This is a delightful season—the end of December is one of my favorites—it is full of laughter, parties, remembrance, and cake!
We celebrate Jesus on December 25, two days later my adorable niece has a birthday (this year she turned 5!), two days after that I get my own birthday cake, another two days brings on our yearly New Years Eve family “wear pajamas and play board games day”!
So if you followed the math above, today is my birthday. Most years I hide that fact by explaining that the birthday was canceled. I’m not one for surprises, obligatory gifts, or especially parties with me as the center of attention (hate it!). But last night I was pondering my previous 33 years of life, I decided to give 33 reasons why I’m thankful this birthday (yes, I turned 33 today).
(In no particular order) I’m thankful for …
- The deeperChristian community and their patience this year amidst my busyness and lack of posting
- Stephen Manley and how he has been one of the greatest catalysts in my spiritual life
- My amazing family. My parents are incredible, my brother and sister-in-love are phenomenal, and my niece won the “cutest girl under 12 award” (the judges were biased) »» see our Christmas photo »»
- The incredible depth and richness of God’s Word as I read and study
- The Christian heroes of old who have greatly impacted my life and faith: Oswald Chambers, AW Tozer, Jim and Elizabeth Elliot, Charles Spurgeon, Samuel Brengle, John Wesley, George Whitefield, Richard Wurmbrand, Major Ian Thomas, Leonard Ravenhill, Corrie ten Boom, Samuel Morris, CT Studd, Rees Howells, Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor, George Müller, Andrew Murray, William Booth, David Brainerd, Paris Reidhead, EM Bounds, John Hyde, DL Moody, Keith Green, Jonathan Edwards, Duncan Campbell, T. Austin-Sparks, Gladys Aylward, and the like.
- Rich friendships that are encouraging, pressing, life-transforming, and Jesus-focused – you know who you are
- Apple products (especially my Mac Book Pro, iPhone, and iPad)
- Books – I’m a book-a-holic and have found that my life has radically been transformed throughout these last 33 years because of the books I read.
- Challenges, struggles, difficulties. It may sound strange, and though I wouldn’t want to go through them again, I am thankful for the trials and difficulties in my life – they press me closer to Jesus, grow my faith and trust in Him, increase my ability and understanding, and are what I often point to that have been the catalysts of my life.
- Laughter – where would I be without a giggle and a guffaw?
- Eric Ludy and his continual influence, wisdom, and example in my life
- Moments of quiet reflection
- Being able to travel and proclaim the glorious riches of God’s grace and Gospel
- Southern Sweet Tea – need I say more?
- Cross Style
- Indoor plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning
- That God made a variety of vibrant colors in His creation – black and white would be so bland
- The Ellerslie Advanced Class of Fall 2015 and their wildly-crazy and over-the-top gift to send me to Israel this coming March
- His Little Feet
- Infilling of the Holy Spirit for life, Godliness, and the enablement to live the victorious Christian life (see 2 Peter 1:3)
- The ability to think, write, and communicate
- The young men who allow me to invest and spill Jesus in their lives (you know who you are)
- Without knowing my car was having problems and I couldn’t afford a new one, my wonderful grandma gave me her car a couple years ago which has been an incredible blessing (and it was the perfect grandma car – 10 years old but only 11,000 miles on it).
- Good health
- Freedom of Religion to worship and proclaim truth in this country (at least so far)
- Black Pepper and Sea Salt Triskets with Tillamook Cheddar Cheese – my go to “perfect snack”
- Memories – though there is no doubt some things we don’t want to remember, there is a lot we do. I’m thankful that our future can be shaped, in part, because of our past (and yet amazed that Jesus redeems our past and doesn’t define us by it).
- Seasons – I definitely prefer Fall and Spring but I love the changes and the sights and smells they bring
- Old family picture books and movies – my mom likes taking tons of pictures and though we give her a hard time for it, it is a delight to go back through hundreds of pictures (or that cheesy 4th grade play movie) that chronicles your personal history
- And most importantly I am thankful for Jesus and all He has done in my life: His forgiveness, His love, His redemptive work, His Word, His patience, His Holy Spirit, His enablement for me to live the Christian life, His victory over sin and death, His power in my life to be the man I am called and made to be, His kindness, His grace, His creative work in creation I see everyday, His strength, His intercession, His Gospel, His life, His wisdom, His example, His commands and then the ability to perform them, His friendship, His everything
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