Week 16: Happy New Year!

by Sophie Bolton

Happy New Year! I hope 2018 has started well for you so far. I wonder how you’re feeling at the beginning of this year? What are your hopes and dreams for the year ahead? Have you resolved to do something differently this year? The passages we will read this week offer a few pointers in the way of holy living, so let’s unpack a few of those themes now:

Trust in God

In these last few chapters of 1 Samuel, David spares Saul’s life again. Saul has been pursuing David, yet David trusted in God’s timing – he says in 1 Samuel 26: 10 that he must trust in God to end Saul’s life, not to take matters into his own hands. Psalms 57, 58 and 141 are thought to have been written by David during this time, and they show David’s complete trust in God’s faithfulness and how he even praised God when he faced danger and was in difficulty.  When faced with worries or stress, how often do you have a knee-jerk reaction rather than praying and trusting in God?

Be on your Guard

In 2 Peter 3, Peter urges those reading his letter to be on their guard for the coming of Jesus. He urges us all to live holy and godly lives because we are waiting for the day which will come like a ‘thief in the night’. How much do you live your life in anticipation of Jesus’ return? How does (or should) the knowledge that Jesus will one day come to judge and bring a new heaven and new earth change the way we live our lives? Hear both the warning, but also the encouragement of the amazing future hope that we have as Christians.

Know God better

In Ephesians 1: 18- 22 Paul prays a beautiful prayer for the people of Ephesus. He prays that their hearts may be enlightened and that they may know the hope to which they are called. I often think that before I pray specific prayers for the people and situations on my mind, it is so much more fruitful and edifying to pray first that I would know God more. The worries and cares of life often fall into better perspective when we first know God as our loving Father, powerful Creator and merciful Savior. So if you’re still thinking of a new year’s resolution, or a theme for your prayers of 2018, then prayer to know God better isn’t a bad place to start!

Here are some questions to help you with your reading:

  • As you finish off 1 Samuel, how can we learn from David, from his trust in God and patience for God’s timing?
  • 2 Peter finishes with many warnings for us. Is there something in particular that you feel God is challenging you on as you read?
  • Chapter 3 of Ephesians ends with a beautiful prayer that the Ephesians would know the depths of God’s love for them.  How deeply do you know God’s love for you? As you read, pray this prayer for yourself as well.