When the priests who were carrying the chest came to the Jordan (River), their feet touched the edge of the water. The Jordan had overflowed its banks completely, the way it does during the entire harvest season. But at that moment the water of the Jordan coming downstream stood still. (Joshua 3:14-16a CEB)
“But may those who love the Lord be like the sun when it rises in all its brightness.” (Judges 5:31 GW)
SOMETIMES, THE LORD ASKS US TO STEP OUT IN FAITH.
This blog is one of them. At the start of 2016, I began to write and publish a Christian-themed blog, which I believe the Lord has equipped me and led me to write.
LoveAndGrace was not to be a testament to my thoughts or experiences or dreams but a willing vessel for the ideas that I felt the Lord giving me to share. I’m taking seriously the biblical testimony that each of us is called to witness to those whom we are uniquely suited to reach. So, if Billy Graham reaches 50 million people, and I reach 5 people, my 5 people are added to his 50 million people–that’s 50 million +5 who will enjoy eternal life with the Creator.
Early on, I became obsessed with the format of the blog site, until I felt led to give that over to Him and focus, instead, on the content. When I did that, He blessed the effort. To date, we’ve posted about 30 messages — averaging one every other week. That’s not the pace I had set for myself, but this is a tough venture, and I am still proud of the result.
As we move into the new year, it’s time to step out in faith again. I’ve upgraded the site to remove paid advertising. In so doing, the weblink has changed (I’m told that’s transparent to readers). The new link is https://wardswords26.com. Basically, the word “wordpress” is removed from the link.
Also, I’m told all content from 2016 resides on the new site name. (I’m also aware that most followers receive the e-mails and do not actually visit the website, so much of what I’m referencing may be perplexing. If you just get the e-mail, you’re missing a lot!!)
In faith, I’m going to try to tackle some of the “technical anomalies” that have troubled me during the year. Here’s a partial list:
- Add “read.more” tags to my posts. That means the website readers will see an excerpt of each blog post and will have the option of clicking on the link to see the entire post. The main advantage is that those who scroll through the website will see all 30 or more headlines to choose from, not just the most recent one.
- Improved Archives feature to store and retrieve older blogs.
- Ability to post Newsletters — one innovation is to compile several blogs into a readable newsletter format for additional use and circulation. These can be theme-related, where three or four blogs dealing with, say, forgiveness, can be packaged into one clickable link yielding a 12-page newsletter, formatted, for use as a teaching tool.
- Enhance reader feedback mechanism. This blog was never about me. It’s not “my life.” This is a shared, community blog in which readers are encouraged to comment. Some of you have commented, but I’m not sure if you even see your comments. That needs to change.
I hope spending
capital on technical improvements won’t interfere with what the Lord and I have built — in faith, I want this blog to become more useful to today’s readers and those who may be attracted to it in the future. To that end, I need to publicize the blog more, which I have been reluctant to do, allowing simple word-of-mouth to build readership.
Here’s where you come in in a big way. Would you please pray as you feel led that:
- God will continue to use me to be His messenger during this season of our lives.
- Readers will feel a proprietary interest in the blog, adding their comments, suggestions, and meditations for the benefit of all.
- A technical angel will feel led to lead a hand. I read the how-to manuals, but I’m stumped by the technical jargon. Too many “dashboards” and “platforms” for me; I’m a writer, not a computer geek.
PASTOR ANDY STANLEY, in his book Visioneering, said that God will bless those efforts that He finds “blessable”; that is, efforts that follow His will. Please pray that this blog will be blessable! Let’s be clear about one thing: the moment this blog becomes “about me” is the moment I stop writing it.
I have placed my faith in His guidance. Posting my thoughts for the public to see, possibly for all time, shakes me. I pray throughout the process, from the point of developing an idea through writing/editing it, through choosing art, through pushing the publish button.
My wife, Debbie, has been an editing angel for me. Often, she encourages me; sometimes, she keeps me from looking foolish. Always, she is my greatest human support.
Let’s see where the LORD leads us in 2017! AMEN
PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, we humbly ask Your blessing on this blog, to direct its weekly message to fulfill Your will for reaching those who struggle in their faith or who are wary of faith … and for those who seek a friend to come alongside their walk in faith. May Your Words accomplish all that You plan and not come back void. Bless those who contribute to its pages in whatever manner, especially those, Lord, who lift their hearts in prayer for its success. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
4 thoughts on “Stepping Out In Faith: LoveAndGrace 2017”
Ward, Well done !!! I am looking forward to 2017 and the success of the new format. Thanks for all that you do for our Small Group. Mike
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Thanks Ward! I always enjoy reading your blog – very thought provoking. I’m happy to hear your plans/features are moving ahead and I’ll certainly keep you in my prayers.
God bless you, Debbie and this project – a loving gift for Jesus as His birthday draws near.
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Thank you for your support, Mike and Mark! Prayers coveted.
Please consider forwarding devotions to friends & neighbors & family members who might benefit from them. Nice thing about these devotions: written by a regular guy just like anyone else and the reader can communicate with the writer!