And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. (Eph 5:18,19)
It may be odd that the apostle Paul contrasts being drunk with wine to being filled with the Spirit. Perhaps one of the similarities between them is for seeking joy and comfort. In days of stress or gloom, people may have a drink to soothe or forget about their problems. However, it can be harmful when we are dependent on alcohol for our inner peace. Drunkenness leads to ruin. As believers in the living God, we can find joy, peace, and comfort by being filled with the Spirit.
Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. (Col 3:13)
Because of our human nature, there’s probably someone out there that we just can’t get along with. Forgiveness can be difficult when intense pain has been caused by wrongdoings. It is so hard for us to forgive and forget. Even though we try to forgive, those hurtful thoughts may keep creeping up in our minds. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we need to stop our fights or arguments, ask God for healing, and learn to forgive and forget. If not, we won’t have inner peace. Worst of all, if we do not forgive, just as God in Christ also has forgiven us, God will not forgive us (Mt 6:15).
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Rom 12:2)
A New Year’s resolution is a promise people make to themselves to be better. For many people, the New Year is a good time for a fresh start. New Year’s resolutions are usually about living healthier, having more success, or finding satisfaction in life. Some common New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight, exercise more, learn a new skill, save money, etc. These resolutions are not of a religious nature. However, the New Year can be a time to reflect upon our spiritual growth and set a goal for spiritual renewal.
After a dramatic episode involving God plaguing Pharaoh’s house on account of Abram’s wife, Sarai, Abram and Sarai were basically kicked out of the land of Egypt.
Prior to this taking place, God had called Abram from his own country and promised to give him descendants who would inherit the land of Canaan. Once there, Abram pitched his tent between Bethel and Ai, built an altar to the Lord, and called on His name (Gen 12:8). But when a severe famine hit the land, in a moment of weakness, Abram left God’s promises behind and went down to Egypt. If God had not intervened by sending plagues upon Pharaoh’s house, Abram would have lost his wife Sarai and the hope of having descendants through her—for he had lied about Sarai being his sister.
But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Mk 10:38, cf. v39-40; Lk 12:50)
The baptism that Jesus was referring to here is not water baptism, but the baptism of trials and suffering. When I was young and an unbeliever, I used to wonder, “Why are good kids bullied in school? If the problem is not with them, why are they ostracized for being good?” It took me a while to realize that such kids—coming from good, loving, and often privileged homes, who are meek, good-tempered, and usually bright—are frequently the target of bullies because of jealousy. This is often inexplicable, but the human psyche is not easy to understand. Is it better then for them to renounce their good nature or privilege just to avoid the bullying? Of course not.