January is upon us. Traditionally, it is the season of change, newness and failure. Why such an upbeat thought? How many of us have made the traditional new years resolution, only to see it dangling in the winds of failure by late January? It almost makes one want to not make the resolution at all.
An alternate choice involves setting goals. We set goals for ourselves in life, at work, and with friends throughout the year. Often don’t give it a second thought. With a goal the theme is, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” With a resolution, if our resolve wears thin the resolution dissolves like salt in warm water, diluted and much less tasty.
With that in mind, I plan on setting some goals for the year and realizing I have the whole year to make a dent in the goal, not just January.
One goal high on my list is growing closer to God for myself and my family. How can I do that? If I’m going to set a goal, I usually give myself measurable steps to help me reach the goal. What steps can help me grow closer to God?
Step One- Bible shopping:
Do I have a Bible? What a silly and absurd question. Of course I have a Bible, most Americans do. If we don’t buy one, we can always pick up a free one from any hotel we stay in thanks to an organization called the Gideons.
Unfortunately we pick up Bibles like pieces of fruit in the grocery store. Most of us just grab and put it in the cart. The good chef knows what to look for, the rest of us guess. Instead of that approach, let’s make a point of examining it like any book. Maybe not any book….the author we already trust and the pictures, they may not impress us (unless your shopping for the kids, then pictures are a plus.)
We can check them in person at any store, Barnes and Noble, Borders, or a local Christian store. Go where you feel comfortable. Or grab the laptop and surf the net through Amazon or CBD (Christian Book Distributors). Pick a verse and read it in several versions. I like Psalm 23 (it’s near the middle, find the book of Psalms and look for the big number 23) another verse I enjoy comparing is John 1:1. Find a language that you understand and totally get. One commonly appreciated translation (the Bible was originally translated from Hebrew in the Old Testament and Greek in the New Testament) many people appreciate it NIV (New International Version). If you don’t feel very smart about the Bible one called a Study Bible contains handy notes to smarten anyone up.
To help children appreciate the Bible toddlers and preschoolers really enjoy picture Bibles. Let’s face it, they really enjoy pictures. The picture Bibles contain the main stories of the Bible in a simpified format for children. Older children enjoy Bibles that contain pictures and easy to understand words. The NIrV (New International revised Version) is wonderful.
Here are helpful hints as you hunt. There are different translations of the Bible for different types of people.
KJV (King James Version) is the translation with the “Thou” and “Thee” we heard when we were young.
NKJV (New King James Version) is a slightly more modern than King James version.
NIV (New International Version), NAS (New American Standard), RSV (Revised Standard Version) and NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) are all collegiate style communication. As you read, you can see which most appeals to you.
There are other translations but these are the most often read.
One goal for the new year could be getting an appropriate Bible. Another could be starting a reading plan to get into it. The next story will cover step 2 in growing closer to God…Read the Bible.
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