Saturday, December 29, 2012

Looking Back

Regrets only clutter the mind and drain spiritual energy, for once we repent He forgives us and forgets our sins (Psalm 103:10-12). Resolutions seem to be a type of foolish vow that may be broken due to our own lack of discipline or an unanticipated turn in events (Deuteronomy 23:21-22; Judges 11:30-40). 

Resting in God is far better (Joshua 1:13; 1 Chronicles 23:25; Psalm 37:7), remembering His faithfulness (Deuteronomy 7:9; 1 Corinthians 1:9, 10:13) and realizing that He is infinitely good and infinitely great (Psalm 143:10, Matthew 19:17; 2 Samuel 7:22; 2 Chronicles 2:5; Nehemiah 1:5, 8:6, 9:32; Job 36:26; Psalm 77:13,86:10,95:3, etc.).

As the moments of 2012 dwindle away, I find myself reflecting on God’s blessings not only this year but throughout my life. Reviewing how God has prepared each of us for our own unique ministries helps us to appreciate how He not only equipped us with gifts and talents appropriate for His calling on our lives (Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:13), but that He engineered our trials and even our weaknesses for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28; 2 Corinthians 12:9).

When God uses a timid, stammering man like Moses to deliver His people (Exodus 4:1-13), a disobedient rebel like Jonah to spread revival that saved Nineveh, and even a Christian-persecuting Pharisee like Paul (1 Timothy 1:12-15) to write most of the New Testament, He gets the glory. He operates in the supernatural, and not in the limited plane of man’s abilities or expectations (Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:27; Ephesians 3:20).

Looking back on how this blog came into being, I remember way back to high school when I dreaded the daily English class assignment of “Responses.” Every day, regardless of our mood or the press of other assignments, we had to write a brief essay, poem, or story that reflected our mood, thoughts or circumstances. That discipline, seemingly unneeded at the time, no doubt helped to generate a weekly blog post even when I am preoccupied with life’s distractions.

Decades later, and a few months after I was saved, my husband and I were flying to Japan to perform in dance shows. I was hoping to sleep on the long, crowded, flight, but God laid it on my heart to dig my laptop out of the overhead bin and to write about His omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. I felt truly foolish as I started this task, thinking that I really knew very little on this subject; that I desperately needed the sleep as we would start rehearsing the day we arrived in Osaka; and that if I were going to write anything, I’d be much better off working on medical stories that were due once we returned home.

But I followed His lead and wrote about His attributes, the words springing to mind and leaping onto the computer screen with surprising speed and clarity. As soon as I had completed the essay, the battery died, and I settled into a peaceful sleep, knowing that I had been obedient in this assignment. Although I didn’t know it at the time, it would turn out to be a trial run for writing blog posts in the still distant future.

One Sunday a few years after I was saved, I prayed my usual quick afternoon prayer to be Spirit-filled and yielded while singing in choir in the evening service. I sensed that God was saying, “Yes, but there is something else I want you to do.” So I prayed that He would reveal it to me, and literally moments later I bumped into the associate pastor in the hallway. He asked if I would consider teaching a weekly ladies’ Bible study class, as their teacher was moving out of town.

Despite my lack of formal Bible training, I agreed, and found that my knowledge and understanding of the Word grew far more quickly and in depth than it would have had I been only a student and not also a teacher (2 Timothy 3:14-17; 4:2). God was and is always faithful to lead me to Scripture verses, sermons, and other readings (including many of your blogs!) to encourage and guide me in teaching and in writing (Psalm 119:11,105).

But the class suffered many setbacks, including illness and trials of several members, and other circumstances resulting in their leaving the class. Some weeks I was teaching only one or two ladies. I became discouraged that the time and effort I was putting into my weekly lessons was reaching so few people and thought that a weekly blog of these lessons might be a way to reach more.

I knew nothing about blogging, but God had equipped me with computer skills needed for my occupation as a freelance medical journalist. As I began my blog on Memorial Day weekend in 2011, I wondered if anyone would read it. But God sent encouragement my way in a strange format – the movie “Julie and Julia,” in which the writer of a daily blog sees no activity or comments on her blog for six months, followed by an exponential and rapid growth in readership.

Looking back on all this, I am thankful for God’s provision, as the statistics, rankings, and followers continue to grow. But it’s not about the numbers, and if seeds planted in this blog lead even one soul closer to Christ, it would be well worth the effort. The blog has taken on a life of its own, covering topics independent of the Bible study class.

The greatest blessing is comments indicating that readers were blessed by the post. I am so thankful for each and every reader, and for the relationships with new and dear blogging friends all over the globe. I pray that God would continue to use me to spread His Word in this way.  

As part of this retrospective, links to the 10 most viewed posts of 2012 follow:










God's Signature; Three in One



In closing the post and 2012, a New Year’s blessing to all of you:

Philippians 1:2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. 


© 2012 Laurie Collett

children's ministry blogs

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Top 1000

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No Ordinary Blog Hop


 

58 comments:

  1. Dear Laurie,
    That is another very encouraging post. And what struck me about it is that God does not use perfect people - there aren't any!
    Writing was always something I enjoy doing, even from childhood when I wrote letters to my relatives living abroad. But unfortunately for me, at school I was a slow learner, and for years after leaving school in 1968, I practiced and practiced writing, even taking evening classes at a local college.
    Eventually I wrote articles for a local newspaper about the sport of Triathlon, in which I was a participant, and all my articles were published.
    I always wanted to write for others to read, but I never had confidence in approaching a publisher. Then the advance of the Internet was a Godsend, believe me! It certainly came at the right time.
    I hope you find my writing encouraging, as I certainly find yours edifying.
    May you have a prosperous new year ahead.
    Frank.

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  2. Dear Frank,

    So true -- God uses ordinary people to accomplish the extraordinary, for none are perfect!

    You are a gifted and encouraging writer, and your blog blesses me as I know it does all your readers.

    It is so difficult nowadays to find a publisher without an agent, and they say that it's even harder to find an agent that it is a publisher. We are so blessed that the Internet offers opportunities to communicate with and reach others around the world at minimal expense. I believe the Internet is part of God's plan for the End Times, so that His Word can spread at lightning speed.

    May you and your family enjoy all blessings of health, prosperity, love, joy and peace in the New Year and until He returns!

    Laurie

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  3. Great post! It's good to know that we don't know what God knows! That people can be blessed and inspired through God's grace amidst our work whether we know it or not!

    You are a blessing!!

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment, Nate! Praise God that He loves us infinitely and has infinite power and knowledge to do what is best, even (and especially!) when we don't understand it. He is faithful to observe and remember our labor, but it may not be until we reach Glory that we know what impact we had here.

      You are a great blessing and inspiration, and it is a blessing to serve in the choir under your leadership. I am so thankful that the Lord led us to Fellowship!

      God bless & Happy New Year to you and your lovely family!
      Laurie

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  4. Blessings and much love to you dear one.

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    1. God bless you too, Denise!
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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  5. Hi. I found you through the Super Sunday Blog Hop. Please stop by and say hi when you get a minute. Happy New Year!

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    1. Hi Lenetta,
      Thanks so much for your comment & for following! I'm following you back on GFC!
      May you & your family have a blessed New Year!
      Laurie

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  6. Hi there! Here from the Blog Hop! New follower! You can find me at http://theresmagicoutthere.blogspot.com/ Happy holidays!

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    1. Thanks so much, Alvina -- I'm following you back! Happy New Year to you!
      Laurie

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  7. Hi Laurie,
    after reading your line on 'being a student and a teacher' I was reminded of a word in our Welsh language 'dysgu', pronounced 'dusgee', which means to both learn and to teach. It always speaks to me of our mission in Christ, both to learn from Him and to teach what we have learned, both coming from the same source, our Lord.

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    1. I love that, Brenda! One word meaning both is awesome, & you're so right, we need to be filled with His wisdom and light so that it can flow through us to others. Our late pastor used to say that if you only absorb the Word and never share it, you're like a sponge that never gets squeezed out -- after a while, you start to stink! On the other hand, teachers who never take the time to study and be filled suffer from burnout and run dry.
      Love to you,
      Laurie

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  8. Last time I read a book "Healing f wounded emotions". And it gave me something to think. If we are God's child, if Jesus died on cross for us - why can we tell about themselves, that we are nothing? It also helped me going back to times of my elementary school, where some children bullied me. It was really wounding, but I decided to forgive these people. I don't know, who are they today, but maybe they also will be God's children?
    I wish You full in joy, peace and God's blessings New Year 2013.
    Greetings to You :)

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Zim -- being bullied is a terribly hurtful experience, one that I went through in childhood also. But if God has forgiven our sins through the death of His Son, and has even forgotten them, we should forgive also. Bitterness and unforgiveness hurts us far more than the ones we don't forgive.
      You are a blessing, Zim -- wishing you all of God's blessings in 2013 and until He comes again!
      Laurie

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  9. Hi Laurie,
    Glad to see you in The Sunday Community today! Blessings to you in the new year!
    In Christ,
    Laura

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    1. Thanks, Laura! May you have a blessed 2013!
      Laurie

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  10. Thank you for allowing God to lead you in this area. Like you, my experience has been that teaching stimulates learning immensely if we are sincere about helping others grow.

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    1. Amen, Donald! Thank you for sharing your great Bible teaching with your readers and helping all of us to grow.
      Happy New Year to you!
      Laurie

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  11. Hi Laurie,

    Just stopping by to say hi. Thanks for your thoughts here and the background on how you started blogging.

    Jennifer Dougan
    www.jenniferdougan.com

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer, for your visit & comment!
      Happy New Year & God bless,
      Laurie

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  12. I loved reading over your top posts! Thanks for linking up with us for Mommy Moments!
    TheNotQuiteMilitaryWife.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks so much, The Not Quite Military Wife, for your comment & for reading the top posts!
      May you be blessed with love, joy and peace in the New Year,
      Laurie

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  13. lots of good stuff here. i want to hear more about dancing in japan! so many blessings to you and your writing ministry in 2013. thanks for linking up:)

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    1. Thanks, Suzannah, for your kind comment and for hosting! My husband and I are professional ballroom dancers in the Theatre Arts style and have been blessed to perform & compete in Europe and Asia as well as in the U.S. We still perform & compete to His glory, dancing to Christian music and themes as a dance ministry:
      http://www.praisehimwithdance.com/
      http://www.youtube.com/user/sitlift?feature=watch
      Happy New Year!
      Laurie

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  14. Hi Laurie! I truly love each and every one of your posts that I read. So inspiring to me! The first part of this post, with the Scripture, especially the Psalms 103:10-12, really hit me. God has so many good promises for our lives. Here's to a healthy, happy, and wonderful 2013 :) Happy New Year!

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    1. Dear Kera,
      Your kind words are such a blessing and encouragement to me! Praise God for His mercy and grace to those who repent and trust Christ as Lord and Savior!
      May your New Year be blessed with all His goodness,
      Laurie

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  15. I too was inspired by the movie Julia, Julia, and encouraged by my daughter and a friend to write my own blog. I am so glad you began your Bible lessons on a blog so that more than one or two could learn. Teaching does bring us into greater knowledge of our wonderful God. Thank you for sharing at Tell me a Story.

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    1. Dear Hazel,
      Praise God that He used this movie to encourage both of us in starting our blogs, and that your loved ones were supportive also! In any endeavor, teaching helps us learn (that's the basis of any medical residency program), and it is especially true for God's Word. Thanks for your comment & for hosting, & Happy New Year to you!
      Laurie

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  16. Laurie,
    I hope you have a happy and blessed New Year! Loved reading about your 'first' blogging experience. :)

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    1. Thanks, Leslie -- also wishing you all blessings in 2013! Glad you enjoyed the post!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  17. What a wonderful story about your blog beginnings, Laurie. I'm so grateful that you share your words with our Playdates with God community. Many blessings in the new year!

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    1. Thanks, Laura, for the encouragement! I am thankful for the inspirational writing and lovely community you provide at Playdates. May God bless you richly in 2013 & until he comes again!
      Laurie

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  18. Your posts give serious food for thought. Whenever I read them I feel uplifted and look to the future with hope. Take care and I wish you God's richest blessings in this New Year.

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    1. Thanks, Judy -- I am so blessed by your comment. May God bless you with love, joy, peace, health and prosperity in 2013 and beyond!
      Laurie

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  19. What a wonderful post. Thank you for the inspiration.

    Hopping by and following your lovely blog's FB.

    Blogging @ Getting Healthy with Essential Oils

    I am also inviting you to join Tiddle Diddle Handmade Shoppe's first giveaway event.

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    1. Thanks so much, the Quiet Mom, for your kind words! So glad for your visit & comment, & thanks for the invite! I have used essential oils for many years, not regularly, but for specific indications.
      May you have a blessed 2013!
      Laurie

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  20. Well said!! God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and we need to live in the present with Him in our every second of life and in our minds and hearts and not dwell on the past or the mistakes we've made except to learn from them and repent!! Dearly love your inspirational writings and the scriptures you share! Thank you!

    I hope you're having a great week and a Happy New Year!

    Thank you so much for linking up to last week's Aloha Friday Blog Hop!! I'm following you.

    If you have time, we'd love to have you come and link up to the Aloha Friday Blog Hop if you haven't already! (Thank you so very much if you've already linked up, I truly appreciate it!!)

    Come and link up and celebrate the coming weekend with us!

    Aloha,

    Jean {What Jean Likes}

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    1. Thanks so much, Jean, for your kind encouragement! Praise God for the eternal present He offers us in His Son!
      Thanks also for hosting -- I linked up today!
      Blessings for 2013 & beyond!
      Laurie

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  21. Happy New Year to you Laurie! You've been a tremendous blessing to me this year, and I enjoyed reading your post very much!

    Friendship Friday is open and I wanted to personally extend you an invitation to stop by this week as I have a very special surprise awaiting you there.

    I am praying for God to bless you and your ministry in a mighty way in the New Year!

    Create With Joy
    http://create-with-joy.com

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    1. Dear Paper Princess,
      I am blessed & honored by your surprise! You and your blog are a wonderful blessing to me also! Thank you so much for the surprise, for your lovely comment, for hosting, and especially for your prayers. I'm praying for you also, that you may continue to inspire, encourage and uplift your readers through the power of the Holy Spirit.
      Happy New Year to you!
      Laurie

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  22. Hey there - new follower from the blog hop! Love the blog & can't wait to read more! Hope you have a great day! :)
    Rachel
    http://sugar-stripes.blogspot.com/

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    1. Hi Rachel,
      Thanks so much for your sweet comment & for following -- I'm following you back!
      Happy New Year to you & your family!
      Laurie

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  23. Hi! I’m your newest follower. Please stop by and say hi when you have a chance. I'm also hosting a blog hop - if you would like to join us :) Hope you're having an awesome week.

    April from:
    A Mommy's Blog Design http://amblogdesign.com

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    1. Hi April! Thanks so much for following & for the invite! I'm following back & have linked up!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  24. Hi Laurie,
    It's definitely NOT about the numbers but you-know-who is always out to sidetrack us! I always remind myself that I am blogging to make Jesus known, to write about my hero! A blessed new year! Patsy from
    HeARTworks

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    1. Amen, Patsy! May we continue to spread His Word, to share His Good News, no matter who or what tries to distract us. To Him be the glory!
      May you have all blessings in 2013!
      Laurie

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  25. Hi Laurie! Thanks for linking up at fun friday blog hop. I am following back :)

    Have a great day!

    Anne

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  26. Hi Laurie! Thank you so much for linking up to the Fun Friday Blog Hop and for following me, it was truly appreciated.

    I hope you had fun meeting new bloggers! I'm following you.

    huggies***
    rea - http://homefor4sweethome.blogspot.com/

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    1. Love & hugs to you too, Rea! Thanks so much for following, & may God bless you & your lovely blog!

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  27. Happy New Year! Followed you back from Create with Joy as I recently revived my blogger blog and have started joining blog hops again... Hope you stop by. Followed on Google friends too.
    Elizabeth

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    1. Thanks so much, Elizabeth! I'm following you back!
      Happy New Year to you too!
      Laurie

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  28. Hi Laurie! Thanks for sharing with my NO RULES Weekend Blog Party :))

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  29. Thanks, Paula, for hosting & for your comment!
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  30. I am often blessed by your awesome posts!

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    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement, mail4rosey! You are a blessing!
      Laurie

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  31. Thanks for sharing this over at WholeHearted Home last week. Happy New Year to you!!

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    1. Thanks, Judith, for your comment & for hosting!
      Happy New Year to you too, & God bless,
      Laurie

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