Goodbye to 2020; plan to spend 2021 with this weekly devotional

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Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

2020 will go down in most people’s minds as a terrible year. The COVID pandemic disrupted everything. It took over 200,000 lives in the United States, shut down whole sectors of the economy, hospitalized hundreds of thousands more, it strained our healthcare system, and cost millions of Americans their jobs and homes. Some mayors and governors used the pandemic as an excuse to disrupt and cancel church services.

These tyrannical actions should not disrupt your personal faith journey in 2021 no matter what officials say and do. In fact, a new devotional makes it easy to start the year off with a purpose: to spend more time with Jesus, praying, and deepening your relationship with him.

The devotional is Spend a Year With Jesus: A Christian Devotional for 2021: Finding Jesus and a New Life, by Dr. Bruce Hartman. Dr. Hartman spent his career at the top of the corporate world and has authored numerous books including Your Faith Has Made You Well: A Radical New Way to Create Peace and Hope and Jesus & Co: Connecting the Lessons of the Gospel with Today’s Business World.

In Spend a Year With Jesus, Hartman organizes your year in 52 brief yet profound lessons on the life and teachings of Jesus. But this is no mere history lesson. Hartman opens with a simple question: Who is Jesus to you? He asks that you write out your answer in a few sentences of paragraphs, encouraging you to be totally honest. This answer will become the foundation as you spend a year learning more and refining it.

While many devotionals are daily readers, Spend a Year with Jesus is weekly. Hartman encourages you to read each week’s devotional verse and supporting text on Sunday and then answer the three questions following each. The questions are designed to probe you and your reaction to each devotional. As your days progress through the week, rather than moving on to a new topic each day, Spend a Year With Jesus invites you to go deeper, prayerfully and honestly, on the topic of the week.

No one knows what 2021 has in store. The pandemic shows little sign of slowing down Economic and personal uncertainties are sure to stay with us at New Year’s and beyond. For too many, the losses of 2020 are sure to linger and afflict in 2021.

Whatever the external circumstances, spending the year deepening your relationship with Jesus will help you find peace and power in the storms to come. Hartman’s invitation to Spend a Year With Jesus and find a new life in the process is not one that should be passed up.

Mark Anthony

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