Friday, June 4, 2010

Anniversary Reflections

Not that it's a terribly big deal, but yesterday marked the first anniversary of For Our Benefit. On June 3, 2009, I wrote the first post for my new blog, explaining why in the world I wanted to start blogging at that particular time in my life. The blog was inspired by some breathtaking lessons that God was teaching me about Himself, about the nature of love, grace, and joy, and about the Christian life. (Some of those lessons foundational to the blog can be found here and here.)

To rip off Bethlehem Baptist Church's mission statement, I guess you could say that since that time I've been writing in order to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things, for the joy of all peoples. I think that sentence captures the intention of God in all He does as revealed in the Scriptures, namely, that God presents Himself as both the motivation and the means of true, lasting, holy joy and satisfaction. He presents Himself as Lord over all things, and then just by virtue of such majesty, calls us to worship Him in His glory. And so through this blog I have desired to proclaim God's beautiful sovereignty and supremacy to the end that He be glorified and magnified to the utmost, which is the greatest, fullest, and most abiding joy and benefit to all human beings. And I have desired to undertake that as my mission because it is His mission.

I pasted all of the posts I wrote into This is basically a textual-visual image of the content of my blog (click for a larger image):

Wordle: For Our Benefit 2009-2010

I have really appreciated the help for my own soul that the Lord has graciously given through this blog. If nothing else, it has been a wonderful teacher of self-discipline. It has not always been perfectly natural and delightful and easy to post two to three times a week. Throughout this past year I've moved across the country, completed my first year of seminary, and have sought to better love both my Lord and my wife, and with those priorities it's been difficult at times to keep up with the blog. But I thank the Lord for the lessons of self-discipline that have come through it.

And yet, though there have been some crunch times of busy-ness, I thank Him also for sustaining in me a genuine joy in seeking Him in His Word, in prayer, and in the fellowship of His people, and in recording the things He's given me. Blogging has been a wonderful outlet for the many thoughts and ruminations that the Lord has impressed upon me over this past year. I frequently refer to my own past posts to sweetly remember the things He has shown me in my walk with Him. It's interesting to be convicted by the things I myself have written. To my mind, that confirms that these things that I've written are not from myself, but from Him (O Lord, may it be so!).

And blogging has also opened up some wonderful relationships with others, both whom I've known before and whom I've met in the process. And I do give my sincerest thanks, from the bottom of my heart, to those of you who read my blog. I thank you for the various comments in the threads and the many encouraging emails that you've written to let me know of the benefit these posts have brought to you. There are few things more exciting to me that knowing that I have ministered Christ to you by presenting the beauty of His glory to you, even if only in a small way. It truly is a privilege to minister the Gospel of Christ, and I trust that He has granted that the truth of the Gospel has gone forth from this place. I pray that you truly have been benefited by reading, that you have seen Christ more clearly and enjoyed Him more deeply because of For Our Benefit. I also will continue to pray that you will continue to read, and that God will increase the benefit of this ministry in the coming year.

I suppose I could say more, but I think that's about enough.

O Lord I confess that even on my best and most Spirit-filled day, this "poor, lisping, stammering tongue" ever fails to do justice to the glory of Your self-revelation in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as given in your Word. My best and most godly efforts are still laced with sin, and so fall short of Your glory.

I confess that far too often I love proclaiming Your glory more than I actually love Your glory. Forgive me for my backwardness, and my slowness of heart to believe all that the Scriptures have said. Please grant me the grace of repentance, that I might turn from my sin and serve and enjoy You with my whole heart -- that I might love You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

And Lord for whatever truth You have granted that I proclaim, I ask that I would receive no glory for it, but that You would receive all glory and honor. For it is Your Word, communicated according to Your mercy, received only by Your grace.

I thank You for this past year, and ask that in the coming year You would graciously see fit to glorify Yourself through my feeble efforts. May You get from my life what You are worthy of, I ask in the name of Jesus Christ the Righteous, Amen.

No comments: