Wow. And just like that, we’re finished with another year. Was it just me, or did anyone else feel like 2015 just sort of flew past us?
Anyway, with a new year upon us, this seemed like the perfect time to take a quick look back over 2015. It was a big year for Sabbath Thoughts! We have a brand new logo (it’s a little more prominent over on the Facebook page) and a brand new email service, not to mention plans for a site redesign and a free “Best of Sabbath Thoughts” ebook sometime this year.
It’s been a record year for visitors as well! As you can see from the chart below, 2015 far overshadowed the previous two years in terms of visitors and views—and that, of course, is thanks to all of you. You’re a wonderful community and it’s a privilege to serve you in this capacity.
Since we had a lot of new people joining us this year, I thought it would be good to make this week’s Sabbath Thought a recap of the 10 most viewed posts from 2015. Here they are in reverse order. Enjoy!
10. Just Passing Through
For us, Tabernacles is a little different. You and I, we’re still in the wilderness. God rescued us from bondage to sin (John 8:34-36), but we’re not in the promised land yet. That’s still ahead of us. That’s in the future. So when you check into your hotel room or your campsite (maybe you already have!), remember where God is directing our attention. This life—this world that seems so real to us—is temporary. We’re just passing through; strangers and pilgrims on our way to something better. For a week—one glorious, fleeting week—we’re getting a taste of that “something better.” Then it’s back to the pilgrimage. Back to the temporary, the ephemeral, the trudge through the wilderness.
9. Filling the Emptiness: 3 Steps for Beating Sins That Won’t Leave
Although it’s generally invisible to us, the spirit realm is an extremely active place. God’s Word gives us a couple glimpses into how it works, and Christ’s warning in Luke 11 is one of those glimpses. Unclean spirits—that is, demons—can take up residence within a person. To demons, a human being is like a house—a dwelling place in which to put up their feet and call home. But the most interesting thing about this glimpse into the spirit world is not how these unclean spirits view us; it’s what happens when they’re kicked out.
8. How Much Sin Can You Handle?
When we talked about spiritual vacuums, I had three steps for you. Today, I have only one. I’m sure we could put our heads together and come up with three, or seven, or a dozen, and I’m sure they’d each be good and valid and helpful. But I think this is the key step. I think this is the step that’s most necessary, most urgent, most uncomfortable to do, and most essential to our salvation:
7. Not Now, Not Ever
Each of these verses includes a powerful, emphatic negation in the original Greek that our English translations aren’t quite able to convey. Paul didn’t just say that we should walk in the Spirit and avoid the lusts of the flesh; he was saying that truly walking in the Spirit makes it impossible, absolutely impossible, to fulfill those lusts. And when he quotes David concerning forgiveness, he isn’t saying that it’s nice when God doesn’t charge us with sin; he’s confirming that, when God forgives us of something, He will never change His mind and demand payment—not now, not ever. And Christ wasn’t just saying that eternal life means not perishing; He was promising that the eternal life He has in store for us will make perishing impossible. Not an option.
6. As He Is
But even then, it’s not enough. Our carnal minds and human nature—the “old man,” as Paul terms it—refuses to lie down and die, even after baptism. It’s a fight. Day in and day out, it’s a struggle to yield to God’s way and resist our natural inclinations.
The seventh trumpet is going to change all of that.
5. Under the Surface
Sincerity and truth. Honesty and integrity. Holding fast to what’s genuine, living with integrity, taking down our facades—none of these things describe a hypocrite. In fact, Jesus warned His disciples to “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1, emphasis added). In starkest contrast to the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth is the leaven of hypocrisy.
4. We Need Your Gift
So why did the one-talent servant fail? In his own words, “I was afraid” (Matthew 25:25). The responsibility of achieving something with his one talent meant the possibility of failing, and that was too much for him. Better to do nothing; to risk nothing. But if the parable of the talents teaches us anything, it’s this:
To do nothing is to risk everything.
3. The Devil Didn’t Make You Do It
That’s what Satan does. He markets evil. Makes it look appealing. He can’t force you to buy it, but he sure knows how to make it hard not to look. “And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). Satan used to be an angel of light, and he still knows how to put on that costume and pretend. He knows how to take something that’s rotten at the core and dress it up to make it look wholesome and good.
2. Salt in Your Coffee (and Other Tests of Character)
Turkish custom dictates that a good future husband will drink the salted coffee without grimacing, without complaining, and certainly without chiding his bride-to-be. A man who accepts the cup he is given and drinks it happily is a man who can endure life’s unexpected and unpleasant moments without losing his composure.
And finally, the number one viewed post of 2015…
1. Lost in the Undertow
What starts in the eyes can fill the heart, and what fills the heart can guide the feet. Gradually, the line we came to look at becomes less of a curiosity and more of a desire. The gentle pull of the waves around us grows stronger with every step, coaxing us to take one more step, and then another, and then another, until…
I left two other posts off of this list: “Precious in the Sight of the Lord Is the Death of His Saints” and Sighing and Crying. They were the real top two posts, but I felt that, since they were both focused on very specific events, it would be better not to include them in the final list. I’m including them here, though, for your reference.
Thank you all again for a most wonderful year! See you back next week!
Until next time,