Tuesday, September 17, 2019

One Day at a Time

Pastor Thomas McCulley, New Life Community Church of God

Pastor Thomas McCulley, New Life Community Church of God

Why is it that our resolve to live a better life, a healthier life, or even, a more daring life weakens as time goes on?  As the beginning of a new year opens to untold wonders we have hope and vision of our dreams and goals manifesting.  Thought is given, lists are made and life, in our minds, reaches to untold heights. A slimmer me, a smarter me, an organized me is as good as it gets.  Why, oh, why, is it so tough to live our passion, to do what we truly want to do?  How can we keep those New Year’s resolutions alive?

Faith, worship, belief, religion, spirituality are primary forces in the peoples of our world throughout time.  We frequent houses of worship and strive to live according to a higher realm, a more powerful entity.  Daily life, though, sometimes gets in the way and those deep rooted priorities of existence, at times, get lost in our jobs, our duties, temptations, and the rush in which we often find ourselves.

We listen and learn from the devout leaders and teachers of our community.  The question that was asked of our spiritual leaders and of those to whom we give our trust is this:

What is your spiritual resolution for the New Year?  What steps, or actions, are you setting for yourself to live an even more and deeper spiritual life?

The first response received was from Pastor Thomas McCulley of the New Life Community Church of God:

“Darling, does this dress make me look fat?”

The question every husband dreads to hear.  We understand the words but we know there is something else happening and we are in dangerous territory.

It has been many, many years since I’ve broken a New Year’s resolution,  not because I’ve kept them but because I stopped making them.  I am willing to try again in 2010 because I recognize the need to improve some things about myself and I finally have found a self-improvement idea that is interesting enough to keep me focused and consistent in keeping the resolution.

For longer than I can remember I have read five Psalms and one chapter in Proverbs every morning.  This year I’m going to replace that habit with the goal of reading through the entire Bible while comparing what I see in a ‘real Bible’ with a paraphrase of the Scriptures called The Message. Erroneously called a translation by many, The Message is a conversational collection of colloquialisms that ceaselessly entertains me with flights of imagination by the author, Eugene Peterson. The challenge will be to read the daily dose without derision for Dr. Peterson’s choice of expressions and thus draw a strong rebuke from my wife who loves this book.  I love the Bible so much so that I have learned to use linguistic research tools to study the text in the original languages.  Occasionally I have opened up The Message”to seek a modern day illustration of an obscure issue.  Every once in a while the beauty of expression, while rarely an accurate translation of the Hebrew or Greek, manages to captivate me and move me to tears with its poetry. The scientist/scholar in me balks at the injustice to the text while the practical person in me sees, really sees, what God is attempting to accomplish in my soul.  Sometimes the difference between a translation and a paraphrase is the difference between what my wife says and what she really means.

“Does this dress make me look fat?” is an example of a question a wise man should hear in paraphrase and not in translation. So I resolve in 2010 to read the Bible in the New American Standard Bible (1995 Update) and read the parallel passages in Gene Peterson’s masterpiece, The Message.

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