Happy New Year! What’s Next?

3 01 2017

Today is the day I face 2017.  The celebrations are over; the routine returns.  At some point we have to take down the Christmas tree, although we aren’t quite to the point where our irritation with the needles on the carpet strong-arms our motivation into doing it.

During my quiet time this morning, I considered what I would focus on over the next few months.  My times alone with God these last couple weeks have been spotty, but the few times I read scripture, I was blessed by the text.  Getting to the end of a chronological reading of the Bible, I came across 1 John and Revelation 1 – 5.  It had been a long time since I had read either of these passages, and I felt like I was reading with new eyes, eyes that had been transformed and shaped by my experiences over the last few years.  In his first letter, St. John has so much to say about the life of a disciple, and I am challenged by his focus on the inseparable nature of love for God and love for one another.  And reading the book of Revelation, in light of the persecution that was occurring at the time John wrote it, I wondered what encouragement and/or what bone Jesus might have to pick with me, and with my community.  It is not easy to put ourselves up for critique.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Suffice to say, 1 John and Revelation 1 – 5 are on my list of quiet time scriptures.

What else?  I had come across Psalm 119:32 “I run in the way of your commandments, for you enlarge my understanding.” This triggered in me a sense of enthusiasm and anticipation for a season of expansion, growth and challenge this year.  The psalmists do a wonderful job of putting words to human emotions, drawing pictures of God’s majesty, and describing the human experience that transcends centuries.  I hope my understanding of God will be enlarged this year, and will look for Him in the Psalms.

And I will look for Him in the gospels.  For the last 5 years, I have read a gospel passage every day, and soaked in the character of Jesus through his encounters with women, children, men, sinners, the sick, the poor.  I can’t stay away from the stories about Jesus.  So I will read through the gospel written by John, and find the themes that are repeated in what John writes.

So there it is.  Psalms, John, 1 John,  and Revelation 1-5.  A little bit each day.  If you would like to join me, I will post a week’s worth of passages, with reflection questions.  Take your time going through them and soak up the Holy Spirit as you encounter Christ in a new and expansive way.

For this week,

 

Read Psalm 1 –

What areas of your life might be reflected in Psalm 1:1?

How does that result in the “fruit” you produce to be more like chaff?

When have you experienced delight in the word as the psalmist describes in Psalm 1:2?

What scripture do you meditate on throughout your day?

How has  your delight in scripture rooted and nurtured you?

How have you seen your delight in scripture reflected in the fruit of your life?

Read John 1:1-18

What words are used to describe Christ?

What is the invitation that is given?

Are there times when you have not recognized Jesus?

Is there an area of your life where you need the light of Jesus to overcome darkness?

Where do you see the presence of Christ in your context?

Jesus is described as “full of grace and truth.”  How do these two attributes reflect the heart of God?

John the Baptist is mentioned in this passage as one who pointed people to Jesus.  He made it clear that he was not the Light but came to bear witness to the Light.  In what way do your life and words bear witness to Christ?

Is there a relationship where you are trying to be someone’s savior, rather than pointing them to the Savior?  What would it look like to step out of that role?

Read 1 John 1.

What gives John the credibility to instruct Christ’s followers?

Why is he writing this letter?

When have you found fellowship in the midst of learning about Jesus?

How does John describe God?

What does Jesus do for us?  What is required of us?

In what ways does John suggest that we may be fooling ourselves?  Why would we deny our dark side?

What needs to be brought to light in your life?

Read Psalm 1, John 1:1-18, 1 John 1 

What themes do you see in all these passages?

What characteristics are attributed to those who follow Christ?

What characteristics are attributed to those who don’t?

Where are you in your delight in Christ?  In your receiving of and living in Christ? In your confession and righteousness before Christ?

 

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