“Jesus is Calling!”

A devotion from Pastor Ralph J. Mineo…………..

In every family, there are rules to live by! I can remember when I was a young child, outside playing, and our Mom would call to us to come in for supper. When she called, we were sometimes inclined take our “good ‘ole time” or even worse, we would ignore her. So Mom made a rule: when she called we were to immediately let her know that we heard her. We were to call out, “I’m coming in!” or “I hear you!” Even a simple “OK” was better than ignoring her!

We ignored our Mom’s voice, I think, because we had other things to do. We weren’t ready to stop doing what we were doing. We weren’t interested in an interruption. Worse than that, though Mom was calling us for our own good (it was time for dinner, and rest, and family time!), we had other priorities. We thought we knew better. We didn’t. Mom taught us that her call was important and was to take priority.

Jesus is calling us. He’s calling us to follow, to be a disciple, a learner, a student of his teachings. Jesus was on a mission, and he invited people to follow him and walk with him on that mission.

People in his day thought they knew better than Jesus did. They didn’t really like his mission. Wasn’t he supposed to overthrow the oppressive Roman government? Wasn’t he supposed to be a warrior to fight the enemies of the people?

But Jesus insisted that his mission was to forgive and heal, to be compassionate and welcoming, to feed the spiritually and physically hungry. His mission was to worship and pray, to be one with his heavenly Father. His mission was to turn the other cheek and go the extra mile. His mission was to suffer and die for us. The Father’s mission was to raise Jesus from death.

Jesus still has a mission, and he invites people TODAY to follow him and walk with him on that mission. He calls to us into lives of forgiveness, healing, and compassion. His call is to worship and pray, serve the poor, take up our cross and follow him. Jesus is calling us to sacrificial love. Jesus is calling us to teach this mission, especially to the little ones.

Yes, Jesus is calling to us. We’re sometimes inclined to ignore his call, or decide to put a response off until we’re good and ready. Jesus will never give up calling to us.

When Jesus calls, we’re at our best when we respond with “OK!”

“OK” is a word like “AMEN.”

And “AMEN” mean “YES!”

Yes, Lord, I hear you.

I’m on the way!

Lead me in the way I should go!

“One Big Family “

A devotion by Pastor Ralph J. Mineo

Believers are part of a FAMILY. One of my favorite terms to describe congregations is: “church family.” But I don’t think that phrase should be limited to a single congregation. Every believer is part of the family of God. Families, including church families, exist to be circles of love.

One of the worst things, I think, that Christians do is to criticize other churches because they have different styles or worship or music or prayer. I cringe (and I hurt) when other Christians outwardly criticize other styles of worship and music and prayer.

Through my whole career as a pastor, I’ve met regularly with pastors of different denominations. Recently, I’ve been involved in more and more healthy discussion which celebrates our differences. Pastors are seeing the good in each other. I’m hearing a lot of affirmation that God is present in a variety of ways. I’m hearing simple truths like, “we have a lot in common.”

For example, someone experiences God in a loud song. Another experiences God in a quiet song. One day I need a silent prayer. Another day I need a spoken prayer. As Christians, we need to RESPECT and CELEBRATE our differences. This isn’t just my idea. It’s in the Bible: “There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are varieties of service, but the same God. There are varieties of activities, but it is the same God at work.” This doesn’t sound like a teaching to criticize someone because they don’t worship the way we do!

When we freely criticize such differences we see in others, we become more and more spiritually unhealthy. Followers of Jesus need to find more and more opportunities to affirm other believers. Also, rather than criticize non-believers, we would do better to find the good in them. God is there, in all good things. I’ve never heard of someone coming to Jesus, or to his cross, or the empty tomb, through criticism and judgmentalism!

There’s a well-known 60 year-old song which begins with the words, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” As individuals, when we have God’s peace within us, we become agents of peace, bringing peace to others.

Author Alex Haley’s motto was, “Find the good, and praise it.” It’s not in the Bible, but I believe this is a truly Holy-Spirit inspired saying. It’s a challenge for us as a FAMILY of believers: find the good, and praise it!

To God be the glory! Amen!

“Fresh Waters of Grace”

A devotion from Pastor Ralph J. Mineo…..

Some years ago, in South America, a crew of Peruvian sailors were headed up the Amazon River. They came upon a strange sight: a Spanish ship anchored just off the coast, with all the sailors lying on the deck of the ship. As the Peruvians drew closer, they saw that the Spaniards were in terrible physical condition, literally dying of thirst. “Can we help you?” shouted the Peruvians. The Spaniards cried out, “Water! Water! We need fresh water!”

The Peruvian sailors told them to simply lower their buckets into the water. The Spaniards cried back, “No, we need FRESH water!” The Peruvians said there is fresh water below you. But how could there be FRESH water in the OCEAN? To their amazement, when they brought the buckets on deck they discovered that the buckets were full of fresh, cool water. It seemed a miracle of turning salt water into fresh water!

mineo waterfall

Scientific and oceanographic evidence shows that the flow of the Amazon is so forceful, especially at low tide, that an abundance of fresh water flows far out into the surrounding ocean before mixing in with the salt water. The parched sailors were operating on a rigid belief system: all ocean water is salty. That belief system nearly cost them their lives.

So it is with us as we sail the waters of life. We sometimes fail to recognize God’s love in Jesus Christ. Our modern belief system is that we can rely on ourselves. Our “bootstraps,” so to speak are enough.

We get very thirsty for true and lasting joy, for real love. We search everywhere, even in the wrong places, even the dark places of sin. Yet God’s grace is so powerful that it can push all that is wrong, the sin, out of our lives. God does this by divine love and forgiveness. God’s grace is the fresh, living water of true and everlasting love!

All we really need to do is lower our buckets of need into the fresh waters of God’s grace. When you see others in need, when our buckets overflow, there is enough to share God’s grace with others. We almost always need help and direction on how to do this. That’s why, in his divine wisdom, Jesus gave us the church, which Paul even calls “The Body of Christ.” Jesus sees out thirst. He gave us the church, the best place to lower our buckets of need.

“Back to School”

A devotion from Pastor Ralph J. Mineo

At the dawn of a new school year, I’d like to share a story I included last year. A young child came home from the first day of school. A parent’s first questions was, “Did you learn anything today?” The child answered: “Not enough! I have to go back again tomorrow!” Of course the child would have to go back to school again and again, to learn more, to grow more!

I think the best word we have for this is “progress.” One translation of the Bible puts it that way about Jesus in Luke, chapter 2: “Jesus, for his part, progressed steadily in wisdom and age and grace before God and the people.” The apostle Peter closed his practical letters with a call for disciples to grow: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18).

Growing in “wisdom and knowledge and grace” is an important part of being a human being, created by God. It’s also an important element of being follower of Jesus Christ. Being committed to a life of faith, is a commitment to life-long learning and growth. “Discipleship School” is for life! It doesn’t end at a certain age. God never wants us to call it quits! Our “graduation” doesn’t until the last day, when God accepts us into our eternal home, giving us life forever!

Certainly, one way we grow spiritually is to return to the Bible, over and over again. Learning and growing becomes a habit. (When we backslide, we can always return!) We could read every word of the Bible, cover to cover, and still, like a child starting school, we would return again. The Bible is the “Living Word.” This Word of God applies to us in new ways at different times. A motto in my church these days is: “Expect to be surprised!” This is the way of God’s Holy Spirit: always surprising us!

The beginning of a new school year is a time to think about our need to grow, improve, progress. This is a time to ask: “How can I grow more in the coming weeks, months, years?” This is a great spiritual question as well.

The Holy Spirit is actively calling us to grow spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. To those in school, teachers and students alike, remember this: you are in a “vocation.” Being in school is your calling for this time and place. God is the one calling you to do well, to do your best, to give glory to God!

Reading the Bible, daily devotions, regular prayer, and weekly worship are “tried and true” ways to satisfy the inner longing we have to connect with God, and experience the “abundant life” Jesus promised. Doing well in school, your jobs, your retirement, are God’s calling, too.

For those who truly learn, they certainly understand that learning and growing is life-long. I pray that we will all go with God, and GROW with God!

“Praying and Caring in Color”

A Devotion by Pastor Ralph J. Mineo…….

I was given a wonderful opportunity recently: I was Bible Study leader at a Vacation Bible School (VBS) for adults at St. John’s Lutheran Church in McComb. It was a very enjoyable time for me. We read and discussed 25 main Bible verses and sections through the week. There were a number of activities in the Bible Study, even a craft with scissors, crayons, and tape!

The theme of the adult VBS was “My Favorite Color is Love” which was the title of a theme song I wrote for the children’s VBS at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in North Baltimore in 1989. The main verse of the Bible Study was Psalm 103:8. “The Lord is merciful and loving, slow to become angry and full of constant love.”

Each day’s theme was based on a color and a Bible reference. Yellow (sun) was God sent his Son. Blue (sea/water) was God as Shepherd leading us to still, peaceful waters. Green (tree) was Jesus as vine, we the branches. Red (heart) was how the love of God lives within us. Gold (a heavenly color), saying that the gates of heaven are gold. My personal favorite line speaks of heaven as “a place where there is never hate.”

One day I gave a Powerpoint presentation based on the book: “Praying in Color.” The focus was how to pray using paper, crayons, markers. We prayed in thanksgiving, confession, and intercession. We prayed for many people during the week. One day we drew a vine, representing Jesus, with attached branches and leaves with the names of people we were praying for.

At one point, I once asked participants a few of questions: “How many of you have received a sheet of paper drawn and colored by a child?” I asked why children do this. After some discussion, I asked, “When is the last time that you, an adult, drew a picture, colored a page, and gave it to a child, a friend, a co-worker?”

Along with giving the page as a gift, this can be a great way to teach about faith, prayer, and our connection to Jesus. When you give a child some of your artwork, you can make it a teaching moment. For example, you can draw and color the word “faith.” In the giving you can share what that word means to you. You can draw and color the word “joy” and share what the “joy in the Lord” means to you. You can write and color a favorite Bible verse. You can read that verse with a child or grandchild, and give them your drawing.

When you give an adult some of your artwork, you can assure them that you’ve prayed for them, that you truly care about them. Ask God to bless each stroke of the pencil or crayon, praying for the child or adult you’re drawing for. The possibilities are endless. The great thing is that you don’t have to be a great artist, nor a “professional” pray-er.

So, get our some paper and pencil, markers and crayons. Pray in color. Put the Word of God on paper in your own design.

May God bless your praying, sharing, and giving. Amen.

“Let There Be Peace”

A devotion, from Pastor Ralph J. Mineo

These are difficult days. We keep hearing about the atrocities and violence of wars around the world. Barbarism is reported. Terrorism happens and is threatened over and over. So we pray for peace in the world. We pray for peace in our community. We pray for peace in our homes. We peace in our individual hearts.

We need peace badly! We don’t have to look very far to learn that our world is not at peace.

Not having problems is not necessarily the way to measure peace. Norman Vincent Peale told a story of running into a man named George as he was walking down the street. George was usually a very glum individual, with a negative outlook on life. That day was no exception. When Peale asked him how he was, George said: “I’ve got nothing but problems. If you could get rid of all my problems, I’d give $5,000 to your church.” Peale said to him: “Yesterday, I went to a place where thousands of people reside. Not one of them has any problems. Would you like to go there?” George responded quickly, “When can we leave?” Peale said: “Tomorrow morning would be great. I’ll be talking my walk at Woodlawn cemetery. You see, all the people who don’t have problems are dead.”

Paul understand peace as he demonstrated in his letter to the Philippians: “I have learned to be content WHATEVER the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need. I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

Mineo Let there Be Peace on Earth

The one who gives suck strength is Jesus Christ! Paul knew the peace that Christ gives. “I have learned to have peace WHATEVER the circumstance.” Paul certainly wasn’t “happy” with the problems of his life, But, in Christ, Paul was at peace. In Christ, we, too, can be at peace, in times of joy and in times of trouble.

Here’s a practical thought: don’t neglect saying the very words of Jesus to others on a regular basis: “Peace be with you.” Make sure you’re saying to those you love, “I love you.” Say to those who has hurt you, “I forgive you.” Say to those you hurt, “I’m sorry.

Dear God, let there be peace in all the earth. Let there be peace in our community. Let there be peace in our homes. Let there be peace in our hearts. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Every One of Us…”

A Devotion by Pastor Ralph J. Mineo, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church

There was a fire-and-brimstone preacher who looked down sternly at the worshipers in the pews and said: “Every member of this congregation is going to DIE!” It was to the preacher that everyone had a very somber expression, except for one person. A man in the front pew had a big smile on his face! The preacher’s face grew red and looked squarely at the man in the front pew and said, “I repeat! Every member of this congregation is going to DIE!” The smile on the man’s face grew even brighter! This prompted the preacher to ask the man directly. “May I ask you what you find so AMUSING in my statement that everyone in this congregation is going to die?” The man replied, “I’m not amused. I’m relieved. You see, I’m not a member of this congregation!”

I admit it’s a very silly story, but when you get right down it, the preacher was right. Everyone of us is going to die. Though I’m not considered a “fire-and-brimstone” preacher, I said this very thing in a recent sermon. It needs to be said. It’s part of the cycle of life. But there needs to be more to life than realizing we’re going to die!

We celebrated Easter very recently. Easter is time to celebrate that, beyond death, God offers life to us, ETERNAL Life. Easter means that God loved the world so much that he gave us Jesus, who would sacrifice his life in order to offer to us the gift of Eternal Life. Resurrection is a gift of divine love. At Easter we celebrate: God has loves us and offers us life!

We ought to celebrate Easter more than one day a year. We ought to think of the truth of Easter everyday of our lives.

Faith in Jesus Christ is not only about our moment of death and eternal life. Faith in him is also about living this life in faith. Before we die, we’re called to live, and we’re called to live by loving. We do this because, as the Bible says: “We love because God loved us first.” The resurrection of Jesus calls us to love, because we have first received divine love.

Sorry to say, love sometimes dies within us. It happens. We get selfish. We get self-centered. We get ourselves derailed and off-track. We get disconnected from God. Love can die. But please don’t forget, with God’s help, love can be resurrected in our lives.

At the Last Supper Jesus told us the KIND of love expected of his followers: “A new commandment I give you: love one another as I have loved you.” He goes on to remind us that the way he loved us was by laying down his life for us. God is calling us to sacrificial love.

So yes, every one of us is going to die and, with faith, we will enter eternal life. In the meantime, let it be said that, in faith, every one of us is going to LIVE! Let it be said that every one of us will LOVE! We can only do this by the power of God’s life and love. Will you embrace and receive that life and love now?

Live well, my friends. Live in Christ. Love well. Love in Christ.

” Encourage One Another “

A Devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton

“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” (1 Thessalonians 5:14 ESV).

 

Have you ever needed encouragement or do you need it now? We all go through times in our lives when we need someone to encourage us. You may be feeling that you need someone to encourage you right this moment. Problems, illnesses, money issues, and worries can totally overtake us so that we feel there is no hope. It is very likely that sometime in your life you will say, “Why is this happening to me?”. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16: 33-34 NIV). Yes, you will have trials, but Jesus will give you the peace you need to get through it.

 

How you handle your trial and the way you show others that your faith has not wavered and that peace is still in your heart is a great witness to others who are going through a trial themselves. This trial and how you handle it with faith can show to others how Jesus can help them and give them strength also.

 

The point I am making is that you need to reach out to others after you have gone through a trial and help them. It is very easy to say to someone, “I am so sorry”, but if you can tell them that you have gone through it too and that God helped you and strengthened your faith through it, you can really show compassion to that person in a special way. There are so many people who feel all alone in their distress. You are the one who can be the beacon of hope for them, and you can tell them how His peace was there for you in the middle of your storm. As the above verse says, “we are to encourage the fainthearted and help the weak”.

The Good Samaritan story comes to mind. Here was a man who was lying by the road all beaten up and half dead. There were several men who just passed him by and did not help him at all. But one Samaritan stopped, bandaged his wounds and took him to an Inn. (Luke 10) We are to be like the Good Samaritan. We are to help others and encourage them when they are fainthearted. Please do not walk by or ignore someone who is having trouble. Be the one to encourage, listen, and show compassion.

 

Dear Lord,

Help us to encourage one another. Help us to tell others how you helped us overcome despair by giving us your peace. Help us to share how faith in you has helped us get through our tough times. Give us a heart that is full of compassion.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

“Fishin’ In a Brand New Way”

Jesus called his disciples to “fish for people” …….

A Devotion By: Pastor Ralph J. Mineo

When Jesus called the first disciples to follow him, he had certain expectations. Among them were: repent of sin, believe the Good News (Jesus is victorious over sin, death, and the devil), and Jesus called his disciples to “fish for people.” In it’s original meaning, this basically means to invite people out of the darkness they find themselves in (i.e. out of the darkness of the sea). But it’s much more than inviting people. To fish for people means to love them and to bring them to Jesus.

In our modern world, Jesus also calls us as disciples. That means we, too, need to repent of sin, believe the Good News, and “fish for people.” These aren’t necessarily easy things to do, but it’s our calling. So we do it! We have a powerful, important message and lifestyle: we live with Christ, we die with Christ, we will be raised to eternal life with Christ!

We certainly don’t have to hammer people over the head with this message, but we can gently show it by the way we live, and we can speak it in simple, inviting, non-threatening words. When’s the last time you told someone “I really believe in God,” or even “I love Jesus” or better yet, “Jesus loves me, this I know!”

My children’s choir has a favorite anthem titled, “We’re Goin’ Fishin’” (by composer Cathy Skogen-Soldner). The refrain is gives the basic message, “We’re goin’ fishin’ today…. fishin’ in a brand new way.” Verse one is about catching people (“they have two feet!”) I really like what the second verse which proclaims, “We share the love of God. It is the perfect bait.” I especially like the ending of verse three, “Even though they’re caught, Jesus sets them free!”

Our basic calling as disciples is to show that we have the love of Jesus in our lives, that we have received God’s grace, peace, and joy! Jesus DOES set us free, and to enjoy freedom in Christ is to live as God intends! It’s possible that someone could see that in you and want it for themselves.

So first, always be open to repent of your sin. Tell others about your faith in Jesus. Invite them into the light, into a life with Jesus! This is, indeed, fishin’ in a brand new way.

Finally, we don’t do this alone. God gives us the ability to “fish for people” by giving us the Holy Spirit. And don’t forget, the real bait is LOVE. God’s love, in Christ, is the only way to truly catch people for Christ. Let’s get out there and go “fishin’ in a brand new way.”

“Ashamed To Be With You”

A Devotion by Pastor Ralph J. Mineo, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church

There was a young boy whose older brother had hands that were scarred and red. They got along very well except in public places. The young boy was embarrassed by his brother’s hands, whispering, “Please put your hands in your pockets” or “Could you put your hands behind your back.”

One day (finally) the younger brother asked how his older brother’s hands had been scarred. The older boy said, “When you were a tiny baby, Mom and Dad were away. There was a fire in our house. Your room was filled with flames, and your crib was on fire. I rushed into your room and lifted you away from the flames. My hands were permanently scarred and discolored because of that.”

The younger boy took his older brothers hands and pressed them to his lips, and held them to his heart. Now he understood! Never again, especially in public places, was he embarrassed or ashamed to be close to the one who was scarred to save him.

This story might be a parable for our lives. The hands, in fact, the whole body of Jesus Christ was scarred and deformed that we might be saved. Have we ever been ashamed to be known as a Christian? Have we ever tried to hide the fact? Have we ever been ashamed to be identified with the one who died a criminal’s death that we might live? And the hardest question: how willing are we to tell the story to others that our brother, Jesus, was scarred, so that we might live?

One of my favorite Bible passages is Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, in Christ, has forgiven you.” A hardened heart, a sinful heart, is always ashamed of being identified with Christ. Let us live lives that are marked with kindness, tender-heartedness, and forgiveness. For Christ pulled us out of the flames of death to save us.

“Trust God”

A Devotion from Pastor Ralph J. Mineo, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church

I recently came across an interesting statement about faith: “The Bible never once says, ‘Figure it out!’ but over and over it says, ‘Trust God.”

That reminds me of a story of three people applying for a job in a huge corporation. Each candidate was eminently qualified. For the interview, the CEO of the company decided to ask a simple question: “What is 2 plus 2?” The first candidate decided to go with the straight-forward, simple answer, and said: “4.” The second candidate decided to add a bit of complexity: “It’s the whole number between 3 and 5.” The third candidate, without batting an eye, replied: “What would you LIKE it to be?” The third candidate was hired on the spot.

This is good parable for our faith. Things don’t always “add up” with God. God’s ways are unexpected. God can surprise us. 2 plus 2 doesn’t always equal 4 in the ways of God. God’s “math” is divine, and therefore beyond human understanding.

So when we have those tough questions like, “why did this happen?” or “why did this person die?” the best question we might ask God is “What would YOU like the answer to be?” It’s a way of saying, “I trust you, God.”

We aren’t SUPPOSED to “figure God out.” Our human minds cannot grasp the wholeness and magnificence of God. When we pretend we have figured God out, we make ourselves equal to God. You shall have no other gods greater or even equal to God, and that includes yourself.

We can certainly experience the presence of God. God always comes down to us. God is ever-present, always speaking to us. We can understand some of what God says. We can interpret some of what God wants of us. But we cannot understand the totality of the divine mind and heart. We can’t figure it all out, especially when the questions get more complex than “what is 2 plus 2!”

So, when we have a tough question, we can never go wrong by turning to God and asking, “What would YOU like the answer to be?” Whatever answer we receive (even when we seem to receive no answer), we can find a way to respond in gratitude and love. Because we believe God is here. We believe God is redeeming the world!

Sometimes we need to stop, look, feel, and experience God’s redeeming work around us. God even uses us to do that work. Sometimes we participate with God just by being there for another, by praying with or for someone, in giving a gift or sending a card or online greeting. We are participants in God’s reign!

God wants to save us. God wants to redeem us in Christ. It’s not up to us to set the agenda for how that happens. We need to trust to God and ask: “How would YOU like to save me and others?” Certainly, God will always point us to Jesus, our Lord and Savior, Christ crucified, risen from the dead. Trust God in this.

Finally, let God keep the hard answers. Our task is not to get all the answers, but to love God who always comes to us in new, surprising, unexpected, and beautiful ways!

So what do I do when I have a tough, troubling life-question: Trust God! Trust God! Trust God!

Seek the Lord Earnestly: a devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton

Have you made your list of resolutions for the New Year? It seems everyone has good intentions at the beginning of the New Year, but oftentimes we get lazy and forget about the list. Usually at the top of the list is for people to lose weight and exercise.

Seek the Lord Earnestly: a devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton

“Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually” (1 Chronicles 16:11 KJV).

Have you made your list of resolutions for the New Year? It seems everyone has good intentions at the beginning of the New Year, but oftentimes we get lazy and forget about the list. Usually at the top of the list is for people to lose weight and exercise.

Well, today I will challenge you to put seeking the Lord and His plans for your life as the number one item on your resolution list. After all, that should be your first priority.

The Wise Men or magi of the Bible certainly put the need to find the Christ child as their number one priority. These men were not even Jews, but were astronomers and had seen the star and had researched that a King of the Jews was to be born. As soon as they saw the star they headed to Jerusalem, which was very far away. It might have taken them many months to get to Bethlehem, as the Bible says that “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him” (Matthew 2:11 NIV).  Jesus was no longer a baby but a child and later King Herod commanded that all boys 2 years and under should be killed, so we know that Jesus was a young child. So these men traveled earnestly to find Jesus for a long period of time. They let nothing stop them. Their mission was to see Jesus and give Him gifts.

My challenge to you as we start the New Year is to earnestly seek the Lord with all your heart every day and give Him the gift of yourself in service to others. You have a special gift that only you have, and you must seek the Lord to help you see it and use it for Him. Every day, take time to pray, seek the Lord’s will, read the Bible, and then go out and serve Him in whatever He leads you to do. There is so much need around us that it should not be hard to find a way to serve. People need hope. They need to know that people care for them and that God loves them. So many people are lonely and sad. You can be the one that turns a life from despair to happiness just by caring and sharing what the Lord has done for you. This could be the greatest year ever in your life if you just step out in faith and seek the Lord earnestly.

Dear Lord,

As we approach a New Year, let us strive to earnestly seek you every day. Help us to put seeking you at the top of our to do list every morning, so that we can serve you with the gift you have given us.

In Jesus name,

Amen