2017: Grateful for a Monumental Year!

Through a wave of highs and lows, this year leaves this blogger a ton to be grateful for as 2017 proved to be a remarkable year for the Devotional Guy. The blog saw engagement and audience numbers rocket to monumental new heights with post views increasing 226% and blog visitors growing 192% over last year. In addition to these mind-blowing numbers, this blog saw record improvements as follows, likes, and comments increased.

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Looking back at 2017, here are the Top Ten posts from this past year:

1.       More of Him, Less of me.

2.       3 Things Pastor Mark Jones Taught Me

3.       10 Years Ago Today…

4.       Serenity Prayer

5.       Finding Hope In A World of I Don’t Care

6.       Topsy Turvy

7.       Treating Each Other Better

8.       God Won’t Give You More Than HE Can Handle

9.      The Secret to Cultivating Gentleness

10.     Operation Christmas Child

 

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Other posts that received great feedback and are worthy of honorable mention are:

·       Be Strong and Courageous

·       Why Are People Homeless?

·       God Faithfully Meets Our Needs

·       Today, Remember Forgiveness

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Growing a blog takes time and effort. Most of all it takes you. Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read and engage with this blog. I look forward to a fantastic 2018.

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As 2017 Draws to a Close

2017 is winding down. 15 days until the world ushers in the new year.  As we gather with friends, family, co-workers, and fellow believers to celebrate the Christmas season, it’s a good time to celebrate the year passed and mindfully look ahead to the year to come.

What are things you’d like to do differently in 2018?

Is there something you’d like to improve next year?

Do you have any specific goals or objectives you’d like to achieve in the new year?

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But it’s not just about being intentional in your strategic planning for your life. It’s also about being grateful and thankful for what God has provided you. And yes, what you have, the Lord has provided. Make no mistake about that.

What answered prayers have you witnessed first-hand?

Can you list some things you are grateful and thankful for?

Did you experience the Lord walk alongside you during a tough 2017?

What will you do next year with what you learned about God this year?

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In the glow of Christmas lights and decorated Christmas trees, in the midst of shopping sprees, take time to reflect on the year that is now rapidly drawing to a close. Identify what you’d like to change for next year. Celebrate those things you are thankful for in 2017. Remember the lessons you learned in the past year and think about how you will apply them to make an eternal impact next year.

God bless.

I believe in you. 

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More Gratitude, More Kindness

The world could stand some more kindness. Our world would benefit from more gratitude.

Gratitude and kindness have preoccupied my mind the past few days. In the past week, God has shown me many things to be grateful for and revealed to me numerous acts of kindness. Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with several hundred homeless men sheltering in Downtown Dallas at Union Gospel Mission. It was a great night filled with high energy and tons of emotion. Afterwards, I had the privilege of praying with dozens of men, some ready to receive Jesus as their Savior, others in need of healing and restoration through the power of prayer. Believers are not immune from the travesties of life. Being a Christian isn’t a cure-all from the ill-effects of living in a lost and fallen world. Yet, there’s lots to be grateful for.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

When I got home, a little after 9 pm, I shared the events with my lovely Sweet T. We were both energized by how the Spirit of God was moving in the lives of the men down at UGMD and how we were seeing God at work in our own lives. Around 10 pm, Sweet T went to bed, while I continued to unwind from all the excitement. Seeing God at work feels good. It is good to see the Lord working in the lives of those whom He loves. I was really stoked.

Then the phone rang.

Life Alert.

My Mom had fallen and was being transported to the hospital. In that moment, I was grateful for the technology and the people who could respond to my Mom’s cry for help. I marveled at the kindness of the paramedics that rushed to her aid in the darkness of night.

I was even more grateful for the kindness of my Mom’s friends who responded to Midnight calls for help. One of her lifelong friends even sat with her at the hospital, making sure Mom was well looked after and being taken care of—and not alone.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures forever!

1 Chronicles 16:34 ESV

Sweet T and I discussed a plan of action, knowing that I would be gone several days. We worked through our checklist as I prepared to leave town to look after Mom.

I am grateful for my loving wife and her compassion and understanding. Our world had been rocked from a huge high to a big low. But in the darkness shone the lights of gratitude and kindness. That’s what gratitude and kindness do—they shed the light of Christ onto the darkest hours, giving us hope and confidence—the faith that God will work on our behalf, our ever-present help in times of trouble.

I’m in awe of the kindness of doctors, nurses and hospital staff who make things better for others. I’m grateful for their compassion and willingness to put their skills to use to help others. They never see people at their best. They always encounter people traversing through an unexpected valley, readily intervening on their behalf.

The past few days since my Mom’s big fall, I’ve experienced gratitude and witnessed kindness at whole new levels because of a great mix of family, friends, and strangers. Gratitude and kindness must surely be two ingredients comprising goodness. Humility must be rooted in gratitude and kindness. After all, it’s hard to be full of yourself standing amid goodness.

Mom is doing better since her fall. She improves every day. Yes, the long and winding road to full recovery is fairly involved and complicated. But this too shall pass…

God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV