Resolution: Loosen Up!

It’s interesting to do a word study on “resolution”. Deriving from some Latin words, it originally meant an “unbinding” or “loosening” of something (www.babeled.com). That’s kind of ironic since we think about it as “the making of a firm determination.” Still, there are senses in which we may actually unbind ourselves in the making of New Year’s resolutions. I know friends who are beginning the process of unbinding themselves from debt or a smoking habit or a negative attitude.

Do you want to loosen the grip of the world, lessen the stresses that bind your lifestyle, get out of the hold of hopelessness, or break free from elusive materialistic goals? I think my resolution is going to help me be more free than I’ve ever been in Christ. After all, it is the truth that makes us free and it is His Word that is truth. I’m sincerely hoping to loosen up the ties of worldliness that would keep me from my spiritual goals. More time in the Word has got to be a good thing!

The West Huntsville elders have asked us, as a congregation, to read through the Bible chronologically in 2011. They gave us each a laminated reading schedule and our preacher will be preaching from the texts from which we are reading. I’m really excited about this. The Colley family has found great joy through the years when we all read through a book at the same time. We found ourselves taking about the plot, the characters and philosophies presented. It’s going to be exciting to read through this, the Book of books, with my spiritual family. We can talk all year about its amazing redemptive plot, the characters that were “hands-on” in this grand scheme and the teachings that have made us family in Him. I think our elders are very wise to unite us as a family in the same daily scriptures.

So I’m listing below the readings for the entire year. Let me know if you resolve to do this. If you’re reading along and have comments about particular passages, be sure and let me know those, too. It could be that your thoughts could bless another who is following the comments on “Bless Your Heart”.

Here’s the schedule (just click on it to enlarge):

New Year’s Eve Around the Fire

It was 27 minutes till the dawn of 2010 when we turned off the TV and stopped the festivities at my dad’s house. Getting serious for a few minutes in front of the fire that would warm us into the new year, we first went around the room and all the guys chose a spiritual song to lead. It was really pretty singing: Anywhere with Jesus and Nothing but the Blood and others. Then we all listened as every person in the room– cousins, aunts, uncles, parents and children—told us all exactly and specifically how he/she was going to do something in the new year to be a better person.  Here are some of the resolutions we heard:
1. (from a mom) I am going to put my prayer list in a place where I can more easily access it when I’m actually before the throne.
2. (from a pre-teen) I am going try to stop arguing with my brothers and sisters.
3. (from a college student) I am going to add to my daily Bible time a short time in a good spiritual study guide.
4. (from a young child) I am going to give more hugs.
5. (from a teenager) I am going to work hard to get the “me monster” out of my life.
6.  (from a graduate student) I am going to spend more time preparing healthy meals, so I can feel better to accomplish important things.
7. (from a mom) I am going to pick out a day of the week or even a day of the month to take my kids to visit sick people.
8. (from a young child) I am going to share.
9. (from a dad) I am going to work really hard to sell a piece of land that’s getting in our way of being all we want to be spiritually and financially.
10. (from a high school student) I plan to be kinder and friendlier to people who might not treat me nicely.
11. (from a college student) I was not prepared for all the things college life would throw at me and I’m determined to go back this semester armed and ready for the challenges. I am going to stop making excuses for my mistakes and be responsible for disciplining myself.
12. (from a pre-teen) I am going to get up in the mornings and get cracking on my school work, so I will have more time for fun things.
13. (from a dad) I am determined to be an encourager.

I have a feeling these resolutions will not be perfectly kept. I know there will be times when Dad will discourage someone. There will be times when Mom will not be the prayer warrior she wants to be. There will be times when the child will be selfish. There will be a morning when it will be very hard to get up and get busy; and there will be times when Bible study is abbreviated, at best. Life happens and we deal with it. But resolution is still a very good thing. We plan to evaluate these self-challenges in a year. And, if the resolve moves us in the direction we want to go, then the resolutions, in another year, will be a little more mature, a little more challenging, and, certainly, will bring us a little closer to heaven. When the resolve becomes weak and the temptation becomes strong, we still have the Father to shorten our faith gaps, promising us that there is no temptation so strong that He will not provide that way of escape (I Cor. 10:13). We want to look for God’s  out in 2010. I hope fellow Christians will pray that we will always find the escape route.  At the end of 2010, we want to be better people.

…And then we prayed. When we finished praying there were 47 seconds left in 2009; a year that had been full of undeserved blessings; a year of days that change all too quickly from pending to past. We counted down the final seconds and embraced each other into the New Year.

It’s a good life. It’s a wonderful time in a good life. It’s a good family with good intentions. And we serve a great God who can solidify the intentions of his focused people.  We will soon have turned all of the corners of 2010 to find both the unexpected and the predictable eventualities. Everything on the agenda will soon be in the memoirs. When we look through the pages of the 2010 chapter, may it be a good read.