2012, no not that cruddy John Cusack movie, but the YEAR 2012 that is now upon us. New Year's resolutions abound, but my Hope for you is that you'll put one resolution above all others, and that you'll actually make this one stick, and that is to get closer to God.
I'll not go into the infinitely large list of why you should get closer to God, hopefully you can figure that out for yourself. But here's a short list of ways to go about adding more God time into your life.
1. consider all time God time- regardless of if you're at work, or in the bathroom, consider it an opportunity to pray, consider it an opportunity to think about God, His Word, His Love and Way.
2. Prayer - kinda mentioned in the previous one, prayer can pretty much happen anytime, anywhere. Whether in silent and voicing out your prayer, or simply in your mind as you go about other things. Prayer is good for you, and it's what God desires
3. Reading the Word- I suppose this is probably a big "duh" for most of you that reading the Bible would be on a list like this. Problem is that most of us don't get it done. We should consider reading the Bible as important as eating. Maybe we need to make it a part of our meal times! Incorporate new ways to get God's Word in your life, perhaps Bible on MP3 or CD? Start memorizing a new scripture every week or month. Don't be hard on yourself, and choose things that lend themselves naturally to your life. But let it be a precious thing to you, an important thing. Get a neat study book or devotional book to guide you through reading since for some just opening up the Bible is daunting because you may feel that you don't know where to start.
4. Put Feet to Prayer - in #2, Prayer was mentioned but this takes that further in taking your prayers and actually Doing something about them. If you have someone that has really been on your mind and have been praying for that person, why not reach out and do something for him or her? This thought comes to mind, if someone is hungry, you could pray that he get something to eat, or you could take him out to lunch. Ideally, doing both would be the way to go, pray about helping the person out, and then see if there's something you can actually do. For those trials that aren't so easy as a McDonald's run, sometimes just visiting with the person, and assuring that you will continue praying and considering that person's needs is all you can do. But that is still usually better than doing nothing, and may mean the world to the person in mind.
5. Check out Christian Talk radio- This is something I've discovered in the last year or so, and have really found it to be encouraging in my life. There is so much worldly entertainment, and just "stuff" that tears us down. If you have some sort of Christian talk radio such as Bott Radio then you start to replace some of that with good stuff, encouraging and stuff filled with wisdom. Additionally, you can listen to most of the various programs on the Bott Radio Network, online on your computer or smartphone. My favorites are FocusOnTheFamily and Ravi Zecharias Ministries but there are many other good ones too.
6. Christian Music - Whether via MP3/CD or on the radio, listening to Christian radio helps to replace some of the 'worldly stuff' with better, more worthwhile stuff. Example, you might opt to listen to a worldly station airing music that speaks of or even glorifies being arrogant and boastful, or being a womanizer, being selfish and only worrying about yourself; or you can check out a Christian radio station airing music that points you to God through worship; songs about making it through the tough times of life; encouraging and uplifting songs to help give you peace. The difference to me feels like the difference between eating candy and healthy food. One gives a short spike of high energy, but then falls flat and is deflating; whereas the nutritive food grants strength and vitality for your day.
7. Apply the Word - This is somewhat an aggregation of all the above. Look and strive to USE things you learn in the Word, or through teachings about the Bible etc. Use them in your life, try to become more Christ-Like. And hear me on this next statement, being more Christ-Like doesn't mean that you're doing everything right. All of us have and will fall short of His glory, which is why only He can be our salvation from Sin. Do not, do not, do NOT, wear a mask of false righteousness and piety. The masks that common church goers often wear, as if we're perfect and never fall flat on our face in sin, is one of the worst practices that I believe the devil himself has roped us all into. Doing such makes us out to be hypocrites, it alienates new church comers and new would-be Christians, and gives a false-hope that simply getting Jesus means you'll never fail again. That's not what knowing Jesus is about in the least, and again I think this is a myth that somehow permeated most of the church and has been exemplified by arrogant self-righteousness and judgementalism. Jesus was about Mercy and Grace, for you, and for that person you've come to hate. God is Love.