I like the turn of a new year and one of my first steps is to renew my commitment to schedule time each day for personal study and prayer. This year I own a Kindle Fire HD and this wondrous tablet has become my go-to gadget to keep me organized and in touch. Rather than purchase devotional guides I have downloaded the free YouVersion Bible application, which offers the Bible in many languages and translations, note taking options, scores of study plans and devotions, live chat, background information and the ability to share what you’re studying and thinking should you want to do that using social medias.
This year I’ve decided to devote 30 minutes each day and I’ll read the entire New Testament as well as work through Rick Warren’s 2013 Daily Devotional. Warren is the head pastor of Saddleback Church and best known for his mega best-selling book, “The Purpose Driven Life.” He communicates clearly and challenges me in ways that keep me moving forward. I’m especially grateful for his ministry.
Warren’s opening devotion is both challenging and encouraging. He says that the next decade can be the greatest of our lives. We can be focused. We can impact our world in positive ways. We can experience deep connection with God and personal satisfaction beyond the easy distractions we tend to grab hold of in response to boredom or frustration or anguish.
The challenge? Determine your present position. Understand where you are to avoid running frantically toward every plan and scheme you’ll come across this year.
To assess where you are, this first week in 2013, you must ask yourself some key questions: Where am I spiritually? Financially? Emotionally? Relationally? Physically? Occupationally?
What would I like to change in each of these areas? What do I want to be different?
I have an idea what you’re thinking: This is overwhelming! Most of us have some real challenges in each of these areas.
Warren addresses these concerns with two illustrations.
First, God never stops working in our lives. As an illustration Warren points us to the life of Abraham. God promised Abraham that he would become the father of a great nation, yet he and his wife were childless for most of their lives and they developed serious doubts. Eventually, as senior adults, they were gifted with Isaac to their amazement and wonder. The take home for us? God does wondrous things at all stages of our lives.
Second, God will show us how to proceed once we personally understand our present position. Again, Warren points to Abraham. At one point Abraham looks at his grown son Isaac and sees he has not married and his concern grows. God had promised a great nation! He assesses his situation and he and his servant Eliezer work to find a wife for Isaac.
The great news? It is never too late to assess your life, ask God to guide you, and take brave steps. God wants us to have direction in 2013.