Posted in Bible Study

Restart

January 1st often brings about resolutions and promises which the pessimistic side of me says are often broken before the end of January. The optimistic side though always looks forward to a new year because it feels like a new opportunity to restart. Maybe I’ve gotten slack on reading my Bible or maybe I’ve become lazy about getting some form of exercise. Maybe I just need a mental swipe to know that it’s an opportunity to make this year better.

God saw that the Israelites needed this sort of clean swipe. The Israelites weren’t living the life God intended for them to live, and Jeremiah spends his book mourning their behavior and pleading for change. In Jeremiah 25, God allows the Israelites to go into captivity by the Babylonians. I’m sure some of the Israelites were upset with God at this point, but God had a plan. This is exactly the sort of opportunity God was presenting to the Israelites in Jeremiah 29, but he didn’t just present the opportunity. God presented the opportunity with a promise.

In Jeremiah 29, Jeremiah sends a letter to the exiles in Babylon who were following God. He relays the words of God that basically tell them to keep heart. In the well-quoted verse eleven, God says, I have “plans to proper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future.” Later he adds that the people will seek him and find him when they seek him with all of their heart (vs. 13). In this, God is saying that he is giving the people a chance to restart. He allowed them to go into captivity as an opportunity to seek him with their full heart. Some of the Israelites needed that.

This set of verses gave me hope in a world and country that seems to be going topsy-turvy. Sometimes I wonder why Jesus hasn’t returned yet, but then I remember that he has promised that he will return. The Israelites probably wondered why he didn’t rescue them sooner, but he promised them 70 years in captivity. God hasn’t given us a specific time frame to be on this earth, but he has promised that he will return and that he has plan that is good. In the meantime, we must continue living out the commands he has given us. If you’ve gotten slack in keeping the commands or even in your relationship with God, take this fresh year as an opportunity to restart. God forgives any time of the year.

 

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

Posted in Bible Study

New Year’s Resolutions

I usually refrain from setting New Year’s Resolutions because it seems like a lot of hubbub over another day. I also fear failure. This year, though, has me thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2016. I know the year holds the potential for a lot of change within me; hopefully I’ll be starting a teaching career, which I know will grow me as a person. I want to go at this year the right way, growing with God, not against him. For that reason, my resolution is to follow this chronological Bible reading plan.

Reading Genesis 1-3 on January 1 got me thinking about beginnings. This is the account of the beginning of everything that I know, excluding God (he already existed). There was nothing except God before this as far as I know. Then God resolved to create. Of course, he didn’t fear failure because He’s God. He set out to do something, a project that would last for eternity. It was all good for a while, but we know that there were a few bumps in the road. They weren’t failures on God’s part though; similarly, even if there are bumps in my path toward my goal this year, it doesn’t automatically mean I’ve failed. Fear of failure shouldn’t be what holds me back from setting a goal, especially if it’s a goal to seek after God.

In addition, I have set a few smaller goals to accomplish this year.

-Get a teaching job.

-Love more.

-Live in the present.

-Keep a gratitude journal.

-Get a live Christmas tree at Christmas.

I also hope to make more posts on this blog about what I’m reading and watching. As a teaser, you should know I brought all of my books from my mom’s house to my apartment, so I will probably be looking back at some of my childhood favorites while I work on reading whatever it is I am currently reading.

For now, cheers!

Happy reading in 2016.