First, A Look Back
It’s that time of year for the seemingly endless series of year-end lists. The best this or the worst that. It can all get a bit dreary and repetitious. Maybe they should make a list of the worst year end lists…oh, wait, scratch that.
That said, it can be helpful to take stock and to evaluate the year just ending and to set some goals for the year upcoming. It is all a bit arbitrary I know. As the comic Lewis Black pointed out, time itself is a construct so we don’t have to say things like “meet me for lunch when the sun is over there”.
Arbitrary or not society has long determined that our world is broken up into years-so it’s as good a time as any to take stock and reevaluate. As is the case for pretty much every year I have been alive, I have been extraordinarily fortunate. I no longer say “blessed” when discussing material things, as everyone is blessed whether rich, poor, healthy or sick. 2023 was a year I remained blessed by God with His grace upon grace. I am also lucky in that I am materially comfortable and healthy.
I am humbly grateful for my fortune and trustingly faithful in receipt of my blessings. I remain a child of God and trust that His word is true, that the resurrection is real, and that Jesus Christ is Lord. As for more earthly things I am profoundly grateful for them as well. My family remains an ever-constant joy and a source of strength and comfort. I am grateful that my book Understanding God continues to sell and gain readership. I am also grateful that my ministry site continues to grow as more followers than ever see my posts on Facebook, X (Twitter), and now Substack. I remain grateful to all who have encouraged me and supported my passion projects this past year. So, as Frank Sinatra said, “it was a very good year”.
Yes, A New Year’s Resolution
The New Year is also a time for resolutions and goals to be articulated. I will eschew any dietary goals and exercise metrics. Let’s just say all that remains a “work in progress” (New Year, old euphemisms!). I will however, venture to publicly state a few goals. First, I will continue as best I can to proclaim the word of God as God has informed my conscience. This means I will try to gain visibility for my book and to generate opportunities to use that effort as a springboard for proclaiming the Good News of Jesus the Christ.
I will also continue to blog about issues that are important for followers of Jesus. Thursdays (is Theology Thursday a good brand?) will see my thoughts on the upcoming Gospel lesson. I can think of no greater honor than to possibly give someone a bit of a better perspective on the Word of God. It is also my intention in 2024 to collect those Gospel comments into a devotional book. Look for that later this year.
Monday will still see a weekly post on issues of the day. These may very well be spiritual and theological in nature, but will also discuss issues of the day from a faith perspective. As for applying the Gospel to day-to-day affairs, I will focus on issues of war and peace (the most important for any society), as well as stewardship, and the moral basis of economic matters. Sprinkled in will be essays that the Holy Spirit moves me to share, that will hopefully be uplifting.
Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, I will endeavor to be kinder, more patient and more openly grateful to all those in my life. They deserve better that I have ever given them, yet they still hang in there with me-simply amazing. My pledge is to improve in some small way to live better into how God would have us treat one another.
My hope is these are doable goals, yet something of a stretch to achieve. All of this is simply my response to the gifts of Grace upon Grace that God has given me through His Son Jesus Christ. My hope and prayer for all of us is that we can all do something, anything positive in response to these gifts. There are no small parts to play in God’s kingdom, just go out and do the best you can.
Since God has given all of us our faith, we should respond as gratefully as we can. The best advice I can offer for all of us to is wake up every day, with our salvation assured, and Heaven in our back pocket, then go out and find new and interesting ways to kick Satan’s ass. We do that one act of love at a time, one act of forgiveness at a time, and one act of service and sacrifice at a time. I guess what I am saying is that this coming year, like every year, since we believe, we should obey.
Praise Be to God