Changes are afoot in my life, our life. This is the time for it. Watching our food intake, minding our hydration levels, getting a bit more exercise, all the things that make up a resolve to be our best. Perhaps you’ve set a resolution or a goal for the new year and are make changes, too.
First big change? No more Monday through Thursday online devotional. As much as it grieves me to stop doing what has brought comfort and encouragement, even companionship to so many, it’s time to go even deeper. Deeper in our study of the Christian Way, deeper in our prayer life – the ultimate intimacy with God, deeper in our commitment to be the Church which is a team effort. I want to encourage you to wade further into the waters.
Go ahead. You’ll be glad you did. Eventually. Going deeper whether it’s in service or prayer or study or community won’t come naturally and will become a sacrifice over time. That’s the only way to grow in our experience of God’s immeasurable love and the awesome privilege of life WITH God every day that God gives us. Here are some resources that you might want to consider; all of them are malleable in that you can use them on your own, or if you’re really brave, you could invite a few friends/acquaintances to join you.
- Breath as Prayer by Jennifer Tucker: This is a great devotional guide for discovering the surpassing peace of Christ as Tucker offers over 80 experiences of breath prayer through which you might learn to be still in the presence of the Almighty. (My tip: when youre finished, start the book all over again and notice how you’ve grown since the first experience with each guided prayer)
- 52 Weeks with Jesus by James Merritt: Each week takes a closer look at Jesus (relationships, purpose, behaviors, etc.) via 5’ish scripture passages, thoughtful questions, and bold prayers. You could read everything in one sitting and then do it again (and again) through the week or, you could go slow and let the new discoveries seep in that way. (My tip: this would be a great small group guide to get us timid folks talking about Jesus more!)
- Every Choice is a Seed by Alicia Britt Chole: Through scripture and stories, reflective questions and challenges, Chole (pronounced “show-lee”) helps us see what power we hold as children of God. There are 40 entries that could make of 2023 a year of great discovery whether you engage on your own or with a group.
Prayer and community will be the keys to our growth as disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ – individually and corporately. I am praying for you even now that you’ll have and will stand on divine courage, opening yourself to the sweet companionship of God’s Holy Spirit.