Grow Deep: Revealing Jesus Edition, Week 5
Week 5: December 31-January 6
Where Is He?
“Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do great things among you.” - Joshua 3:5
When I was young, New Year’s Eve meant getting all dressed up and going “out” to celebrate. Then, after a few years, the celebrations evolved into playing board games, munching on “gourmet” goodies, wearing silly hats, and blowing horns at midnight with the neighbors and our children. Now, we often find ourselves at home, content to watch the grand, elegant, lighted ball in Times Square plunge downward at the stroke of midnight into a sea of flying confetti and people jumping up and down shouting, “Happy New Year!” Eventually someone begins to sing “Auld Lang Syne,” and we know that we have successfully crossed over from one year into the next!
I am not big on “crossover” resolutions (truthfully, my track record for keeping them isn’t all that great!). Instead, I try to spend time at the end of the year reflecting on God’s work in my life. In my past is the place where He has made Himself known to me. It’s the place where He has been faithful and where I have seen His transforming power in small ways and in not-so-small ways in the course of everyday living. It’s the place where He has been working out the details of my life in perfect union with His own plan for me.
I can see my past, and knowing that God was there with me and is here with me in my present gives me hope and security for the future. It gives me the courage to step out in faith wherever He wants me to go. It gives me the confidence to be grateful, even now, for whatever may come, including what may be hard and painful. I have that confidence because He is trustworthy. I know He loves me. I know with absolute certainty that my future is secure in His hands and that He wants to do something great in my life!
How about you? Are you ready to cross over into the future with God? As you reflect on His Word this week, look for places where He has been at work in your past and in your present and where He will do a “mighty work” in your future.
Sunday, December 31
Read: Joshua 3:1-17
After years of wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites stand at the edge of the Jordan River, ready to cross over into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua. The Jordan River, however, is at flood stage, so the passage will be difficult. Joshua has told his people to purify themselves and to look for the mighty deed that God would do. He instructed those carrying the Ark to step into the water with it. When they stepped into the water, God stopped the river from flowing so that His people passed through on dry land.
Reflection: God tells Joshua to step into the water as an act of faith. What challenge are you facing in your life today? What step of faith is God asking you to take? What is the confidence you have as you take that step of faith?
For the Family: What does the Ark of the Covenant represent? Why do you think God told Joshua to take the Ark into the Jordan River first? How does God lead your family today?
Monday, January 1
Read: John 10:39-42
Jewish leaders attempted to seize Jesus because they did not believe He was the Son of God. He went across the Jordan River and escaped their grasp. Some of the Jewish people followed Him and believed in Him because everything that John had said about Him was true.
Reflection: John the Baptist gave witness to the truth of Jesus, and many believed. How do you give witness to the truth of Jesus? Who within your circle of family and friends may need to hear that truth today? Pray that God will make you bold in your witness to that person.
For the Family: Why did the people believe in Jesus? Why is it important for us to tell the truth about Jesus? About other people?
Tuesday, January 2
Read: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
God has made us new by His Spirit. The "old" has gone; through faith in Jesus we are no longer enslaved to our sin but are reconciled to God and are being sanctified into vessels of God's righteousness.
Reflection: Paul says we are a new creation in Christ. How does our sin … past and present … affect our “newness”? Why? Paul also says we are ambassadors of the message of reconciliation. What responsibilities are we called to as His ambassadors?
For the Family: How does God make us into a “new” creation? What does the word “reconciliation” mean? Why is that word important for us as Christians?
Wednesday, January 3
Read: Lamentations 3:22-23
God’s mercies are new every day … His love, His grace and forgiveness, His goodness, His compassion, His lovingkindness, His faithfulness and much more. God is full of mercy, not giving us what we deserve but coming to us with forgiveness and renewal instead.
Reflection: Think of a time you may have felt “consumed” by the troubles of this life. What promises can you claim from these two verses? Why is it comforting to know that God’s mercies never fail but are new every morning? Thank God for His boundless mercy and love.
For the Family: What is compassion? Can you think of someone who shows compassion to others? How does God show compassion to us?
Thursday, January 4
Read: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Paul encourages that we should not lose heart, even though our outer selves are wasting away, because inwardly we are being transformed and renewed every day. He further encourages us to keep our focus on Jesus and not on the things of this world. The things of the world are temporary and serve only to help prepare us for our eternal glory with Him.
Reflection: In verse 17, Paul makes a strong statement about the purpose of trouble. What is the point he is making? What does he tell us to do in our moments of trouble? How does that keep us from losing heart?
For the Family: What do you think he meant when Paul said we are “wasting away” outwardly? Does it matter that we are wasting away? Why or why not? How are we renewed? Say a prayer with your family thanking God for sending His Son Jesus.
Friday, January 5
Read: Colossians 3:1-11
Paul exhorts his readers to remember who they once were, who they are now in Christ, and who they will be when Christ comes again. He tells the Colossian Christians to set their minds and their hearts on Christ as they have taken off their "old selves" and have put on "new selves" and are being renewed in the image of their Savior.
Reflection: In practical terms, how can we put to death whatever belongs to our earthy nature? How does that relate to putting off your old self with its practices and putting on a new self? Are there areas of your life that are inconsistent with your new self? If so, ask God for forgiveness and for His Holy Spirit to renew you through confession/repentance, prayer, and the study of God’s Word.
For the Family: Today’s verses talk about behavior that we need to “put away” and stop. How does God’s love help us to do that? Thank Him for loving you and for teaching you how He wants you to behave.
Saturday, January 6
Read: Isaiah 60:1-6
The prophet Isaiah is calling His people to arise and turn from their struggles and to shine as light in the darkness of the world. We are empowered to shine as a light because of the Holy Spirit in us.
Reflection: What does it mean that the glory of the Lord appears over you? How do God’s people react when they see His goodness and blessings (verse 5)? Think of one word that describes how you feel knowing that the nations who come are the Gentile nations?
For the Family: Who or what is the Light? The darkness? What does Isaiah remind us to look for? Why do you think he reminds us of that? How can you be a light for someone?