Is it worth it?

Blogging is extremely rewarding, but can also be quite frustrating. You pour your heart into a post, and it gets only single-digit views. When you can lean out of your window, shout your words and reach a larger audience, it is natural to ask yourself… is it worth it?

I have mused about the fickleness of blogging in a previous post called – On (Christian) Blogging.

Sometimes a blog post comes together quickly, while other times it is a real effort and takes much time. On those days when it takes extra exertion, it can be disheartening to look at your stats and realise that hardly anyone has read it.

Just prior to the new year, I hit a new record on my site and exceeded the best views I had received in a single day. Such things are really encouraging, and it has pushed me forward to posting daily once again. On the back of that “success” though, it can feel like a great fall to drop down to low views once again.

I am guilty of being a bit stats obsessed, it has to be said. I do like to check on views and the performance of my post, and spend much time figuring out the algorithm and wondering why one post attracts lots of views while another does not. It comes from my day job – did you know I have a day job? In “real life” I am a statistician, and spend a lot of my life reviewing data and drawing conclusions. It is therefore hardly surprising that I start to do the same thing on my blog.

Taking an interest in your stats is not wrong, but too much can be unhealthy.

So, on the days where a post gets only a few views (or none at all!) – is it worth it?

If the Lord has called you to write, then do it faithfully. It matters not how many people read it, although of course that helps, but the important thing is to do what Jesus has instructed you. I feel led to write, and so I am going to keep doing it. If even one person reads it, then it is worth it.

If the Lord has called you to write, then do it faithfully #Bible #Writing #Blog #Christianity

I recall hearing a preacher once giving their testimony. They felt as though God was calling them to speak, and that the message would reach people all over the world. Naturally, they were extremely excited by this notion. Too soon though, they became obsessed with the idea and tried and tried again to make their ministry grow. It only did when they finally laid it down before the Lord. God asked them if He called them to speak to a handful of people in a small church for the rest of their life, would they do it? Only when they could said yes, and mean it, did their ministry start to increase.

I have no lofty ambition for my words to be read by thousands across the globe – although I would not turn it down you understand! But I also know that the bigger my audience, the bigger my responsibility.

The bigger your audience, the bigger your responsibility #Bible #Ministry #Blog #Christianity

What is God calling you to do? If it is to teach a half dozen children in a Sunday School for forty years, do it gladly. If it is to write a blog and have it read by ten people a day, then do that. Nearly everyone I know has a blog or a website or some form of content, but we can’t all be creators or there would be no one left to consume!

I will leave you with this thought. Every time you write a Christian blog post, it is there for people to find when they are ready. Maybe no one will read it today or tomorrow, but perhaps next year when the time is right, they will click that link and give their lives to Jesus. On that day, you will be able to say – it was  worth it!

We may never know on this side of heaven what our faithfulness to God will achieve. Imagine someone swinging past your place in heaven and saying thank you! Perhaps God used your words, actions or ministry to reach them, and you will be glad you did it.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 #Bible #faith #Christianity

Pray for your Pastor – Sunday Suggestion

Today’s Sunday Suggestion may seem an obvious one, but your pastor/minister/vicar needs your prayer support! I am not a pastor, but have been in church leadership for many years, and let me tell you it is no easy task! You know the phrase, “You can’t please everyone all of the time…”? Well that is sadly apt for church leaders!

If you have a faithful pastor or group of leaders over your church, then you ought to be eternally grateful. I know so many church leaders who have worked themselves sick for the sake of their flock, and now more than ever, pastors and leaders need our help and support.

The Bible encourages us to pray for those in authority over us. Scriptures such as Romans 13 and 1 Timothy 2 direct us to pray for kings and ruling governments, and I do not think it a stretch to include those in church leadership over us also.

A passage I return to when thinking of my own leaders is found in Exodus:

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

Exodus 17:10-13 (NIV)

Now your pastor may not be facing a physical battle as the Israelites were (although I bet it feels like that sometimes!) but they need just as much support. Can you be an Aaron or a Hur for them, come alongside and hold up their hands for a time?

How can you pray for them right now? If you are not sure, why not ask them, or send them an email?

Most leaders or pastors would probably like the following to be prayed over them:

  • Prayers for strength, energy and good sleeping patterns
  • Prayers for protection for them and their family; physically, mentally and spiritually
  • Prayers for wisdom and discernment
  • Prayers to help them manage their workload and prioritise
  • Prayers for their own relationship with Jesus
  • Prayers for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their life and ministry

The list could go on and on. If you have other good ideas of how to pray for church leaders, do share them below.

One final suggestion – you might like to set aside a specific day or time to pray for them each week. If your life is like mine, then it can get rather hectic at times. Set a reminder or put a weekly appointment in your diary or calendar so it does not get missed.

Your pastor will be ever thankful for your prayers and support!

Word Count

WordPress helpfully keeps a total of the words you have written on your blog each year. Although we are only about a week into 2022, I am reliably informed that I have written nearly 4500 words so far.

This is good for me to know, because I really do want to make good progress on some unfinished books I am writing this year.

One project has around 10,000 words written, and another approximately 17,000 words completed.

Knowing that I’ve already written 4500 words on the blog this year, helps me to believe that it may even be possible to complete both projects in the coming 12 months!

why am I telling you this? Simply for accountability!

I want to try to post regular updates on how the books are progressing, as a way of keeping myself honest! Do pull me up dear reader, if I do not do this!

I also ask for your prayers, and that my writing would be fruitful. Please ask the Lord to help me complete these projects this year, but more importantly that they will be a vehicle for him to bless those who read them.

Word count is not the best way to measure the quality of a book… But in this stage of the project, it sure does help me keep track!

Thank you for your ongoing support and prayers!

On (Christian) Blogging – Andy Brown (repost)

I remember writing this post from a few years ago, and the algorithms which drive traffic to one’s blog still baffle me today!

For me, what remains true, is that even if one person read my blog and is blessed by it, it was all worthwhile.

I hope you enjoy this repost

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This post lands on Tuesday 31st March, and I think is the 15th day in a row where I have posted. That is a pretty good run, and although I did not start this because of COVID-19, I am carrying on because of it. There is so much negative news going around, and I just…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2020/03/31/on-christian-blogging/

It’s a new year, so let it go!

I really enjoyed this post from another Andy B. lots of wisdom in these words… Do check it out if you have the time.

It’s been lovely seeing both the personal, and generic messages, from friends and family, wishing everyone a Happy New Year. So, Happy New Year from …

It’s a new year, so let it go!

Happy new year plus Bible in a year

Let me join in the chorus of other voices in wishing you a very happy New Year!

May 20 22 be a joyous and Blessitt year for you and those whom you love. I pray you draw nearer to the Lord this year, and through your life he may be glorified. May many come to faith through your ministry and witness for Christ.

That said, and not unrelated to my “best of “series, I share a post I wrote just over a year ago about a year long Bible reading plan. If you intend to follow the bible reading plan this year, then there is still plenty of time to start one today!

God bless you…

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On this, the final day of 2020, I have completed a one year Bible reading plan. I have been following a chronological plan, where you read the Bible not as it is laid out, but instead in the order things actually happened. I wanted to offer a few thoughts today on one year Bible plans,…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2020/12/31/bible-in-a-year/

Success – (Best of 2021 sort of…)

I have just received a notification from WordPress to say that today I have had a new record – most views in a day! For this, I can only say a massive thank you to all of my readers.

 I am not certain why the site has attracted so many visitors today, but I am humbled by every single page view. Thank you!

And thanks go to Jesus for all of this. I could not write one word about him where it not for his wonderful grace. May he continue to take these imperfect words of mine and use them for his kingdom and glory.

I have been re-running a series of “best of “posts from this past year. Although not the most viewed, this one entitled “success “is particularly apt on the back of what I’ve just said.

I hope you enjoy reading it, whether it’s the first time you have seen it or not.

—

This week, WordPress notified me of two particular milestones my site has reached. It does not matter exactly what they are, and you will understand later why I choose not to share the specifics. In addition to that, my site also managed to exceed total views for 2020, also something of an achievement. Are these…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2021/06/26/success/

Quick update

I hope this blog post finds you well?

I just wanted to post a quick update on why I have been so quiet on the blog these last few days. I am pleased to say that all is well, and actually just taking a few days off of work to spend time with family.

Life, as ever, has been rather hectic of late! I saw an opportunity to take a few days rest, and grabbed it with both hands!

How often do you take time to rest and relax? when you have a strong work ethic, or even a works mentality, it can be very difficult to switch off and relax for a while. Every single one of us needs to stop and rest at times however.

Let us not forget that even our wonderful God, who is infinite in power, took time to rest at the end of creation. This was not because he was tired, but simply because he wanted to enjoy the fruits of his labour.

Likewise, he built a specific command in the 10 Commandments for us to take time each week to just rest in his presence.

Perhaps it is not possible for you to take an entire day each week just to rest. But the principle remains, that each of us should take time to re-energise so that we might continue to serve him with gladness.

Whether we work in a secular job, ministry or at home, too many of us burn out because we do not stop often enough. Don’t let that be you dear reader!

Let’s pray:

Father God, we thank you for your loving grace and mercy towards us who believe. Thank you that you are the one who gives us the strength we need for each and every day.

For all who are weary, I pray that you may give them strength and rest.

Help us not to be so busy that we ceased to be fruitful.

As we lift up our voices in prayer and praise, may our strength be renewed.

We worship you, loving father! thank you for your enduring love. Thank you that you walk with us through our everyday lives.

Thank you for the times when you carious, when our strength is gone.

In the mighty and glorious name of our Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

Time

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this blog over the last month. This week however my time has been extremely limited and I have not written nearly as much as I would have liked. Can you relate?

I do not want to make a habit of putting up older posts but i’ve written a fair few articles over the last three years and some of the newer followers may not have seen them all. When I simply cannot write something you for whatever reason, I will try to share an older post here for your enjoyment.

To be perfectly honest, I get frustrated with myself when I cannot carve out the time or headspace to write. If you’re anything like me, then you put enormous pressure on yourself to deliver! It just so happens that I was flicking through some older posts and found this one.

It is about using our time for the benefit of others. Now that is a good use of time!

For those who are not familiar, every so often I put out a shorter post which I described as pearls of wisdom. I tried to offer a nuggets of wisdom and a few thoughts to go alongside it. These have proved popular so I do hope you enjoy this particular one below.

If you can spare a prayer for me at the moment, then I would truly appreciate it. Life is good and I cannot complain. We have a number of things going on all at once so I would value your prayers so that I can keep God at the centre of it all. And ideally, find some time to write!

Bless you today.

andy-brown.org/2020/04/27/people-are-a-good-use-of-time-pow/

Sing To The Lord!

I really do encourage you to check out Allens blog-Devotional Treasures. you certainly won’t regret it!

Formonthills Nature Reserve, Glenrothes, Fife. Photo by Alan Kearns Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and …

Sing To The Lord!

Beloved Christians (Psalm 100 #6)

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

2     Serve the Lord with gladness!

    Come into his presence with singing!

3 Know that the Lord, he is God!

    It is he who made us, and we are his;

    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

    and his courts with praise!

    Give thanks to him; bless his name!

5 For the Lord is good;

    his steadfast love endures forever,

    and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100 (ESV)

Today we conclude our short series on Psalm 100. Verse five culminates in a crescendo of praise and focusses solely on our Heavenly Father.

The Lord is good

Verse five tells us a simple truth – that the Lord is good. When things get difficult, or we look at the problems of the world, it can be easy to forget this fact. If God is so good, then why… <insert here>? We have all asked this at times, and there are no answers that can satisfy this side of heaven I believe.

The suffering of the world, and the pain we experience, does not disprove the existence of a “good” God. This world is broken, corrupted by sin and far removed from what God had originally intended. Yet He has not left us in this mess, alone and uncared for. The cross has said it all. God is indeed good because He came down into this fallen place, lived perfectly and died for each of us.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17 (NIV)

This verse from James not only tells us that God is the source of every good thing, but that He is ever unchanging. He is good now, and will always be.

Enduring Love

Psalm 100:5 goes on to say that God’s steadfast love endures forever. This continues the theme of the verse from James above, in that God is unchanging. The word “steadfast” (describing God’s love) can be defined as “fixed in direction.” God’s love is not whimsical. It depends not on our behaviour, and His mood. He loves you today, and He will love you just the same tomorrow. You can count on it!

I have sometimes heard Christians say, and probably been guilty of saying it myself, “I just don’t feel that God loves me…” God’s love is not dependent on mere feelings. When your feelings are in disagreement with God’s Word, it is your feelings that are wrong, not the Bible. Whether you feel the love of Christ or not, you can know without a shadow of a doubt that it is true. This is but one of many verses which extol the permanence and endurance of God’s love for all of the saints.

For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:14-19 (NIV)

What a prayer! And I pray it for you dear reader, and please do pray it for me!

Faithful to all generations

Psalm 100 closes with words about God’s faithfulness. God is faithful to His people, and we can rely on Him and His Word without question. God is true to His Word, and if He has said it, you can consider it done.

God is not just faithful to us however, but also to the generations that come after us. This is another sign of His steadfastness and consistency. We can rely on the fact that God is no respecter of persons, and that He will bless my children in the same way He has blessed me. Too few of us take a generational view, thinking primarily of our own lives. If the Lord tarries however, then a new generation will rise up after us and we are responsible to them.

We can trust in the goodness of God, and we can know that God’s faithfulness will remain for those who come after us.

Summary

Psalm 100 may only be short, but I hope it has encouraged you as we have plumbed its depths in the last few posts. It is no doubt a Psalm of praise and thanksgiving to our Creator God, and I want you to come way with many reasons to “shout for joy!”

You are a “Beloved Christian!” That is the culmination of this psalm. God’s love endures, and as a result we have much to thank and worship Him for. God’s love for each of us is reciprocated, and in turn we live to serve Him with gladness. We belong to Him, marked as His people, and so live our lives in gratitude for all that He has done for us.

Are there parts of this passage which really stand out to you? Is God saying something in particular to you during this season of your life? As we read and study the Bible, it should often lead to some form of change in our lives. This might be a specific action you take – like starting all of your prayers with words of thanks – or it may be less tangible than that. Has this psalm provoked you to action? I’d love to hear from you if it has.

Serve the Lord with gladness! Give thanks unto Him, and bless His Name!

Further posts in this series, if you wish to read more, are:

Shouting Christians #1

Serving Christians #2

Singing Christians #3

Created Christians #4

Thankful Christians #5

Thankful Christians (Psalm 100 #5)

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

2     Serve the Lord with gladness!

    Come into his presence with singing!

3 Know that the Lord, he is God!

    It is he who made us, and we are his;

    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

    and his courts with praise!

    Give thanks to him; bless his name!

5 For the Lord is good;

    his steadfast love endures forever,

    and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100 (ESV)

Thankful Christians…? Is there any other kind? A Christian who does not give thanks, is like a Christian who does not pray!

This psalm directs us to enter the gates of our God with thanksgiving. Even in the midst of terrible trouble, we have much to be grateful for. It should not take us long to reel off a list of things we can thank the Lord for.

It was a privilege recently to record an interview with “understand the Bible.” When the video comes out, I’ll share it here so you can see it. One of the questions I was asked was, “Why do Christians pray?” Had you never heard of prayer, and studied our prayer lives to find the answer, what would you say? If you are anything like me, one might study my prayer life and say that prayer is “asking God for things.” Of course, this is woefully inadequate, and yet our prayer lives reflect little more than “petition” at times.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll no doubt say it again, but in our prayer lives, our praise should always outweigh our petition. We should thank God and worship Him with far greater frequency than we make demands of Him.

As we “enter His gates” why not use this as the primary way to start off your prayer time. Enter the prayer time with thanksgiving. Tell God what you are especially grateful for right now, and let that overflow into praise.

Verse four concludes by again telling us to give thanks, but also to “bless His name!” Could it be that by giving thanks, we are blessing His name? Is it a blessing to the Lord when He hears His people expressing their gratitude? I think so.

Being thankful is an admission of how good we have it. It helps us remember that no matter whatever else is going on, we do have some positives to focus on. The Bible is full of exhortations to thank God, and I for one am convicted that I should be doing it all the more.

How about you? On a scale of 1-10, how thankful would you rate yourself? Be honest…

Let us all get into a habit of being grateful. Help each other by commenting below with tings you are grateful for. It doesn’t have to be long, even one-word answers will inspire each of us to say “thank you!” to God for something.

It must go deeper than just saying the words however. I train my children to say “thank you,” after we give them something they have asked for. For a long time (even years) they may repeat the words out of pure habit. Hopefully, sooner or later though, they will learn that thankfulness is in actuality an attitude of the heart.

A heart which is not thankful is one which is arrogant. It demands, or even, expects to have whatever it wants. A humble heart though gives thanks for even the smallest of contributions. One who is humble and thankful recognises what others have done, and acknowledges it.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good and His mercy endures forever! Amen!

Further posts in this series, if you wish to read more, are:

Shouting Christians #1

Serving Christians #2

Singing Christians #3

Created Christians #4