05 January 2018

This 'n' That

"Equipping Eve tree" created by Jerry Krider.
Well, we've nearly survived the first week of 2018. How did you fare? Are all of your resolutions, if you made any, still intact? Are you still enjoying your Christmas gifts, or have they already been shoved into a drawer or closet?

One of my favorites gifts that is definitely not hiding in a closet is this "Equipping Eve tree," designed and carved by artist Jerry Krider. Krider is an amazing woodworker and showcases his work at art shows, mostly in the Midwest, I believe. I have to say that this is a truly phenomenal piece, and I love it!

I've also been enjoying the electric blanket I received. Seriously, how have I gone this long without one? For someone who is always cold, this is a no-fail gift. Not to mention, it pairs extraordinarily well with the Elizabeth Prentiss biography that was also under the tree!

Still, all these are just material gifts and even the luster of our favorites will eventually fade. So here we are. It's the fifth day of 2018, life is slowly returning to "normal," and half of the country is experiencing a ridiculous cold spell and/or being pummeled by snow. I suppose it's a time of renewal in more ways than one, then! So as we reflect on whether we're maintaining our New Year's resolutions, and considering how useful our gifts might be throughout the year, we ought also be asking ourselves another far more important question: are we keeping our focus on Christ? Even amid the busyness of the holiday season, we may find ourselves immersed in advent devotionals and thoughts of Him. Yet, as the new year begins, and as we return to that "normal" spoken of earlier, we may be tempted to set Christ aside while we get our affairs in order for this new season.

Sure, we may not set aside our Bibles. After all, we all opened up to Genesis 1:1 on January 1, didn't we? We have to keep that Bible reading plan going at least until we get to Numbers! But even if our Bible reading plan is up to date, we can still end up setting aside our Lord, forgetting that He alone must be at the top of our list as we organize our earthly lives for another year.

With that, let me welcome and thank you for spending the first Friday of 2018 here at Do Not Be Surprised. Let's all take a few moments to enjoy the first week of 2018 in review (kind of):
  • Five terrible reasons to become a pastor. Don't take that call too lightly, brother; only God truly calls men into ministry.
  • Oh, Spurgeon, you say everything so well!
  • It's that time of year. Out with the old, in with the new.
  • Jesus Christ is the Author of salvation. Do not miss this great article by Amy Mantravadi.
  • Here's your weekly dose of adorable.
  • This looks like it will be a good read (HT to Paula!).
  • So do these. My Amazon Wishlist is growing!
  • These look delicious, but I'd have to eliminate the cheese.
  • Great stuff from Michelle Lesley to start the new year.
  • Note to self: eating ketchup packets is bad.
  • Florida friends, get some blankets and keep the iguanas warm!
  • The president of the Mormon church has died. This is sobering to consider friends, for unless he repented and trusted in Christ before his death, he has entered into eternal condemnation.
  • You only get one life on this earth.
  • Although, for some limbs, "life" goes on. 
If God has given you his Son, it is more than if he had given you a whole world! Be settled in the belief of this great truth, that all things in the world are nothing without Christ. Man, in the midst of worldly riches, is poor without Christ. —William Whitaker

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