Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. John 13:14
Jesus spoke to his followers after he humbled himself to serve them. The washing of feet was a source of refreshing and relaxation. What had his followers been doing? Sharing the Good News, the Gospel, all around the region as commanded by Jesus. This was hard, physical work, walking from town to town on dusty roads wearing sandals. It was emotionally challenging as many refused to hear the message of truth and grace. The Twelve needed rest and encouragement. What better encouragement than to have your Master and teacher acknowledge your hard work and care for you?
Followers of Jesus today are likewise commanded to share the Gospel and make disciples. It’s still hard work.
Plan how you will intentionally minister to your brothers and sisters in Christ who work hard to teach and preach Jesus.
Won’t you humble yourself and serve, offering refreshing and encouragement to your fellow laborers for the Lord?
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6 (NIV)
The Desire to be Filled
Are you looking for fulfillment? Have you tried everything that is supposed to help you? You’ve heard you need more self-care, more good works to others, better relationships, less responsibility and stress.
So you’ve tried relaxing more, giving more, loving more and leaving more behind. But still, that sense of fulfilled contentment is elusive.
An Answer for You
I have good news for you! You need only one thing to satisfy the thirst and hunger that is driving you. It is the righteousness that is found only by believing in Jesus Christ and his loving sacrifice for you.
By desiring Jesus and his righteousness above all things, you will receive all the other things you need for long-term, deeply satisfying fulfillment. You will have the peace that passes all understanding in every circumstance.
You will be filled with hope that comes from believing. You will have the joy of the Lord. He will give you supernatural love for his people.
What You Gain
No, you will not wake up with a Pinterest-perfect life. But guess what? God knows that will make you filled. However, you will live life abundantly, filled with living water that flows from you.
You will have the privilege of eternal life with Jesus.
You will be filled with everything that matters.
Thank you God, for filling my need for righteousness through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
The only blood that will give you everlasting strength, today and into eternity, is the blood that Jesus shed for you on the cruel cross at Calvary.
No matter how low you get or how weak you feel, find your strength in Jesus and his sacrifice for you.
At your lowest, stop and remember what Jesus did for you. Jesus loves you with a powerful love! Find your strength in him.
I am reminded of the words to an old Gospel song by Andrae Crouch-
The blood that Jesus shed for me Way back on Calvary The blood that gives me strength From day to day It will never lose its power It reaches to the highest mountain It flows to the lowest valley The blood that gives me strength From day to day It will never lose its power
It’s that time of year and we are more determined than ever to transform our bodies and bank accounts. Smart marketers know this. We are inundated with special offers for gym memberships and invitations to join down lines selling products guaranteed to make us wealthier and our prospects healthier.
Is There More?
But what if there’s something more? What if God is calling us to something greater this New Year?
What if God’s resolutions for us have nothing to do with the New Year because they’ve been there all along?
I suggest to you that the most important resolution God has for you and for me isn’t unique. Yours isn’t different than mine and God doesn’t change and give us a new resolution each year.
God’s Two Priorities
What God wants from each of us, more than anything, every day of every year falls under two broad categories.
We are called to resolve, every day of every year, to:
Why? So that we might spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus tells us that to love him and love our neighbor are the greatest commandments.
John says others will know us by our love for one another in the body of Christ, the church. In this way, we draw others to Jesus.
As he taught the travelers on the Emmaus Road to search the Scriptures to learn about him, so we are to teach others.
Jesus final instructions to his followers was that they would teach the rest of the world to be his disciples. So are we to do also.
Are these resolutions easy to keep? Is it even possible in our age of relative truth and hostility to Christianity?
Yes, but only in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is he who will allow us to seek first the Kingdom of God and it’s righteousness and trust that God will add everything else that we need.
Jesus’ counter-intuitive teaching tells us not to focus on those things we think we need most. We are not to worry about what to eat or wear. We are not to build up storehouses of goods or set our hearts on things that moths and rust can destroy.
Get the Focus Right
Instead, as the New Year begins and every day thereafter, let’s focus on Jesus and his word. He wants us to abide on the vine with him. It is the Word of God that cleanses us, guides us and transforms us.
Do you want a permanent transformation from the inside out? Do you want to feel more satisfied and successful than you ever have before?
Take this opportunity at the beginning of this year to give yourself fully to following Jesus. Join the cloud of witnesses who have done so with great joy since the beginning of the church.
Ask God how you can put him first in all that you do.
Where to Start
Start by devoting yourself to learn, live and teach God’s Word.
Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.
For encouragement to focus on Jesus throughout the year, sign to get reminder emails from me with quotes, tips and tools to help you.
As we start the new year, it is good to consider time and how we use it. God, who created time and lives outside of it, is eternal.
We, in contrast, are given finite lives here on earth. Moses in this Psalm prays and asks God to show him how to consider carefully the time given to us.
Only God knows how much time we have on earth. Though we don’t know the day of our death, we can know how to live and live abundantly through Jesus Christ. Accepting our limited lifespan will lead us to seek God’s wisdom everyday.
We need God’s wisdom to teach us:
– that our days are fleeting and precious
– how to make use of our time for God’s glory and his Kingdom
– how to live in light of God’s love, mercy and saving power.
Yes, Lord, show us how to properly number our days so we can focus on receiving and following your wisdom.
Here we are at the beginning of a new calendar year. Another January. What is it about starting a new year that makes us want to resolve to do something differently, to become someone new?
The truth is, we are always looking to remake ourselves. We have habits we try to break and activities we want to do more of. We want better relationships, health and bank accounts year-round.
The longing for newness seems more acute, more demanding of our attention at this time as we are surrounded with talk of New Year’s resolutions. There is more hopefulness at this time of year. This will be the time that we FINALLY do it, finally become the new person we want to be.
Reality Hits Hard
The problem is, statistics tell us that most New Year’s resolutions will fail to be kept. Disappointment will follow. Yet we seem destined to repeat the same mistake year after year.
Gym memberships go unused, books unread and relationships neglected again. The clutter reappears, credit card balances are back up and bank accounts are back down.
What is the answer to this cycle?
How can we ever change?
Our Only Hope
The Bible gives us the answer and it is not a “what” to do but a “who”:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
The good news is we can remake ourselves any time of the year! January 1 or June 1, anyone can become a new person, created anew.
In Christ, we WILL be remade into his image and likeness. (Romans 8:29) To do this, we must leave behind the old and become new. God’s Word promises that he will be faithful to do this.
He will not leave his work in us unfinished.
“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6, NIV)
Tips For Your Successful New Year
The secret is this: get on God’s schedule for transformation according to his resolutions for your life. The Holy Spirit within you as a child of God was given for your guidance and the power to do all that God commands you to do.
Humble and grateful obedience in the areas God directs you to change will lead to lasting transformation in your life. The problem is, God’s directions don’t always sound like the world’s admonitions. You may want to focus on eating less but God more likely wants you to focus more on reading his word daily or feeding those in need.
Interestingly, God’s way will often get you to your desired results but in a way that is more beneficial than the way you would have chosen. Give God a chance to work in your life in this New Year.
Through Bible reading, prayer and fellowship with other Jesus-followers, continually seek God’s guidance in the changes he wants to see in your life. Seek first and primarily to please God by building his KIngdom and becoming righteous in him and God will give you the desires of your heart.
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4-5
Are Life and Light Needed?
As a baby laying in a manger in a barn, was Jesus really the Light and Life of the entire world? Weren’t light and life already present in the world? Yes, but not in the perfect way God intended.
John wants us to think deeply about this. He just recorded Jesus’ role in creation. He wants us to continue thinking about that time as we consider Jesus as Light and Life.
In chapter one of Genesis, God created life and light. Life and light were part of the perfect world God created for humanity in the Garden of Eden. God’s perfection was soon marred by man’s sin at The Fall.
From the time of The Fall to the birth of Jesus, the world awaited the promised Messiah, a Savior to deliver man from the death and darkness of sin and it’s consequences.
The Baby Brings What is Most Needed
Jesus, the baby in the manger, is that Messiah. He came to bring perfect light and everlasting life back into the world. True life is one lived with God, through God and for God into eternity. God’s light is one that cannot be extinguished and it draws people to him. All the perfect Life and Light came to earth as Jesus, a little baby of promise and power.
How are light and life related in Jesus Christ? Jesus’ life on earth, starting with his birth in a barn, was the light to dispel the darkness of sin. The light of Jesus came into the world that all might have life and have it more abundantly. Both Jesus’ light and life were shared that the world might be saved.