Month: January 2020

Broken Cisterns

Jeremiah 2:13
“for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

 Written by: James Rogers

As we begin a new year, many of us take stock of our lives, we vow to start or stop doing something, and we make New Year’s resolutions. Usually, we set goals to lose weight, get the big promotion, or finally achieve something we think we should be able to do. This type of review and focus can be good for us and is not necessarily wrong in and of itself, but on the other hand, the resolutions we make can show us the evil things that we worship.

In today’s verse, God is speaking to the Israelites through the prophet Jeremiah, and he is calling them out for their infidelity.

He says, “My people are doing two things wrong. First, they leave fellowship with Me. They stop relying on Me. I am not the God they serve. Second, they have turned to other idols. They have turned to created things to find fulfillment and purpose. And the sad part is: those created things will never satisfy their souls. I am the fountain head and they are missing Me in exchange for broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

WTD-Devotional1.3Thought of the day: Let’s be honest, these broken cisterns that we all tend to seek are socially acceptable forms of idolatry. Are you worshiping self-image? Are you chasing after stuff or money or power? Those things will never satisfy your soul. Here are a few questions I think we should all consider as we set new goals:

  • Am I setting this goal in an effort to honor God above all else?
  • Why do I really want to achieve this ambition?
  • Am I worshiping the outcome instead of God?
  • Is ___________ a broken cistern that I think will bring me fulfillment and purpose?
  • What evil idol worship do I need to repent of?

God is the only fountain of living water. May we all find how good He really is.

Prayer: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – Psalm 139:23-24.

Please help me to see the broken cisterns in my life. I repent of the idols that I worship in place of You. Help me to return and stay true to You. Fill my soul up and bless me, Lord. May You receive all the glory. Amen!

Press On

Phil 3:13-14
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Written by: Russ Ripley 

This time of year, many of us reflect on the previous year. We commit to “resolutions” like eating better, exercising more, and reading our Bible more. My guess is you have done this every New Year and “trying harder, doing better” just does not seem to be working.

In Philippians 3, Paul gives us a different way of approaching change. First, he recounts all of his accomplishments as a good Jewish man—his heritage as a Hebrew, his following of religious rights and traditions, his position as a leader in that religious community, and even his persecution of the early Church. Then he states something remarkable. He counts all that as “rubbish.” He looks at all he has done and says it is all garbage.

How do you look back at 2019? Do you have accomplishments and successes? Or was it a difficult year with loss and failure? Either way, Paul says it is all garbage. How can he say that?

Philippians 3:8 holds the answer. I like the New Living Translation of verse 8 which states, “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.”

All of our “stuff” is worthless compared to knowing Jesus Christ. Paul compares all of his accomplishments and successes and says compared to his ultimate goal, knowing the God of the universe, those other things are worthless.

WTD-Devotional1.2Thought of the day: How do you look back at 2019? Can you leave it behind and “press on” to knowing Jesus more in 2020?

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for this past year. I know You have been with me through everything. Help me not to focus on past successes and failures. I do not see what You have for me in the future. I know You always want what is best for me. Help me to focus on knowing Jesus more in 2020. Amen.

Stepping into the New You

2 Corinthians 5:17-18
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.

Written by: Matt Swartz

Happy New Year! Throughout December, we spent time in the “King of Heaven” series looking at Jesus and remembering that when Jesus came, He changed everything. As we look forward to a new year, many of us are looking at changes we would like to make in our lives. The New Year’s resolutions have been made and some may have already been broken.

It can be easy to look at a verse like 2 Corinthians 5:17 and wonder if something is wrong in our lives. We see it talking about us being “new creations” because we said yes to Jesus. But when we look at our lives, it doesn’t always feel like the new we desire is the new we see. The cycle of New Year’s Resolutions continues…

The power of this verse is when it says, “The old has gone, the new is here!” If we look at the word new in the original Greek that the Apostle Paul wrote this letter in, it has a sense of the new is here…and continues. Jesus came to save us and continues to transform our lives daily as we pursue Him.

Verse 18 paints a picture of the change that continues to take place in our lives. We can see change happen in our lives and that is a good thing. However, when we remember God is using the growth in our lives to impact the lives of others, it can motivate us to depend on Jesus even more.

The reason most resolutions don’t work is because we make ourselves the power source behind the change. True growth comes from us becoming desperately dependent on Jesus every day. When we are seeking Jesus to continue to change our lives, that is the new that continues.

WTD-Devotional1.1Thought of the day: Would you be willing to commit to joining us each Monday through Friday in the Sun Valley app to walk through these devotionals throughout the year? These moments you invest in your personal spiritual growth will bring about dramatic change over time!

Prayer: Happy New Year! We look forward to walking with you on your personal spiritual journey with Jesus throughout this coming year. I’d like to end today’s devotional a little differently: I would like to pray for you.

Jesus, You see each person that is reading this and You know them intimately. You know the growth You would like to bring about in their life, and I pray that they would open their hearts up to Your work throughout this new year! Amen.