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Daily Reading: Ephesians 6

Scripture Focus: Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. (Ephesians 6.23-24)

Devotional Thought: You know what it means when the preacher says, "And finally..." don't you? Absolutely nothing! Actually, it means you start listening for the benediction.

When Paul came to the end of his letter to the Ephesians, he gave them a final benediction, a 'blessing.' We can ask for similar blessings on us and our loved ones:

· Peace. The peace of God guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. There may be some regrets from the past year. Leave them to the mercy of God, and enter the new year intent on a fresh start through Jesus.

· Love. Paul wrote elsewhere, "The greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13.13) At the end of the year, thank God for those whom you have loved and those who have loved you. Commit to loving them better and to loving someone new this year - perhaps even an 'enemy'!

· Faith. Not everything was rosy this past year, was it? There were times when faith was all you had to sustain you. Thank God for that faith - though it was as small as a mustard seed - and ask him, "Help my unbelief" (Mark 9.4)

· Grace. While mercy is not getting what you do deserve (punishment), grace is getting what you don't deserve. Receive the gifts of God with gratitude and generosity.

· Immortality. To be incorruptible means not subject to decay. Death no longer has dominion over us, for nothing can separate us from the love of God!

The year has ended. Thank God we conclude it with a benediction of God's grace. Amen!

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your bountiful goodness in the past year. You have been with me in my success and defeat, in my joy and in my sorrow. I enter the new year with the benediction of your grace. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 150.1-6

1 Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! 2 Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!

3 Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! 4 Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! 5 Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! 6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

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