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Keeping Your Resolutions

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Did you make any resolutions this new year? If you didn’t, Burk Parsons’ Tabletalk article from a few years ago may persuade you to think again. Burk argues that the Bible gives us good reasons for making resolutions, as long as we make them sensibly, dependently, humbly, and for Christ’s sake. The beginning of a new year is a logical time to consider some resolutions.

For those of you who did (or now will) make resolutions, I wanted to recommend just 2 or 3 resources that I’ve found helpful in the 6 areas of life that people are most often resolving to see change (and yes, I actually did some research to see what areas we tend to make resolutions).

  1. Physical fitness
    Getting and staying physically fit often means spending significant time on the treadmill or out beating the pavement. You can make the most of that time by giving your ears a workout, too.
    • YouVersion – This app offers, for free, over 20 different translations of the Bible in English. Eleven of them you can listen to. And it’s available for almost any mobile OS. (If you have an iPhone or iPad, see my list of other useful iOS Christian apps.) I use it every day.
    • Audible and ChristianAudio – These are great places to get audiobooks beyond the Bible. I wrote about them last month and still recommend them. It is only in the past few months that I’ve gotten into audiobooks, but I’m not completely hooked. Be sure to go to ChristianAudio and download J.I. Packer’s Knowing God; it’s free this month.
  2. Financial stewardship
    • YNAB (You Need a Budget) – This is far and away the best budgeting program I’ve ever used. You may want to read my full review of it. And yes, I still use it every week.
    • John Temple’s Family Money Matters – This is a great resource that provides starting points for building a biblical worldview of your money. See my review of this one, too. Of course Randy Alcorn’s books on money are also really useful.
  3. Bad habits
    • Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave by Ed Welch – This is a highly recommended title for those struggling with any addiction. Welch argues that, because of the gospel, there is great hope for being freed from your addiction. The power of the gospel is the power to break your addiction.
    • Minibooks from CCEF – Each of these twenty-seven little books tackles a different, practical life issue with solid theological answers.
    • Living in a Fallen World by Day One Publications – This is another series of minibooks (16 total now) that likewise offers wise, biblical counsel for very practical, often painful issues. This is a good compliment to the CCEF series since it doesn’t cover all the same topics.
  4. Doing good to others
    • Managing God’s Money by Randy Alcorn – As I mentioned in my review, Alcorn teaches that most of us have neglected our responsibility to give deeply, consistently and generously. He calls for a radical rethinking of money so that we view it from an eternal perspective.
    • Radical by David Platt – Platt’s book is all about escaping the doldrums of the American dream and doing something better with our lives. This book will charge you up; just make sure you give some time to think about how to apply it. (Yes, I wrote a review of this one too.)
    • Razoo – Razoo is a website for easily raising and giving money to all kinds of causes, including missions trips.
  5. Relationships
    • The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller – The distinguishing feature of this book is its deep dependence on the gospel. It’s my new favorite book on marriage and the best book I read in 2011.
    • Friendship by Hugh Black – Republished recently by Joshua Press, this book from 1901 is beautifully written and full of wisdom. I posted a few quotes from it a few years ago.
    • Everyday Talk by John Younts – This book discusses the importance of talking to children about God everyday and in every way, offering practical ways of doing that. Read my review.
  6. Learning more
    • Lit! by Tony Reinke – Crossway’s back cover blurb says it best: “Offered here is a theology for reading and practical suggestions for reading widely, reading well, and for making it all worthwhile.”
    • iTunes U Christian resources – Search “Christian” in the iTunes store, then scroll down to see the results in iTunes U. There you’ll find free lectures on all kinds of subjects from professors at evangelical schools like RTS, Covenant, Liberty, and Wheaton. Have you thanked God for the Internet lately? Here’s a good reason to!
    • Ligonier Connect – Ligonier has created this online education option for people to watch and interact over different video lectures by R. C. Sproul. “A classroom learning experience without the constraints of the classroom.” You can learn on your own or with friends.

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    A La Carte (February 21)

    A La Carte: When cultural tailwinds become cultural headwinds / Talking with kids about gender issues / Try to be more awkward / Life is more than mountaintop experiences / Tinder / Unpacking “separation of church and state” / and more.

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    A La Carte: How hell motivates holiness / The bond of love / How to love our friends in truth, even when it stings / The distorting power of the prosperity gospel / Thinking about plagues / and more.

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