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It is the first Monday of the New Year. I started my day with a trip to the gym, reading my Bible and praying. My plan is to continue this pattern in order to strengthen myself in body and spirit for the year ahead. My wife and I were members of the YMCA for about 20 years. We continued to pay our dues through the COVID shutdown, but were hesitant to return, once it reopened. We finally cancelled our membership last year. Thus, I’m dealing with post-COVID flab. We rejoined the “Y” for the New Year.

It is not just our bodies that can become flabby, when we fail to exercise properly. It occurred to me that I have not read through the Bible in a couple of years. I have done it many times in the past, and have continued to read my Bible daily. Yet, this is my year to re-read the Scriptures in an orderly fashion, from Genesis to Revelation. I know that some of you attempted to do so last year, but got bogged down in the Old Testament scriptures. Let me encourage you to join me in this adventure of reading through God’s Word together in 2023. It may help some of you to alternate between reading from the Old and New Testaments.

We can never spend too much time talking with God in prayer. In truth, I try to maintain an attitude of prayer throughout the day, every day. I talk to Him as if He is in the room with me, because He abides in my heart. Yet, my problem with prayer is the same as my problem in my marriage. I am not always the best listener! So, my pledge for the New Year is to spend less time talking and more time listening, in all of my relationships. Since God knows everything and I know very little, it only makes sense to let Him do most of the talking when I pray. I share these things with you, not as a way of bragging, but to show you that we all struggle in similar ways. We all have difficulty setting priorities and managing our time. While we want to do better, we find it easier to keep on doing the same things we have done in the past. The New Year can be viewed as just “starting over,” maintaining the status quo, or “starting fresh,” striving to make some needed changes in our lives.

Serving in love, Bro. Jim

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