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Church InteriorPastor Richard D. Harris. Reflections on the Word of God and other observations.
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  • Jan3Sun

    New Year...New Habits

    January 3, 2016
    Most of us have probably given up on making any sort of New Year's resolutions... mainly because it seems we can never keep them beyond a few weeks or months.  Maybe you are the one person who can keep one... but I honestly don't know of anyone who actually does that.  
    Well, is it hopeless? Or maybe we should change our perspective on what it is we want to accomplish in the new year.
    What are some reasonable things to strive for in the new year? Well let's talk about prayer, for example. Perhaps if we narrowed our resolve to do what we already know is something God has already told us to do. When the Scriptures tell us to "pray without ceasing" (1Thess. 5:17) we find from the grammar that prayer is something that should be as natural as drinking water. It is written as a "present imperative". That means it should be taking place on a continual basis, and that it should be done with an urgency that is like our own need for food and water.  

    I offer here a short quote from an ebook titled "Opening Up 1 Thessalonians" by Tim Shenton, found in the Logos Bible Software:

    ‘Pray Continually.’ Martin Luther, when pressed by huge volumes of work, did not use it as an excuse to stop praying, but said, ‘I have so much to do that I cannot get on without three hours a day of praying.’ The way to rejoice always is to pray continually and to have a close walk with the giver of joy. We must cultivate a spirit of constant devotion so that our lives are filled with the presence of God. Prayer is a lifting up of our hearts to God in humble submission and dependence, trusting him as our loving Father and acknowledging him as our almighty Lord. Paul is encouraging the Thessalonians to take hold of God in every situation and at all times, to draw near to him especially in times of conflict, and to develop an intimate relationship with him.

    Shenton, T. (2006). Opening up 1 Thessalonians (p. 109). Leominster: Day One Publications.

    My feeling is that Christians should stop worrying so much about keeping a New Year's resolution, and spend more time on actually practicing what we already know is something that God wants to change in our lives.... and we commit ourselves (in a broad way) to another year of determination to walk with God in a closer way than we did last year.