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How to Get the Most Out of the January Devotionals
Here is how transformation and spiritual growth take place consistently and progressively in your life.
First, each week we launch the learning-growing process with the Sunday message. In that message we provide the stepping-stone Bible texts and ideas, as well as spiritual and practical application of what
the Bible teaches.
We encourage you to take notes on the sermon. It is easy to do this with the Living Word church app. Go to your phone app store and look for Living Word Community Church.
When you open the app, there is a hamburger icon on the upper left. Touch it and you will see a Notes option. Touch that and you can take notes during a sermon. The sermon gets us thinking and activating the word God has for us each week.
Next is this devotional guide. We have hard copies at church every Sunday and we provide
them on our website and church app. The app version also has short teaching videos on the Bible passages.
Change does not happen when you hear a sermon or even read the Bible. Change happens when you engage, wrestle with, and apply the Bible. Each devotional will help the message go deeper into your life and experience.
Each devotion has insights, reflection questions, and personal application suggestions as well. The more you do, the more you will grow.
Finally, as you gather in Life Groups or with a spiritual friend or two and talk through the sermon and the devotions even more growth happens. Sermon – Devotions – Groups! Together, this is how you will advance into spiritual maturity.
DAY 1 – Your Personal Mission
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” John 4:34
“Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.”—Michelangelo
Mission, vision, and purpose—three words with slightly different but overlapping meanings. Purpose is why you are here and what you are to do. Vision is you seeing a better future that will come into existence as you pursue your purpose. Mission is the way you frame what you will do about your vision. They are slightly different, but you can also use them as synonyms. If you like one more than the other, use that word.
Jesus had a mighty purpose. He came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). He came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). He came to die for the sins of the world so he could destroy the devil and save us. Jesus ordered his entire life around that mission. And that mission was clearly not self-determined, but it was discerned as the will of God for Jesus. “Father, not my will be done, but your will be done” (Luke 22:42).
You need a mission from God. It is why you exist and it is what you are to do. It will be the motivational energy that gets you out of bed and keeps you going through difficult times. The Bible uses the language of “calling.” After God calls you into relationship with himself (salvation) and into community with others (the church), he calls you to a purpose. You are a missional friend and servant of Jesus ( John 20:21).
If someone were to look carefully at your life, your priorities and commitments, your actions and
involvements over the last several years, how do you think they would define your purpose and mission? How you live before others tells them what is most important to you. Write down what you think they would say about your mission.
Now, what mission is God giving to you? What is a task and purpose worthy of your life? What do you most want to do with your time on earth?
DAY 2 – What You Do Matters Greatly
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
“The whole secret of a good life is to find out what one’s destiny is to do and to do it.” —Henry Ford
Self-image and self-esteem are important. How do you see yourself and how do you value and respect who you are? Do you see yourself and do you value yourself the way God does? What does Ephesians 2:10 say about your self-image and self-esteem?
This is not about being narcissistic or having an out-of-control ego. This is not saying you are the center of your world. But don’t go to the other extreme and put yourself down. Some people don’t know their worth and value. You matter a great deal to God and to others. You are wanted and you are needed! You are here to make a difference. You are here to add value to the world. You are here to be a creative contributor that makes life better for those around you.
What are some of the good works God has created for you to do? Reflect, pray, think, and discern your way through this question until you have some good perspective. If you can’t get that perspective, find good friends and talk it over together.
Now, who are the few people that God has placed in your life so you can do these good works? You are here for a purpose and you are here for some people. Purpose and people merge together.
God calls you his friend and his child and his love. God also says you are a servant, a partner, an ambassador, a messenger and an agent of his purposes in the world. That is a great way to live.
DAY 3 – You are Responsible and Accountable
So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Romans 14:12
This theme is important. Be sure to read Matthew 12:36, Matthew 25:14-30, and Hebrews 4:13 for more of the Bible’s teaching on accountability. The real question is not: What do I want from life? The real question is: What does life want from me? And the best question is: What does God want of me and my life?
Your life is precious. Life is short. Life is fragile and frail. Life is amazing. Every day is a gift. Every day is an opportunity. Every day goes by and enters the history books. You don’t get to do any day over. You only get the next day. All of Psalm 90 speaks to this, but especially verse 12: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
The biblical word is steward. You are a steward of all God has entrusted to you, and the most valuable thing God has entrusted to you is your life. A life is a terrible thing to waste.
Instead, grow as much as you can, as deep as you can, and as far as you can. Be a lifelong learner. Every month you want to be able to say, “I am more of who God wants me to be.” Grow in knowledge, grow in skills, grow in experience, grow in relationships. . . but GROW.
Every year it is worth discerning your up-to-date growth pathways. What will be most important for learning and growth in the new year? You grow best when you have a plan for growth. How will you grow? What resources do you need to grow? Who will help you grow?
You are responsible, you are powerful, and you are accountable to God for your growth. Living Word is here, partnering with God’s Spirit, to help you go and grow as far as you can.
DAY 4 – Your Legacy
“I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” Jesus, John 17:4
Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep . . . God testified concerning him, “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” Acts 13:36, 22
Legacy: endowment, bestowal, provision, gift, by-product, aftermath, result.
God wants you to have a GREAT legacy that will benefit many others after you are gone. Do you want to have a GREAT legacy?
What will you leave behind you when you are gone? What will you pay forward to those who come after you? What will we together (the church known as Living Word) leave for the next generation? Do you know we are all blessed right now because others invested in the future (in us)? What will you (and what will we) do to bless the next generation?
Be specific. Make a list. What will you leave behind for others? What resources? What financial gifts? What example and model? Have you started doing this? Where can you invest your resources so they grow and are available for God’s kingdom purposes?
What people will you mentor and train?
And what example will you leave behind about how to live a good and godly life?
This is always a good exercise. Write out your obituary and eulogy. What do you want people to say about how you blessed your corner of the world in the name of Jesus?
- Songs We Sing
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