2016 Devotions

January 2016

1/4/17

If a family divides itself into groups which fight each other, that family will fall apart.  Mark 3:25*

He looked at the people sitting around him and said, “Look! Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does what God wants is my brother, my sister, my mother.”  Mark 3:34-35

Growing up, I always very close to my family.  As I became a young adult, however, my family experienced a serious fracture when my parents divorced.  Then, as my siblings and I moved into our young adult lives, we moved away from our hometown.  Finally, in more recent years, two of my brothers, twins who were once very close, had a falling out, and have not spoken in years.

My family of origin, once so close, no longer has unity.  Each of us lives our own lives, largely independently.  While I still have relationships with my brothers and their families, and remain close with my parents, we no longer meet as a whole family.

My husband and I now have children and have created our own family.  In recent years, we have developed a strong local church family.   Through involvement in ministry, our church has become our extended family.  Our small group has become our in-town family.  We share our lives together, raising our children, and praying for each other through our joys and our struggles.  I feel so blessed to have found and become part of Christ’s family.

Yet, I still long for and pray for reconciliation in my family of origin.  In this broken world, fractured relationship and the pain they cause remain.

Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of family.  You have created us for relationships with you and with each other.  Yet, in this broken world, relationships are fragile and so easily broken.  Lord, please help me to recognize my own brokenness in family relationships that are damaged by my unresolved bitterness, resentment and anger. Please help me release these past hurts so that I can fully forgive and be forgiven.  Lord, please bring reconciliation, unity, and healing to my family.  Thank you for bringing me into Your family and into relationship with You.

1/3/16

“No one uses a piece of new cloth to patch up an old coat, because the new patch will shrink and tear off some of the old cloth, making an even bigger hole. 22 Nor does anyone pour new wine into used wineskins, because the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins will be ruined. Instead, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins.”  Mark 2:21-22

Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.   2 Corinthians 5:17

At the beginning of the secular calendar, it has become traditional to set New Year resolutions.  Today’s reading refocused me towards spiritual goals.

Where have I been applying old (worldly) methods in my life rather than relying on Jesus’ power to make me into a new being?  As I set my goals for the New Year how can I stop using “old wineskins” for “new wine?”  How can I stop applying “new cloth to patch up an old coat?”

Lord, I thank You for transforming me into a new being.  This year, let me turn away from worldly methods for ‘self-help.’  Instead, help me to rely on You and Your power to transform me increasingly into Your likeness.  Let the old be gone so that the new can come!

*Unless otherwise noted, quoted Bible verses are from the Good News Translation.

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