - so too, following Jesus is "light" (not always easy) - but He joins us in the journey. When the wise men were looking for Jesus, we are told they "saw His light" and again "they followed the light until it was over the child." We can miss the joy/blessing/gift of Christmas when we are overwhelmed by the distractions of the season - what we need is His "traveling light" to guide us to the better way.

Cultivating Gratitude: Thankful, Grateful, Blessed

The Champion Virtue of the Believer who has gone deeper is Gratitude. Gratitude is at the core of every Spirit filled, Christ follower. How could we ever be anything less than grateful? At its root, gratitude grows out of humility and it opposes pride. The believer who is truly growing deeper will manifest gratitude to a greater and greater degree. 2 Corinthians 4:15 speaks of God's grace coming to more and more people - and the result is great thanksgiving, overflowing thanksgiving. The longer you walk in the way - the more your gratitude should show.

Going Through the Motions - Right Thinking

To go deeper, it's not just what we do with others or what we do with our stuff - we also need to focus on our minds.  The old KJV of Proverbs 23:7, says, "as a man thinks - so he is." There is much truth in that. The Bible often calls us to check our thinking. We are to apply our minds to instruction and understanding, Proverbs 22:17. Paul reminds us that we are in charge of our thinking; Philippians 4:8. But it is in Romans 12:1-2 that we are reminded we are not alone in this journey, God is the one who transforms the way we think. One of the ways that God does that is by asking the right questions; often tough questions, even questions we'd prefer to ignore - but they are critical questions. His questions are like windows to the mind. How are you thinking? How would you answer these questions? Are you close enough to hear and answer his questions?

Going Through the Motions with My Stuff

While going deeper may begin in the heart hungry for God, it is also certainly connected to all the relationships we've explored. But to go deeper, one needs also to get a "grasp" of how our "grasping lives" can derail our pursuit of God. Jesus himself told a parable, about the Sower, and how the "seed" was crowded out by the worries of life, the lure of wealth, and our desire of other things. Our relationship to "our stuff" can be the very area that drives us deeper or keeps us shallow. Remember, Jesus said, "Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be." (Matthew 6:21). Which trajectory is your stuff moving your devotion?

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