What are you enjoying right now?
Sometimes, we need to step back and ask a question like that.
Philippians 4:8 challenges believers to think and dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable.” So the Facts & Trends staff would like to regularly share our “Favorites” at the moment.
It might be a new book or podcast we’re enjoying or something going on in our lives we want to share. Hopefully, you’ll think about things that are your favorites right now and maybe find something else to add to that list.
Aaron Earls (@WardrobeDoor), online editor: Wonder. Joy. Excitement. Those are some of the greatest gifts and reminders my children give me during this time of year. That’s my favorite this week.
We can all watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and say we hate the commercialization of our Savior’s birth, but then we go right back into being overwhelmed and stressed about gifts, cooking, decoration, travel, and all the other incidental trappings of the season. But then I watch my kids and they remind me of the flowers in the field that Jesus said are clothed splendidly without worrying about what they wear.
They aren’t worried about much of anything. They are enjoying all the seasonal festivities, as they anxiously await Christmas morning. They are full of revelry and anticipation. More than anything, they remind me how we should be in our adoration of Christ and bask in the celebration of His first coming as well as awaiting His second.
Carol Pipes (@CarolPipes), editor: I read an interesting article recently called “User Behavior” about Internet compulsion and distraction and how Web and app designers develop sites to intentionally “hook” users. The author likens Web users to BF Skinner’s pigeons who spent countless hours pecking on Plexiglass in hopes of receiving a treat. Perhaps that’s not the best analogy of contemporary digital life, but who among us hasn’t checked email or Twitter countless times, craving a rewarding piece of information or the often-elusive “like”?
While I don’t agree with everything the author proposes in the article (can we really regulate the Web?), it did make me think about my online habits and how easily I get sucked into scrolling through my Facebook and Twitter feeds. I was reminded of a recent article in our own magazine by Tim Challies. In his piece “Using Technology Wisely,” Challies writes, “Awareness of the inevitability of both benefits and drawbacks is not meant to make us abandon technology, but to use it with wisdom and singular focus.” I appreciate his 6 Simple Steps for Dealing With Digital Distractions.
Matt Erickson (@_Matt_Erickson), managing editor: I’m reading men’s ministry expert Pete Alwinson’s new book Like Father Like Son: How Knowing God as Father Changes Men. The book is well-organized, well-written, and encouraging. God the Father is presented to us as knowable, welcoming, approval-giving, identity-building, wisdom-giving, grace-giving, and more.
Even those of us blessed with a good (though far from perfect) earthly father, need to experience the love and grace of a perfect heavenly Father. Our view of God must be shaped by Scripture, not our experience with our earthly father. It’s impossible for our Christian life to go well if we’re entertaining false ideas of who God is and how He relates to us. This book helps correct our vision, giving us a true picture of our heavenly Father’s character.
Lisa Green (@lisaccgreen), senior writer: When a woman considers abortion, the decision is not made lightly. This week I listened to six women tell their stories in a Cincinnati Enquirer article called Abortion: The most important decision of her life.
Two of the women wrestle with whether to abort after receiving grave medical diagnoses for their unborn babies. Another describes how her life was changed when she made a wrong turn and ended up at a crisis pregnancy center instead of an abortion clinic. Most mention God, reminding me of a recent LifeWay Research survey showing more than 4 in 10 women who have had an abortion were churchgoers when they ended a pregnancy.
Some of the six women choose life. Among those who do not, the comments can be haunting. “You can call it a fetus if you want. But in your heart, you know that it’s a child,” one woman says. “I think about that child … what he or she would have become. Was there an Einstein lost, or a Picasso?”
Another recalls her visit to the abortion clinic: “It’s almost like this darkness just descends, and your spirit is completely dead when you walk out of there.” In the years since her abortion, the woman says, she has found healing and forgiveness in Christ.
Katie Shull (@KShull), graphic designer: Christmas is not here yet, but before you know it’ll be 2016. I’m not really into New Year’s resolutions, but I do enjoy reflecting on the past and dreaming about the future. I found a cool inspirational video with quotes from various people. That’s my favorite for the week.
What has made you smile so far this week? What would be your favorite today?