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Pastor Joseph Khabbaz
Vice President of Spiritual Life and Chaplain at Southern Adventist University
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SALT
Soul-winning And Leadership Training
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Blog Posts
New Year, Same God

Life moves in the direction of our deepest attention. When a popular phone app decided to analyze user behavior right after New Year’s celebrations, they sought to answer the question, how long does it take for the average person to break their New Year’s resolution? Answer, February 4th (at least that is the date they came up with). The app designers reported that user visits to fast-food joints increased while trips to the gym experienced a downturn. Shoppers also bought 15 percent more ice cream and desserts, and 35 percent more pizza, in early February than during the first two weeks of January. 


We live in a culture that aims for 30 days of fame rather than 60 years of faithfulness. The quick fix promises us that we can get rich quick, lose weight quick, get to know someone quick, no wonder people quit so quickly. 


There is an excitement of the new year, but newness can easily wear off. What if instead of focusing on outward goals, we focused on changing the way we think? In Romans 8:6, Paul inspires us be spiritually minded by allowing God to guide our thoughts, purposes, and intentions. Put simply, being spiritually minded is loving the things that God loves. In so doing, God promises that we will experience true life and peace through reconciliation with Him.


The years will change but we can live in faith knowing that God’s love towards us never changes, He is the same yesterday, today and forever. For the moments we battle to stay spiritually minded, “The Holy Spirit is making intercession for every sincere wrestler, and Christ will make His words to be spirit and life, the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” When God has our attention, our lives will move in the right direction.


Reflect

  • What hopes do you have for this new year? For yourself? For your family? For your friends? For your studies? For your relationships? For your church?
  • What areas of your life would you like God to transform your mind in 2022? Where do you need to be made new so that you can experience life and peace?


 Ellen Gould White, Our High Calling (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1961), 101.

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God's Guiding Light

saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:2) 

 

You can walk through the darkest night when God is your guiding light. My wife Christina recently told me a story of being a student at Southern during Christmas. To make things more festive in her dorm room, she would get some empty boxes and wrap them with Christmas-themed wrapping paper topped with a bow. When her friends visited her, they would immediately notice her well-wrapped boxes placed under her Christmas tree. The reality is the boxes looked great on the outside, but if anyone were tempted to unwrap them, they would be shocked to discover that they were empty on the inside. Unfortunately, many people today desire to be outwardly blessed rather than inwardly transformed. If we are to be transformed, we must seek to follow the light! 

 

In the 2nd chapter of Matthew, the Magi from the East declared, “We have seen His star.” Although they traveled at night with no streetlights to aid their journey or Google Maps to provide precision coordinates, God guided them with His star. Being in the dark can make us anxious, disorientated and cause us to lose our purpose. But even in the dead of night, God causes His star to shine. For some of us, when we thought our sins could not be forgiven we saw the star of grace. When we felt forgotten, we saw Immanuel’s star; God with us! When we were afraid, we saw the shining star of faith! The star reminds us that we can walk through the darkest night when God is our guiding light. 

 

In speaking of God’s guiding light Ellen White shares, “We can walk safely in the darkest path if we have the Light of the world for our guide.”1 In other words, even in our darkest moments, God will give us a star to lead us through a lighted path. It may be that the star you see is barely twinkling, but it will be enough to see you through! 

 

Reflect 

  • As we begin the season of Advent, what are you longing for? Where have you been going for guidance in your life?  
  • What is one thing you can do to seek God as your guiding light?  
  • In what ways does Christ’s salvation give you hope and cause you to worship? 
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