“You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:22-24)
I have never been a big fan of New Years resolutions. After many failures through the years, I have come to view them as a waste of time and energy. I also came to question why anyone would wait until the start of a new year to make a change they desire to make. As that great philosopher Bono once sang, “Nothing changes on New Years Day”.
I’m often reminded of one of the most memorable sermons I have ever heard. It was preached by Brother Bob Melvin at Spotswood Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I remember few of the details of the message, but I’ll never forget the title – “Why Spend Another Night With The Frogs?”. It was based on the Exodus account of the plagues that God sent to convince Pharaoh to release the Israelites. After the plague of frogs, Pharaoh agreed to release the Israelites if Moses would pray that The Lord would take the frogs away. When Moses offered to allow Pharaoh to set the time when he would offer that prayer, Pharaoh replied, “Tomorrow”. (Ex. 8:10) When you stop to reflect on that response, it begs the unspoken question, “Why spend another night with the frogs?”
That expresses how I feel about New Years resolutions. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for setting goals, whether they be physical, educational, spiritual, or otherwise. But if there are frogs keeping you from reaching those goals, why wait until January 1 to address them? Why spend another night with the frogs?
By the way, my wife apparently understands that principle better than I do. I informed her last week that I planned to start the new year off by following the Atkins diet regimen for several weeks to shed a few pounds. She started me on it this past Monday. I guess she took Brother Bob’s sermon to heart! Either that, or she is really anxious for me to lose that weight.
In keeping with the implication of the title, I planned to make this my last post of 2015, but then a frog jammed up those plans. The frog that interfered is best known as the BCS College Football playoffs. So this will be my first post of 2016. I’m nothing if I’m not flexible.
In case you’re concerned, I have no intention of recounting all the details of my 2015 like some of those letters we sometimes receive with Christmas cards this time of the year. But I would like to reflect on my blogging experience which began in February.
First of all, my heartfelt thanks to all of you who felt my posts were worthy of your time. For the year, I published 16 posts on Ridgetop Reflections and those posts received over 1500 views. I don’t know if that would be considered a good first year or not, but it was very encouraging to me.
My most popular post was “A Tribute To Mama“, which was taken from the eulogy I delivered at my mother’s funeral in 2004. More of you shared that post on Facebook than any other – no doubt a leading factor in the number of views it received. Mama could have never imagined that people would be reading about her life on something called the internet eleven years after her passing. Knowing her humble spirit, she would have been more embarrassed about that than proud.
The second most viewed post was “Lessons From The Treehouse” which was taken from my brother Ronnie’s eulogy earlier this year. Knowing him, he would have been both amazed and proud of that and pleased that the post about him did not surpass “A Tribute To Mama” in popularity.
Blogging is more challenging than I anticipated. I have been writing Bible Study lessons word-for-word for years and expected blogging to be not so different. But I quickly discovered that when you write for public distribution, proof reading for proper grammar, punctuation, and narrative flow adds a whole new dynamic to the process.
Mountains of doubt entered my mind every time I pressed that intimidating “Publish” button staring at me on the screen. Is this worthy of publishing? Do my words convey the message I’m trying to communicate? Will anyone read it? Why should anyone care what I have to say? Those frogs of doubt plagued me so much at one point that I didn’t publish anything for three months.
But your encouragement, a guilty conscience, and a divine nudge helped me shake those doubts long enough to get back on the blogging horse. Many thanks to all of you who have served as my Barnabas with your encouraging comments on the blog as well as Facebook. I’m especially grateful to those of you who have shared my posts with your own Facebook friends and retweeted my posts on Twitter. (For those of you scratching your head wondering what retweet means, just ask your Grandkids.)
I hope that moving forward in 2016 you will continue to find my posts worthy of your reading time and worthy of sharing and commenting on. Your feedback and contributions to the dialog are always welcomed and appreciated.
My plan this year is to publish more often. Many ideas for future posts are in various stages of development, but I’m contemplating focusing most of my writing this year on the Gospel of John. As I mentioned in The Word Became Flesh, none of the disciples had a better understanding of the person of Jesus Christ than John. No one knew Christ more intimately than John. No one had a deeper insight regarding the purpose of His coming than John. And no one can help us know Christ better ourselves than John.
Like the Apostle Paul, I want to better know Christ and the power of His resurrection in my own life and make Him better known with my writing. While nothing I have to say should ever take the place of your own study of God’s Word, I hope that my words may deepen your hunger for and enhance your understanding of the Holy Scriptures.
Happy New Year to you all. I pray that 2016 will be prosperous for you in all the ways that would be pleasing to our Lord and that every day, in some small way, your spirit will be refreshed and your faith renewed.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Cor. 4:16)
Note: All Scripture references from the New International Version (NIV)