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What are the benefits of dedicating my life to God this year?
Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2
God wants us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices-daily g laying aside our own desires to obey him, putting all our energy and resources at his disposal, and trusting him to guide us as we follow him. God has good plans for us. He wants to transform us by "changing the way [we] think" so we can live to honor and obey him and receive his best for us. Because we have his Son, Jesus, to make this new kind of life possible, we should joyfully give ourselves as living sacrifices to his service.
Commit everything you do to the Lord.Trust him, and he will help you. PSALM 37:5
How can I keep my life balanced this year?
"If the Arameans are too strong for me, then come over and help me," Joab told his brother. "And if the Ammonites are too strong for you, I will come and help you. Be courageous! Let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. May the Lord's will be done." 2 Samuel 10:11-12
There must be a balance in life between our plans and our faith in God. Joab said, "Let us fight bravely." In other words, they were determined to do all that they could, using their minds to figure out the best strategies, using their strength to fight, and using the other resources God had given them. But Joab also said, "May the Lord's will be done." He knew that when they had done all they could, the outcome was in God's hands. Balance comes as we use our minds and our resources to obey God and, at the same time, trust him for the outcome.
How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands.... They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. PSALM 112:1, 7
Why is it important to set goals?
Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don't get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil. Proverbs 4:25-27
I run with purpose in every step. 1 Corinthians 9:26
Let love be your highest goal! 1 Corinthians 14:1
The beginning of a new year is a great time to review existing goals and set new ones. Of course, setting goals takes time and thought, and with our busy lives, we may feel as if that's time we can't afford. But goals give us direction. They serve as reminders of what is really important to us, and they help to keep us on track.
You may have many goals for different areas of your life-including those New Year's resolutions you made-but choose to make following God your primary, overarching goal. You do not know what the year ahead will bring, but making following God your number one goal will give you ongoing purpose and keep you from straying away from God, regardless of what the year brings.
Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 1 THESSALONIANS 4:11
When is the time to seek God's guidance?
All of Adonijah's guests jumped up in panic from the banquet table and quickly scattered. Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, so he rushed to the sacred tent and grabbed on to the horns of the altar. Word soon reached Solomon that Adonijah had seized the horns of the altar in fear, and that he was pleading, "Let King Solomon swear today that he will not kill me!" 1 Kings 1:49-51
Sometimes it takes getting caught before someone is willing to give up a scheme. When Adonijah learned that his plans to gain the throne after King David were doomed to fail, he ran in panic to the altar, the place of God's mercy and forgiveness. He went there, however, after his treasonous plans had been exposed. If Adonijah had first considered what God wanted, he might have avoided trouble.
Don't wait until you have made a mess of your life to run to God. Make it a point this year to seek God's guidance before you act.
[Wisdom says,] "They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes. For simpletons turn away from me-to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency. But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm." PROVERBS 1:30-33
As a child of God, how can I grow and become more mature this year?
Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord's kindness. 1 Peter 2:2-3
Let us go on ... and become mature in our understanding. Hebrews 6:1
When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God of Heaven's Armies. Jeremiah 15:16
One characteristic all children share is that they want to grow up to be like their big brothers or sisters or their parents. When we first believe in Christ, we become spiritually newborn babies. If we are healthy, we will yearn to grow to maturity.
The need for milk is a natural instinct for babies, and they express in an unmistakable way their desire for nourishment. Once we see our need for God's Word and begin to find nourishment in Christ, our spiritual appetites will increase, and we will start to mature.
How strong is your appetite for God's Word?
Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! PSALM 34:8
How can I make sure my behavior is pleasing to God day after day?
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24
Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips. Psalm 141:3
Would you change the way you live if you knew that God would be examining your every word and thought? David asked that God approve his words and thoughts as if they were offerings he had brought to the altar. As you begin each day, determine that God's love will guide what you say and how you think. Then your words and actions will be pleasing gifts to God day after day.
Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. COLOSSIANS 3:17
With all my activities, how can I make sure I stay focused on God?
When all the people had crossed the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, "Now choose twelve men, one from each tribe...." So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen-one from each of the tribes of Israel. He told them, "Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder-twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. We will use these stones to build a memorial." Joshua 4:1-2, 4-6
Once the Israelites had safely crossed the river, what would be next-claiming the Promised Land? Not yet. First, God directed them to build a memorial from twelve stones drawn from the river by twelve men, one from each tribe of Israel. This may have seemed like a delay in their mission of conquering the land, but God did not want his people to plunge into their task unprepared. They were to focus on him and remember who was guiding them.
As you are busy with your God-given tasks, set aside quiet moments, times to build your own memorial to God's power. Don't allow your activities to shift your focus away from God.
This is what the LORD says: "Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls." JEREMIAH 6:16
How can God guide me if I can't see him or hear him?
One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he replied, "I won't believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side." John 20:24-25
[Jesus said,] "When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative-that is, the Holy Spirit-he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you." John 14:26
Have you ever wished you could actually see Jesus, touch him, and hear his words aloud? Are there times you wish you could sit down with him to get his advice? Thomas needed Jesus' physical presence in order to believe that Jesus had risen. But God's plan is wiser. He wants to be present with you, and all believers, at all times, so he sent us the Holy Spirit. Even now he is with you in the form of the Holy Spirit. You can talk to him, and you can find his words to you in the pages of the Bible. By his Spirit, Jesus has made himself as real to you as he did to Thomas.
"This is my covenant with them," says the LORD. "My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you." ISAIAH 59:21
How can I approach this year's challenges with courage rather than with fear?
After the death of Moses the Lord's servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua.... "Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. I promise you what I promised Moses: 'Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you.' ... No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you." Joshua 1:1-5
Joshua's new job consisted of leading more than two million people into a strange, new land and conquering it. What a challenge-even for a man of Joshua's caliber! Without God, every new challenge can be frightening. With God, every challenge can be a great adventure.
Just as God was with Joshua, he is with you as you face new challenges. You may not be called to conquer nations, but you will face tough situations, difficult people, and hard temptations. God promises that he will never abandon you or fail to help you. As you depend on God for strength, you can face life's challenges with courage and confidence.
Nothing is impossible with God. LUKE 1:37
There are so many things that I need to accomplish this year. How can I find the help I need?
After I told him how long I would be gone, the king agreed to my request. I also said to the king, "If it please the king, let me have letters addressed to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, instructing them to let me travel safely through their territories on my way to Judah. And please give me a letter addressed to Asaph, the manager of the king's forest, instructing him to give me timber. I will need it to make beams for the gates of the Temple fortress, for the city walls, and for a house for myself." And the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on me. Nehemiah 2:6-8
After Nehemiah had prayed, he asked the king for permission to go to Judah. As soon as he got a positive answer, he began asking for additional help.
Sometimes when we have needs, we hesitate to ask the right people for help because we are afraid to approach them. Not Nehemiah! He went directly to the person who could help him the most-the king himself! Don't be reluctant to ask for help. Those you ask may be more interested and approachable than you thought. Sometimes God's answers to our prayers come as a result of our asking others.
Take courage as you fulfill your duties, and may the LORD be with those who do what is right. 2 CHRONICLES 19:11
Excerpted from The One Year Mini Daily Inspiration by Ronald A. Beers Copyright © 2009 by Ronald A. Beers. Excerpted by permission.
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