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January 1 – Morning

New Year, New Ways “Consider your ways.” Haggai 1:5


aking New Year’s resolutions and not keeping them is a universal experience. We may be sincere when we make them, but then we find them too hard to keep, or perhaps we forget all about them. Let me give you two reasons why it can be good to make resolutions at the beginning of a new year. First, it forces us to look at ourselves—to be honest about our failures and our need to change. Many New Year’s resolutions are unrealistic or only wishful thinking, but the exercise of examining ourselves—with God’s help—and seeing where we fall short is important. Second, making a list of resolutions can turn us to God. If we are honest, we know we fall far short of being what we ought to be—and because of that, we need God’s forgiveness. We’ll also realize that we can’t live the way we should in our own strength. We need God’s help. Begin this year by making resolutions—especially the resolution to open your heart and life to Jesus Christ more than you ever have before.


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January 1 – Evening

In Tune with the Master You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7


ut West an old sheepherder had a violin, but it was out of tune. He had no way of tuning it, so in desperation he wrote to one of the radio stations and asked them at a certain hour on a certain day to strike the tone A. The officials of the station decided they would accommodate the old fellow, and on that particular day the true tone of A was broadcast. His fiddle was thus tuned, and once more his cabin echoed with joyful music. When we live apart from God, our lives get out of tune—out of harmony with others and with God. But if we live in tune with the Master, we, too, will find ourselves surrounded by His beautiful music. As this new year begins, ask God to help you tune your life every day to His Word, so you can bring harmony and joy to those around you.


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January 2 – Morning

Hope for the Future If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17


s we start a new year, the Bible tells us there can be hope for the future. First, there is hope of a changed person. No matter how hard we try, we are incapable of ridding ourselves of the selfishness and greed that cause conflict and strife and war. Our only hope is a changed heart—and Jesus is in the business of changing hearts. Second, there is hope of a changed world. When we know Christ, He gives us by His Spirit a new love and concern for others. We can no longer be indifferent to their sufferings, and we’ll want to do something about them. Changed by Christ, we can begin to change our world. Third, there is hope of an unchanging eternity in Heaven. This world is not all there is. Someday all its pain and heartache will come to an end for those who know Christ (Revelation 21:4). Evil and death will be abolished, and we will be safely in God’s presence forever. As you read the headlines or look at your own life, you may be wondering if there is any hope. The answer from the Bible is a resounding yes.  6 

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January 2 – Evening

The Sun Still Shining They looked . . . and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. Exodus 16:10


ithout the clouds we would not be shielded from the burning sun. Without the clouds there would be no lavish sunsets, no beneficial rain, no beautiful landscapes. The same is true with life’s clouds. When hard times come, we easily get discouraged. But behind the clouds God is still present, and can even use them to water our souls with unexpected blessings. Longfellow once wrote: “Be still, sad heart, and cease repining; behind the clouds is the sun still shining.” As God’s people wandered in the wilderness, He declared, “Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud” (Exodus 19:9). Each of us experiences clouds in life—sometimes slight, but sometimes dark and frightening. Whatever clouds you face today, ask Jesus, the Light of the World, to help you look behind the cloud to see His glory and His plans for you.


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January 3 – Morning

Your Purpose in Life Teach me Your way, O LORD, And lead me in a smooth path. Psalm 27:11


od has a plan or purpose for every person, although many people go through life without ever thinking about it. But their lack of awareness doesn’t change the fact that God put each of us here for a purpose. We aren’t here by accident. We are here because God put us here. And He put us here for a reason: so we could come to know Him in a personal way and then live in a way that brings glory to His name. This is the greatest discovery you will ever make: you were created to know God and to be His friend forever. When I was young, my mother taught me from our church’s catechism that “the chief end [or purpose] of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” But God not only has a general purpose for each of us; He also has a specific plan for each of our lives. Don’t wander through life without any purpose or direction, but pray and seek God’s will, and learn to follow Him.


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January 3 – Evening

A Spring for the Soul For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light. Psalm 36:9


adly, many people get their happiness only from outward circumstances. As long as their lives are untroubled, they feel happy. But when illness strikes, a relationship breaks down, or any other unexpected troubles engulfs them, then happiness flees. Near my home is a spring that never varies its flow. Floods may rage, but its output doesn’t increase. A long summer’s drought may come, but it won’t decrease. Its flow is steady, reliable, and unending. Such is the peace we all yearn for—and such is the peace Jesus promises to all who trust in Him: “The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. . . . My peace I give to you” (John 4:14; 14:27). Have you come to that unending spring—which is Christ? Are you coming to Him each day?


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January 4 – Morning

Revival Begins with You “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17


f Christianity is important at all, then it is all-important. If it is anything at all, then it is everything. It is either the most vital thing in your life, or it isn’t worth bothering with. So don’t give the lie to the Christian faith by professing Christ without possessing Him. Don’t lock the church door with the key of inconsistency and keep the lost from coming to Christ. Don’t hinder revival by your unbelief and prayerlessness. Don’t cheat yourself out of spiritual victory by allowing sin to imprison you. Seek God’s face and turn from your wicked ways. Then you will hear from Heaven and true revival will begin— starting with you. The Church holds the key to revival. It is within our grasp. Will we rise to the challenge? Will we dare pay the price? The supply of Heaven is adequate for the demands of our spiritually starved world. Will we offer that supply to the hungry masses? May the revival that the world needs begin in you— starting today.


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January 4 – Evening

The Promise Is Ours “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20


hen David Livingstone returned to his native Scotland after sixteen difficult years as a missionary and explorer in Africa, his body was emaciated by the ravages of some twenty-seven fevers that had coursed through his veins during the years of his service. His left arm hung useless at his side, the result of his being mangled by a lion. Speaking to the students at Glasgow University, he said, “Shall I tell you what sustained me during the hardship and loneliness of my exile? It was Christ’s promise, ‘Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ ” That promise is ours as well. No matter what trials we face, Christ never leaves us. He is with us every step of the way! Keep that promise before you today—and always.


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January 5 – Morning

He Is Here to Help Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Romans 8:35


fter His resurrection Jesus came to His disciples, meeting them between the garden with its empty tomb and the city with its mob still passionate with hate. He said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren” (Matthew 28:10). In the midst of a world filled with danger, hatred, and war, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ are just as relevant as when He spoke them. He still says to all who love Him, “Do not be afraid.” He comes to you in the hospital room or in the midst of a family tragedy. He comes to you in the midst of an unexpected business reversal or health crisis. And He says, “Don’t be afraid. I’m alive, and I’m here to help you. The cross shows the depth of My love, and the resurrection shows the extent of My power. Nothing can ever separate you from Me!”


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January 5 – Evening

Tending to Our Earthly Tent We know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1


er uncle had some very bad health habits that would kill him if he didn’t stop them. But when she shared her concern, he laughed and said he’d rather enjoy his life, even if it shortened his days. Why, she asked me, would anyone act like this? I was first struck by his self-centeredness. Deliberately doing something that will cut short his life revealed that he was thinking only about himself, and ignoring all the hurt and sorrow his premature death would bring to his family. Perhaps, I suggested, she could remind him of this—as well as urge him to give his life to Christ. But his situation got me to thinking: In what ways might we be like him? What health rules are we violating? In what ways are we not taking care of the body God has given us? Someday each one of us who follows Jesus as our Savior and Lord will leave behind our Earthly tent—our flesh-and-bone body—and join Him in Heaven for eternity. But until that day—as the Bible says—“Glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20).  13 

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January 6 – Morning

Vision, Integrity, Presence Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2


n many contexts, VIP means “Very Important Person.” But the acronym also offers us a character test. The V stands for VISION, for “where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18 kjv). Having a vision means seeing what can be done, what ought to be done, and how to get it done. The highest vision we can have is to glorify God by discovering God’s will for our lives—and then doing it. The letter I stands for INTEGRITY, meaning that a person is the same on the inside as he or she appears on the outside. There must be no discrepancy between what we say and what we do, between our walk and our talk. The P stands for PRESENCE—God’s presence in our lives. Without God’s help we are doomed. Only in Christ do we find out who we are, why we are here, and where we are going—and only in Him do we find the power to fulfill our God-given vision. So be steadfast in your commitment to Christ, and be a real VIP—a person with vision, integrity, and God’s presence.


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January 6 – Evening

The Glory of God “In My Father’s house are many mansions. . . . I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2


here was once a little boy who was riding alone on a train, and the scenery was not too interesting. A woman sitting beside him asked, “Are you tired of the long ride?” The boy smiled and said, “I’m a little tired, but I don’t mind it much. You see, my father is going to meet me when I get there.” Sometimes we get tired of the burdens of life, but we know that Jesus Christ will meet us at the end of our life’s journey—and that makes all the difference. Paul wrote, “Therefore we do not lose heart. . . . For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16, 18). Knowing we will be with Christ forever far outweighs our burdens today! Keep your eyes on eternity!


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January 7 – Morning

How Will We Learn? The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:130 niv


e know we ought to know more about the Bible— but perhaps you’re like many Christians: it’s so overwhelming you’ve never really gotten into it. The first step is to realize what it is: God’s love letter to you. From one end to the other, it tells of God’s love for us—a love so great that He sent His Son into the world to redeem us. You wouldn’t ignore a letter from someone who loved you; don’t ignore God’s love letter either. Then think of ways you can learn about the Bible from others—gifted teachers on the radio, your pastor’s sermons, group Bible studies, even books like this. Some people have a special God-given gift for teaching His Word, and they can help you learn more about it. Finally, get acquainted with the Bible on your own. Set aside a few quiet minutes and begin reading through one of the gospels (such as John)—perhaps only a paragraph or two at first. Ask God to help you understand it and apply it to your life every day.


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January 7 – Evening

A Spirit of Thankfulness I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. Philippians 4:12 niv


ome years ago I visited a man who was wealthy and successful, the envy of all his friends and business associates. But as we talked, he broke down in tears, confessing that he was miserable inside. Wealth had not been able to fill the empty place in his heart. A few hours later I visited another man who lived only a few miles away. His cottage was humble, and he had almost nothing in the way of this world’s possessions. Yet his face was radiant as he told me about the work he was doing for Christ and how Christ had filled his life with meaning and purpose. I went away convinced that the second man was really the richer man. Although he had very little, he had learned to be thankful for everything God had given him. A spirit of thankfulness makes all the difference.


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Hope for Each Day: Morning and Evening Devotions