How Is It With Your Soul

Worship with Grace Des Moines UMC

Covenant Service at Grace Des Moines

Posted by GraceDesMoines on Sunday, January 9, 2022

January 10 – 15, 2022

Click on the day to expand the guide.

Monday, January 10

Read – Philippians 4:4-9

Notice – In our reading today, the Greek phrase, “focus your thoughts” (verse 8) means more than keep in mind or think about from time to time. Focus your thoughts means to reflect carefully upon these things, ” all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise” so that they can shape your thoughts and conduct. How can you improve your relationships by focusing mainly on the good in those you know best?

Pray – Jesus, teach me how to think your thoughts. Guide me into a thought life obsessed, not with fear, anger or ugliness, but with all that is excellent and admirable. Amen.

Tuesday, January 11

Read – Luke 12:22-32

Notice – “Don’t be afraid” was a common Bible command, and one of the hardest to follow. This New Year, we tend to worry, whether about cars that wear out, bills we need to pay, small questions like “What’s for lunch?” or big problems like ongoing Covid disruptions. Our culture says, “Stand on your own two feet.” “Little flock” has a different ring: “The flock can also be an image of vulnerability. Thus we find the disciples called a ‘little flock’ that needs to be commanded to ‘fear not’ (Lk 12:32)….the flock is an apt picture of the combined people of God under his care.” * How easy or hard is it for you to trust God’s care for you more than your own efforts? Are you okay with being one of God’s “flock,” not just a free-standing individual?

Pray – Jesus, you called yourself the good Shepherd, willing even to give your life for your flock. I thank you for your tender care for me, both now and in eternity. Amen.

  • Article “Flock” in Leland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit and Tremper Longman III, general editors, Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998, p. 293.
Wednesday, January 12

Read – Psalm 6:2-6

Notice – Be honest. Have you ever felt disconnected from God? Have you ever sat down to pray and said to yourself “Nothing. I’ve got nothing to say here!” In these moments, it helps to have a practice of prayer like the examen. Have you been practicing the examen this week? If you haven’t, today is a great day to try it! Learn more about the examen practice of prayer here or here.

Pray – God, help me to rest in your presence and become aware of you throughout my day, especially on the days when I feel disconnected from you. Amen.

 

Thursday, January 13

Read –  Luke 18:9-14

Notice – Most people thought tax collectors were among the last people you’d ever find in God’s Kingdom. Jesus said there was more value in a tax collector’s humble faith (“struck his chest” was a gesture of sorrow) than in a Pharisee’s spiritual ego. Which character in this parable are you more often like: the Pharisee, looking down on others with disgust, or the tax collector, feeling a deep inner sense of need for grace? How can God’s love and grace help you maintain a healthy awareness of spiritual need, yet avoid contempt either for others or for yourself?

Pray – God, I come before you with confidence not because of my own goodness but yours. Help me live confident of your grace, but never arrogant about my goodness. Amen.

Friday, January 14

Read – Exodus 2:8-11

Notice – The Sabbath is a time to change our focus and prayer is one way of directing that focus toward God in rest and reflection. Here are some prayer practices that might help you in your Sabbath time. Often we think of the Sabbath as Saturday but officially it begins on Friday at sunset. How can you find Sabbath rest tonight? Will you go on a walk? Pray the examen? Share a meal with family or friends? Even if your work isn’t done, let it be done for the night and focus your thoughts and actions in God’s grace and the love that God is.

Pray – God, help me to not only remember the Sabbath and keep it holy, but to rest in the Sabbath as I cherish the holiness that is within me and all around me. Amen.

Saturday, January 15

Read –  Luke 2:39-40

Notice – In verse 40 (and expanded on a bit in verse 52 if you want to read more), we read that Jesus grew mentally, physically, and spiritually during his years in Nazareth. In which of these areas did you experience the most growth during 2021? Ask God for wisdom and courage as you fill out your plans to continue growing in 2022.

Pray – Jesus, I’m thankful for your presence in my life, for the fruit you are bearing in me. Please continue to guide and empower me so I can choose a life with you that is worth living. Amen.

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