I have heard of some people instead of making New Year'[s resolutions, selecting a single word to focus on. But today God pulled my attention to a verse. Here is my preliminary analysis of the meaning:
Verse for 2015 is Jude 24
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless (amomos) with great joy.(agalleasis)
Amomos is innocent, spotless (like the Pascal lamb), without charge or blame.
Joy : agalliasis (ag a lee’ a sis) – exultation ESPECIALLY “WELCOME”, rejoicing with song and dancing. Gladness rejoicing. Anointed with the oil of gladness , means the highest honor among guests.
Chara is delight , the feeling in one’s heart. Agalliasis is the demonstration of that joy.
Notice that the joy is on the part of God as he welcomes us to his presence…
Zephaniah 3:17New King James Version (NKJV)17 The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
If I were secure in the knowledge that I am blameless I might have this kind of joy but I think really it will be too much to take in. I will be overwhelmed, in wonder and awe.
How does God keep me from stumbling? I must have an attentive ear tuned to hear his voice. He will post a warning in my heart and then it is my job to obey…to go the other direction from my intended path. It requires an obedient, attentive heart. Here enters the practice of listening prayer which is a discipline I intend to explore this year.
I think it will take me all year to unpack this verse and its implications. I don't want to abandon my resolves for the year....but I do want to assign a verse to the year. The following is my assessment of last year's goals and a list of what I am aiming to accomplish this year.
Note that a lot of these resolves were also made in 2013 as well as 2014 but I was unsuccessful in keeping them in 2013.
1. I have read the entire Bible this year. I did miss some days but didn’t make the mistake of trying to catch up….I just picked up and kept on going.
2. Pray at least 15 minutes. This was one of my Spark Goals this year and it was a helpful reminder. I have trouble focusing enough to pray for a solid 15 minutes but I have been praying much more in general so will say that I have met this goal.
3. Memorize—I have an app on my Kindle that has been helpful to me to memorize. I have only “mastered” two verses…but it’s a start
4. Lose weight: well, I have lost 17 pounds thus far on my return to ETL
So, overall I would say that 2014 was a success where for two years prior I had failed.
Now for this year:
1. Read some shorter Scripture passages and meditate on them (lectio divina) and journal them….as well as study them using my Key Words Bible.
2. Work on extending the time that I spend in prayer. Don’t focus so much on intercession…rather work on hearing God’s words to me. Follow the process in the book “Listening Prayer”
3. Keep a prayer/Scripture journal. Keep a list of meaningful quotes and scriptures. Keep these on 3x5 cards for file and write responses to them in journal.
4. Spend more time reading. Read the book on Church History.
5. Memorize Scripture. Use memorization app and memorize one verse a week.
6. Lose 50 lbs this year. Hopefully I will lose more but again, being gentle with myself.
7. Do ten minutes of exercise/day. It can and hopefully will be more, but at least ten.
8. These goals are too self-centered. Find some area of usefulness in the church. If it is “merely” to pray, then be honest and pray daily for the needs there.
I'm sorry for the length of this post. I would challenge you too think seriously about the year past and what you want to accomplish in the year to come. Remember the quote: "He who aims at nothing will meet his goal"
Prayerfully set some goals. Make them specific and measurable. Put them in a place where you see them often and will have them to look at in 2016.