Great Plains Daily Devotional for 12/31/2021

Today please be in prayer for

Melvern UMC
Quenemo UMC
Five Rivers District
Bronson UMC
Mildred UMC
Moran UMC
Five Rivers District
Blue Mound UMC
Mound City UMC
Five Rivers District
Lane UMC
Osawatomie: First UMC
Five Rivers District

Today's Lectionary Text

John 8:12-19

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” Then the Pharisees said to him, “You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.” Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.” Then they said to him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”

Today's Devotional

It is hard to believe that tonight at midnight we will celebrate the new year. We will welcome 2022, which is unbelievable because I am convinced it is still 2015. (Or even just 2020)

But alas, we are marking the end of 2021 and welcoming 2022. Maybe you’re preparing a list of all the goals you have for the upcoming year. Eat healthier, go to the gym, read more books, earn more money. For myself, I find by February, every goal I’ve set is just a distant memory, and I’m back to my old habits of avoiding the gym and just reading one book per year.

But as I think about it, often, I set these goals to better fit into what society expects me to be. To be a rich, successful, athletic working person, rather than listening to what Jesus calls us to. The goal is to be a light for people, advocate for the oppressed, and love others even when we wish not to forgive them. We are not casting judgment on someone just because they are different and working for a reconciled world, not a world of division.

These goals are even more challenging than working out three days in a row. But they serve a purpose of working for a community built on compassion and love. And the truth is, being a light in the world does not mean we have to take significant, miraculous action; it means we take small steps. Offering a smile to someone we pass by, sharing a warm bowl of soup with a homeless person, calling up a friend who is mourning the loss of a spouse.

When we each take the time to be a tiny spark and light, we follow in the ways of Jesus, the light of the world. So, as you set your 2022 goals, think about how you will be a light in this new year!
-Maddie Baugous
Pastoral Intern
Omaha First UMC

Prayer for Reflection

 Loving God, we know it only takes a spark. As we start the new year, may we spark compassion and love in all our communities. Together we pray. Amen.


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