The Dancing Puritan

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Suggestions for 2014

Have there been any big changes in your life since midnight? What is the first day of 2014 looking like for you? Here are a few quick suggestions:

1.  Pick up a Bible and meditate.

There are many helpful Bible reading plans available. Find a good one, create one of your own, and get to reading in a purposeful way. Read the Bible meditatively. What that means is to chew on the text, turn it over and over in your mind, commit some or all of it to memory, ponder it, and pray through the passage. You may actually read less of the Bible but remember more, by reading meditatively. Donald S. Whitney writes in Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, "Whatever way you choose, discipline yourself for the purpose of Godliness by committing to at least one way of improving your intake of the holy Word of God" (38).

2.  Pick up a journal/pen and write.

Write your reflections on Scripture and life in a journal (the kind with paper). Writing with a real pen (I use a fountain pen) is more enjoyable than typing on a computer. My guess is that a real (rather than virtual) journal will mean more to those who inherit you writings than one on a hard drive or in the cloud somewhere. Of course you could print your electronic entries and put them in a notebook.  My wife uses a Rhodia journal to note her prayers. Rhodia makes high quality journals. I am presently using a TWSBI notebook. I also carry a Field Notes pad in my pocket so that I can make quick notes throughout the day.

3.  Pick up a book and read.

A lot of smart folks will be releasing their book lists over the next few weeks. Take a look at some of those lists and prayerfully consider them for your 2014 reading list. Don't think that you have to read the latest books on the market.  Do you need to think more creatively?  Are you wanting to strengthen your understanding of some aspect of history? Are you struggling with theological terms? Are you fascinated by biography? Look for books that will help you to clear out the cobwebs that are fastened to the roof of your brain. Expand your reading into areas that you normally would not choose.

Getting Ready to Launch.

Before you launch today, ask yourself a question. Why should I meditate, journal, and read? Let me suggest a wonderful book that will help you to answer that question. Spiritual Disciplines For the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney will help you to know why and how to discipline yourself. The book is built around I Timothy 4: 7 "Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness" (NASB). I recommend that Whitney's book be the first book that you read in 2014.

BTW: I own a small bookshop and we have books, journals, and pens. Send me a message here if you are interested. We can make some excellent recommendations for you.