So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – 2 Thessalonians 2:15- 17 (NIV)
It’s that time of each year when we consider what we’ve done in the year which is ending, what plans we might have for the new year, and how we want the new one to be different. But how well did we do this a year ago? If we execute our process the same way we did last year and it didn’t really happen in a definitive way, why would we want to use the same plan this year?
I’ve told myself many times that a relationship grows in direct proportion to how much time and effort I put into the relationship. And so the first “spiritual resolution” for 2016 must involve time with Jesus in prayer and study. You’d think that given my husband and the call on my own life to teach that this would be something that I am faithful to spend a good amount time. Before Henry and I got married, I had this vision of our married life in which we would have time every day to study together. Oh, I could see the glow around us as we sat at a table together and conversed about God’s Word! (Can I say, “Only in spiritual Disney World!”) It took me over an hour to get past and through all the distractions to sit down and focus in on reading, prayer and writing this! So, no, it isn’t easy in our home to keep prayer and study in the daily priorities as it should be! And just like physical exercise or any other good habit, if I “let it slide” one day, two days – before I know it, a week has gone by.
My sweet sister-in-law gave me a “Bible Promises” booklet as a Christmas gift this year. It’s simple – a verse for each day of the year. And it is now on my bedside table. It’s right there for me to pick up and read the verse and prayer for each day. That is my starting point. God is faithful. If I will take the step to read that one verse, He is faithful to bring me an entire thought, a lesson to ponder and consider for the day.
I am going to do better in 2016. Not because of my great plan but because I am taking a first step, a manageable step, and counting on Jesus and His Spirit to do the rest. He will. He’s already given me this step of encouragement, love and hope today.