(If you want to do this Challenge in order, start in January! It’s where the introduction is.)
1. Ask God to help you find a new “verse of the month” and a new “word of the month.” Post it where you can see it. And ask Him to help you apply it. (And/or ask Him if there is any task/challenge He wants to give you this month.)
2. Pick two or three new people to pray for this month. Write their names down, pray for them daily, and ask God if there is anything specific you should pray for about them.
3. What are five things about winter you are thankful for?
4. Pick another item from your “nice things to do for others” list and find time to do it this month.
5. Ask God: “Is there any area of my life that You want to challenge me about? What do You want me to do about it?”
6. What five frivolous or simple things are you thankful for?
7. Spend at least 30 minutes away from all technology at least three times this week and do something peaceful and relaxing instead. Protect your “alone time” and your time with your family.
8. Ask God: “Where does “bringing You glory” and “drawing others to Christ” come in on my list of priorities? Is there anything I should do differently?”
9. Clean out old, broken toys and things as you get ready for new Christmas gifts.
10. Pick a verse you’ve always wanted to memorize. Now memorize it.
11. Ask God: “Am I chasing after anything when I should be chasing after a real relationship with You: recognition, money, security, praise, a particular answer, etc.? Once again, what are my heart idols? Am I overly focused on anything right now: finances, house, impressing others, a relationship, depression, pleasure, spiritual experiences, etc.? How do You want me to shift that focus? And in what ways am I seeking earthly pleasures over heaven’s treasures?”
12. What five people who serve you throughout the year are you thankful for? Hairdresser, mail carrier, your kid’s school teacher or Sunday School teacher, etc. (Remember to tip the people who serve you throughout the year, like your mail carrier, who braves heat and freezing cold to bring you your mail. A simple $10 gift card to somewhere lets them know they are appreciated.)
13. Make some cookies or a special treat this week and share it with the people you love.
14. Ask God: “Am I lazy in my spiritual disciplines? (Or have they become items on a To Do list instead of using them to draw nearer to You or get to know You better?) Am I comfortably living my nice, little life when I should be passionately pursuing You and seeking righteousness? How do You want me to change this?”
15. What five sweet or sour things are you thankful for? Five spicy or savory things?
16. Choose from your “nice things to do for yourself” list. And do it soon.
17. Ask God: “Where in my heart or life do I need more joy, peace, or patience? How can I do this? (Lord, replace my discontentment with Your joy. I give You my unrest now and ask You to fill that area with Your peace. And slow me down and help me to rest in Your goodness and timing.)”
18. What are five things you don’t want to be thankful for but know you should be because you know that God has His reasons for allowing them into your life? Thank God for them now and tell Him you trust Him with them.
19. Donate some money to charity or some food to the food pantry. Or donate a box of things you don’t use anymore.
20. Micah 6:8: “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Ask God: “How can I apply this verse to my life?”
21. What are five things about Christmas/the holidays that you are thankful for?
22. Turn off the phone and the lights, leave the Christmas lights on, make a cup of cocoa or tea, and just enjoy the silence for a while.
23. Ask God: “When do I feel the closest to You? And how can I add more of that to my day?”
24. What five things are you most thankful for right now?
25. Enjoy your Christmas!
26. Ask God: “Is there any part of my heart/life/past that I have not opened up to You? And what doubts, fears, misconceptions, sins, discouragements, etc., do You want me to lay down at Your feet right now? What are some unanswered questions that I am currently struggling with? Lord, help me see it through Your eyes.”
27. What five things about a “new year” are you thankful for?
28. Next time you stand in line somewhere, pick a person around you to pray for. And ask God what He wants you to pray.
29. Ask God: “Is there something that You want me to do with my life? Something You want me to focus on more?”
30. What are the top five things from this past year that you are thankful for?
31. What was the best thing that you did or accomplished this past year? What one thing would you like to do differently or accomplish next year?
In your life, what has God challenged you about? What kinds of things have you chased after? Any heart idols? And what sweet, sour, spicy, or savory things are you thankful for? (I’m thinking cheesecake, rhubarb crisp with ice cream, Triscuit’s Cracked Pepper and Olive Oil crackers with cheddar cheese, and a nice filet mignon from a restaurant. It’s so much better when someone else cooks for you. Now, where does coffee come in? It’s got to be in there somewhere!)
Any other thoughts on anything that was covered this month or any other one? Did you do this challenge? If so, what affected you the most? And any suggestions to pass on to others?