Matthew 3:1-2

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

 Have you ever lay awake at night, staring at the ceiling, wondering if there is more to life? The world tells us if we have a big house, all the newest gadgets, party with the best of them, are popular, and have a bunch of money then we’ll be happy. However, this wasn’t the case for me. I pursued all of it, neglecting everything else, and quickly ended up living in the darkness of depression and hopelessness. There is so much more to life than the fickle desires of this world.

God calls us to turn away from these desires and to repent of our lives of sin. When God gets hold of our lives it’s impossible to keep living the same way we used to. You now have the spirit of the living God inside of you and his light is shining through you. But so often we continue to live in the darkness even while the light of God is trying to break through. He can and will transform our lives; we only need to let him.

Repent of the life you have been living and give it over to Him to wash clean and make new. When you allow God to come near to you, your life will radically change and you will be a light to others who are still living in darkness. We must allow God’s light to break through our old lives, transform us, and then shine into wherever we go.

QUESTION 1. Have you pursued the world only to be left wanting more?
QUESTION 2. Are you allowing the light of God to permeate every area of your life or do you still live in darkness?
CHALLENGE: For your sake, and for the sake of all those who are in need of Jesus, turn away from your past life. Repent and allow God’s light to shine through you.




Psalm 37:4

Delight yourself in the Lord; and he will give you the desires of your heart.

 For the twenty plus years I have been a Christian I have told others I only want God’s will for my life. I have prayed and told God to do his will by sending me to go anywhere or do anything. But I wanted his will on my own terms, so I would only say yes to something when I wanted to do it. Then I would tell everyone it was God’s will, even though it was only my will.

This is a struggle with many Christians. We desire so badly to be living completely in the will of God but we are so bad at actually following where God leads. When we take our own paths we end up doing everything on our own power and set high expectations for ourselves that we can’t fulfill. For me, this led to depression and anxiety.

I have learned that the only time I am truly filled with joy is when I’m actually following God’s leading, not my own. It isn’t easy, but we must give complete control of our lives over to God and not just say we are going to do it. We can desire God’s will all day long but if action doesn’t accompany it then we will get nowhere.

Talk to God and tell him you’re sorry for following your own heart for so long. Our lives aren’t our own anyway; we belong to our creator. After you surrender your life back to him be ready to go or do wherever or whatever God is calling you to, no matter how uncomfortable. There is no better place to be than in the perfect will of God.

QUESTION 1. Do you pray for God’s will in your life and then ignore him when he tries to lead you somewhere you don’t want to go?
QUESTION 2. Do you actually desire God’s will or are you more content being comfortable?
CHALLENGE: Surrender to His will. Give every aspect of your life back to the one who created you and be ready to follow wherever it is He leads.




John 8:10-11 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

I have heard it said that repentance is a change of mind, prompted by a change of heart, which thereby results in a change of life. Repentance, by definition, means to turn away from something and to think differently about it. Therefore, when Christians say that they’re going to repent of something, what they really mean is that they’re going to think differently in regards to their sin and turn away from it. Think of it this way, if I am sorry that I committed a particular sin, and really don’t want to commit it again, then my next step is to think differently about that sin and do what it takes to turn away from it. Repentance is both internal and external. Internally we need to change our way of thinking and externally we need to change our way of acting. The one, thinking, leads to the other, acting. When Jesus told the adulterous women that she was forgiven, he didn’t end it there; instead, he told her to go and sin no more. The woman had the blessing of being forgiven, but at the end of the day, she still had to rethink how she was acting by committing adultery, and then had to change her behavior accordingly. To be a follower of Jesus Christ it is not enough to just believe. We are called to repent by rethinking the way we live our lives and acting out our belief in love.

There is good news in all this however, that is, according to the Bible Paul tells us that God is faithful and that he won’t allow us to be tested beyond what we can endure. God does not promise to deliver us from temptation or testing, but He does promise to limit the temptations intensity, and even more so, He promises to provide a way of escape. Next time you feel yourself being tempted, weather by sexual temptation or otherwise, as Karen Mckinny put, Flee! … and know that God always leaves a way of escape.

QUESTION 1. Is there any sin for which you feel God calling you to repentance?
QUESTION 2. How could this way of looking at repentance change the way you live your life?
CHALLENGE: We challenge you to transform your thinking and let God transform your life. Repent–think differently about your sin so that your actions may glorify God.




Philippians 3:13

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

We all make decisions in life that we regret. It’s part of being human. The problem is that each of those decisions can carry with it a great deal of baggage. The greater the regret the greater the baggage, and it’s not easy carrying around a bunch of baggage everywhere we go. It not only affects us but it affects all those around us as well. The crazy thing about all this baggage is that we don’t even like carrying it around. So the question is, why are we doing it? When a person commits their life to Christ it’s important to understand that, no matter what baggage we’ve accumulated over the years, Christ died and rose again to take that baggage away from us. He did this so we can live free.

The Apostle Paul writes that we are forgiven and that we need to move on with our lives, “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” (Philippians 3:13). Christ died for all of our poor decisions as well as for all of the baggage that comes with them. This is good news because you don’t have to live in the past. Christ wants you to keep moving forward. You have a future and it’s a bright future. Live in the moments that Christ gives you; live in the freedom that God has already given to you through the person of Jesus Christ.

QUESTION 1. What baggage are you carrying around?
QUESTION 2. Have you given over your baggage to Christ? Are you living in freedom and in every moment God has given you? If not, what are you waiting for?
CHALLENGE: Don’t keep living in the past but look toward the future and live in every moment that God has given you.




Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.

At some point in our lives we’ve all run from something. Maybe it’s from responsibility, struggles in our family lives, something we screwed up on. It could be anything. We think that no one else could possibly understand what we’re going through and so we find something tangible to fill that ever-growing hole in our lives. But if you keep running to the wrong things you’re going to find you are never satisfied and that you’re running farther and farther from the only one who can transform your life.

The thing is that no matter where you’re at, or what you’re running from, at one point you’re going to have to stand before God and own up and be accountable for the things that you’ve done and chosen. Do you want to explain to God why you decided that temporary pleasures were better for you than the all-consuming comfort found by those who chose to run to Jesus? When we become Christians our old selves die and we become image bearers of Christ. From then on he calls you to live a life with him not one focused on yourself anymore. Let your old self fall away, run to him, and let God transform you into the image of his son, Jesus.

QUESTION 1. What are you running from?
QUESTION 2. Have you allowed God to transform your life and fill that hole in your life?
CHALLENGE: Think about what Jesus has done for you. He died so that you could have life with Him. Give your life to Him and experience a beautiful transformation.




2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Have you ever noticed the unique beauty of a butterfly? What about the sturdiness of an oak tree? What is so fascinating about both of these is what they came from. A butterfly began as a crawling caterpillar, but transformed into a butterfly with wings that allow it to experience the world so differently. An oak tree began as a simple acorn covered in dirt, but it transformed into a strong tree that serves as a home for many different lives.

The caterpillar cannot stay a caterpillar if it wants to become a butterfly. Just as the acorn cannot remain an acorn if it is going to be an oak tree. They must let go of their old form in order to take on a new life and purpose.

We are the same way! However, sometimes we are a little more stubborn about the transformation process (surely I’m not alone in this). Far too often, we cling tightly to the past because it is familiar. We fear the unknown of what is to come, so we hold on to what we’ve already experienced.

What if I told you that what God has in store for your future is far greater than what you’ve already walked through? You are a new creation! You are not created to remain how you were before Christ took ahold of your heart. He wants to transform you into something far greater than you could ever imagine, but you have to let go of all that old stuff.

Your past does not define you; your Creator does! Your past has no idea what the present or future holds, but God sure does, and his work is good. He will not stop His work in you until it is complete, so even if it is a difficult process of change, it will be worth it! Let go of your old self marked by your fears, mistakes, or circumstances; let the God of transformation work wonders in your life.

QUESTION 1. What areas of your past are you holding on to that may be keeping you from going forward?
QUESTION 2. What is keeping you from letting go of your old self?
CHALLENGE: Surrender to God those areas of your past that are keeping you stuck in your old self; allow him to make you a new creation.




Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Vulnerability is ridiculously hard. We don’t want people to know that we are broken or show our imperfections; we want to be seen only as strong. But the more we push our pain and wounds away the deeper in our heart they get buried. The more you push the more alone you’ll feel. Then you may start to mask those deep rooted wounds by holding onto something as a security blanket, which can manifest in an addiction or in making a person or thing into an idol. But God wants to go into the broken areas of your life and strip away those securities, and help you realize that he is all you need. He can fix and bind those broken areas of your life. You just need to be vulnerable and let him in. This can be incredibly painful, yes, but He will mold it into something beautiful as you allow Him to transform you. Growth is never easy and almost never painless, but when you look back, it is always worth it. Stop hiding your pain. Give your broken heart to God and watch as he transforms and heals you.

QUESTION 1. What pain or wound have you been hiding from God and others?
QUESTION 2. In the midst of your pain have you grasped onto some earthly security instead of God in order to hide the pain?
CHALLENGE: Take the time to sit with God in the quiet and allow him to show you what areas in your life you’re keeping from him. He wants so badly to bind up your wounds; you just need to let him in.




Romans 12:2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

 I used to love watching horror movies, the scarier and gorier the better. I always maintained that it had no effect on me, until I noticed that I was having a hard time sleeping. I even got scared to drive my car alone for fear of what may pop up in my backseat and grab me. The fear had taken over. This can happen with anything. If you fill your mind with senseless violence, crude language or sex in movies, T.V. or video games, then you’ll notice that you’ll either start to become desensitized to it or you’ll become consumed by it.

Jesus calls us to fill our minds with thoughts that are pure and good. He wants us to spend more time dwelling on Him than on that level we can’t beat in that video game. I had to give up watching horror movies entirely because when I watched them the fear would consume me and any thoughts of Jesus would be miles away. Now I’m not saying you have to give up horror movies, but just to take a long, hard look at what it is that is consuming your mind. And it isn’t necessarily just what you watch either; it can also be the people you spend time with. Is what you are consuming of the world or is it of purity and beauty that will transform your mind and bring you peace? Believe me, the latter is a much better place to be.

QUESTION 1. What thoughts have been consuming your mind lately? Thoughts of fear? Anger? Sex? Violence?
QUESTION 2. Do you think these thoughts have been brought on by what you’ve been watching, listening to, or people you’ve surrounded yourself with?
CHALLENGE: Take time to enrich and transform your mind with things that are good, acceptable and perfect. If you don’t know what that may be for you, ask God; he’ll show you. And ask Him to reveal the things in your life that are taking you away from Him. Chances are, though, that you already know what they are.




What things do you value most in your life? What are the things you find yourself daydreaming about the most … popularity, money, a boyfriend or girlfriend, the list can go on and on, right? Now, switch your mindset for a moment, how much time do you find yourself daydreaming about your awesome relationship with God and all the things you and God could do together? Jesus tells us that “where our treasure is, there our heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). What are your treasures? Do they lie in the things of this world, or do they lie in your relationship with God?

QUESTION 1. Take a real and honest look at your life and ask yourself, what things do you value most in your life?
QUESTION 2. Is God calling you to give up anything in your life today?
CHALLENGE: If God is calling you to give up anything in your life, then we challenge you to hand that treasure over to God. Let God be your treasure today, because if you do, you will have a treasure worth more than all the gold, silver, and fame the world could offer you. What does God want you to give up today?
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