Thinking Out Loud

March 15, 2021

Our Sister Blog Celebrates 4,000 Consecutive Posts

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:57 pm

On April 1st, 2010, I had seven blogs. Yes, seven. The one that eventually overtook my interests was a devotional project I developed to keep my mind focused on things of greater eternal value. If Thinking Out Loud was the parent blog, then Christianity 201 was the daughter blog, since these things are never masculine. (When a church splits off to form a new plant, it’s always a daughter church which must really grate on those who want churches to use more masculine language.)

Anyway, today marked post #4000. There were a few music videos at the end, so feel free to click the title which follows for a direct visit.

Christianity 201 Devotional #4000

Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
– I Cor. 4:2 NIV

Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”
– I Sam. 7:12 NASB

Celebrating 4,000 consecutive days of devotional readings at Christianity 201.

A year ago at this time I was publishing a countdown to the end of publishing 7 days per week. I figured I’d settle into a routine of Sunday thru Thursday or Tuesday thru Saturday.

Then Covid-19 hit and (a) I found myself with more time on my hands, and (b) I figured people were stuck at home and more likely to be seeking more online content. (I was right, starting in March each month’s stats are higher than the previous year.)

I also found myself writing more of the pieces myself, while continuing to return to past contributors, highlight the work of newer authors for the first time here, include the occasional quotations feature, and format the submissions from regular Thursday writer Clarke Dixon, and my wife, Ruth Wilkinson.

I do this with a great sense of personal responsibility, always mindful of:

Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.
– James 3:1 NLT

I’ve also had to fight the severe pandemic depression that set in, particularly in the first 2-3 months. I know that I speak for many of us.

At the same time, Ruth has been working on a graduate degree in theology, which has raised the bar on mealtime discussion subjects. I recently find myself deferring to her on hermeneutical questions which arise…

…It is interesting how few pastors and Christian writers I encounter who are interested in writing devotional literature. Fortunately, this is more than made up for by the number of bloggers. If I only ran posts which began, “Today we’re featuring a new writer;” I could easily find 4-6 high quality devotions per day based on the hunting-and-gathering process I use to find the ones which do appear.

Devotions should be read — and written — out of devotion to God. Unlike writing a book, this particular genre comes with a daily deadline. In the spirit of Psalm 100, where the Psalmist says, “Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into His presence with singing!” it should be done joyfully, not out of a sense of an onerous duty or obligation. I am fortunate to be able to say that when an idea or concept presents itself, I do get lost in the pleasure of crafting 800 – 1300 words on that particular subject. The pre-pandemic feeling I had of wanting to cut back the frequency of C201 has disappeared.

This verse,

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.
– 1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT

was one that a ministry mentor often shared as part of the signature line on his correspondence. Another word which comes to mind is fervent which the Oxford Dictionary defines as, “having or displaying a passionate intensity.” It’s found in the KJV of a verse in Romans that this mentor used in his “tentmaking” business signature line.

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
– Romans 12:11 – NIV

Obviously, God presented me with an opportunity to do something unique and I have tried, as our opening verse at the top of the page instructs, to do this faithfully.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.
– Ecclesiastes 9:10 NIV

In that light, what do you think is the best original devotional I’ve posted here, or the best themed topical devotional I’ve assembled?

The answer is, the one I’ve posted that day. I really do try to make each one better than the last.

You could expand that principle. If I was still leading worship in a local church, and someone asked me, ‘What’s the best worship set you’ve put together?’ I would like to be able to say, ‘The worship set we did this past week.’ Each one should represent a greater striving for excellence.

So yes, I do enjoy this.

But also, I need this.

I need the discipline that the daily deadline presents or I would get lost in the many distractions that modern life has to offer. (See yesterday’s post for more on this.)

And so we celebrate 4,000 days of writing, including the times we were away in Europe for up to two weeks and devotionals had to be written ahead and schedule. Again, I just wanted to be faithful to something, and on April 1st — with much less fanfare — we’ll mark eleven years of so doing.

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your gracious approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer.
– Psalm 19:14 (The Voice)

4 Comments »

  1. Congratulations, Paul! That is a lot of posts.

    Vivian On Tue, Mar 16, 2021 at 12:57 AM Thinking Out Loud wrote:

    > paulthinkingoutloud posted: “On April 1st, 2010, I had seven blogs. Yes, > seven. The one that eventually overtook my interests was a devotional > project I developed to keep my mind focused on things of greater eternal > value. If Thinking Out Loud was the parent blog, then Christianity 2” >

    Comment by imaginarywoman — March 15, 2021 @ 10:35 pm

  2. I will be honest, I don’t visit Christianity 201 more often because it’s hard for me to look at. The red, green and black fonts leaping off the page, particularly the green text font. The background has images that do not move as the text of the post scrolls in front of it… it reminds me of the early html websites people started creating in the mid to late 1990’s. It hurts my eyes. Maybe I’m the only one.

    Comment by Clark Bunch — March 23, 2021 @ 5:56 pm

    • So far, you are definitely the only one. We checked it just now on several different monitors at different settings. The static image background is very subtle. There’s either an issue with how your monitor is resolving the data, or simply something about how you’re perceiving the text against the background as some type of 3D effect. How do you make out with those pictures they sell at shopping malls at Christmas where when you stare at them long enough you see a hidden image? Seriously, some people have perceptual issues that prevent them from processing different types of images.

      Increasingly, people are reading on their phones where WordPress blogs all appear against a plain white background.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — March 23, 2021 @ 8:22 pm

      • You correct about the phone. I’m still not crazy about the green letters but the white background is a lot less visually distracting. I check email on my phone or look at Facebook notifications only if I’ve been away from my laptop for a while. It blows some people minds that I still use a laptop but anyone that writes more than tweets gets it.

        Magic eye: yeah I’m really good at those.

        Comment by Clark Bunch — March 24, 2021 @ 6:30 am


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