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Fall is the Time to Prepare!

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

♥     Thankfulness

♥     The Gospel

♥     Humility

♥    Prayer

♥     Faith

♥     Love

♥    Joy

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?

9 Comments

  • Darcie

    I was so encouraged when i first heard you speak on this. I never have asked God to show me a spiritual concept to pray over and search in Scripture over the year. That’s such an awesome avenue to travel down that I have asked Him to write on my heart what He wants me to do to in 2014 to align my life more with His ways. Its so amazing that the same God that numbers the stars, places them in the sky, and calls them by name, knows us so intimately that He “comprehends my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways” (Psalm 139:3).
    I am always in awe of how He makes time for each and every one one us to instruct us and lead us precisely. I will continue to be seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Thank you for this wonderful idea that will be a blessing!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Darcie ~

    I am so glad! Let me know what He leads you to study. I can’t wait to hear how He uses it in your life! I hope you’ll read Friday’s blog where I’ll give some practical help in doing this.

    Yes, it blows me away that the same God who named each star, knows my name and knows what I most need to learn right now (and He’s willing to teach me!!)

    Blessings friend ~

  • Vicki

    I have for some time now used the “time between the years” – the week between Christmas and New Years – to do something similar, although I think not nearly as specific. I would love to start earlier with you and see where God leads… Thanks for the encouragement to do that!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Vicki ~

    Let me know what God leads you to study next year. I also hope you’ll pass along any good books or resources you use for that. I’m excited about hearing how He uses the study in your life! I’m still asking . . . don’t have clear direction yet for 2014, but I’m thankful He knows what I need!

    Blessings, friend ~

  • Brenda

    What an excellent idea!

    I too do an annual thing with the Lord where I on one of the first days of the new year, drive to the beach with a lawn chair (I live in a warm climate!), go sit out on one of the jetties out in the water, and there give the new year to the Lord, praying over and giving to Him all the people/things He brings to mind. I love doing this; I know it pleases my heavenly Father, and He blesses me with such peace in His presence and in the offering of my life, my time, my efforts, etc. to Him. However, I have not thought to ask what He would specifically have me to study in the new year… what an excellent idea! There are already several things working in my mind… Thank you for sharing this; Lord willing, I plan to institute it immediately! I will be looking forward to tomorrow’s post…

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Oh, Brenda, that sounds lovely! Living where I do, I can’t imagine sitting in a lawn chair outside in January 🙂

    I hope you’ll let me know what area of spiritual focus the Lord leads you to study next year! I’m still asking about that, but I’ll post when I get clear direction.

    Blessings ~

  • Vicki

    Hi Kim,

    It really has not been hard to decide on a topic to dig into for this coming year. For a few years now I’ve had a steadily increasing burden for prayer. That burden has become rapidly greater over the past several weeks as I’ve been daily making my way through a thick book, “E.M. Bounds on Prayer.” Finally I think I’m beginning to “get it” – that prayer really does move the heart of God!! He has ordained that it does!

    Once I finish with E.M. Bounds, I have picked up three other books that I want to go through in 2014…”Prayer, the Great Adventure” by David Jeremiah; “Prayer, Does it Make any Difference?” by Philip Yancey; and “With Christ in the School of Prayer” by Andrew Murray.

    Any advice or encouragement that you can give in this area of prayer will be welcome!!

    “Lord, teach me to pray!”

    Have you figured out what direction you’re heading yet?

    Vicki