Tag Archives: New Year’s Eve

10 Biblical Directives for a Better New Year



Here are ten Biblical directives
to make 2018 better than 2017:


In Exodus 20:3, God commands, “You must not have any other god but me.”

Anything we put before God becomes our god, INCLUDING OUR POLITICS. Enough with politicizing everything! Don’t put Caesar before God, or even render Caesar equal to God.


This may sound cliché from a pastor, but seriously we must read the Bible. Did you know that a majority of Christians are Biblically illiterate? Reading the Bible is a vital spiritual discipline.


Reading the Bible, alone, is not enough. Just because you read the Bible, and just because we can quote memory verses, does not mean we understand what we know. Just because we have read the Bible does not mean we are its interpreter-in-chief. There are lots of things that go into understanding what the Bible says in our times. Join a Bible Study, or Christian Education class, to grow in understanding of what the Bible says and the context it was written in. Also, we must be humble and not use Scripture to judge; rather, utilize it to shape our own lives. (James 1:22)


“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters,” James writes in James 1:19, “You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” In this age of social media, everyone is screaming over the other to get THEIR OWN message out on top. CHRISTIANS BEWARE…this is not just or godly behavior, but sinful and unjust. WE MUST STOP IT, PLEASE.


Stop living in fear (2 Timothy 1:7). Stop worrying about things, and stop sweating the small stuff! Seriously. We as Christians are free in Christ to do anything …so long as we are bringing glory to God. So, live and let God handle the details. BE COOL, because the last thing the world needs are religious hot heads. The Apostle Paul wrote, “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love…But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.” (Galatians 5:13, 15)


In Micah 6:8, the passage starts off telling us that God wants us to seek justice. This doesn’t mean vengeance or retribution. Rather seek justice in our own lives…or, to put it in better words, to LIVE JUSTLY, to allow justice to guide your own life and how you live in relationship with other humans.


In Micah 6:8, the passage goes on to tell us to LOVE MERCY. Rather than seeking an eye for an eye, we ought to be seeking reconciliation and strengthened relationships. We are called, by God, to BE MERCIFUL…just as God is merciful toward us. We are also called by Jesus to LOVE OUR ENEMIES.


In Micah 6:8, we are called to walk humbly with our God. What is humility? It is knowing our place. It means knowing that we, too, are sinners, and that we are in NO PLACE to judge others. Those who walk humbly will LOVE MERCY, for they know they’ve received much mercy. Those who walk humbly with their will seek justice and live justly for God is JUST and to walk with God is to walk side-by-side with justice.


This one seems to be a real doozy for people, let alone Christians, to follow. We judge others to puff ourselves up…to make us feel better about the sinners we are, because at least “we aren’t that person over there.” Yet, by virtue of judging we are worse than the sinner “over there” because the very act of judging puts us above God…who is the ONLY WORTHY JUDGE.  (Matthew 7:1-2)


The Scriptures are explicit. GOD IS LOVE (1 John 4:7-8), and those who know God will not only know LOVE, but will be transformed by it. Jesus summed up all the Law and the Prophets in a four-lettered word: LOVE.

These are the 10 Biblical nuggets of wisdom that will help make us, and those around us, have a more joyful 2018 than 2017. Let us grow in faith together as we come to understand God’s love for us more deeply. Happy New Year to you all.



A LOOK BACK: The New Year’s Challenge

2016-new-year“It is the week of this Christmas and all through my mind,
Came the need for a holiday and some time to unwind.
I have written so many devotions with love and care
In hopes that you’ll discover the Christ that I share.”

While I have taken some time off of writing for the holidays, here’s a look back at a devotion that is no doubt as relevant today as it was when I wrote it. Click here to view today’s devotion.

Happy New Year!

15 Ailments of the Church #3: Becoming Spiritually and Mentally Hardened

Read John 11:30-45

“When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.” (Matthew 14:14 NRSV)

compassionateHandsHappy New Year everyone! Today is New Year’s Eve and we are less than a day away (depending on where in the world you are) from the ball dropping and the partying stopping. Out with the old, in with the new. People will, no doubt, lament about how terrible this past year was and they will, no doubt, being cheering on the advent of 2015 with high hopes and expectations. Of course, they will do the same next year just like the did the same last year. Well, rather than raising a toast to triviality, I thought it would be good to look at Pope Francis’ third of fifteen ailments of his curio. As I have stated, I think it is a prudent exercise to expand the ailments to the universal church, which I have taken the liberty of doing.

Ailment # 3: Becoming Spiritually and Mentally Hardened. The church is called to be the body of Christ. It is called to be the representatives of Christ and Christ’s mission in the world. One of the key words that most, if not all, people would use to describe Jesus Christ, is compassion. In the Christian Scriptures, it refers to Jesus “having compassion” on people at least eight times depending on the translation (Matt. 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; 20:34; Mark 6:34; 8:2; Luke 7:13; 15:20 NRSV). With that said, there is evidence of Jesus’ compassion even beyond the use of the word compassion. Jesus wept for his beloved Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37; Luke 19:41) and he also wept at the loss of his friend Lazarus and had compassion on Lazarus’ sisters, friends and family (John 11:35). He had compassion on the sick, the dying, the demon possessed, the sinners, the differently abled, and even on those who opposed him. Yes, Jesus was compassionate.

With that said and out there, why does Christ’s church fail to live into the compassion of their Lord? If we are the body of Christ, why aren’t we filled with the compassion of Christ? Too many times I have witnessed, and sadly been a part of, an incompassionate church. The infighting, the politics, the gossip, the judgmentalism and the slander within churches bear witness to a corrupt and lost organization rather than a living and life-giving organism. Are we the body of Christ, or are we organized Christianity? Are we organic, able to adapt with change and circumstance. Able to feel emotion and be moved with compassion, or are we organizational and bound by unbending rules and regulations?

The church as a whole has become too much like the world. We have grown numb and have lost our ability to feel. We look at the poor with disdain. We look at “criminals” with eyes of judgment. We separate ourselves from “sinners” and treat them as unworthy of God’s grace. We look at each other with contempt as we compete to be the best and the biggest and the most loved and the most followed. We position ourselves in ways that falsely elevate us to the right and left hand side of God, all the while turning a cold shoulder and a blind eye to the “least of these” our brothers and sisters.

Today’s challenge is for us to regain our compassion. You are not great, you are not good, you are not more special than anyone else. In fact, apart from God, you are nothing. Each week, we Christians praise God for being our savior and for having compassion on us sinners. If we are to truly be grateful for God having compassion on us, should we not have compassion on others? Christ is calling us to warm up, to have heart, and to weep for those who are in need. In fact, don’t just weep…but turn your tears into positive and constructive action. Pray for the church, yourself included, that we may begin to heal from this aliment of being Spiritually and Mentally hardened.

“Compassion is more than just an emotion; rather, it is an inner reaction to circumstance that results in an outward action for change.”

Lord, fill me with your love so that I may be moved to be a person of compassion. Amen.