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New Year

By Dan Baumgartner on
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Jan 12 in Musings
I removed my 2017 desktop calendar and dropped it in the recycling bin, put the new one in place and stepped back to look:  January 2018.  I love a new year, and turning a significant page like this always fills me with hope and possibility.

 I also have a fresh direction for my quiet times this year. Most mornings I get in the office early, and sit in the windowed corner (winter) or out on the patio (spring/summer/fall) to journal, pray and read something.  For 2018 devotional reading, I just started Frederick Buechner’s collection called “Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith.” Most of the 365 entries are excerpts from three different books. They are thought provoking and well-written...but they’re not scripture. For that, I’m reading one Psalm each day until the end of May.

With that schedule in mind, on Wednesday (January 10th) I read Psalm 10, one of those Psalms that has a detailed description of how a “wicked” person acts, followed by a plea for God’s help. In this case, one characteristic of a wicked person is “In all his thoughts there is no room for God.”   It jumped off the page at me. I wrote it in my journal and have been chewing on it ever since. “In all his thoughts there is no room for God.”  In the midst of a long list of terrible characteristics like reviling God, cursing, lying, murdering the innocent and crushing the helpless, there is also: “In all his thoughts there is no room for God.”  

 I tried to imagine why this sentence appears in the Psalmist’s list, since it seems almost minor compared to the other marks of a wicked person. Then I wondered if it might be exactly the thing which allows all of the other evils into a person’s life. Eventually, I had to get around to the really painful question- is there room in MY thoughts for God?  And the equally painful answer, if I’m honest-  sometimes.  But I want more than that.  I want to have more room. I want to make more room, and it’s hard. There are a million other things, even many good things, that clamor for attention. To truly make room in my thoughts for God would require me to jealously guard time to listen, reflect and pray. I would have to say no to some things. I would need to learn to discern when my own thoughts are crowding out God’s voice.  

As I mused on this, I started to wonder if it had anything to do with the Apostle Paul’s advice in Philippians: “Finally...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.”

            It almost sounds like a New Year’s resolution.
See you soon,
              Pastor Dan

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