Pause

A new school year is like a clean slate, waiting for you to write your new experiences, new growth, and new learning upon it.

As you begin again, consider what new things Jesus might want to do with you in the coming weeks, months, and year.

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Listen

He said, “I assure you that no prophet is welcome in the prophet’s hometown. And I can assure you that there were many widows in Israel during Elijah’s time, when it didn’t rain for three and a half years and there was a great food shortage in the land. Yet Elijah was sent to none of them but only to a widow in the city of Zarephath in the region of Sidon. There were also many persons with skin diseases in Israel during the time of the prophet Elisha, but none of them were cleansed. Instead, Naaman the Syrian was cleansed.”

When they heard this, everyone in the synagogue was filled with anger. They rose up and ran him out of town. They led him to the crest of the hill on which their town had been built so that they could throw him off the cliff. But he passed through the crowd and went on his way.

Luke 4:24-30

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Think

The moral of this story is (or should be): just because you are filled with the Holy Spirit, beloved by God, baptized, confirmed, go to church, are generally good, etc… things will not be easy. Gosh, wouldn't it be great if being a follower of Christ meant that life would be easier? But easier is not the assurance.

Instead, the “thing” that comes with believing in Jesus and following Jesus is that life is ALIVE. Life opens up when you open your heart and mind to God! You will still encounter angry crowds and fussing friends. With life in Christ, however, comes the ability to make your way through anger, to find your way through loss, to see a path through confusion. These things aren’t easy, even with faith. But they are possible.

What are the cliffs ahead of you today? Don't look down the cliff in fear. Take a deep breath. Remember the love that surrounds you. Grab onto the support God offers you through a friend, a leader, or a quiet moment. Then look ahead and go on your way.

Gina Yeager-Buckley

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Pray

O God, when the crowd is pressing in on me and I can’t find a way through, be that way. I open up my heart, my mind, and my life to you. Give me strength and courage for when it’s not easy. Amen.

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Go

God has been there from the beginning of all time and is with you in each new beginning.

May the God who makes things new bless you and keep you.

May Jesus’ love shine upon you and through you.

May the Holy Spirit bring you peace.

Gina Yeager-Buckley

Gina Yeager-Buckley serves as the national Associate for Ministries with Youth for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

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