As 2016 has started to wind down, I have started to reflect on what has transpired both personally and in regards to this blog. Additionally, plans for 2017 have been dancing around in my head, at least some ideas of what I believe God is leading me to accomplish in the coming year. Some of these plans will result in some changes in less of some things and more of other things. Let me share with you how I see things shaking out at this point in time.
1) Different approach to books and reviews. In 2016, I found myself constantly behind with my book reading. Call it far too many books to tackle, a lack of available time due to both personal work load and increased demands at work, or perhaps just not very many interesting books, I found myself reading far fewer books this year. In 2017, I plan on being very picky as to what I spend time reading. In fact, unless it is a new release that demands attention, I will spend more time reading some classic works I have acquired over the past couple of years.
At this point, I plan on tackling a number of Puritan works and there are some new releases concerning some of my favorite topics that have been released or are scheduled to be released in the coming weeks that will occupy my time at least into the first few months of 2017.
2) A study on the book of Jude. This oft neglected book has been something I have for a long time now wanted to tackle. While short in length, it is chalk full of interesting information that I believe will be increasingly relevant to our time in history. I need to acquire some books and do some studying of Jude so expect this study to hit the blog around March 2017.
3) A study on Psalm 119. Outside of being the longest Psalm and the longest chapter in Scripture, this particular Psalm talks quite a bit about the importance of obeying the laws of God. Given the vast confusion on that issue (i.e. the never ending debate on law and grace), I think a study of Psalm 119 is in order. I am not sure when that study will hit the blog, but I anticipate a late Spring/early Summer timeframe.
4) A renewed commitment to daily Bible reading and family worship. I have to humbly admit I have not spent as much time lately reading and meditating on God’s Word as I would like. Additionally, while we have made a few valiant (or not so valiant) attempts at consistent family worship time, that element has not shall we say been a resounding consistent success. In the past few weeks, we have done much better at taking time on Friday evening to study as a family. It has been a bit haphazard at times, but all good habits must start somewhere, no matter how bumpy the beginning.
5) Re-start the study on the Sabbath. This year I started a study on the Sabbath and wrote a couple of posts on the subject, hinting around at a more developed discussion on the topic. As with some other things I had wanted to do, this hit the proverbial back-burner. I hope to kick back into gear this study, even if it is just a little at a time.
6) Spend more time with my family. Part of the underlying reason for being a bit pickier on what books I read is while I absolutely love reading, it takes time and that is time that is taken from spending quality time with my family. Our daughter turned 15 this year. My wife and I recently discussed the fact we need to spend more time getting our daughter exposed to and involved with more activities. Not just so she can be “doing” stuff, but to for starters, to encourage her to be involved with things for which God has given her a gifting such as photography and her renewed desire to ride horses. If I am neglecting her growth as a young women by spending time with my nose in a book or writing a blog post/article, I have my priorities all wrong as a father. If I neglect spending time with my wife to read or write an article, I have my priorities all wrong as a husband. Admittedly, my priorities have been in the wrong place on numerous occasions this year. To address that misplaced focus, I will be more dedicated to family, even if that means that riveting book I have been reading needs to stay on the desk for a day or two or if I have to take a pass at writing about something.
7) Pray more. I really struggle with praying. Maybe it is because I just don’t know what to say or I think what I am saying is not eloquent enough. Whatever the reason, spending more time in prayer is a goal for 2017.
8) Get in better health. Now I am not significantly overweight; however, I am becoming more attune to the fact I need to eat better and I need to exercise more consistently. My workplace allows for paid time to exercise and I need to take more advantage of that benefit. It will mean extracting myself from the computer, not always easy to do when the bosses are wanting multiple tasks completed yesterday. It might also mean joining a gym. My wife and I have discussed rejoining the local YMCA and our daughter is excited about that possibility so that might be a viable option. We have started to be more mindful of eating more healthy food options, but we do slip up from time to time. A better overall approach to health is definitely going to be a major focus in 2017.
9) Unlock the final shackles of debt. We are not that much in debt, but any amount of debt is too much in my humble opinion. There are a few bills that will be put behind us in the very early part of 2017, thus freeing us up to do some things we have put off for some time to include some home improvement projects.
We shall see where God ultimately leads me in 2017. Plans may change from what I have listed here today and that is fine. If a study on Jude of Psalm 119 does not come to fruition and instead, I spend some wonderful time with my daughter and wife, I will label that a smashing success of a year.