Monday, January 25th - Jeremiah 33:6-9
Tuesday, January 26th - 1 Peter 3:15-17
Wednesday, January 27th - Mark 1:40-45
Thursday, January 28th - Job 1:1-22
Friday, January 29th - Hebrews 11:1-16
Saturday, January 30th - Luke 17:5-10
Almighty God, You sent Your Son to proclaim Your kingdom and to teach as one with authority. Anoint us with the power of Your Spirit that we, too, may bring good news to the afflicted, bind up the brokenhearted, and proclaim liberty to the captive; through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4) It seems a strange thing to say that those who suffer are blessed. Every instinct within our human selves rises in disbelief and confusion. It seems illogical and contradictory. How can anyone who has lost something or someone much loved be blessed? Is that not a misfortune or a curse? Yet, God declares that people who believe God are privileged in the midst of every sad and painful circumstance. How can that be?
Change Is not something most of us eagerly anticipate, especially if it is not our plan. Grief brings about abrupt change. What was comfortable and familiar yesterday becomes horrifying and different today. Life can be re-categorized—there is BC (before change) and AD (after death or loss).
When we grieve the loss of something dear to us our faith is often tested. We are told in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13) of four areas where seeds fell and subsequently grew. Three areas could not sustain the plants that sprung up—only one could. Going through grief can reveal our spiritual soil type. God made soil to be a natural medium for the growth of plants and we are the God-designed medium through which faith is cultivated.
We might not think that grieving would be an appropriate word to use for the Israelites after they left Egypt. They had been in the land for many years and it had been welcoming and a prosperous time. But under a new Pharaoh life changed drastically. The bible tells us that the Egyptian masters worked the Israelites “ruthlessly” (Exod. 1:13, 14) and made their lives “bitter” (Exod. 1:14) with “hard/cruel” (Exod. 1:14; 6:9) service. As a result, Israel languished in “misery” and “suffering” (Exod. 3:7).