Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year; New Paradigms

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I goofed up a bit on my supplements yesterday and, as a result, had a slight reaction today that meant it was wiser to stay home and watch today's worship online.

And pastor's message challenged me. Four words for 2017.  God's heart to Strengthen, Empower, Prepare, and Entrust.  And I was caught feeling tired,  routine, unfocused and lacking credibility on many levels.  Just being honest.

Suddenly, I realized that, since the rest of the family was at church for all three services, I  had a chunk of several hours all by myself to reflect and ponder and pray.  That is something that NEVER happens on New Year's Day.  Was my miscalculation yesterday part of a plan to give me that opportunity?


I had been debating whether or not I would participate in the Siesta Scripture Memory Team this year.  I did it in 2013 and 2015, but, to be  honest, I didn't do so well at it in 2015.  It became more of an assignment than a discipline, if that makes sense.  But I didn't want to be a slacker and not pursue an opportunity to develop a discipline.  Maybe all I needed was some determination?

But it was time to decide, because if I were to participate, verse number 1 is due today.

As I sat with my journal, I found myself nearly weeping.  My reflection time had all but evaporated. The dry weariness I was experiencing was nothing more or less than the direct result of running on spiritual fumes for far longer than I should ever let myself.  Why hadn't I recognized the signs?

There is nothing magical about January first, but it is a good opportunity to ask forgiveness, from both God and myself, for neglect, and shake off old routines that aren't working and start again.

In years past, I've had a word (or words) for a focal point for the year.  Through a rather convoluted process, I have three words this year.  The first came to me a day or two ago.


Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.  And after the fire came a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.   - 1 Kings 19:11b-13a, NIV 84

Am I close enough to God to hear His whisper?  Am I attuned enough to Him to not be distracted by  noise and chaos, but to hear His voice?  Am I trusting enough to even whisper the desires of my heart?   In 2017, I need to be determined to stay close to Him and focused on His voice.

As I listened to the sermon this morning, a second word attached itself to the first: Simple.

I have allowed my life to become overly complicated.  There's a lot going on, and it occurred to me that the more I have to accomplish the more I need to simplify. are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. - Lk 10:41b-42a, NIV 84

The ONE THING -- that's what I need to pursue.  And that is the same thing, you know, being close to Him and listening to His voice.

Which means I need some intentional, disciplined time in the Word. And that gave me the third word. Structure.

 I haven't had that in a while.  A long while.   I decided I need to set my goal of reading through the Bible in a year.  4 chapters a day is all it takes and our church has long promoted the idea of  3 + 1 reading: 3 chapters in the Old Testament and 1 in the New, every day.  Gonna start with Genesis, Psalms and John. 

I even found a journal to hand to record what I glean as I read.  I'm a verbal processor (no shock to anyone who's been reading BLR for a while!); writing notes helps get those truths rooted where they need to be.

And, you know, that's enough for me for this year. Simple and all. So instead of SSMT 2017, I'll be doing 3+1 2017.  I'll probably be sharing bits from what I read as the year progresses.  Just doing that much this morning...Genesis 1 and 2, Psalms 1 and John 1...was like a long drink of fresh water.

I have a feeling 1/1/18 will feel a whole lot different than 1/1/17 if I just stick to a simple structure to attune myself to the whisper of God.

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