Daily D – Luke 2:51-52
Howdy! Today we finish up our annual Bible reading plan and prepare for what’s next. I will use The Bible Recap by D-Group in the coming year. You can find it in the YouVersion Bible app. This provides a chronological approach to reading through the Bible in a year. Tara-Leigh Cobble also provides a daily podcast called The Bible Recap with insights from each day’s reading. These short episodes provide wonderful supplements and instruction.
I will also read daily in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and Psalms. The gospel accounts keep us focused on Jesus. Individual psalms empower us to express our love and our heartbreaks, our hopes and our fears to God. The Daily D (D = Devotional) will come from The Bible Recap readings, the Gospels, or Psalms.
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If you have suggestions on what could improve these devotionals, please let me know. You may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to thank Casey Lester, the world’s best Virtual Assistant, for creating the Daily D template and for making sure everything keeps working as it should. She also creates social media posts from these devotionals. You can see her work under my name on Twitter (@davidgbowman), Instagram (davidgbowman), and Facebook (David G Bowman).
The Daily D began as a devotional for our family. It has grown organically as family members and friends have shared it with others. I was convicted years ago regarding the importance of passing along to my family what God was saying to me each day. This has created a diary or journal of my walk with God. The simple invitation is to walk with me as I walk with him. We will seek to know him better day by day together. We will learn, grow, and live what we hear him say. This is the Great Adventure!
Luke 2:51, 52 Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them. His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people. (CSB)
One of my coworkers and I were certified some years ago in the Paterson Center’s LifePlan process. We were given an acrostic to help individuals take stock of where they stand in four big areas of life. The acrostic is PIES. Most folks like the sound of this!
P stands for Physical – On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best, where is your physical capacity today?
I stands for Intellectual – On the same scale, how would you measure your intellectual capacity today?
E stands for Emotional – Again, on the same scale, how would you measure your emotional stability and security today?
S stands for Spiritual – How would you measure your spiritual development today?
We were teaching this tool to a group of leadership coaching students one day and one of the cohort members said we needed to add a fifth area for reflection and it is R for Relational. He felt strongly about the need to assess relationship strength and stability in this evaluation.
We also added finances as a category. If you are playing along at home, you notice how we have gone from PIES to PIERS and more. To preserve the acrostic mnemonic, we have shifted the letters to SPIRE$ with a dollar sign to represent finances, or ASPIRE using an A for Assets. Assets can include more than money.
If we add another letter or symbol, we will have an evaluative tool more complex than necessary for our purpose. Whether you prefer SPIRE$ or ASPIRE, pick one and take an inventory of your life today. Use this as a snapshot of where you stand as you prepare for the New Year.
How are you doing Spiritually today? How is your walk with God? Are you making time in your schedule to read the Bible and hear his words of truth and life day by day? Do you attend a church that faithfully teaches from the Bible and makes disciples who make disciples who are positive change agents in every domain of community life?
How are you doing Physically? How many days each week are you exercising for at least thirty minutes? How much do you weigh and how much should you weigh? What steps will you take day by day to bulk up or to slim down? Who can join you on your daily walks or trips to the gym?
How are you doing Intellectually? How many books do you plan to read this year? What monthly learning goals do you have? What are your daily habits in pursuing knowledge and truth?
How are you doing Emotionally? Are you stable and secure? Are you trending toward becoming more emotionally intelligent? Are you able to choose the right emotional response in each situation?
How are you doing Relationally? How are your dearest relationships with family and close friends? How are your work relationships? How do you relate to those you meet along the way day by day? What would these people say if we asked them?
How are you doing Financially? Are you doing the kind of work or learning to make it possible for you to earn all you can, give all you can, save all you can, and make wise financial decisions regarding investments and expenditures?
Aren’t you glad we are not telling our answers to the group?
Your answers provide a snapshot of this moment in time. Here on the last day of the year, take stock of where you stand. Where do you want to stand ninety days from now? Forget about making resolutions a year in duration. Most people abandon those by the first week of February.
Instead, let’s set more realistic and achievable goals for the first three months of the year. Then we can reassess our progress at the end of March and prepare for the next three months. This pattern provides many more successful outcomes than annual resolutions.
Use your areas of strength to help you achieve success in your areas of weakness. For example, if you earn enough to pay for a gym membership and you also need to add physical capacity, join the gym and decide what four days you will go each week and who you will invite to go with you for enjoyment and accountability.
What if you only reach eighty percent success toward one of your goals? Congratulations! This puts you one-hundred percent ahead of where you would have been otherwise. How will you appropriately celebrate your individual goals? It is important to have a reward in mind when you are sweating to the oldies.
Limit your goals to four for each ninety days. It is hard to focus on more than that and harder to accomplish that many goals. Make each goal a SMART goal. (Look it up. You will be glad you did if you do not already know this acrostic.)
Go back to verse 52 above. You will notice Luke’s report of Jesus’ progress. The snapshot he provides is quite similar to the snapshot you are developing of your own life. Notice also in this story how Jesus knew who his Heavenly Father was and how he was also obedient to his earthly parents. You and I grow in God’s grace when we honor God and serve others.
I will take a snapshot of where I am today so that I can plan with Jesus what I will do and what I will become in this next season of life.
Our Father, please empower me to live a life that honors you and serves others. Bless me with increasing capacities for walking with you, for gaining physical health, for developing knowledge and wisdom, for enjoying healthy and wholesome relationships, for living with increasing emotional intelligence, and for earning all I can so that I can give all I can and so I will not burden others with my needs. Bless me as I plan. Bless me as I execute these plans day by day. Bless me in becoming who you always dreamed I would be. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.
Psalm 52:8, 9 ”But I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done. In the presence of your faithful people, I will put my hope in your name, for it is good.“