Light up your year with a devotional
It’s 2019 and a brand new year. With all of the expectation that we place on getting off to a good start with resolutions, hopes and aspirations, where does that same enthusiasm go as the days carry on? It can feel like fireworks. We shoot our hopes to the heavens and watch them illuminate in our hearts. Yet somehow the firework disperses and disappears before us and then what? What happens to that same celebratory and hopeful spirit on January 1st as the year progresses?
We need a light that is brighter than a firework and that lasts throughout the year, not just a quick, exuberant display before it dissipates into the night. That light is found in Jesus who came as a light into the world so that everyone who believes in him would not remain in darkness (John 12:46). In Psalm 119:105 it says ‘your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’ and this is the truth that we need to hold onto every day of the year. Daily readings that point to Christ are a great resource to celebrate and walk in that light.
Devotionals are like a friend holding up God’s Word to us and encouraging us to keep going each day. Every time I read a Christ-centred, truth-filled, hope-giving devotional, I am refreshed for a new day. I love a devotional that leaves me longing for more of the Word of God and goes alongside my own time in the Bible.
In 2018, I went through the Bible in One Year put together by Nicky and Pippa Gumbel. Each day I would read a devotional written by them and a selection of Bible verses. I really enjoyed and appreciated the insight that the devotional provided in helping me in my daily Bible reading.
This year I am reading Journey With Me a 365 daily devotional by Catherine Campbell. Catherine shares passages from scripture, personal stories, questions to reflect on, prayers and more which enable the reader to journey with her and the Lord every day. Taking time daily to think upon our life in the greater narrative of God’s story is a powerful, transforming way to propel us through the year.
Another devotional that I come back to time and again is Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening which is a great way to start and finish the day. Even though I love to start the day with a devotional reading, the day can sometimes leave me feeling worn out, frustrated and despondent - a far cry from all of the wonder found at the beginning of the year. Having a devotional to reflect upon at the end of the day can bring encouragement to the heart before getting much needed rest and carrying on into the next day.
I have recently read that the charity Open Doors, which helps persecuted Christians across the world, have a new Secret Church Devotional designed to engage in daily prayer and action for persecuted believers. With stories and quotes from persecuted Christians, prayer, bible readings and practical ways to respond, this devotional invites the reader into the secret network of helping those who suffer because of their faith in Christ. Even in the bleakest situations where life can seem like there is no way out, there is hope. By purchasing this devotional, a persecuted believer in North Korea receives a Bible as a gift; they experience the light and life found in knowing Christ - ‘the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’ (John 1:5).
Devotionals come in many shapes, sizes and styles but the unifying purpose of them all is to keep God’s truth at the centre. A daily reading can fix our eyes on Jesus and remind us where our hope comes from. The amazing truth is that we do not need to wait for the beginning of a new year to be refreshed and strengthened. Every day we can know that the Word of God will be a light that never goes out and we can begin each day with the same zeal we see in the New Year.
Ruth Clemence is an award-winning blogger and book reviewer.