Top 10 of 2013

As we all do at this time of year, I spent some time in reflection on this past year.  Everything from faith, family, and work.  It can simply boil down to this.  GOD IS GOOD!  Yes, I’m sure I could find the dark clouds, the bad choices, the unfortunate, the demise of 2013.  There was plenty of that.  But if I am to focus all that I am on the cross, then there is nothing to do but see Him at work in all that happened this past year.  This is all I desire. I want more of Him in my life.  I want to put myself in a better position to serve Him daily.  The following I commit to be my prayer for 2014 and beyond:

Lord, fan this divine spark into glowing flame.

When faith sleeps, my heart becomes an unclean thing,

The fount of every loathsome desire,

The cage of unclean lusts all fluttering to escape,

The noxious tree of deadly fruit,

The open wayside of earthly tares.

Lord, awake faith to put forth its strength

Until all heaven fills my soul

And all impurity is cast out. ~ Puritan Prayer

I also commit to continue to write and share as I’m inspired by what the Lord will continue to show me and teach me.  For me, that’s what this blog is all about.  It has become an outlet for me to share my faith.  Whether I’m writing to myself or the few who happen upon “Rak Chazak”, may it continue to bless, convict, and encourage.  It’s not about how many likes, shares, comments, or followers.  May the Lord use it as He wills.  My prayer is that each post is read by the one person who needs it.  In most cases, that’s me.

That being said, here are the top 10 posts of 2013:

10. What’s your story?

What is it about a testimony?  Why is it that when we listen to or read someone’s testimony, it drives us to become something greater than before.  It’s just a story, right?  Forever moves forward, not the other way around.  God’s promises are new every morning.  If He forgives and forgets about our sins (Hebrews 10:16-17), we must strive to live in His ocean of grace.  You want to hear my testimony?  Get to know me now.  Not who I was.

9. Weed or Rose?

Strive to be the Christian that lives for Him, shines for Him, and brings forth the beauty of His blessings.  Sometimes you need to be clipped in order to become the person God wants you to be.  So, you can either wait to be pruned (which I don’t recommend), or you can eliminate the weeds in your life in order to bring glory to the One who gave you life.

8. Unexpected Blessings

Having faith is as good as placing an unwrapped present in the corner of your room and doing nothing with it.  We’ve been gifted an amazing present in the birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It’s time to use your faith.  Walk it.  Talk it.  For the love of Pete, re-gift it!!  Share the love that you’ve been given with all you know.  You never know, they could be sitting there with anticipation of what gift they’ll receive next.

7. Slow to speak

For this educator, the majority of what we do is about these moments.  Forget the tests, standards, and whatever else you’ve been taught in your credential program.  These are the times that can not be “taught”.  These moments are to be treasured and remembered because they’re worth far more than the certificate that hangs on your wall, or the monetary compensation you bring home.  These are the moments that cause your students to come back and say, “Thank you.”

6. Bee sting praise

It’s extremely difficult to see your children get hurt, physically or emotionally. But it is in these situations that we can draw closer to the One who holds the world in the palm of His hand. It is in these situations that we can teach our children that God is in control and has a perfect plan for our lives. But we must trust in Him, and Him alone!

5. The Wretched Poor

When you are set free in Christ, Satan will do all in his power to dissuade you by exposing your sin before your eyes.  He’ll remind you of past sins.  He’ll put temptation before you.  Yet our role in Christ is made clear in Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”  Forgiveness, grace, mercy, kindness, self-control, and ultimately love for God and love for others.  This is the gospel.  This is our mission.

4. Stepping away (part 2)

It’s funny.  I had the full intention of going down to minister and bless those we came in contact with.  And my prayer is that those we ministered to feel the love of Christ long after we’ve gone.  My prayer is that the gentleman I had the pleasure of leading to the Lord will continue to walk steadfastly and be encouraged by fellow believers.  Along with those, my prayer is that I will not fall back in to the bubble of American contentment.  My desire is to continue in this process of stepping away, in order to draw closer to the Lord.

3. The anguish of who I am

I am no good.  There is nothing about me that is worthy to be called a good person.  I am constantly in a state of torment and anguish.  This struggle will not allow my heart to settle in to peace.  My mind is waging a constant war.  I find myself reeling with confusion and pain at the things I’ve done, and those I’ve hurt.  I’m suffocating in a cloud of anger, hostility, and guilt.  However, I will have to fight and war against this inner struggle on a daily basis.  I will wage this war with hope.

2. Justifiable Slavery

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we have the honor of being called servants of the Most High God!  I say again, He saw that we were worth dying for.  It should make your life’s purpose very clear.  He is worth living for!  We are exclusively owned, and are to be completely submitted, singularly devoted, totally dependent, and personally accountable to Him and Him alone!

1. Stepping away (part 1)

I remember the moment vividly.  In fact, my wife can attest to this night.  We were both relaxing, unwinding from our day.  The kids were bedded down for the night, and I had grabbed my phone to scroll through my various feeds.  Then it hit me like a ton of bricks: “Share this goat for no reason”…

 

Thank you for being a part of this journey with me.  Thank you for praying for me.  Thank you for your encouragement and accountability.  May the Lord bless and fill you with more and more of Himself in 2014 and beyond.

Rak Chazak!!  God bless you!!

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