Many of us are people of routine and creatures of habit with well-worn ways of doing things. Hitting the snooze button, rubbing sleep from our eyes, getting washed, getting dressed, eating breakfast and tackling the commute are often all done with little thought. The routines are so regular that they have become habits ingrained into the very fabric of our lives.
If we have regular routines for the rest of our lives, are we also developing routines in our spiritual lives? Daily routines of pausing and listening for the words of God in busy days and full lives? Rhythms that are so regular, they’re also ingrained into the fabric of our lives? If not, perhaps New Year provides the opportunity for a change to our routines?
For the last two years, PCI has been producing and sharing daily devotions called TIDES. Each aims to resource and stimulate daily rhythms of devotions through a simple email popping into people’s inboxes first thing each morning with a passage to read, some thoughts to reflect on and some ways to respond. Almost 3,000 people from right across the Presbyterian Church in Ireland subscribe to TIDES and for many it has become part of their daily devotional rhythm.
I have been talking to people who have made TIDES part of their daily devotional routine and how it is impacting their spiritual lives – only I have left it up to them to tell you in their own words:
Jeff Gawn – elder / Enniskillen Presbyterian
As an elder in Enniskillen Presbyterian I have found TIDES a helpful option to read as part of my visitation of church members. As I share with them one of the devotions that has challenged me that day or week, my prayer is that God speaks to them too, but it also allows me to model something they themselves can use.
My longing is to see each member of our church grow and mature as a disciple of Jesus so TIDES has given me a way of leaving something that will help them to do this. Generally I have shared about TIDES, how it works and how it is available and often people haven’t heard of it yet and are keen to sign up. A few have even given me their phone or tablet there and then and asked for me to sign them up. I think it is a great resource to encourage people to meet with God through His Word and also to hear helpful thoughts from many voices across PCI who contribute to it.
Stephanie Houston – young adult / Muckamore Presbyterian
TIDES has been a game changer for my quiet time.
I was always a ‘last thing before’ bed type of person, but TIDES has shaken this up for me. My schedule is pretty hectic so having a devotion sent to my email is so useful and accessible for me to use in the morning, wherever I am, so that I can start the day off with God and have Him as my focus throughout the day by reading, reflecting and responding.
To have this all in one place helps me to stop flapping around and stop procrastinating in my quiet time. I have found it so helpful for focusing on what God has to teach me through His Word and encountering Him. TIDES has reminded me that discipleship is not limited. We should be salt and light for God through our everyday life and activities, and we never know who we are making an impact on by living in this way. This became so clear to me in January when reading TIDES on the train on my way to university. A woman joined me in reading this over my shoulder and by the end of the journey ended up subscribed to get TIDES emails for herself! This was everyday discipleship.
Andrew McCracken – young adult
Over the last year, I've performed all over the UK with two theatre companies that place the Christian faith at the centre of their work.
On the road, it can be hard to discipline yourself to slow down and sit in God's word. However, TIDES has been central to helping me develop a rhythm of daily devotion. On one occasion, as I was preparing to work in a prison setting, I read: “Every place they went they ministered. Light was breaking into darkness, hope into hopelessness, the majestic into the mundane.” In that moment, God spoke clearly to me. Reminding me of the call of the disciples – to share His love with all creation, regardless of the circumstances.
As 2018 continues to unfold, may you know God’s richest blessing, listening for His still quiet voice, waiting for His prompting and growing in His love as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
TIDES from Presbyterian Church in Ireland on Vimeo.
You can sign up to TIDES here.
Rick Hill is the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s Discipleship Development Officer.