Sunday, 7 January 2018

Staying Rooted...

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)

As a teenager I was blessed by being able to attend a CYFA camp in Colwyn Bay, North Wales every summer. One year we focussed on the book of Colossians and some of the leaders wrote a song based on the above verses (if you know it I bet it's stuck in your head now!) Over a decade has passed since then but I am still encouraged by the song and the verses every time I see them. This morning at church these verses were the basis of the sermon and I was reminded again how important it is to stay rooted in Christ and in His word. I started writing this blog post this afternoon and was thinking about how I am looking to the year ahead and the challenges I face. As I will mention below, my specific focus will be on the Psalms but I didn't manage to finish what I was writing before I left for church this evening. It was just so fitting that the passage we were looking at was Psalm 1 and that the sermon focussed on the importance of meditating on God's word. At the start of a new year it is so important to be reminded that we need to be rooted in and meditating on God's word.

I'm not really one for making new years resolutions but as we come into 2018 and I look forward to all the changes that will be happening in my life I have been thinking about how I can improve my walk with God. I have been reminded recently that if I don't do things in this country then I probably won't do them in another, I need to cultivate good habits now so that I can take them into my new situation. One of my long standing personal challenges is making time for Bible reading and prayer. It's not that I don't want to but somehow the busyness of life takes over. In blunt terms, I faff. At Bible College faffing became the word of the week because I used it so often. I faff and I use up my time in often unproductive ways. I don't make the time I should for meditating on God's word and now this is also extending into not taking the time to learn Slovene. Both of these I know are vitally important!

Over the years I have tried to develop habits and ways of making sure I spend time with God and in His Word. Some have lasted, others haven't. This year as a resolution of sorts (although I hope it will become a long lasting habit) I have decided on a new tactic that will help me address both the issues of reading God's word and learning the language. I was given a lovely notebook for Christmas and so have started each night writing out a Psalm (or a portion of one) firstly in English and then in Slovene. I'm only a week into the year and I'm not going to say it's easy but I can already see the benefits of spending more time than I have done on a part of the Bible I've so easily skimmed over in the past. Writing it out, for me, helps it to soak in and lets me dwell on the words. Repeating it in Slovene allows me to see a comparison of the languages and helps me get used to the language. Reading and writing have always been therapeutic activities for me and this combines the two. I know I need to do it for longer than a week for it to become habit but I am praying that this year I will spend more time with God. I give permission to anyone to check up on me to see how I am doing with this!

I know the year ahead will provide many challenges and probably discouragements but I know that blessing comes from spending time with God and with his people. Not much has changed in the last month since my last blog post, I am still raising finances and praying for the funding I need to go. I was hoping to be going by March but things are quite slow. With God all things are possible and if it is His will to go in March then I know the means will be provided. In the mean time I will try and prepare myself spiritually for the battles I know lie ahead.

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