Thursday Encouragement 22.1

Happy Thursday, Reader! Historically, I have not often posted on Thursdays. However, going along with my goal to bring a little more structure and consistency to Reviews From the Stacks, Thursday posts will be more common this fall. They are also going to expand the scope of this blog a bit. I’m going to kind of feel it out through this season; if this ends up not being a good fit, then when winter comes we’ll try something else. If you have any {constructive} comments or opinions on this, I would love to hear it below!

There are a few reasons I want to write these posts, and talking about them is going to make this post longer than I expect most Thursday Encouragement posts to be. It’s also going to take talking about a few other people and media sources. I hope you will check out their content if anything I say sparks your interest, but more than anything, I hope you will turn to the ultimate source of encouragement (1 Thessalonians 4:18) and verify anything that I say or quote against scripture (Acts 17:11 & Romans 12:2).

One of the podcasts I listened to a lot this summer is called The Authentic Christian. The title made me skeptical at first, so if your initial inclination is to roll your eyes and move on, believe me when I say that I was right there with you. However, it came highly recommended by a new friend (who actually works on two shows himself: shout out to What Saith the Scripture and Travelers into the Multiverse), so I gave it a try. I was hooked after only a few episodes. One recent episode discussed Christian influence, and while the context was geared more toward personal social media, it made me think about this blog and ask some questions that I had not thought of much, if at all, before. Questions like, if this blog is all that someone knows about my life, what would their perception be about my most important beliefs? Would they have any idea that I have committed my life to doing all things to the glory of God? Have I given any chance for someone to learn the best (most true, most consequential) story ever written? My bio has always said that I am a Christian, and that I hold my beliefs seriously. I’m not sure that the rest of this blog has always lived up to the depth of conviction behind those words. If you have read my more personal comments over the past few months you may have seen references to church, baptism, and related events I have participated in with friends and fellow church members, and there have been occasional posts that include a verse or refer to the Bible, but that’s about it.

Would anyone who looks at my blog have any idea that the Bible is the most important book to me?

As I have thought through these questions, I also started thinking about some of the book blogs I follow which do a good job of this. One of the standouts is Nicole @ The Christian Fiction Girl, and not just because the name of her blog includes the label “Christian.” Nicole and a few other bloggers participate in a weekly post series called “His Encouragement” where each shares a Bible verse and a thought or two about the scripture. Seeing these posts each week is a clear reminder of what is important. And, they are effectively encouraging.

While the entire world (or at least my corner of it and pretty much everyone I heard about) quarantined for about three months in 2020, I wrote a series of posts that were purely meant to be encouragement (you can search for the tag “2020 encouragement” to read these). Most of them featured Bible verses. Some also included hymns or other uplifting things that I came across and wanted to share. It’s still not uncommon for me to receive comments about these posts from people who are appreciative of coming across them even though it has been over two years since I posted the last one! Clearly, the need for and benefit of encouragement is not time-limited. So, with all that I’ve said as background, I’ve decided to hop in as well and share a bit of Biblical encouragement on Thursdays too. Most of these posts will probably be brief. I don’t actually intend to do nearly as much exposition or discussion as I see from some of the participants in His Encouragement, but I do want to share the verses that continue to be uplifting to me and sometimes dive a little deeper when I have something meaningful to say.

Now that I’ve talked for quite a while in this post, I’ll leave you with a few verses that have stuck out to me while I’ve been working on it:

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 (ESV)

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works

Hebrews 10:23-24 (ESV)

Fear not, for I am with you;

be not dismayed, for I am your God;

I will strengthen you, I will help you,

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)

I hope you are at least intrigued by this new post series! I am excited to see how it goes, working on intertwining a few of the things that I love rather than keeping them all stringently separate.

Do you follow any bloggers, authors, etc. who are especially good at sharing encouragement and truth? Give them a shout-out in the comments!

Until the next chapter,


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