I'm somewhat of a devotional book connoisseur. I love the brief but rich wisdom that they include with achievable action points and prayers to incorporate. I'm always researching what's new on the market and looking for vintage finds that I've never read before. I'm a huge fan of the "Sacred" series by Gary Thomas-- Sacred Marriage, Sacred Parenting, Sacred Pathways. I also love the options produced by Daily Grace Co. like "Amen | From Eden to Eternity," "It is Well | Anxiety Study," and "Delight: Psalms 1-30." "Flourish" is a beautiful devotional with gardening analogies-- it's even on my 'Favorites Page!' Embraced is a good, starter level devo by Lisa TerKeurst and Beholding and Becoming has the most beautiful words and art by Ruth Chou Simons. Ancient books like The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence in the 1600's are also incredibly formational. I'm currently reading The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by the late Timothy Keller, one of my spiritual heroes.
This list is just a quick highlight reel of the devotionals that exist and I know even more are waiting for me to discover them! This healthy obsession started in the 90's when I first received Jesus Freaks by D.C. Talk and Voice of the Martyrs and I know it will last a lifetime!
In fact, I recently realized that this unflagging interest was indicating a passion of my own, that I secretly felt called to write devotionals, as well.
I began with well-written spiritual tidbits for Instagram. The bar to entry felt low and achievable. If no one read them, at least I was getting practice. I began to receive encouragement from my community there to expound further. I decided I would dive into the blog world and launched this lovely space in 2020. I wrote a brief devotional about 'Waiting' with a group of girls that I mentored. But a whole book? A series of cohesive entries? Daunting to be sure.
I've felt inspired to begin a devotional writing project for almost two years now, but always found an excuse to delay. This autumn, our church will be doing a sermon series in the book of John and my husband challenged me to compile 21 entries with various authors about every chapter in the Gospel of John. There's nothing like a legitimate deadline to motivate you!! I signed up to be editor as well as fellow writer. And I'm so thrilled to announce we have gotten this beautiful dream over the finish line!
What have you been delaying out of apathy, insecurity or excuses about time?
What we value most, we will make space for! Whatever your secret project, start today!! You are ready. You are equipped. The Lord will help you as you go.
I'm excited to include a sample of our secret John project here on my blog! It's an entry I wrote about John chapter two. Consider it just a taste of 20 more to come! Let me know what you think in the comments below! Or tell me about a "secret project" that I can stand in prayer with you over! And be sure to join us at Element Church this Fall to read the entire compilation of "He is the Pen, We are the Prose."
JOHN 2 The Power of an Invitation --Tara Hannon
“Nothing is more irritating than not being invited to a party you wouldn’t be seen dead at.” —Bill Vaughan
“The more fully we invite God in, the less we will feel uninvited by others.”
Jesus was also invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” … This the first of his miracles, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. John 2:2-5,11
Everyone loves an invite. A text for Friday night, an Evite dancing in your inbox, some shiny card-stock in the mail. It’s thrilling to get a fancy envelope with your name boldly scrawled out in ornate font for all to see. You were thought of. You were wanted. You were included. You’re the right type of guest for this venue with the proper levels of connection, friendship, influence or importance, deemed worthy of a seat at the table by your hosts. And yet rarely does our presence at a party change the trajectory of history and alter every life present just because we rang the doorbell. Rarely do our grocery store daisies and cheap wine bring eternal hope, heart change and healing to our hosts.
But Jesus is the guest that should be on every list. He always brings His best. He comes with the full weight of Heaven behind Him. He comes in humility and graciousness, laughing quietly and sitting against the wall, demure, unassuming and yet ever ready to do a miracle that will change your life. He shows up with New Wine. If Jesus is in attendance, it doesn’t matter who else shows up. Conversely, the sting of being uninvited by man grows increasingly dull as you go deeper into the party of God.
At the Wedding at Cana, notice who was invited into the first of Christ’s many miracles: Jesus’ own mother, Mary, and the banquet servants. Miracles are for the highly honored and the lowest in the room. His power is available for us all. Notice also the four strata of people that were involved in this dramatic display of his power: Some asked for the miracle, some were the conduits for the miracle, some saw the miracle and some missed the miracle. Who will you be when Jesus shows up with compassion and fire in His eyes? What miracles have happened right in front of you that you haven’t noticed or acknowledged?
Let’s be a people that asks for and ushers in and sees and rejoices over miracles!!
1. Journal about a miraculous intervention you know the Lord orchestrated for you.
2. Pray about an “impossible” situation you or a loved one is facing right now while listening to “New Wine” by Hillsong Worship 2018. Invite Jesus into this challenge. Ask the Father to give you a new wineskin and expand your capacity to believe. Expect a miracle and be watching for Jesus to knock on the door with new wine. We are often asked to be participants in the miracles God wants to perform. Emulate the servants at the wedding at Cana and DO WHATEVER HE SAYS.
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