A New Year
It’s no surprise that the beginning of a new year brings opportunities for a “fresh start.” Every January, I see dozens of new people come to the gym where I exercise. Many of them have made a resolution to lose weight or get fit in the new year. Many of them are also gone by the end of January. That’s not a problem with resolutions; it’s a problem with our resolution. Are we really committed to the changes we want to make, or are we just caught up in the excitement and hope?
I fear the same phenomenon is true in the spiritual realm. People begin the year with a commitment to read Scripture more, attend worship more frequently, or get more involved in the life of their church. Those are all lofty aspirations – but without an intentional plan to implement them, like the new folks at the gym, they’re gone by February.
So what can we do?
Daily Reflection on Scripture
My blog primarily consists of my reflections on daily Scripture readings. Several years ago, I was introduced to a method of reading and reflecting on Scripture designed to make Scripture more of a central part of my relationship with God. (If you’re interested in the specifics of that method, I recommend the book Divine Mentorby Wayne Cordeiro.) Each day, I read a portion of the Bible pursuant to a schedule which takes me through the entire Bible over the course of a year. As I read, I ask, “What do you want me to learn from these passages, and what do you want me to do with it?” Those questions make up the “Observations” and “Applications” sections of my blog posts.
Keeping it fresh
Another practice which I have developed is to use a different translation of Scripture each year, to help avoid getting too familiar with a particular version. Rotating several versions helps maintain a freshness to the Scripture that helps me to really engage with the daily readings. Over the years, I have used the NIV, NLT, The Message, the ESV, the NRSV, and in 2022 the NASB. This year, I’m returning to the NLT, and I started today (January 1) with Genesis, chapters 1-2 and Luke, chapter 1. I generally don’t post reflections on Sundays, since my Sundays are pretty full already. I prefer not to take the extra time to edit and post my reflections on Sunday.
So why am I posting today? Because it’s the beginning of a new year, and I want to invite you to join me this year! If you have a “favorite” translation, feel free to use it; if not, use the NLT along with me. You don’t have to buy a new physical Bible if you don’t want to. You can use YouVersion (Bible.com), which is free and has many translations available, or you can purchase an e-version. I’m old enough that I prefer an actual print copy for my daily readings, but use whatever form is convenient for you. For your reflections, you can use a plain notebook, or a bound journal. I do my reflections digitally; I start each day with a blank Word template which I created for this purpose.
Join Me on “My Journey”
If you have any questions about this, please feel free to comment; I’ll reply as soon as possible. If you want to know more about the general format that I use, you can check older posts from my blog. Any of my daily reflection posts follow the pattern of Scripture-observation-application-prayer.
My blog is called “My Journey,” because it’s my record of my walk with Christ. It’s not theologically deep, nor would I claim that it’s entirely original. I try to cite particular sources when I can identify them; I also refer to writers or sources that have influenced me where appropriate.
I’d love to have you join me on this journey this year, and I’d also welcome the opportunity to interact with you about you reading and reflections. There are a couple of easy ways to receive notice of my posts. First, you can subscribe to the “General Christian” page here on Patheos. You’ll receive notice of my new posts, along with other bloggers on that page. If you prefer, you can contact me for an e-mail link to subscribe specifically to my posts.
My prayer is that, whether or not you join me this year, that you will grow in your faith journey in 2023!