Looking Back On 2011

Here are the top ten posts for 2011:

Exodus 9–12:
Death & The Passover Lamb

In God’s providence the Bible reading for this post was on the first night of Passover 2011. It was also Monday of Easter week. After it was published it became the most viewed post for most of the year.

The Passover lamb was slain so that God would pass over the people of a house marked with blood and not visit them with a judgment of death. This week is not only the beginning of Passover, but also Easter week, when we remember the death of the Lord Jesus for His people and celebrate His Resurrection. God does not visit us with the judgment of death we deserve for our sins because Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb, was slain for us.

Anchor of Hope

This post was written in 2010, revised and published as a page in the header. It remained as the number two or number one post of the year. It was one of my many posts with nautical themes! I didn’t plan the posts that way, but in the Bible storms are a vivid analogy of adversity and our hope is depicted as the anchor of our soul, and so ships and sea made it into my writing.

The theme of hope runs throughout the Bible, but in contrast to the world’s hope our hope is in God and in His promises; our hope is grounded in Him and is a sure and certain thing.

Philippians

This is a collection of posts that I wrote on ministry at the end of 2010 and published as a page under “Love One Another” in the header.

When I think about ministry, I keep coming back to this letter. Philippians contains Paul’s profound description of the ministry of Christ. He opens the letter by calling himself as a slave of Christ, and throughout it we see glimpses of Paul’s own work of service to Christians. While there are other passages that speak of what is to be done in ministry within and without the church, in Philippians we see the dynamics of the attitudes and actions of service—the whys and hows of ministry.

The Bible: God’s Revelation

I was happy to see the continuing interest in this series of posts written in fall of 2010 and published as a page under Bible in the header. In these posts I included Bible verses on doctrines of the Bible with quotes of commentary from Christian pastors and theologians of the past and present, including John Owen, The Cambridge Declaration, Martin Luther, R. C. Sproul, John MacArthur, B. B. Warfield, The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, Charles Hodge and my own former pastor, Mike Braun.

The Bible is God’s revelation about who He is and who we are; how we can know Him and how we are to live before Him. The Bible was breathed out by God, (the word is usually translated inspired); as God’s Word, the Bible alone has authority that is infallible and inerrant. The Bible has sufficiency for all matters of faith and practice for the Christian, but we are incapable of accepting its teaching or understanding its message without the illumination of God’s Spirit. While some parts of the Bible are difficult to interpret, it’s perspicuity means that even a child can grasp its teaching about salvation, and all can comprehend how God commands us to live.

Jeremiah 1–6: Broken Cisterns & Living Waters

The many viewings of my posts on Jeremiah surprised me, but the posts frequently made it onto the list of Favorite Posts & Pages in the sidebar.

As a new Christian, the book of Jeremiah was one of the first books of the Bible I looked at. Jeremiah 2:13 and 6:14 made a strong impression on me because it so aptly described my experience. I had heard so much false teaching prior to believing in Christ, and I knew it had never helped me or answered my questions. When I became a Christian, I knew that I knew the living God and I recognized the difference between those broken cisterns of the past and the fountain of living waters.

We can never be healed if our disease is falsely diagnosed. Our thirst can never be quenched if we go after other gods. Read God’s Word, heed it. Turn to Him and be made new.

Shadow People

Some posts, even if they were brief, were a struggle to write. Other posts, even if they were long, poured out rapidly from my mind and heart. Shadow People was one that came in a flood of words and spoke on love for one another—a major theme in my writing. Shadow People remains one of my own favorite posts.

There are people in the shadows of many churches: the poor, the afflicted, the widows and singles, the married couples in difficulty, the parents and children in crisis, the jobless, the handicapped, the life-scarred, the strugglers—the different. Christians who don’t fit in and who live in the shadows.

Psalm 23: The Psalm of the Good Shepherd

Many people who are unfamiliar with most of the Bible know of Psalm 23 and recognize it.

Psalm 23 is probably the most familiar of all the psalms as well as one of the most loved because of its reassuring words of God’s comfort and care. Its has been the subject of music and writings, and its theme of shepherd and sheep is found within both Old and New Testaments. David, the shepherd king, writes from his own life as he describes what it means for the Lord to be his shepherd.

Isaiah 45–50: Sovereign & Servant

This post was very short, but it remained one that people read.

“Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth;
For I am God, and there is no other.”
Isaiah 45:22

Read the Bible in 2011

This page in the banner was my encouragement to read the Bible.

Keep a notebook to jot down your thoughts as you read.  Choose your translation with care—there are some politically correct translations out today that change the words in the original languages, while some paraphrases obliterate the text and meaning.  The New American Standard Bible is a translation I have used for years.

• Romans 8:5–13: The Christian’s Life

I’ve read Paul’s letter to the Romans I don’t know how many times, because God used Romans 5 to give me understanding of the Gospel. We cannot get enough of Paul’s letter to the Romans with his wonderful declaration of God’s righteousness revealed and realized through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Reread Romans 8:1–4 and continue reading through verse 13. Throughout verses 4–13, you will see Paul make constant contrast between the flesh and the Spirit. Paul writes that those who walk according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh. The mind set on the flesh is death; it is hostile to God; it doesn’t subject itself to God’s law—indeed, it can’t do so—and it cannot please God.

In contrast, those who walk according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit, and the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. You can find other passages in Paul’s letters about walking according to the Spirit and setting your mind on the things of the Spirit in Galatians 5, Colossians 3–4, and Ephesians 4–6.

Some of my own favorite posts include Suffering & Lovingkindness, Tests (this post contains a picture I love—a photo of a statue of the Good Samaritan: Barmhartige Samaritaan by Han Wezelaar), Proverbs 17–18: Death & Life in the Power of the Tongue (because of the insightful quotes I used from Derek Kidner!), and my Journey Through the Storm.

I also want to mention the Walter Langley painting Never Morning Wore To Evening But Some Heart Did Break.

I first used this painting in September 2010 in Organizing Love. It is usually searched for several times a week. I don’t know if people look for it because of the subject, the artist or both; I only know the painting is deeply moving in its depiction of a young woman with a breaking heart being comforted by an older woman who enters into the young woman’s pain with her own knowledge and understanding of suffering.

Thank you for reading this year, and while I may not be there in person to talk with you as your sister in Christ, I hope you have found words to encourage you and help you in loving and living for our Lord.

__________
Boom, Wilfredor: GNU Free Documentation License Version 1.2 or any later version, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.
Never Morning Wore To Evening But Some Heart Did Break,”  Walter Langley: Public Domain.

Original content: Copyright ©2012 Iwana Carpenter

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