2021 In Review

Many years ago I started the habit of keeping a daily journal. This has practice has given back over and over again in my life. As I reread the entries from the week or month or even perusing through another year’s journal, the reminders of God’s faithfulness, love, teaching, wisdom, care, guidance, provision, and grace abound! There’s also the reminders of joy, sorrow, fun, heartache, ups and downs, the general stuff of life and the moments you don’t want to forget.

With that said, I end this year looking back through my journal to share some of life’s lessons and blessings with you.

  1. Celebrated 40 years of marriage in June with my sweetheart, best friend, and companion. We have done something special on the 2oth of every month since we were married on June 20. Wrote 40 blessings of being married for 40 years.
  2. Celebrated 20 years of ministry at Boones Creek Bible Church via the gift of a month long sabbatical from our church family.
  3. Statements throughout my journal: “By grace, give and live abundantly in Christ today!!” “Nothing is impossible with God!” “God uses weak men.” “What we think of God and believe of Him determines how we view all of life.” “The believer in life should love life.” “Jesus is enough.” “Do we just possess the Word or do we practice the Word?” “The key to understanding the Bible is to see Jesus Christ on every page.” “Just another typical day in the life of a child of God.” “Victims become victors and the condemned become conquerors through Christ alone!” “God puts His people in the right place at the right time to accomplish His righteous work.”
  4. The joy of preaching through 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude and Hebrews on Sunday morning!
  5. Family gatherings: Celebrating our 40th anniversary, Pigeon Forge, Thanksgiving and Christmas, to mention a few!
  6. Answered prayer, answered prayer, answered prayer, answered prayer, answered prayer . . . .
  7. Many Thursday entries about the blessings of our small group meeting in our home as we sang, prayed, studied the Word, shared, watch God answer prayer, gathered around the bar counter enjoying fellowship, watching discipleship take place, etc.!!
  8. “Denise had Shiloh here for the morning and lunch and Shepherd here for the afternoon. . . . Alli and the boys came for an afternoon visit. . . . Shepherd went with me to return tables to the church. . . . After running with Andrew, I picked up Shepherd and Shiloh for a DD run and then Dollar Tree for a toy before leaving for camp. . . . Enjoyed watching football with Shepherd. . . . Went to the boys’ home to see them open up birthday gifts—so much fun! . . . . Shepherd and Shiloh stayed overnight with us.” (Do you get it????)
  9. “Although the Utah Missions trip was officially called off today, Andrew reported that all money was refunded! Praise the Lord for directing him to secure Covid insurance for this trip. The teens are learning from this major change in their plans.”
  10. “Grace to preach Hebrews 2:14-18. Wonderful time of worship through communion. Watching our folks worship is such a joy! Congregational singing: Because He Lives, By Faith, O Lord My Rock & My Redeemer, His Mercy is More!”
  11. “Blessing: Received a text from ________________________ saying they were coming through town and wanted to catch up with us! So good to see these dear friends again!” This was a common occurrence through the year!
  12. “After enjoying ice cream cake for Paul’s 41st birthday, they shared their big announcement—-the Lord has led them to foster to adopt! Wow!! Another answer to prayer in the way the Lord would have it, not our way or thoughts!”
  13. “Music on the Square, good times with Denise!” “Denise and I left for Carter Fold to hear Carson Peters & Iron Mountain. Packed house, good concert, great to be back at the Fold. So wholesome, family-oriented, great time to be with Denise!”
  14. “Ran the Tweetsie Trail—beautiful day!” “AT Spivey Gap to High Rocks; Rick & me; snow 6 inches to 2 feet!” “AT Cherokee Flats south to Pearisburg, VA; 22 miles; camped out on Peter’s Mt; Rick & me.”
  15. Read Deep Discipleship (English); The Faith of Christopher Hitchens (Taunton); Calvary Road (Hessions); How to Worship Christ (Carroll); On Pastoring (Charles) and others.
  16. “Tested positive for covid today.”

As 2021 closes, this scripture passage and song encapsulates my year.

Psalm 18:30 – As for God, His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.

Thank you for reading! More than anything, I trust that the Lord Jesus Christ is your personal Lord and Savior; that you are follower of Christ; that you are secure in Christ for all eternity (John 1:12; 3:16; Ephesians 1:1-2:10; Titus 3:5). If not, please watch the video link in the sidebar above.

Dale

Let’s Read & Grow in 2022

Recently I heard someone say that we need go into 2022 not making resolutions but developing habits.

One action/habit that I have been challenged to make in this new year is to read more books. Not just to read more but to have an intentional plan for reading. While scrolling through Twitter the other day, I came across Scott & Becky Aniol’s G3 Reading Challenge 2022. https://g3min.org/readingchallenge2022/

Consider the following from their blog post:

Whether you’re a voracious reader, an occasional reader, or a wannabe reader, join us for the G3 Reading Challenge 2022. The goal with this challenge is not only to get Christians reading but also to stretch us all—as parents, pastors, parishoners—to read more widely. We hope these categories will motivate you to both complete some books you’ve been meaning to read and also venture into topics and genres that don’t normally make it onto your bookshelf. One thing is certain: You’ll be better for it.

Don’t think you have time to read 12 books? Audiobooks available through your local library or a subscription service will read to you while you drive or dry dishes. Also, statistics tell us that picking up a book instead of scrolling social media could allow the average American to read over 200 books a year! Consider doing the challenge with your spouse, a friend, or a church group to provide community and stimulate healthy conversation.

I’ve accepted the challenge and want to share the books I have chosen for 2022, with a few personal changes to the categories of books.

A Bible Reading Plan

The Lookout Bible Reading Plan (YouVersion Bible app)

A Hymnal

Hymns Modern & Ancient

A Christian Biography (or autobiography)

Courageous Faith, Charles Stanley

Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission The Growth of a Work of God, Vol. 2

A Book about Culture

Christianity and Wokeness, Owen Strachan

A Puritan Paperback (or any book by a Puritan)

The Fountain of Life, John Flavel

A Book about Worship

Sing, Keith & Kristen Getty

A Book by an Inkling

Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis

A Book on Pastoring/Ministry

Elders in the Life of the Church, Matt Schmucker and Phil A. Newton

A Novel Written before 1922

David Copperfield , Charles Dickens (1849)

A Book about Gender or Sexuality

Love Thy Body, Nancy Pearcy

A Christian Classic You’ve Been Meaning to Read

God in the Whirlwind, David F. Wells

A Book on Prayer

Quiet Talks on Prayer, SD Gordon

Will you join me? My heart’s desire is to have several men come along for the ride this year so we can sharpen one another in our walk with Christ and life. What do you say, men? Choose your books, and let’s read and grow!!

For the Loves of Your life

“Journals for the loves of your life.”

Well, this journal definitely nails one of them! “Foodies” would be a good way to describe our family when it comes to enjoying delicious, well-prepared food and good restaurants!! For us holidays, birthdays, and gatherings are all about the food!!!!

As I sit here with my fingers on the keyboard, my mind goes to various eating establishments that were and are bell-ringers such as Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Biltmore Inn Restaurant, Blackbird Bakery, Grove Park Blue Ridge Room, Timberlake’s, Ridgewood, Stoney Knob, Davis Ordinary, etc.

This reminds me why I want to challenge you to keep a journal of your daily walk with Christ. If recording where I enjoyed physical food is important and I want to remember it, how much better is being reminded of those days of spiritual food intake in relationship with Him Who is the Bread of Life (John 10).

Journaling has been an important part of my daily routine for several years. At top of each page, I log the day, date, temperature, weather condition, my running mileage, and/or anything noteworthy about that day. Underneath I record the scripture reading from the yearly reading plan. With a desire for the Lord to open my eyes to see wondrous things from His Word (Psalm 119:18), I record what He highlights. It may be one or two sentences or 1/2 page or more.

Each evening or the next morning, I record some bulleted events of the day. These are fresh reminders of God’s character and the fun of being a believer in Christ.

Once-in-awhile, I will pull down one of my journals from previous years. After scanning through the pages, I am always reminded of the goodness of God!

So, may I encourage you to keep a journal “for the loves of your life” which may include your spiritual walk, your favorite eating places, dates with your spouse, your travels, etc.?

Love the Lord will all heart (Matthew 22:37); love life; and keep track of “the loves of your life.”