Your Top 3 Blog Posts For 2011

It’s almost a new year, and I hope you are one step closer to Christ, one suitcase lighter, with one less wound and one more giggle. Ultimately, I hope after reading my favorite blog posts for 2011, you walked away not merely entertained, but changed. Because honestly, if these posts only “tickle your ears” I’m wasting my time. For myself, I pray each time I write, I write first and foremost to myself, impressing the lessons God is showing me deep into my heart. Because if I am not growing, I am dying.

This has been a year of contrasts for me. I have seen some radical transformation in lives following whole-heartedly after Christ. I have seen extreme comfort brought to those in sorrow. But I have also seen hearts harden, relationships crumble, and darkness enshroud those who have wandered from Christ one slow step at a time. As I close out 2011, I am reminded of Casting Crowns’ song, “It’s a Slow Fade.” How we forget that! In 2012, may we all boast the opposite–not a slow fade into marital or family destruction, sin, or selfishness, but instead, a steady transformation to marital and spiritual intimacy and growth. Each day we have a choice, to draw near to God or drift from Him. There is no middle ground.

I want to thank all the authors who allowed me to repost their grace-filled words. Each one impacted me on a heart and spiritual level. I enjoyed seeing your favorites. (Please note, I did not count comments made by myself or the post’s author.)

And your favorites were:

#3, with 3 tweets, 5 FB shares, and 2 “likes”…. Julie Arduini with How Would You Handle it?

Here’s a snippet of her post: Our daughter is in general good health now but as a baby had chronic multiple issues. Since she’s been 3 months old, weight is one of them. We’ve been to a dietician and work with an endocronologist. We have seven plus years of files, appointments, therapies and oh yes…the comments. (Read the rest here.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2, with 1 tweet, 14 FB shares, and 1 “like”Eileen Rife with Heart Murmurs.

I remember hearing the words, “heart murmur,” from our daughter’s pediatrician when she was a young child. An immediate alarm sounded in my head, quickly followed by the doctor’s reassurance. “These types of murmurs are typically benign and something the child grows out of. We’ll keep a watch on it.”

True to his words, my daughter did grow out of it. The physical heart murmur, that is. But there was another type of heart murmur birthed in her by God that continues to grow to this day. (Read more here.)

 

 

And your FAVORITE post for 2011…

 

 

 

#1, with 8 tweets, 15 FB shares, and 2 “likes”Jimmy Davis with Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

Yep, here I am again. In one of those “rock and hard place” seasons, wondering how to be refreshed in the desert. And then I was reminded today that God and I have had this discussion before. So here it is, from my old blog over three years ago. Reading this encouraged me to keep my eyes on Jesus, even and especially when I’m feeling “stuck.” A good reminder during Holy Week. (Read the rest here.)

Congrats to all of our top three bloggers! And to my readers, thank you so much for your participation. I know all participating bloggers were encouraged.

Starting in January, I’m going to look at intentional living—in our homes, our marriages, at our work place, in our walk with Christ. Although I’m not really one to make New Years’ Resolutions, I do like the reminder to start again. As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve come to realize whenever I quit growing, I start dying. But to grow, I need to live intentionally. With determined focus, forgetting what is behind—my failings and shortcomings, goals I set but never reached—pressing toward what lies ahead. I hope you’ll join me!

And to all my blogging friends, if you’d like to help spur us on with some insight you believe God’s given you, check out my “Join Me” page for themes and details.

And to all, as you surf the web in 2012, if you find a post you think we’d love, shoot me an email. It might end up in my top 20 of 2012. 🙂

Happy Thursday, all, and may your day be saturated by grace and spurred by love.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Today’s post is a repost from Jimmy Davis’ blog, Cruciform Life. Many of you may be struggling this holiday season. You long for the joy of Christmas, but life’s burdens are wearing you down. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one and this is your first Christmas without them. Maybe you’re fighting illness, or a plummetting bank account. Whatever your struggle is, God sees you. He loves you and He’s promised to be your Abba Daddy.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Jimmy Davis

Yep, here I am again. In one of those “rock and hard place” seasons, wondering how to be refreshed in the desert. And then I was reminded today that God and I have had this discussion before. So here it is, from my old blog over three years ago. Reading this encouraged me to keep my eyes on Jesus, even and especially when I’m feeling “stuck.” A good reminder during Holy Week.

Refreshed Between A Rock And A Hard Place

I often feel caught between a rock and a hard place. In fact, some weeks it seems that I merely step from one rock to another hard place, wondering when the tough times will pass so that I can experience those “times of refreshment from the Lord” (Acts 3:20). But God promises to refresh me in and from those places. Strange. I don’t know that I’ve often expected refreshment in, and especially not from, hard circumstances, difficult relationships, or the agony of waiting.

A couple of days ago I was feeling caught in one of those “rock and hard place” days. I came back to the office after lunch, feeling the anxiety building up inside, and was reminded to pray my midday Psalm. The scheduled Psalm was 114 which highlights the power of God as it was displayed through the wilderness wanderings of His people after the Exodus. Talk about some hard places! The Psalm concludes with these verses: “Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water” (vv. 7-8).

The psalmist is most likely alluding to those moments when God’s people found themselves on thirsty ground where there was no water” (Deuteronomy 8:15). The people complained to Moses, Moses cried out to God, and God provided fresh water from the side of a rock (Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 20:2-13). As I meditated on these verses the Spirit seemed to be saying, “You don’t have to wait until the hard times are past to find refreshment. I can satisfy your thirsty heart from the rock and in the hard place. When I am present in those places (and I Am), you can find refreshment for your soul.” I was then reminded that just the week before He had me meditating on Exodus 17:1-7, the time God told Moses to strike the rock and watch the water flow. God told Moses in verse 6, “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” The key to the rock providing water was not the pounding of Moses’ staff but the presence of the Standing God.

Not even a moment after the Spirit opened my eyes to see that wonderful truth, He turned my heart toward Christ. I envisioned Him on the cross, standing on that nail in His feet, pouring out His life for me. I thought about the soldier’s spear that made blood and water flow from the side of the Rock of my Salvation (John 19:34). I was filled with new confidence and comfort that my God was present in the hard places in my life, and that He indeed is the One who “turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.”

JIMMY DAVIS loves being married to Christine, with whom he shares the adventure of raising three great kids and a Havanese pup named Charlie. Jimmy earned an M. A. in Christian Education and M. A. in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary, and is an ordained teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church in America. In over 20 years of ministry he has served as a pastor to youth and college students, youth-ministry consultant, church planter, pastor of discipleship, and has taught Bible courses on the high school and college levels. He has also served as a staff writer and associate editor of the Colson Center’s Worldview Church Website, and maintains The Cruciform Life Blog at www.cruciformlife.org.  Jimmy’s first book Cruciform: Living the Cross-Shaped Life was published by Cruciform Press in April 2011.
 
Facebook:  http://facebook.com/cruciformlife
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/cruciformlife
Amazon author page:  http://amazon.com/author/jimmydavis
 
Cruciform book blurb:
 
“What is the Cross-Shaped Life?

It is the vertical life of loving God with all your head, heart, and hands; and the horizontal life of loving others as Christ has loved you.
 
Employing the symbols of the cruciform cathedral and the Celtic cross, Jimmy Davis uses personal stories, both humorous and heart-breaking, to encourage and equip the reader to gain a cross-shaped perspective on how he or she can be an active participant in God’s community-on-mission.
 
Cruciform casts a vision for living as disciples of Jesus who are being shaped by the cross (gospel) into people and churches who share and show the cross (gospel) by living as sons and servants of God. As we embrace the gospel in this way we can live: – in relationship to God as seekers who exalt God; – in relationship to other disciples as shepherds who encourage one another; – in relationship to the resources God has given us as stewards; and – in relationship to those who are not disciples as sowers of the gospel of grace, engaging our neighbors, the nations, and the next generation with cross-shaped words and works. Finally, the Cruciform Life involves growing through cross-shaped spiritual disciplines and cross-shaped suffering, which together enable us to embrace and express the Cruciform Life to God, one another, and the world.”
 
Read the first chapter of Cruciform and more for free here:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/72970555/Cruciform-Press-Sampler-Vol-2

Remember, if you loved today’s post and would like to see it in the top 3 of 2011, FB share it, “like” it, tweet it, or leave a comment.

And have a Merry Christmas!