A new-year start with sundry thoughts

Thoughts fly at the beginning of a new year, almost as fast as the time that brought it. Here are a few items on my personal radar that might encourage you or provide you with an idea or two.

¶ I mentioned January 1st that for 2018 I’d be reading Ed Mathews’s daily devotional work, “Plow New Ground.” It’s meaty in dealing with the text and brings powerful application to our walk with God. I hope to post a daily comment and focus question on my microblog. Come follow that or pop in on occasion to exchange some ideas.

¶ Ye olde mission statement is getting tweaked, and a new Bible verse for the year is in the process of being chosen. All that ought to get nailed down this week. In the meantime, read this short piece to be pondered frequently, “Daily Attitudes.”

¶ The Year of Love was 2017, and this one is the Year of the Holy Spirit. Attention will be given to him in choice of readings, teaching, preaching, and writing.

¶ It’s important to ask the right questions. On Wednesday nights, our group reading is focusing on questions that appear in the Bible. The first was, “Where are you?” God asked it of a couple in hiding, Genesis 3.9. A little print-out helped participants apply it to their own lives. Are we seeking God or running from him? Where are we in the process of drawing near to him? People were asked to mark on a chart where they were.

Hear Believe Repent Be immersed Be faithful Serve

¶ Somewhere, somebody wrote that now and again we ought to reinvent ourselves. I’m wondering what that might look like, applied to life in Christ. Work on new gifts? Change of spiritual habits, as far as how and when we read the Bible, or how we devote ourselves to prayer? I’m looking at moving my office from the location I’ve been at for 16 years. That’ll be a big change, for sure. But I’m not talking about a change of address, necessarily. Have you ideas?

Of course, every saint works to become more like Christ in all his attitudes. The New Testament speaks of being a new creature in Christ, 2 Corinthians 5.17. We are being transformed into the Lord’s image “from one degree of glory to another” 2 Corinthians 3.18. But there’s still room for growing in different directions, serving in different ways, expressing our faith within and through the manifold grace of God.

¶ Another reading of Hebrews 1 impressed me with how verses 1-4 are such a beautiful summary of the gospel. Many such summaries abound, like Romans 1.1-6 and 1 Timothy 3.16. Poor are those who think that 1 Corinthians 15.1-3 catches it all.

¶ See if this logic works for you. There is one Spirit, Ephesians 4.4. He is called the Spirit of truth, Jo 14.17; 15.26; 16.13. Therefore, there is one truth. Relativism has no place in the gospel. Each person does not have his own truth. I never did understand the logic that says that God is one and therefore all roads lead to him. It’s a demonic logic, truth be told. Jesus said he was the only way to God, John 14.6.

¶ The Bible is an old book. It comes from an ageless God. It is given to a humanity whose needs are the same as ever. Since the Fall, man hasn’t changed much. God’s word is still given to us and our children, Deuteronomy 29.29. Peter emphasized that God’s promise of forgiveness is for us and our children, Acts 2.39. It’s true that “from generation to generation he is merciful to those who fear him” Luke 1.50, including ours. We need the Bible today. Let’s read it and obey it.

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J. Randal Matheny

Servant of the Lord at GoSpeak
Randal and his wife have lived and worked in Brazil since 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. Randal's a lefty, a chocolate lover, an author and a poet. His microblog is randal.us.

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