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And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for he has been mindful

of the humble state of his servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed,

 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—

    holy is his name.

His mercy extends to those who fear him,

    from generation to generation.

51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;

    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones

    but has lifted up the humble.

53 He has filled the hungry with good things

    but has sent the rich away empty.

54 He has helped his servant Israel,

    remembering to be merciful

55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,

    just as he promised our ancestors.”

-Luke 1:46-55

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. - 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Ask Yourself:

What new thing is God wanting to do in my life?

How can I look at things differently to see (perceive) the newness he wants to bring?

What truth (or scripture) can I declare today to help my heart trust him for something new?

Pray:

Dear God, Thank you that you never leave us where we are. Thank you for the promise of something new. Help me to fix my eyes forward in anticipation of all that is to come. Show me what new things you are wanting to do in and through me this year. Holy Spirit help me to see things differently, through your eternal lens. More powerful than any goal I could aspire to on my own is my willingness to join in the new work you are doing. Thank you for your steady guidance and constant love. Amen.

This song has had a deep impact on me this past year in seeking God for his will and his ways. I pray it would help you see the power that comes with listening for only his voice.

Spirit of the living God we only want to hear your voice, we’re hanging on every word. . . When you speak, when you move, when you do what only you can do it changes us, it changes what we see and what we seek.  


This is an edited excerpt of what first appeared here and has been shared with the author's permission.

Jessica Wolstenholm is co-founder of Grace for Moms. After 15 years in the music and publishing industries, Jessica came home to be with her two small children. Although the transition from the corporate world to the playground has been an adjustment, she is learning every day to access the grace available to us through Christ as she navigates the full time job of motherhood. She is the co-author of The Pregnancy Companion: A Faith-Filled Guide for Your Journey to Motherhood and The Baby Companion: A Faith-Filled Guide for Your Journey Through Baby’s First Year. Jessica lives in Nolensville, TN with her husband, Dave and two miracle babies, Hope (6) and Joshua (3).

More of Jessica Wolstenholm: www.graceformoms.com

It’s All About Knowing and Being Known -  

This devotional was written by Leslie Snyder

 

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord,’ did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” —Matthew 7:21-23

 

Hank worked for months on Mr. Smith’s candidacy by passing out flyers, buttons, stickers and yard signs. He called potential voters asking for their support and poured much of his own money into the election. After months of Hank’s tireless work, Election Day arrived and Mr. Smith won. A celebration party was held and to Hank’s delight, Mr. Smith was mingling with his supporters. Hank walked up to congratulate Mr. Smith, shook his hand, spoke of what a remarkable campaign it had been and what a privilege it had been to serve. But, Mr. Smith returned Hank’s enthusiasm with a blank stare and the words, “Do I know you?” It’s a great question that relates to today’s Scripture passage.

 

Of all the teachings of Jesus, I find that I have wrestled with this one quite often. In fact, before I took the time to examine this passage, it seemed something like a cruel joke, as if Jesus opted for the “bait and switch” approach to ministry. But, with more study, I discovered the secret is found in the word “know.  The original Greek word in today’s Scripture passage is the word ginosko, which frequently indicates relationship between the person “knowing” and the object that is “known.”* In other words, when applied to the story above, Mr. Smith never knew Hank, and didn’t know what Hank was doing for him because there was no relationship, no friendship between Mr. Smith and Hank.

 

Applying this understanding, the biblical warning is clear. Jesus wants to know us, to have a relationship with us. He is not interested in all that we are doing for Him unless we first know Him and are known by Him. Make this your goal today.

 

GOING DEEPER:

Have you “missed the boat,” getting caught up in the “doing” for God, while neglecting the “knowing”? Take time today to restore the relationship Christ desires with you.

 

FURTHER READING:

Micah 6:8; Hebrews 3:14; 1 John 2:19

 

*Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words.  W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, & William White, Jr.  Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1985

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

How Quickly We Forget -  

This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

Some troublemakers among them wanted better food, and soon all the Israelites began complaining. They said, "We want meat! We remember the fish we ate for free in Egypt. We also had cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!" —Numbers 11:4-6 (NCV)

God used Moses to help free the Israelites from some 400 years of bondage and hard slavery in the land of Egypt. God had supernaturally provided for the Israelites along the way, providing them with manna – a special food – and water. No one went hungry. But, a year into the journey towards the Promised Land, the complaining began about the food. The Israelites wanted meat. They remembered the good old days of the free fish and veggies from the land of Egypt and longed for them. But, in reality, those days were anything but good. They were difficult days of slavery. They were days the Israelites cried out to God for deliverance. The Israelites had quickly forgotten the generations of misery in slavery to the Egyptians.

We might be tempted to wonder how the Israelites could be so ungrateful. God was providing for them. Still, I don’t think we’re much different from them. (If you think we’re different, just imagine eating oatmeal – at every meal – for a year!) It’s easy for us to forget how God has taken care of us in the past. It’s easy to make the past look better than it was and to blame God for what we think we need today – but aren’t getting. There’s an old saying that’s so often true, “Be careful of what you desire, because you just might get it.”

The Israelites grumbled and complained, “We want meat.” So, God gave them meat. It wasn’t in the way they expected or had hoped for. But they got what they asked for. God sent quail into their camp for a whole month. He sent the quail, not as a blessing, but as judgment because they had rejected Him and complained about leaving Egypt. There were quail three-feet deep on the ground all around the camp. A plague broke out in the camp and many people died.

What about you? Have you forgotten the many blessings and provisions God has given you in the past? Do you find yourself grumbling, “What has God done for me lately?” Let’s learn from the example of the Israelites of old. God calls us to be thankful people, people who remember his goodness and trust in Him to provide for our needs.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. Is there something you want badly and are frustrated that you haven’t gotten it? Take some time to evaluate your desire. What lies behind this desire?

 

2. Make a list of ways God has blessed you and provided for you in the past. Spend time thanking God for these things.

 

FURTHER READING:

Numbers 11; Exodus 3:7-10; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

I love to star-gaze, so I bought a telescope to give me a better look into the night sky. In particular, I wanted to see the Seven Sisters – the Pleiades star cluster. Whenever I tried to see them with my eyes alone, they blurred together, so I opted to buy a telescope that would give me higher resolution. The down side was assembling and aligning the telescope; it was almost as confusing as assembling Barbie Dream Houses for my daughters when they were children. After finally getting all the mirrors and lenses in place, however, I still couldn’t get the telescope to operate properly, so I turned to a friend for help. 

“I need your expertise,” I told Pat, an accomplished amateur astronomer. “I followed all the instructions, but I can’t see anything in the sky. What did I do wrong?” Pat checked over the telescope, made a few minor adjustments, and then patiently demonstrated how to line up celestial bodies in my viewfinder. Success! I looked into the eyepiece and there they were, the bright seven stars of the Pleiades shining distinctly in the night. “Take a look,” I said, turning to Pat. But Pat was already observing the same stars…with an old pair of binoculars.

“I do most of my stargazing with these,” he explained, passing them along for me to try. I put them to my eyes and there were the Seven Sisters shining brilliantly in the night, just as distinct as they appeared in my high-tech telescope, but without requiring assembly, alignment and expert assistance. As it turned out, I didn’t have to have a telescope at all to see the Pleiades clearly; just a bit more focus made all the difference. It reminded me that very often, simple is all you really need.

Jesus told his disciples the same thing. In the MSG version of Luke 9:1-3, we read Jesus now called the Twelve and gave them authority and power to deal with all the demons and cure diseases. He commissioned them to preach the news of God’s kingdom and heal the sick. He said, ‘Don’t load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple; you are the equipment.’”

I’m going to keep that advice in mind the next time I think I need a host of credentials, or any other special equipment, to speak about Jesus to others. Witnessing to my faith is as simple as opening my mouth and praising my Savior; my experience, my relationship with God is the only equipment I need. Simple is good, especially when you just add a little more focus.

Jan Dunlap is the author of the new suspense novel Heaven’s Gate: Archangels Book I, the bestselling memoir Saved by Gracie: How a Rough-and-tumble Rescue Dog Dragged Me Back to Health, Happiness and God (Authentic Publishing) and the acclaimed Birder Murder Mystery series (North Star Press, Inc.). She holds MA degrees in Theology and English Studies and lives in the Hill Country of Texas where she spends every clear night marveling at the stars and the brilliance of God’s creation. She is a frequent contributor to FaithHappenings.com and welcomes visitors at www.jandunlap.com and on Facebook at her two author pages BirderMurderMama and Archangels.

More of Jan Dunlap: http://www.jandunlap.com/

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