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Make Your New Year Happy

Daily Reading: Ephesians 4

Scripture Focus: Put off your old self ... Put on the new self. (Ephesians 4.22, 24)

Devotional Thought: Are there things you need to lose from the current year - excess pounds, negative attitudes, bad habits - to name just a few? Are there some things you want to gain - more friends, new experiences, better habits? Paul wrote to the Ephesians that there were some things that they needed to lose and other things they needed to gain, things they were to put off and to put on. This is good counsel for us as we enter the new year:

Put off:

· Futility. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death" (Proverbs 14.12). Alienation, sensuality, and greed are empty ways of living.

· Focusing on self. "A person wrapped up in himself makes a pretty small package." Look beyond yourself, and see others. "Submit to one another in Christ," means to recognize the inherent value of others.

· Falsehood. When we tell lies, we believe lies. When we believe lies, we live lies. Jesus is the Truth that sets us free!

Put on:

· Renewal of your mind. Watch less TV and read some good books this year. Spend time in the Bible and prayer. Make new friends who are not 'like you.' Question your prejudices and welcome the mind of Christ.

· Righteousness of Christ. Christ died to set you free from sin and make you into a truly righteous person. Let him change the things that make you angry, the way you work, and your words to others.

· Responding to the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter and Friend, but he is also a gracious Guest. He will respond to us as we respond to him. Do not grieve the Spirit by ignoring him.

Prayer: Lord, there are old things that I need to let go of. Help me to do so in the coming year. There are new things I need to embrace. Clothe me in your righteousness, O Lord! Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 148.7-14

7 Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, 8 fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!

9 Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! 10 Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds!

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! 12 Young men and maidens together, old men and children!

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven. 14 He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the Lord!

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