Top 3 of 2018

Romans 15.15
I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again…

Top 3 of 2018
By John Tillman

Picking my own “Best Of” was too hard. So, I’m letting Google Analytics pick for me. These are the top three most visited posts not written by a guest author in 2018.

Hope on a Limb :: Hope of Advent

It is difficult for posts late in the year to compete with ones from earlier in the year that had time to build traffic and be mentioned multiple times. I’m thrilled that this one, from only a month ago, made the top spot. It’s not only the top post written by myself, but the top most visited page on our entire site for 2018. People are looking for hope…

“We can be assured as we stand on Zacchaeus’s hope-filled Sycamore limb, that the King of Glory we hope for will not pass us by. The colt will carry our King. And in the end, all the broken who enter the courts of His temple, will be healed.

What are you waiting for? Climb up on the limb in hope.”

The Seductive Idolatry of Politics :: Readers’ Choice

Politics is what people who have no faith in God must turn to for earthly salvation. Christians can and must do better. Since writing this post, several other pastors and writers have picked up the thread. May many more do so.  May we abandon all our idols, but most importantly the idol of politics and politicians.

“Politics is the most powerful new religion of this millennium. It continually plays on the kind of imagery we see in Revelation. But outside of Christ there will never be a day when every nation, tribe, people, and language are united. Politics promises this unity and diversity but instead gains its power from fear and division.”

Killing With our Hearts

After writing this post, a reader jokingly commented, “you take the fun out of everything.” She was right. Issuing a stinging rebuke can be fun and Jesus spoke his share of zingers. But so many times we excuse our sinful and petty hatreds by hiding behind Christ’s impassioned language that, we must remember, had a goal of calling people to him, not destroying them.

Too often lately, Christians have participated in, or stood by allowing, hate-filled rhetoric. As Saul, who became Paul, can tell you, you don’t have to throw stones at someone to be guilty of their blood. You just have to hold the coats of those who do.

“Christ’s words about how murder begins with inner violence, adultery begins with inner lust, and divorce is not only adultery, but a victimization of the vulnerable party are as shockingly harsh to modern ears as they would have been to the original audience.”

Moving On…

As we move into 2019, we will continue to allow God’s Word to speak to us, to disturb our comfort, to disrupt our thinking mired in selfishness, and to spur us on to love and good deeds.

Share one of these posts (or this one) with someone who you will walk through the scriptures with this year. As the African proverb goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.”

Prayer: The Greeting
The Lord lives! Blessed is my Rock! Exalted is the God of my salvation! — Psalm 18:46

– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Prayers from The Divine Hours available online and in print.

Today’s Readings
Genesis 3 (Listen – 4:14)
Matthew 3 (Listen – 2:21)

Additional Reading
Read More about The Value of Words
Our culture values hard-hitting, biting words. The Internet swarms to support meanness. Crowds applaud words that degrade and attack. The Internet loves to verbally “stone” its victims, and too often Christians participate or give support to those who do, “holding the coats” of those who attack and degrade others.

Read More about Supporting Our Work
We keep our site ad-free and produce over 100,000 words per year of free devotional content that is read across the world by 4,000 daily readers. We are tremendously thankful to God for using our community to bring God’s Word to people in cities around the world!

How far will you travel in God’s Word this year?
On January 1st we restarted our two year Bible reading plan in Genesis and the Gospel of Matthew. Join us on the journey. We read the Old Testament over two years and the New Testament and Psalms each year.

Read with us at a sustainable pace. Subscribe and invite friends to join you using this link.

Where will a journey through the Bible take your faith in the coming year? Jesus calls each of us, saying, “Follow me.”

Top 3 of 2018 :: Guest Writers

1 Peter 5.12
With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.

Reflection: Top 3 of 2018 :: Guest Writers
By John Tillman

Many publications and groups end the year with a look back. Two days ago we discussed how we recall our failures, and Jesus re-calls failures, like us, to himself.

The remainder of this week we will look back at some highlights of the year, and look forward, relying on God to bring us the strength we need to continue in the coming year.

The first place I’d like to look is our wonderful guest writers. Each of these writers has donated their work to our community this year and I, knowing how taxing it is to produce each 400 word chunk of our content each year, am immensely grateful to each of them.

These are the top three most visited posts on our website in 2018, written by a guest writer.

Jada Swanson, Holding Space

This post was not just the most visited post by a guest writer, but the second most visited post of all of 2018. Pray for Jada as she completes her doctoral work and we look forward to hearing her voice more often.

As Christ-followers, we are called to carry one another’s burdens. However, when someone is navigating grief, a traumatic situation, or a horrific loss (relationship, job, etc.), we must resist the need to try and fix the problem, heal the hurt, or repair the damage, and, instead, embrace the tension that exists. Although it can be awkward, during these sacred times, silence is our ally. Instead of expressing empty platitudes or well-meaning, but unhelpful Christianeze expressions, choosing to simply be present with another is the most loving alternative, even if the silence is deafening.

What is most needed in these times is a willingness to simply “hold space” for another.

Matt Tullos, Surrender

Matt’s writing is so tender, and comes from an intimate relationship with God that is unafraid of tough questions and walking through the difficult times of life.

The image of the cross is an image of absolute surrender.

When we enter into the story of Christ we see a point in time when we cannot use our hands to control anything. Our will, determination, ambition, and skill are nailed to the holy cross of Christ. While the world’s system teaches us how to control others and change ourselves, the cross has no such purpose. On the cross, our hands are not busy. They are surrendered.

Jon Polk, Finishing Well

The next most visited guest post in 2018 was actually written and posted in November of 2017. Jon’s two week walk through the book of Hebrews was a highlight of 2017 that is still valuable to look back at today. This post was one of the first chosen by readers for our Readers’ Choice month in August.

Athletic imagery is a common New Testament analogy for the Christian life. For a faith focused on the ideals of selflessness and sacrifice, it seems odd that biblical writers draw parallels with sports events focused on individual winners. A closer look at a few of these passages, however, reveals that there is more at stake in our spiritual life than winning.

Dena Dyer, Under His Covering and Anticipating His Advent

Dena Dyer also provided some wonderful devotionals that we were excited to share with you, and we look forward to more of her work, this week.

As we look back, we anticipate the great work God will do in our lives and in the lives of our community through the new year.

Prayer: The Greeting
I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call upon the Name of the Lord. — Psalm 116:15

– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Prayers from The Divine Hours available online and in print.

Today’s Readings
Genesis 2 (Listen – 3:42)
Matthew 2 (Listen – 3:18)

Additional Reading
Read More about The Value of Words
What is a word worth? What’s more, what is an encouraging word worth? The value of words for Christians is vastly different than others, for our Savior is known as The Word made flesh. Our purpose at The Park Forum is to produce words that are filled with life.

Read More about Supporting Our Work
End of year giving is over, but one-time gifts and monthly donations are vitally important to maintaining our ministry. Join our monthly donors for 2019 or give a one time gift today.

How far will you travel in God’s Word this year?
On January 1st we restarted our two year Bible reading plan in Genesis and the Gospel of Matthew. Join us on the journey. We read the Old Testament over two years and the New Testament and Psalms each year.

Read with us at a sustainable pace. Subscribe and invite friends to join you using this link.

Where will a journey through the Bible take your faith in the coming year? Jesus calls each of us, saying, “Follow me.”

Support our Work
End of Year giving and monthly giving each play a large part in keeping The Park Forum ad-free and helping us to be able to continue producing fresh content.
Support the spiritual development of thousands of readers, feeding Christ’s sheep across the world, by making a donation today or joining our monthly donors.

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