*updated for 2019
I’m typically one of those die-hard “don’t celebrate Christmas until after Thanksgiving” kind of people. And, while I’m still holding out this year, I do find it’s getting harder! It probably has to do with the fact that stores were displaying Christmas items in SEPTEMBER this year. What? Or maybe it’s the fact that I have a little fella whose excitement is contagious!
Even if you’re a holdout, like me, you’ve probably started thinking (or will soon) about gifts for those special people on your list. Why not consider getting something that will help nurture their intimacy with Jesus? What could be better?!
I’ve used all of these resources listed below (with one exception, which I’ve noted) at various times and have benefited from them all. Maybe someone on your list could too!
As a reminder, I have an affiliate program with Amazon. Which means that they pay me a small percentage of anything purchased through a link from my site to theirs. The price for you is not affected at all. So, basically, I can earn a small amount by simply doing the work of linking you directly to great products and shortening your shopping time. Win, win!
This book had a tremendous impact on me when I first read it about 10 years ago. So much so, that I read through it at the end of every year to prayerfully reflect on life and what is really driving me.
It profoundly explores the ways we can inadvertently focus on externals (goals, serving, success, natural gifts) at the expense of developing and strengthening our inner world. Our outer world is not able or meant to sustain us. Only our inner world, our intimacy with Jesus, can do that.
Practical ideas are included throughout to help you know HOW to strengthen your inner world. Topics covered include setting priorities, use of time, rest, journaling, listening and more. A study guide can also be found in the back of the book to allow for personal reflection.
It might seem a bit presumptuous to give a book like this to someone. But I wish I had it earlier than even 10 years ago. God used it to lead me from being driven and focused on externals to strengthening my inner world and it has made all the difference in my life.
Or you could gift it to yourself this year. I know some people who do that!
The tagline of this book describes its message better than I could.
An invitation to the dance of intimacy with Christ. One exhilarating, ennobling, uncertain step at a time.
Ken Gire uses the picture of a dance to illustrate the delight God has for us and His desire to be close to us in spite of ourselves. Everything we do – going to church, being in ministry, leading a family, studying theology, reading the Bible, sharing the Gospel – should cause us to fall in love with Jesus. If other things happen along the way, great. But this is the primary goal and the change that we should long to see in our hearts and lives. Ken Gire masterfully describes what an intimate relationship with God is meant to look like.
Enjoying the Presence of God: Discovering Intimacy with God in the Daily Rhythms of Life
I’ve read several books by this author and this might just be my favorite. Each chapter explores a different way to engage with God throughout the day and simply enjoy his presence in the midst of the mundane. The chapters stand alone making it perfect to pick up, read a chapter, spend time practicing the idea, and then move on to another.
AND, if you have access to HOOPLA through your library system, you can borrow it for yourself for FREE!
Journaling is a great way to learn to listen to God and explore what is going on deep inside of you. Sometimes all you need is a new journal with fresh empty pages just waiting to be filled to get you started on this journey. I LOVE this particular journal style. They are great quality, small enough to carry around, lay open well and have a strap to keep the cover closed.
This is one of the gifts that I haven’t actually used, but I think it could be helpful. There are many variations of these Bibles available right now which is why I’m not including a direct link. There are some that have wider margins and lines down each side to write notes, musings, prayers, etc. There are some coloring journal Bibles that have designs included as well as space to write. I think these coloring pictures could work well alongside the practice of biblical meditation.
So, decide what type would suit the person you’re shopping for, their preferred version of the Bible and see what comes up in an online search!
This is by far my favorite devotional EVER. If you’re not familiar with the practice of Lectio Divina, it’s an ancient practice of reading the Scriptures. You take a portion of Scripture and then READ it, THINK about what God is saying to you, PRAY in response and then LIVE out its truth practically. While this practice can be done with only a Bible and Scripture, this devotional is a great way to get started.
There are 365 devotionals. I never complete it all in one year! Some weeks I’ll sit with a single passage for the entire week. This method of interacting with Scripture is slow. It’s designed for you to learn to listen to what God wants to say to you in the context of your actual life right now. Each day includes the Scripture to read, instructions on how to read it, questions to think about, prayer prompters and questions to make you think of practical life implications.
My favorite thing about this devotional is that it leads you to think about Scripture and listen to God on your own. You’re not reading someone else’s meditations on Scripture, you’re learning to do it yourself! This devotional is available in several Scripture versions, so choose your preferred version to gift.
Coupon for a Day Away
This sounds delightful to me right now and it probably would to someone else on your gift list too! What if you made it possible for someone to get away by themselves for a Day Apart with Jesus? The logistics of making it happen will depend on the person. You might
- Offer to watch their kids for the day so they can steal away
- Let them come to your home so they can enjoy a quiet, distraction-free environment (Because who can easily ignore the laundry and dishes when they’re at home?!)
- Get them a hotel room or a cabin rental at a KOA for an evening
Whatever it takes to free them up and provide a space for them to be quiet. The goal is simply to allow them time and space to breathe and listen and do something that nourishes their soul while delighting in their relationship with Jesus. What they actually do will look different from person to person but in the midst of the hectic holiday season, this could be an important time to quiet and nourish their soul.
Now this one will be as diverse as the individuals for whom you are buying, and could actually be what you get for EVERYONE on your list. Talk about easy shopping!
I love having scripture displayed around me. Especially Scripture that has been meaningful in the past or is an anchor for my soul during a particular season of life. Having Scripture displayed can be a way to practice biblical meditation during times when you need a mental break or need to calm the chaos in your soul. What better reminder to Pause & Think than to have a passage on visual display around you! (Check out How Can I Practice Biblical Meditation? to learn more about how to do this!)
The key here is to think about what truth will be an encouragement to the individual in the season of life that they are in. Or, in the case of a child, what Scripture you want to be implanted in their minds and hearts as they grow.
Below are some of my favorites from Amazon. Or you can follow this link to browse all their Scripture art. Know the verse you’re looking for? Type that into the search box to find multiple variations. Etsy.com also has some sellers offering great Scripture art. I have purchased digital files before and then printed them on wrapped canvas for gifts.
I got this devotional for my son almost two years ago. It is his current favorite devotional and regularly asks to read his “Bible”! The great thing is that this devotional uses the actual Scripture text (from The Message paraphrase), so it really is closer to being a Bible than a devotional!
What I love most about this is that it incorporates the Lectio Divina method of Scripture reading at a child’s level. What a great foundation to lay! It has actual Scripture text alongside colorful illustrations and then interjects questions and thoughts to help them think, pray and live. What a great tool to teach children to learn to listen to God through Scripture.
I would HIGHLY recommend it!
The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name
The Jesus Storybook Bible Deluxe Edition: With CDs
This is my all-time favorite kids Bible storybook. Sally Lloyd-Jones magnificently captures the heart of the gospel throughout the key stories of both the Old and New Testament. She accurately captures God’s heart of love, pursuit, and grace in the way that He relates to us. And the biblical theme of redemption is so clearly shown as “every story whispers His name.” You won’t be disappointed.
You can also get the deluxe version which comes with audio CDs of the stories. I don’t have the CDs to know the style, but hope to add them to our library sometime!
And, again, if you have HOOPLA you can borrow the ebook or audio book and use it in your home for FREE!
These devotionals are designed to help children practice developing an intimate relationship with God. Each day ends with an activity designed to help them interact with Jesus. As they go through each book they will learn to listen to Jesus, talk to Him with simple words from their heart and enjoy spending time with him!
Here’s what one dad had to say,
This is FANTASTIC! I quickly purchased the God Is My Creator devotional when it became available and LOVE IT! I’ve seen lots of children’s devotionals and even helped write some of them so I tend to be a bit of a devotional snob. These devo books are some of the best I’ve ever seen! I use the ideas from them for my kids, but they also help me process Scripture for myself which helps me in turn teach these concepts to kids at home, at church, and in Good News Club. Great stuff here folks!
Well, that wraps up the ideas. Hope you found something that looks like a good fit for someone on your list. Happy shopping!
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