New Year’s-New Beginnings

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

Ephesians 5:11-16 (NIV)
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:11-16 (MSG)
Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ. “Wake up from your sleep, climb out of your coffins; Christ will show you the light!” So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!
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“Do not participate in the worthless and unproductive deeds of darkness, but instead expose them [by exemplifying personal integrity, moral courage, and godly character]; for it is disgraceful even to mention the things that such people practice in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light [of God’s precepts], for it is light that makes everything visible. For this reason He says, “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine [as dawn] upon you and give you light.” Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil.” -AMPLIFIED

Make the most of every moment and opportunity! The King James words it like this, “Redeeming the time…” Today begins a new year; a chance for new opportunities, new connections and new possibilities. The question we all must ask ourselves is, Will we be diligently looking for those possibilities with expectation? Will we be faithfully serving God and pursuing fruitful deeds; not fruitless? Will we live in the present; not in the past or the future?

1.) One of the questions we all must ask ourselves is, am I looking for the possibilities and opportunities that God has made available for me to glorify Him? The Apostle Paul reminded the Galatians that they needed to do good while they had the chance. “So seize any opportunity the Lord gives you to do good things and be a blessing to everyone, especially those within our faithful family.” -Galatians 6:10 (VOICE)Too many of us have the mentality that now is not convenient for me; I will get to it or do it the next time. (And next time never comes.) Once again we are reminded of the fact that we need to redeem the time. No one is guaranteed tomorrow or a next time. The Aristotle Paul reminds us, “Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation” -2 Corinthians 6:2 (AMP)

2.) The second question we need to consider is this; will we be faithfully serving God and pursuing fruitful deeds? Too many of us have gotten caught up in the things of this World and have lost our focus on the Lord our God. (It is very easy to do; since we live in this World and are surrounded by its distractions.) We need to keep our focus on God and obediently follow His directions. Paul told Timothy this, “…do everything you can to present yourself to God as a man who is fully genuine, a worker unashamed of your mission, a guide capable of leading others along the correct path defined by the word of truth.” -2 Timothy 2:15 (VOICE) Paul also reminded the Colossians of this, ” Whatever you do [whatever your task may be], work from the soul [that is, put in your very best effort], as [something done] for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [greatest] reward. It is the Lord Christ whom you [actually] serve.” -Colossians 3:23-24 (AMP)

3.) Finally, the third question we must ask ourselves is this: Will we live in the present; not the past or the future. So many people waste their time rehashing the past and telling themselves, “If only….” Friend, you cannot change the past; what is done is done. There is no going back. Paul told the Corinthians, “Then there are those who tend to go to the other extreme, “I cannot wait for tomorrow.” or “When I do this or reach that point; everything will be amazing. Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone—and see—a new life has begun!” -2 Corinthians 5:17 (VOICE)Then we have those who tend to live only for the future; when this happens I will do this or when I reach this point think of the possibilities or what will I do because I need this or that. It was Jesus who told His followers this, ” So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today.” -Matthew 6:34 (VOICE)

It is time to live in the present and make the most of every opportunity that the Good Lord allows to happen in our lives. “The reality is you have no idea where your life will take you tomorrow. You are like a mist that appears one moment and then vanishes another. ” -James 4:14 (VOICE)

Happy New Year! May you, with the Good Lord’s help, make the most of the coming year, make a difference in this World, love much and laugh more. God Bless you all!

My Prayer:
Lord, help me to redeem the time that you have given me. You have not promised me tomorrow and I cannot change yesterday, but I can make the most of today, this moment in time. Help me to make the most of every opportunity that you have placed in my life. Help me to glorify you in everything that I say and do. Help me to love deep and laugh much. Most of all, allow my life to be a testament to You and Your love.

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