Friday, January 2, 2015

Thoughts from 2 Chronicles and looking back on 2014

 And Solomon went up there to the bronze altar before the Lord, which was at the tabernacle of meeting, and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.  On that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, “Ask! What shall I give you?”
And Solomon said to God: “You have shown great mercy to David my father, and have made me king in his place.  Now, O Lord God, let Your promise to David my father be established, for You have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude.  Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?”
Then God said to Solomon: “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life—but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king— wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.”
So Solomon came to Jerusalem from the high place that was at Gibeon, from before the tabernacle of meeting, and reigned over Israel. 
-II Chronicles 1:6-13 

I was reading this today for my time in God's word, as it was the next scheduled reading I am on for my reading through the Bible.  It seemed like a fitting text, though, for starting a new year.  I read it, and thought how insightful Solomon was to ask for wisdom, and not any of the worldly things that most of us would immediately have wished for.  And then I considered how even all of that great wisdom didn't stop him from making poor decisions in his own personal life, since we know he took many wives, and most of them didn't even worship the one true God.  Then I contemplated what he could have asked for that would have been even better than wisdom, and I am really not sure what the answer would be.  The best answers I could come up with was that God would always be with him, but then I considered that even if God is with you, if your heart is not turned to follow Him, it could mean only destruction or sadness.  Then I decided that asking God for a heart that pleased Him and walked in His ways might be the best thing.  This thought gave me a feeling of awe, because what has God granted to His people today through the work of the gospel, but new hearts?  We see that it was prophesied in Ezekiel 36:26 that God would do this very thing for His people when He said,

 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
In this sense, I realized how much better we have it than even King Solomon!  Still, it's an amazing thing to contemplate being face to face with the God of all creationand being granted one desire of our heart.  

Looking back at 2014, I can see where I have met some of the goals I set for myself.  Joe and I were able to attend the Biblical counseling conference.  I made strides in reading through the Bible, as I have read through I Chronicles in the Old Testament, and Colossians in the New Testament.  So rather than start over, I am continuing on with the Bible reading plan I was using, and hoping to finish sometime this next year.    I have still not done so well with working out or getting up and going to bed at the same time.  But I have become more cognizant of living with an awareness of God's divine agenda for each day, and being willing to change my plans in obedience to God's agenda for my day.  I still struggle with anxiety and worry more than I would like, but I think I have improved some in those areas as well.   I can also see vast improvements in Joseph's health this past year, which is a wonderful thing.  And Joe and Kate were able to take a planned mission trip to Haiti. A less spiritual goal was to take a vacation, and God was gracious to allow us to do even that.
Another goal I had this year was to write more.  While I have made some efforts on my novel, I have blogged less in 2014 than 2013.  I did attend several of the writer's clubs meetings, and God has been gracious to allow me to meet other Christian writers, so I see His hand leading and guiding me in that
sphere of my life.  I have also painted some this year, and learned a few things.  I am not growing and learning nearly as much as I would like though.   Ugh, I see so much room for improvement in so many areas.  But I am trying to trust that God is at work, and praying He will help me to be more obedient.  And doing my best to yield to the Holy Spirit as I recognize His voice. 

I am now goal setting for 2015, and looking forward to what God is going to do in the coming year. 

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