So today it’s time to be a little introspective regarding this blog. The working title is “Life, Gratitude, Faith, & Passion.” I thought about this very carefully when I launched my site in 2011, because I didn’t want to be guilty of inviting people in under one heading… but then blogging about something else.
So far as the raw numbers go I guess this site has been successful so far, as the first 5 years of statistics read as follows (views):
- 2011 – 19,648
- 2012 – 54,404
- 2013 – 69,003
- 2014 – 99,457
- 2015 – 131,560
As to content, it’s a fairly even split, with “faith” slightly edging out “gratitude” for first place, then “life” followed by “passion.” But then this entire writing experience is driven by passion! I am passionate about life, and I am constantly grateful for the blessings that come with faith. See, the order just reversed.
This morning I’d like to take a look at the four elements of emphasis, and at what I am learning as I view my journey as a disciple through that particular lens.
LIFE: “Life” is a very broad category; but living this life without reservation remains an essential day-by-day decision point if I’m going to have anything to say that effects positive change in this broken world. “In [Jesus]was life,” the apostle John writes, “and the life was the light of all people” (John 1:4). I want my life to be a light, something that both encourages and points the way.
I want to be clear that the fully engaged life necessarily involves being a follower of Jesus. Whatever life we have, no matter how enthusiastic and turned on to living we are, will always be ramped up a notch or two when we live with and for Jesus. It’s just how we were made; and life without Jesus is always life with even more potential for growth and increased capacity.
GRATITUDE: I still, now 60 full years into this adventure, wake up each day with a thankful heart. I believe that gratitude is the only appropriate posture from which to approach life, no matter what we are doing.
A thankful heart puts us in the right frame of mind – of being – with which to move forward and continue to grow as people of the light. At the heart of everything I carry an assurance that God is with me, for me, and ahead of me. This sense of gratefulness is an eternal perspective. Not “pie in the sky when I die” so much as a disposition that transcends the limitations of time and space. “We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:7-8).
FAITH: I know, it’s that obvious isn’t it! I can’t write about anything without it being about faith. I have grown a lot in this past decade, and I believe the biggest part of my evolution as a human being has been in terms of “walking with God.” Faith – in my estimation – is the word that describes the “operating system” that operates in the background of every “program” that I run, every “App” that impacts the moment to moment of my life.
There’s a verse in the Old Testament that tells a story all by itself. “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him” (Genesis 5:24). What a great summary of a life. If someone is able to say that about me, in response to how I live, then I believe I will have lived well.
PASSION: Okay. First you have to understand that I grew up English. English people drink tea and play cricket. Passion? The English “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
Seriously, though, I don’t see the point of an ongoing blog that isn’t driven by passion! I have continued to grow when it comes to finding passion in every aspect of life. I like what Paul writes in Romans 8:31, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
“Passion” is defined as “a compelling enthusiasm, a strong feeling of eagerness, fervor, or excitement for something or about doing something. Sometimes I can’t contain my enthusiasm for this life, for my faith, and for the simple fact of experiencing another day.
This is what I want to deliver on a daily basis. If you want more, I strongly recommend you read some of my books (available at this link). Life is so good! The story is always so wonderful! There is always so much I can’t wait to share!
– In love, and in response to the amazing love of God – DEREK
Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.
We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
So then, each of us will be accountable to God. Romans 14:1-12