Today's Devotions

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  • Fourth Sunday in Lent - The Man Born Blind by David Hyman +

    Spiritual blindness is the driving theme in this passage from John 9:1-41. But the man born blind is the one Read More
  • Lent Backwards by Julie Moore +

    The Easter buffet at The Carolina Inn is a bounteous feast to follow the fasting of the Lenten season.. Despite the fact that Jesus Read More
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I am tempted to skip writing about New Year's resolutions, as it just seems a tad predictable...

AND it's already January 4th... but it's what I'm thinking about. So, do I have any? Well, losing weight seems like an obvious one, but with my history, I try to avoid that kind of commitment. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, read this... or this.

I don't love carrying around these saddlebags, or having a saggy, bouncy rear or a belly that boasts of my fondness for microbrews and french fries... but I am reasonably sure that any calculated effort on my part would be counterproductive. That is to say, dieting makes me want to eat like crazy. It's like Paul says in Romans 7:10: "I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death." 
So, to be clear, losing weight is not my New Year's Resolution. Nor is renewed frugality. Actually, I don't really need to resolve such things because, typically, after the month of excess that is the holidays, I sort of tend to veer that way naturally. My hunger is sated and my purse is empty, so... on to more interesting and creative resolutions.
My first resolution is this: to try new things and do things I have never done before. I'll be turning 50 this year (gasp!) so it seems like a good idea to remember to be spontaneous and flexible. I actually began this in 2011 (so long ago!) with starting this blog and writing a monthly feature column in the Chapel Hill News. I don't know what shape this resolve will take in 2012 - it could go anywhere! I could make new friends, try new recipes and restaurants, wear colors I've never thought of wearing... 
Seriously, I'm open to suggestions, because most of these sound kind of lame. It's kind of an amorphous blob of a resolution, really. The new things I try could be silly and shallow, or they could be life-changing leaps of faith... Actually, in our house, even tiny changes require leaps of faith. My seven-year-old will eat maybe 10 different foods, so trying a new brand of peanut butter? Are you nuts? I don't remember being that stuck in my ways at that age.

Roddy Dinsmore says, "Know Jesus."

But even factoring in leaps of faith, this resolution seems like a speck of dust compared to the one made by the guy who spoke at our church on New Year's Day. Roddy Dinsmore, the youth and college pastor at our church, challenged us all to resolve to "know Jesus." Good one, Roddy... No, seriously, that's what he said. 
He mostly told us why... citing this sermon by SM Lockridge, which lists all the fabulous attributes of Jesus. Roddy said, hear this and consider this question: is there anyone else of whom you can say these things? And if not, why would you NOT want to know Jesus? This, I can dig, being already pretty much in love with the guy. Jesus, I mean, not Roddy Dinsmore...
But my question was this: HOW? Especially since he said that resolving to reading your Bible and pray more is not the same thing. So... how do you pursue it? Well, I actually asked Roddy later via email and he said... "spend time daily with him via reading the Bible and praying."
Um, what? Since this is sort of contradictory, I figured that, since my man Roddy is a smart guy, there must be some way that both are true. Like maybe... resolving to read your Bible and pray more is NOT the same as resolving to know Jesus... BUT resolving to know Jesus INVOLVES scripture and prayer... but it's all about the intent, the goal. In Roddy's words: "The purpose of reading scripture should be to get to know Jesus better, not to get to know Scripture better. Prayer should be with the goal of knowing Jesus and committing to him, not to become more spiritually disciplined. We should do good deeds not for the sake of doing good, but because when we do good we experience Jesus and his character." 

What Matthew Ward 
looked like when I saw him 
in the early 80s

So, reading the Bible in this case, would not be for information, or because we're supposed to, but to get to the heart of who Jesus is. What does it say about Him? And praying is not just saying words, asking for stuff, engaging in the discipline of prayer, but ... opening yourself to Him, to what He will reveal to you about Himself... 
But, really, even though I am putting this into words that make sense to me, to know Jesus, is also sort of an amorphous blob of a resolution. And no matter what we know of Him, it will be just a drop in a bucket compared to how much there is to know. Fortunately, I think Jesus wants us to succeed. He really loved His friends while he was on earth, and I'm sure he'd be a pretty good friend to have now. Plus, I hear he typically hangs with people like me - sinners and the like.
In closing, here's Matthew Ward singing, "Knowing You." (Check out the crazy modern dance guy! I'm sorry, but that makes me laugh...) Anyway, I love Matthew Ward's voice... I remember seeing him in the 80s while he still had that beautiful golden hair. Good times.

Reflections to Consider

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Audio & Video

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  • Witnesses for Jesus by Tim Keller (Mark 15) +

    Tim Keller discusses the significance of the women and men who saw Jesus die, buried, and resurrected.  Read More
  • Prayer-bringing light into darkness by NT Wright +

    NT Wright discusses the importance of prayer in maintaining a relationship with Jesus. Read More
  • After darkness, light-the reformation by Michael Reeves +

    Michael Reeves discusses the transformative power of bringing Jesus to the world at the heart of the Reformation. Read More
  • The Esther Option-Living in a fallen world by Mike Cosper +

    The following is an excerpt from an article on The Gospel Coalition website. Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • Falling in Love With God +

    “falling in love with God,” as Boa’s subtitle for the facet explains. In this approach we attempt to enter into Read More
  • One Holy Fire, Nicky Cruz +

    The introduction to One Holy Fire, Let the Spirit Ignite Your Soul establishes Cruz’s desire to awaken the passion and Read More
  • Transformed +

    Webster defines devotion as “love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity or cause.” How do we fall in love Read More
  • A Christ-Life Through Spiritual Alignment +

    A Christ-Life Through Spiritual Alignment Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. Read More
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