Blogging Update

Since I gave myself a very public 30-day blogging challenge, I suppose an update is in order. I only blogged 8 times in the first 12 days, and have since fallen off. Here’s what I have learned so far:

  • Though I have many ideas about which to write, each one takes time to develop. It would be imprudent for me to rush those and throw them on the page without deeper reflection.
  • I desire for my thoughts to be anchored in Scripture, in biblical truth, and that also takes time to study longer than I can give to get a piece posted in a day. I don’t want to sloppily throw something up or base it all on experience.
  • I tire of hearing myself! I don’t want to talk just to talk.

However, there have been many benefits:

  • If I’m writing, I’m thinking about that and developing those thoughts. When I have spare time to think, this is where my thoughts go. It takes me away from other thoughts that would not be as beneficial. Has your mind ever been stuck in a rut of replaying something, of thinking over and over about something that isn’t healthy? Those kinds of thoughts can become toxic. But when we truly can turn our minds in a Philippians 4:8 way—to the things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, praiseworthy—then we can be free of anxiety, full of peace, and enjoying thoughts focused on God. It gives us a whole new perspective. This is what blogging helps me do.
  • Before I post, I run it past my husband or my mom for quick thoughts or feedback, and I love having them part of the process and hearing what they have to say. And as my husband spends his mornings working on his latest novel, when he comes downstairs, I like to pretend I understand the life of a writer! That we are on the same “page” with that (pun intended)! Ha! But he has been most kind to engage with me on this, and that’s been a fun part of it. Only one piece does he keep sending back to me—yesterday with red font type interspersed!—which has led to dead space on the blog for several days, but perhaps I’ll get it right or move on soon.
  • It’s a way to pursue a little bit of a hobby I can enjoy. This challenge pushed me out to actually do something more consistently with my blog instead of continuing to push it aside. Whether it’s worthy of even sharing or whether it will develop or just end at the end of 30 days, I don’t know. But I’ve enjoyed it.

So I have not met the 30-day blogging challenge. But I’ve learned a lot and hope to continue at a reasonable pace and learn and grow in these things. My desire hasn’t been to be a writer as much as a recorder of God’s work and things I learn from His Word, to praise Him. That’s what I want to communicate, particularly to my kids so these stones of remembrance are collected and not forgotten. Thanks to those who have offered encouragement on this little journey.

My Brief Political Post

I wrote this many years ago, but pull it out every four years to reflect upon again:

  • I’m thankful for a Sovereign God who is seated on the throne in the heavens and whose kingdom rules over all (Psalm 103:19).
  • I’m thankful to know that He alone raises up and brings down leaders and rulers (Daniel 2:21).
  • I’m thankful that He alone is great and worthy of all praise (Psalm 145:3), worthy as the Lamb who was slain to receive all power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and praise (Rev. 5:12).
  • I’m thankful that He sets my feet on the Rock (Psalm 40:2) and keeps me secure.
  • In Him, I have complete confidence and hope, and I have no cause for fear.
  • He is my Rock, fortress, deliverer, strength, salvation, and shield (2 Samuel 22; Psalm 18).
  • He will not forsake those who trust in Him (Psalm 9:10).

May we be particularly prayerful during this political season. May we love those around us and pray for unity in our country. And may God’s good and perfect will be done.

(*Note: I haven’t watched much of either convention—just a few parts here and there, nothing today. This is in no way timed around any certain event or happening. Just a piece that came to mind tonight as I looked for something to post during my 30-day blogging challenge!)

My 30-Day Blogging Challenge

I started blogging in June 2008 as a way to record for myself and my children what God was doing in our lives, to note those times I would see His visible (though invisible) hand and activity, all the while praising Him. Over the years, my goals for blogging have become a little more developed, as shown on my “About” page.

For some time, I’ve wanted to blog more regularly. Though I wake early and have plenty of time in my mornings, I am prone to distraction and don’t always keep my focus long enough to be consistent. So I’m giving myself a 30-day challenge to try post each day. Maybe acknowledging this will help me do it! This may include long or short posts, new posts or re-posts, maybe even linking to others, I’m not sure, but just taking steps forward with a goal I’ve long had.

Let me know if you have ideas or suggestions—or maybe if you have a blog, you want to join me in this challenge.

I know what a challenge this will be, but at least day 1 is in the books! 🙂

Digging for Treasure

I arose this morning and have been digging for gold, for treasure. That’s what it feels like to go to God’s Word, to read it and study it, to meditate on it. I find rich treasure, food for my soul.

Much of my focus this summer has been on studying God’s Word as part of a Bible study I am doing for my daughter and a few of her friends. As I look more closely at Psalm 119 each day, I find more truth in and about God’s Word of all that it is and does for us.

It is true (Ps. 119:142), and it is pure (Ps. 119:140). That gives my mind something to dwell on (Phil. 4:8) when it would otherwise stumble. Thoughts of irritation, frustration, fear and anxiety, dwelling on hurts—these lose their place when my mind becomes focused instead on God’s Word, and its truth is established in my heart and mind.

This is but one small example. Every day brings more light and truth to expose lies that my heart and mind would otherwise believe. I can call out to God, and He will answer and help. He is near (Ps. 119:151).

I learn more of His promises and faithfulness to me. May I, as the psalmist, love His commands more than gold, even the purest gold and carefully follow His precepts, hating every false way (Ps. 119:127-128). This leads to life (Ps. 119:93). Revive me today, Lord, according to Your Word (Ps. 119:149). Amen.

 

Merry Christmas 2015!

It’s 9:00 a.m. Christmas morning. My kids are still sleeping. I guess that’s how it is with high schoolers. What has your Christmas season been like this year?

As usual, mine has been a bit hectic. I tend to have to take things one day at a time to get through each day and whatever is planned. Christmas is a busy season at church where I work; it’s a busy season at home when the kids get to exams and Christmas break; it’s a busy season as my husband finishes teaching and his semester. I again forego getting out family Christmas cards this year and race around shopping in the last week or two. And somehow it all comes together.

Yesterday, as I did some last minute shopping, this song came on the radio:

That’s what I felt: “I need a silent night, a holy night.” Time to be still and ponder.

We ended Christmas Eve at our church’s annual candlelight service. It’s a beautiful service that closed with all of us holding our lit candles and singing the traditional Christmas carol “Silent Night, Holy Night,” further reminder of the silence my heart has needed to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

And what is that?

I love Chris Tomlin’s new Christmas song, “He Shall Reign Forevermore.” The first thing I loved about the song was hearing the echo of the words from the poem “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Christina Rosetti. That was a poem my children learned in school when they were young, and I learned along with them. But I was struck by these words in this new song: “This baby born to sacrifice, Christ the Messiah.”

Christ was born to die. That would be part of His mission, doing the will of His Father. He, who would come and live a perfect life, would die. He would be our atoning sacrifice, paying the price for our sins. Christ, our Creator God (Genesis 1-2), the Word made flesh (John 1), became our perfect sacrifice (Hebrews 10). Why was that necessary?

Sin separates and divides. It’s been the ongoing reality of life for all humans since the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve first sinned (Genesis 3). We are all now separated from God by our sin (Romans 3:23), with no way to have access to God again of our own ability. And we are due the just consequences of that sin – death and separation (Romans 6:23a).

But Christ restores and redeems. This was accomplished through his life, death, and resurrection. He was willing to do this (to be born to die – and not just any death, but a brutal one reserved for the worst of criminals) (Philippians 2:8) to restore our relationship with God (Colossians 1:19-22), to give us eternal life (John 3:16), to give us hope (1 Peter 1:3). This is great, great love (John 15:13, 1 John 3:16).

What is our response? If Christ has accomplished this great work on our behalf, I guess the question is what is our response to that?

Faith. Simple faith, childlike trust, in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9). If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved (Romans 10:9-10).

I think back to Rosetti’s poem:

What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I would do my part.
Yet what can I give him? Give him my heart.

We can respond with faith in Jesus, giving him our hearts. If you have not done that, what is stopping you? Ask in faith that God would help you and reveal Himself to you. Sometimes it’s that first step of faith that begins to open the door to much more truth, and step by step, He will lead us to Himself. I pray that for each one of us today and in the coming new year.