This is my favorite time of year! I LOVE fall! Everything about it! I love the crisp air, the cool temps, the gorgeous colors, the clear skies, the pumpkins and mums, the harvest parties with bonfires, roasted marshmallows, and steaming mugs of hot cocoa. I love the stunning sunsets and frosty mornings. I love fall.
I was born in the “Giving-Thanks” month, so for me, fall is always a time of reflecting and anticipating what’s ahead. I take stock of the past year and prepare for the next by asking God to confirm what spiritual focus He wants me to have for the coming year.
On Friday’s post I’ll be sharing with you some of the practical ways I tackle this.
Every year, God lays on my heart the exact topic that He knows I’ll need to dive into for that year. (I love that He’s not only omniscient, but He’s also a gracious teacher!)
In 2005 my focus was cultivating “purity of heart” (Matt. 5:8), and believe me I realized how much I needed a purified heart because that year was filled with refining! As I prepared for 2008 God made it clear “trust” was to be my study focus and that it would be a year of taking faith to a deeper level. That certainly held to be true—I faced the threat of cancer three times that year.
2012 was rich. I loved the study He took me through on “Knowing God.” The verse He used to confirm that as my topic of study for the year was Hosea 6:3:
“Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”
That year I enjoyed slowly re-reading J.I. Packer’s classic, looking up the Scripture references and really soaking up the content. Any yearly study focus should ultimately result in knowing God more: digging into His Word, studying His character, thinking about the ways He’s revealed Himself to us, recognizing the ways He’s worked in the past and is now working.
My study of knowing God led me to a study of the Trinity.
I loved working my way through Delighting in the Trinity, by Michael Reeves. Tim Challies has a helpful book review here. (I’ve returned to “Delighting” often since my initial reading and highly recommend it.) The book served as my bridge from 2012 to 2013’s new spiritual focus. I slowly read the book and mulled over each Scripture reference and jotted down my thoughts in my journal.
This year I’ve studied the ministry of the Holy Spirit and will share some about that in tomorrow’s post.
Today, I’m inviting you to join me in a season of seeking God about what area of spiritual focus He has for you in 2014.
We’ve only got a couple of months so it’s not too soon to start asking.
A few questions you might consider as you seek Him for confirmation:
♥ Is there a passage or book in Scripture that He keeps bringing to mind?
♥ Is there a fruit of the Spirit that you are recognizing you’re in desperate NEED of cultivating?
♥ Is there a topic that keeps surfacing in conversation with others or in your reading that He might be putting before you for study?
♥ Is there a character trait of God that you’re curious or drawn to know more about?
Here are a few suggestions of topics for study:
♥ The life of Jesus through a parallel study of the gospels
♥ The ministry of the Holy Spirit
♥ Spiritual Adoption
♥ The Atonement
♥ The Gospel
The list of topics is endless really because there is no “bottom” when you start plumbing the depths of Scripture!
[box]Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33–36)[/box]
I hope you’ll leave a comment and share with me what your focus of study for 2014 will be!
Will you join me?