Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways.
– Haggai 1:5
When the new year begins people feel as if they can turn over a new leaf. I am not sure where this tradition came from, but it has been reoccurring throughout my whole life. Each year people make up a list of things they desire to change in their lives. From weight loss, healthy eating, exercise, to positive attitudes, better jobs, wiser friend choices, and the list could go on and on.
Christians do the same as well or at least they should. While Christians could incorporate some of the “resolutions” from above, they should at the very least consider what needs to change in their spiritual lives. While it is convenient to resolve one’s self to change at the beginning of a new year, Scripture actually requires the Christian to examine his or her life daily to see if they are walking in the way of the Lord. So, the Christian could actually make resolutions any time of the year! But, as I said, it is convenient to make resolutions at the beginning of a new year, usually changes that we would like to see occur over a longer period of time.
With that said, I’d like to share some of my resolutions for 2018. I should explain the purpose of my resolutions before I actually list them. When I make resolutions at the beginning of any new year, especially the last few years, I have made it a point to ask one question of each of my resolutions: Will this help me glorify God and increase my enjoyment of Him? That is the purpose of each of my resolutions. So, if it passes the initial test at the beginning of the year then I strive to incorporate that into my life. Only time will tell if it really passes the test!
So, what are some things that I have resolved myself to doing this year?
1. Continue Prayer Journaling
Last year sometime, I shared a post about my My Prayer Time. Well, I took a break for half the year and desire to pick it back up again. If you are curious as to what I do during this process then you can click the link above. Otherwise, allow me to share just a brief summary of what I do during my prayer time.
First, I label my journals so that I can always go back and see what I prayed when and if that prayer has been answered. Plus, it motivates me to see how my prayers have changed!
Next, I come up with a plan to read 5 different passages of Scripture. Then, after reading one passage at a time, I think of someone to pray for and allow the passage I read to shape how I pray for the person. You can see if you squint, some examples in the two pictures above of how I go about doing this.
And that’s pretty much my prayer journaling! Easy, right?
2. Create My Own Study Bible
This project will take more than the year of 2018 to complete. I expect this project to take anywhere from 5 to 10 years to accomplish. What stirred me to make my own Study Bible was from looking at Jonathan Edwards’ Blank Bible. He cut out the pages of his Bible and put them on large sheets of paper so that he could write down longer, more readable notes. You can “google” his Blank Bible and see how big it is!
From the two pictures below you can see what my project has begun to look like. I am only on the first page of Genesis and am sure my process of note taking will mutate throughout this grand project.
The goal of this project is to have a better grasp of Scripture and to apply it to my life. I will attempt to do this project without the aid of another Study Bible, Cross-Referance Bible, and minimal use of commentaries.
3. Create a Sermon Outline Bible
This project will be much simpler than the one above! However, this could take much longer. The goal is to create sermon outlines for each passage I will ever preach and record the outline in the margins of a single Bible. Most preachers do not have the privilege of preaching from all 66 books of the Bible, so maybe this is an unrealistic goal. Regardless, I will attempt to do it anyway!
Here is a sample from my current series in Jonah. The first sermon outline was borrowed from a commentary because I loved the outline the author created so much, but I do not plan on that being a regular practice! And, in case you are wondering, I am using an ESV Single Column Journaling Bible for this project.
4. Memorize One Old Testament Book and One New Testament Book
For those of you who may remember, you might recall that I had posted about Scripture Memory awhile back. Well, my book of choice to memorize then was Jonah. As I am preaching through this book currently, I committed myself to memorizing the whole book. By God’s grace, I have finished my memory work for this book and can say that I can recite all 48 verses of Jonah without any aids. However, I am just beginning to preach from chapter 2 in Jonah so I will have to continue to keep it fresh in my mind.
So, I have committed myself to memorizing two more books of the Bible for 2018. One book will be from the Old Testament and the other shall be from the New. I have yet to figure out which ones. But, if you are curious as to how I memorize such large passages of Scripture you can click the link above. Also, if you look at the picture above you can see a stack of index cards with the title “Jonah Memory Cards”. That stack contains all 48 verses written out by hand so that I could commit Jonah to memory! The key to good memory work is consistency.
5. Miscellaneous Journal
I also am resolved this year to write more often in my own journal. This journal contains many of my random theological thoughts. Again, this idea is based on a method Jonathan Edwards used. I have no clue how many pages of journaling that man accumulated over his lifetime, but I know it helped him organize his thoughts at least and this is my goal as well.
Some examples of what I journal on range from the 2nd commandment to examining the validity of idiomatic phrases (sticks and stones may break my bones but word will never hurt me).
6. Read at Least 26 Books
As I posted yesterday, I am committing myself to reading 40 books in 2018. You can see those here: A Year Committed to Reading. Last year I read somewhere between 20 and 30 books. So, this year I would like to read at least 26 books from my list of 40. However, my goal is to complete all 40!
As you can tell, I have my work cut out for me this year, but by God’s grace, I hope to work towards accomplishing these resolutions even if they take more than the year of 2018.
What are your resolutions? Are they resolutions that you can accomplish in 2018 or will they require more time? Feel free to share!