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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Jesus returned from the Jordan River full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. There he was tempted for forty days by the devil. He ate nothing during those days and afterward Jesus was starving. The devil said to him, “Since you are God’s Son, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.”

Jesus replied, “It’s written, People won’t live only by bread.”

Luke 4:1-4

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Isn't that the way it always is? One minute you're UP and the next minute you're DOWN. Why was Jesus so immediately thrown into something scary and confusing, so difficult and tricky, after his baptism?

Perhaps what this biblical snapshot tells us is that being UP is critical to helping us navigate the places we must go when we “come back down.” When we are in the UP places we are refueling, gaining some big perspective, being encouraged — all critical tools for dealing with the less than good things of life.

Jesus was able to go into the wilderness because of his time “in the good place,” being baptized, gathering strength, being blessed. He was getting the good stuff so that he was strong enough to deal with the bad stuff – the wilderness: emptiness, loneliness, temptation, extreme hunger and thirst.

Where is the wilderness you must go this week? And where is your UP? Consider the people, places, and activities that give you strength and encourage you, and those that lead you into the wilderness.

Gina Yeager-Buckley


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O God, there are some unknown places ahead where I must go. Sometimes there are things that I have to do that feel scary or weird. I don't always know how to feel or how to act. I don't know what to expect, and this makes me feel anxious. God, strengthen me with confidence, fill me with your love, with the power of your Spirit. Amen.

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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.).

Making Space - What a Friend

Carter Harrell

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