I consider myself to be an avid reader and I like to have a reading plan. This past year (2018) I had a few books planned, but I mostly just rambled through a bunch of books at random. This year I want to be more thoughtful and plan out what I will be reading. I generally read more than 10 books per year, but this will be a good basis to start from. This list is heavy on the Family & Parenting side (you know, since it’s a family blog and all).
Happy New Year! This is the first day of 2019, which means there is only one year remaining before we find ourselves in the year 2020 (twenty-twenty). Wow! That sounds like science fiction for those of us who grew up in the previous millennium. 2018 was quite an extreme year for our family, and may be one of the toughest we’ve encountered. It was full of many, many blessings but also many trials and opportunities for God to stretch us and turn us into the people that He wants us to be. I may write about some of the things that happened this past year in the coming weeks… but then I may not. You’ll just have to wait and see.
For this year’s resolutions I wanted to change it up a bit. My resolutions this year are all verbs. Actually, present participles if you want to get technical. These are really just areas that I want to improve upon. To be sure, there are specific steps and goals within each that may or may not be listed below, but the idea is that I just want to get better. They are in no particular order, except for the opening resolution which is really the foundation of them all, and the closing resolution which buttons things up quite nicely. Without further ado, here are my resolutions for the year of our Lord two thousand and nineteen.
I usually try to pick a plan to read the Bible through during each year. I’ve used several different plans over the years, my favorite being the Tabletalk Bible Reading plan from Ligonier Ministries. However, this year I had some special requirements that I wanted to try out. I could not find a plan that matched what I wanted, so I created my own.
God Adopted Us
I am thankful for adoption, first and foremost, because it was really God’s idea. God first adopted us and showed us the blessing of adoption.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
– John 1:12-13 (ESV)
We are only able to love because God first loved us. I am thankful that God showed me His mercy, opened my eyes, and saved me. I am thankful that “in love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” (Ephesians 1:5)
Just over two years ago, Aubrey and I embarked upon a journey to adopt. In March of this year, our first adoption was finalized, and we have had the privilege of being Mommy and Daddy to a beautiful little girl from her birth. Now, we are beginning the process all over again. That’s right. We’re adopting another child.
I’ve received a number of responses when I tell people this. Some encouraging, some comical, but thankfully, none too rude. I would like to address the reasons why we are adopting again and the things that are NOT reasons why we are adopting again.
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What exactly is “sanctification”? This is the process whereby God works in our lives to change us and to transform us in many degrees so that we are like our elder brother, the Lord Jesus Christ. I know this on an intellectual level, but what does it mean in my life? I’ve known that this was a hard process, that sanctification can hurt. I also know that it is necessary. I thought I’d experienced the pain of this process. To be quite honest, I’d even glamorized this process somewhat, thinking that I was such a good Christian: “Look at me! I’m being sanctified… I’m suffering for Christ’s sake.” That was before this past week.
We live in the Northpointe neighborhood in Pensacola, FL… the one that got hammered with a tornado Tuesday night (February 24, 2016). Aubrey and Ragan were away from home, babysitting for some friends while I held down the fort with my younger two children. We knew that a fairly large stormfront was coming through, but I had no idea that we would be in the center of it.
2014 has been a milestone year in my life. God sovereignly transformed my life sometime around Easter in the biggest way possible… He saved me from my own self-righteousness and unbelief. What I had previously thought was the Christian life, was really a false sense of hope and a works-based religion. You can read about that in My Personal Testimony.
Consistent with being a “new man”, my desires have changed radically this year. I spend a lot of my free time reading about Theology or watching sermons online. I have endeavored to “catch up” on the meat of Christian faith that I have missed out on, and it has been good. I have read God’s Word more consistently and with more fervor than ever in my life. I am truly thankful to my Lord and my Savior, Jesus Christ for this year.
A Different Kind of Resolution
My wife read an article about closing out the year writing letters to Jesus and placing them in your stockings before packing them away for the year. We thought it would be a good tradition to try out, so we all wrote letters of resolution to Jesus. In that letter I wrote my sincere commitments to serve and know Christ. It included overall statements, such as the desire to serve God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. I also wrote practical things, such as continuing my daily time of reading the Bible, praying and studying.
So my public New Year’s Resolutions this year look more like changes in habit that I would like to implement in my life.
1) to feel or show that you are sorry for something bad or wrong that you did and that you want to do what is right
2) to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life
3) to change one’s mind
“Repent.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 26 May 2014. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/repent.
An Interaction With My Son
This morning my son and I were involved in what you might call horseplay. He knows that I am ticklish and so he likes to tickle me. I, of course, am (for the time) much larger than my son and so usually turn the tables quickly and tickle him into submission. This continued until the playing became a bit too rambunctious; it was beginning to bother other members of the family. My son tends to take things too far, which I wanted to prevent.