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Reflections


Hope for Today

Articles to help encourage and edify the people of God
by Julia Sinclair, Lay Deaconess
All Saints Lutheran Church

January 2022

“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 
 
Soli Deo gloria “To the glory of God alone” We live for the glory of God alone. 
“Every virtue we poses comes from Him alone.” My Utmost for His Highest
Happy New Year 2022! As we make our new year's resolutions this month, many will include "getting healthy" or "becoming physically fit" or something along those lines, as one of the resolutions. As we all know it is not healthy to starve yourself to lose weight, the same goes for our sprit, it is not healthy to starve our spirit. I encourage you to include time with God each day.  You can do this by reading your Bible (I have included a "Read the Bible in a year" guide at the end of this devotional) or by reading a daily devotional. Just as we eat food, drink water and try to get in some exercise (even if it's just to the mailbox) each day in order to sustain our physical bodies, likewise we need to care for and sustain our spiritual selves. Nourish your spirit each day by taking time to read the Bible every day. 
As you abide in His Word your words and actions will reflect Jesus and His love for all people. This daily walk with Jesus is called sanctification. Let us strive to be ambassadors for Christ this coming year. Recognize that when we say we are Christians, we need to show that in our words and deeds. Before we act, we should think to ourselves… is this word or action bringing good fruit? such as peace, love and joy to our neighbor? 
Are we being good Ambassadors and reflecting to others what our King holds dear? The way to check our progress is to see what kind of fruit our words and actions produce. 
 “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
As Christians we have been sent as Ambassadors to go out into the world. This is not our home, we want people to know about our home, our land, that is called Heaven. Will our words or actions inspire people to take a step towards our land of love and light? Or a step towards darkness and malice? In the words of a favorite TV character of mine, Commander Saru of Star Trek Disccovery: “Allowing anger to be our focus prevents us from achieving those things which serve the greater good. It is a struggle, but a worthy one.” 
What does it matter that the leaders of this world rage, God is in control of them. So instead of chafing and fighting what is God’s will, that sometimes we have to live under rules we don’t like (just like the Israelites did with Rome and taxes) Lift your head to heaven. Don’t let the rules of the leaders in this world cloud your joy. Live as one who is redeemed and above these petty things that the leaders ask of us. Render unto our leaders what is theirs, our duty as a citizen is often heavy and disagreeable, but God is working in you when you are obedient and render what they require. Grant them that, this world is all they have. But we have a place in God’s Heavenly Kingdom, where our duty to God is light and joyful. 
We as Christians are ambassadors for this Heavenly Kingdom. Not everyone will accept Jesus's message of hope, given freely to them so that no more may die but live eternally with Him and the Father in Heaven. You are not alone in this journey as an ambassador for Christ. Take up your cross and gain strength from reading the Bible each day, join your Christian community in worship on Sunday morning. In this way you nourish your spirit. We are all struggling, yet it is when we are weak and persecuted that is when we are made strong. 
That is why it is important to join a small Bible study group, so you can be fortified by God’s Word and strengthened through the fellowship of support and prayer that a small group offers. By studying God's Word we feed our sprit, by fellowshipping and growing our faith we are doing our spiritual exercises. Just as we eat and drink each day remember to feed your spiritual growth as well! Think of it this way, if you are going to church on Sunday and never opening up a your Bible or daily devotional you are spiritually starving yourself during the week. I encourage you to foster a healthy spiritual life as well as a healthy body. In this way we can be strong ambassadors for Christ, ready both physically and spiritually for what 2022 may bring. 
May God bless you richly as you study His Word this year. Here is a handy guide to read through the whole Bible in a year:
 https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/
-Julia Sinclair
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.        Romans 15:13 

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