I watched a sermon recently by Tele-evangelist Buzz Light Year. It was an uplifting message where the sky is the limit. His exact words were TO INFINITY & BEYOND and though he did not reference scripture I was challenged to not hold back in either my pursuit or zest for life.
<insert puzzled expression here>
Now that I think about it I was actually watching the movie Toy Story with the grandkids, but it was still a powerful message of family, and friendship all while accepting my place in this expansive Universe.
<insert 2nd puzzled expression here>
So anyways, here is my belated list of resolutions.
2023 New Year Resolutions
234. Play nice on social media (cut down on snarky comments
235. Lose 3 more pounds to bring my total weight loss to 50 lbs. since July
437. Say something nice about the Minnesota Vikings (ARGH!)
and so on, and so forth.
I wish each of you a (belated) Happy New Year blessed and used by God in ways beyond your dreams. May you pursue and love him with all your heart and serve and care for others in need all to the Glory of God.
Happy New Year Blessings!
A while back our pastor gave a sermon on getting to know God by reading our Bibles regularly and systematically. During this very good sermon, our pastor joked that the most read books of the Bible are Genesis and Matthew because our inspired intentions in January to read through our Bibles fade once we are through Genesis and Matthew. (Leviticus has killed many a Bible study )... then the next year we are back in Genesis and Matthew. I call this bible study plan... The BEGINAGAINS.
I must be honest and say I have followed the BEGINAGAIN plan many times and not until 2003 did I completely read my Bible from cover to cover AND I CARTOONED THRU IT TOO! Please note, neither Billy Graham nor the Pope could say they cartooned through the Bible. Then in 2018 lightning struck again as I read through my Bible from Genesis through Revelations. And... I believe every year since 2018 I have read through my Bible. YEAH ME!
Now here I am starting out 2023 in the BEGINAGAINS using an audio Bible to get past those tedious Dos and Don'ts highlighted in Leviticus.
For many, reading through the Bible from beginning to end is not appealing, and I understand that. My wife is one of those good folks. I was also instructed in a men's group that simply reading the Bible through is not a proper Bible study. I DISAGREE... for me reading through my Bible in order gives me a context and flow of stories and cultures that I may otherwise miss. This is NOT the only right way to read my Bible but it is a way that works for me.
No matter if you use this tried and true(?) BEGINAGAINS Bible study, or topical study, or another method the important message is to be in God's word. DAILY!
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Oh, we all will have questions and will not understand many stories and teachings in God's Word, but this does not mean they are not true.
To name a few we have the Creation Story, Noah and his Ark floating on a universal flood, parting of the Red Sea, Elijah riding a chariot of Fire, Jonah in the belly of the Whale, the Virgin Birth of Jesus, the feeding of 5,000 on fish and chips leftovers, the raising of the dead, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the end time prophecies.
All these subjects and many more challenge our reasoning while we scratch our collective heads, and even question what we believe. But I have found honest questions are different than doubting God or His Word, and reading my Bible gives me answers to where I build my faith and love in God.
SO WHERE SHOULD I PLACE MY FAITH?
Of course in the end we are each challenged regarding where we will place our faith. Will it be science alone, a progressive secular worldview, Christianity, or another of the world's religions? I choose to place my faith in the God of my Bible and this is where I place my hope.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
May God bless each of you in your spiritual journey, and I pray that we all prioritize reading (and obeying) God's word while being wise in where we place our faith and hope.
New Year's Blessings
Jeff (BEGINAGAIN) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson