With ALL My Heart
Before You Begin: This devotional is a year-end reflection exercise. Each day will build on the next, with the hope of God speaking as you reflect. If possible, spend additional time working through each day. Yet, do not stop half way through this week trusting God has something unique for you as you complete the week’s readings and reflections. Last helpful hint…have a journal or device available to write out or capture your thoughts.
Day 1: How do we grow in our faith? Participation in a small group, regularly serving others, or a daily time of hearing from God through reading the Bible, reflection, and praying? Consider your spiritual practices in 2017. In a journal, write out all of the activities and practices you did or tried. Take five minutes to collect journals, sermon notes, bible study guides, books. Go to our website, quickly peruse LSCC Sunday messages (lscckc.org/messages), review podcasts that impacted you, and pull out your Bible. Recall the books you read and/or verses you may have studied or memorized. Are you surprised at the amount or variety of activities or practices? Do you have notes, prayers, or reflections (thoughts) you captured? Take time to reflect; which of these were most helpful in changing an attitude or behavior? Ask God to show you and to reveal Himself as you do this exercise. Set aside some additional time in your calendar this week to reflect on what is or has been most helpful.
Day 2: Read John 5:1-7. Jesus asks a lame man if he wanted to get well. Last summer, Jack shared a message from this passage asking the question, “Do you want to get well?” The first thing that comes to my mind may be a physical healing. Sometimes, we can experience a miraculous physical healing from God. However, a more pertinent question is this; do you want to get well emotionally, relationally, or spiritually? The devotional this week is an act of ‘getting well’. On Day 1, we pulled together resources and jotted notes of the different spiritual practices we did last year. Take some time to page through and remember what you did. Pray as you do this asking God to stir you. Create a list of 5-10 of the most impacting truths you discovered. As time allows, take 1-2 of these and write down what may have prevented you from living them out. How they have changed your thinking, a behavior or relationship? Has it changed how you view or relate with God?
Day 3: Recall the message series in Judges: Broken People, Faithful God. Read Judges 2:1-10. Cory reminded us of the power of passing on our faith. If you heard that message, you will recall three chairs. The first chair represented Joshua’s generation. The second depicted the next generation. The final chair represented a third generation, that of Joshua’s grandchildren. Was this third generation following God? See verse 10. The point? There was a failure to pass on. How does this lesson impact you? Reflecting on our own spiritual walk. How are you passing on your faith to the next generation and EVERYONE around you? In a journal, cite at 4-5 of the biggest joys or accomplishments in 2017. Do the same with the biggest struggles or sins you’ve dealt with. Tomorrow, we will reflect on them.
Day 4: Take a few minutes to pray. Remind yourself of God’s presence as you step into this devotion. Remove distractions and give yourself time. Pull out your lists of life events from yesterday. Pick an accomplishment/joy. Describe it. Why was it a highlight? Who played a part in it? What role did God play in it? Now do the same with the struggles/sin. Consider how these events have contributed to shaping you today.
Day 5: John 20:24-31. What does verse 31 say? Those who believe that Jesus is the Christ may have what? Life! Having life means having joy, peace, purpose, love, healing. Remember last Easter service at LSCC. Several people walked across the stage holding pieces of cardboard. One side gave words of pain, regret, loneliness, or sin. The other side revealed healing, gratitude, inward change, life! Having authentic faith in Jesus changes us. Reflect on how Jesus has worked in your life this year. How will that impact 2018 – your relationships, your career, your heart? Now think of how these changes will affect the next 10 years and those around you. This is how legacies are formed. Take time to thank and praise Him. Jesus is working in you and through you to reveal Himself to those around you.