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A Spiritual New Year

MILWAUKEE -- The beginning of a new year is a great time to start new things. Lots of people make New Year's resolutions in an effort to improve themselves as people. Often, these resolutions are related to physical health. People frequently begin diets and exercise plans as part of their New Year's resolutions.

But these aren't the only ways to grow as people. Have you ever considered making some spiritual New Year's resolutions?

What kinds of things would make you spiritually healthier this year? How about getting to church or chapel services on a regular basis? Maybe you could commit to praying every day, or for specific things, or in a helpful way. Do you need the help of a pastor or chaplain to guide you through some spiritual problems you're dealing with? Maybe your resolution could be to make an appointment to get that help.

One thing I've done is to try to read the entire Bible. This might sound daunting, but just like getting in physical shape, doing little things on a regular basis really makes a big difference. I'm a nerd, so I like using tools. I've used "The One Year Bible" which is a Bible organized into 365 readings, one for each day of the year. There is also an online version of this book. Currently, I'm using YouVersion (www.youversion.org). This is an online Bible that allows you to read the Bible in lots of versions and languages. They have reading plans that help you read the whole Bible in all different timeframes. They even have apps for Blackberry, IPhone, and my beloved Android. So when I'm standing in line somewhere, I can haul out my phone and make one more small dent in my spiritual New Year's Resolution.

Whether you do this or something else, I would encourage you to find something to do this year that will help you grow in relationship with God.

May you find spiritual health and blessings in 2011!

Chaplain Benjamin Johnson