In my last post, I planted the seed about a “Spiritual Challenge” for this year. I shared how it is commonplace for us to consider implementing a health or physical discipline at the beginning of a New Year, yet we’re not as quick to challenge ourselves with a spiritual discipline. I mentioned that, as believers, we are out of balance when we focus much of our time and effort on our physical bodies and neglect our spirits/souls.
As promised, this is the first of two blog posts where I share ideas of ways we can challenge ourselves spiritually.
Attend Church Regularly – And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Heb. 10:25, NLT
Life is busy, isn’t it? Depending on the season of life you are in, there are countless demands on your time and energy. By the time Sunday morning rolls around, you’re tempted to catch up on sleep, chores, to-do lists, etc… Yet, there is nothing quite like gathering with sisters and brothers in Christ to worship God, hear from Him through His Word and encourage each other.
Any time you give to God, is time well spent. The amazing thing is, when you put God first by making time for church, God can multiply the time that is left over. Plus, you will be filled up and ready to face whatever comes your way the rest of the week.
If you are in a season, due to illness or other life circumstance that church attendance is not possible, I have been where you are and I understand. It is hard to want to desperately attend church and not be able to. If that is you right now, why not make it a point to tune in to a church service on-line each Sunday. You will find that the worship and teaching is an encouragement to you, and it will be almost like the real thing.
One Word/Phrase for the Year – Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prov. 16:24, NIV
A couple of years ago, I introduced the “One Word” concept to the leaders at Cheney Faith. The general idea is to ask God to give you one word to focus on for the entire year. To read more about this, type the following links into your web browser.
In a journal, write the following, to keep your “One Word” in mind:
My “One Word”:
Statements using my “One Word”:
Bible Verses that can encourage me with my “One Word”:
Reading the Bible – I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. Psalm 119:16, NIV
God’s Word is full of truth, encouragement, guidance and help. Yet, I know from personal experience, that it can be difficult to get into the habit of reading the Bible on a regular basis. I spent years of my life feeling frustrated and defeated in this area. In my desperation, I prayed for God to give me an insatiable thirst for His Word. An amazing thing happened, He answered my prayer! Now, there are not many things I love more than God’s Word. As Proverbs 4:22 says, it is “life and health to my whole body”!
Consider the following suggestions for regularly reading the Bible:
- Set aside time to read the Bible when you are at your best, with as few distractions as possible (put your cell phone on silent and place it out of sight).
- Begin by praying for the Holy Spirit to speak to you and for open ears and an open heart to hear from Him.
- Open your Bible and begin reading (see below for suggestions on what/where to read). When you come across a passage that seems like it was written just for you, stop and linger there.
- Interact with the verse somehow – underline it, re-read it, put the date by it, journal about it, etc. . .
- Close your Bible and ask God to help you open it again the next day.
How do I know where to read?
- Psalms and most of the New Testament (except Revelation) is a good place to start.
- Whatever the date is, read that chapter of Proverbs.
- Choose one book of the Bible or even one chapter in a particular book and continue reading it through several times.
- Read the portion of Scripture from that Sunday’s sermon, or what your small group is studying.
- On your smart phone, install a Bible app with a verse of the day or reading plan.
Do one of these suggestions resonate with you?
By Monday, I will be post three more suggestions that may spark your interest. In the meantime, why not take some time to prayerfully consider how the Lord would want you to grow in your relationship with Him this year. Don’t be surprised if He gives you an idea that is just right for your spiritual journey. He is a very real and personal God. He sees you. He knows you. He loves you.
Your Friend in Ministry,