Guest Post: Five Scripture Passages to Start the New Year

Guest Posts

Dear Friend,

I am excited to publish this post written by Sarah Susanna Rhomberg, one of my close writer friends. May it bless and encourage you as it did to me.



Five Scripture Passages to Start the New Year


For some people, the past year may have seemed long and dreary. Some may be looking forward to something new, something fresh. Some may be sad that it has come to an end. Others might fear starting another year all over again.

Every year, I am torn. Yes, I love the anticipation of the new, but equally, I am one to hold onto the past, to hold onto the old.

Here are five passages for the start of the year, for both you and myself. No matter if you can’t wait for the new year or if you’re starting it with fear, let these be reminders to you.


1) Isaiah 40:30-31


“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (KJV)


For many, this past year was not an easy one. Many feel like they are tired and weary. They feel like they are stumbling and falling. But here’s the truth to hold onto: Those who put their hope in the God of the Bible will not grow tired or weary. They will not stumble and fall.

This passage in Isaiah is a great reminder to us to put our hope into the LORD, instead of trusting in the works of man.


2) Lamentations 3:22-23


“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (KJV)


No matter the circumstances, God stays the same. His character stays the same. His love and His compassion do not waver. These are promises we have. In addition, this passage gives us another promise:

God’s mercies are new every morning. Try whispering that the moment you wake up. “New morning. New mercy.” What a good reminder for the new year!


3) Psalm 1:1-2


“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (KJV)


I bet that one of the most common new year resolutions among Christians is to read the Bible more. But maybe that’s the wrong way to think. Maybe our goal should not be to read the Bible more, instead to shape our lives around the Bible. To, as the Psalmist says, meditate on it around the clock. Day and night.

Time to rewrite new year goals?


4) Galatians 1:10


“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” (KJV)


If you stand up for your faith, you will always have people dislike you. Maybe even hate you. Does that mean we should not stand for what we believe? The answer to that is a question from Galatians. Are you seeking the approval of man or of God?

May this be a reminder to us to live the new year boldly, fearing God… not man. 


5) Revelation 22:20


“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” (KJV)


The great debate about when exactly Jesus will be coming back has been going on for about 2000 years. In reality, the exact time of his return is irrelevant – it shouldn’t matter to believers. The more relevant question is, “Are you ready?”

This year, let us live ready. Let us be prepared for Jesus’ return anytime. Let us live knowing we could be standing before our Maker soon. Because that’s what He promised. He will return soon.

~

Image by Sarah Susanna Rhomberg

Sarah Susanna Rhomberg is a teen, who lives in Europe and is fluent in both English and German. When not writing, you will often find her reading or working on the organization of a camp for children – always with a mug of herbal tea at hand. Sarah wants to live her life for Christ and writes to glorify Him. Connect with her through her email list here.



P.S. Sarah’s email list is about the Christian articles she wrote. I read many of them and found them truth-filled and edifying.

Updated: Challenging the Aspect of Consistent Blogging

Writer's Articles

Dear Friend,

Several weeks ago, I stared at my blog wondering what to write. I had mentioned that I would publish twice a month or alternate weeks. Why? I asked myself. To be consistent, of course. Why do I need to be consistent? At that moment, I challenged the aspect of blogging consistently and discussed it with a blogger friend, Lisa.

I asked her, why do bloggers post consistently? Of course, we both knew the obvious answer was to gain followers. But was this my intention? Nope.

Of course, I wanted to reach as many people as possible. I however didn’t want to vomit content for the sake of consistency because I wanted to write properly for Christ. To clarify my meaning, there’s nothing wrong in posting consistency. The important aspect lies in the purpose.

What’s my intention to blog?


I recalled the moment I created this blog. Actually, I created it on Blogger during high school. It had the similar “Train” concept. I wrote book reviews and rambled about my life. However, I had no vision or long-term goals for it, and it wasn’t His timing for me to blog. I closed it.

Once I started writing seriously, His time for me to blog came. Thus, I created it again using WordPress instead. I wrote about the Conductor’s (Christ) guidance in my writing journey, and what I had learned from Him.

My intention was to share my lessons with other writers. To tell them that this writing journey can be lonely and difficult, but the Conductor is with them every word of the way.


Gradually, this blog changed to include the TCK email ministry, and my writing style changed. Despite those, my purpose remained the same: to write what the Conductor taught me during my personal journey with Him, so that He would use it to reach people.

To reach these readers included having followers or subscribers; thus, I incorporated a form of consistency. I initially posted once every week. (Keep in mind that the number of readers is not my primary goal.) However, my writing projects increased and I struggled to maintain quality content while risking myself to a burnout.

So, I asked Lisa on which she values more:

Consistency or Quality


We both agreed that to us, quality is more important than consistency. I thought of an example of a particular blogger who doesn’t post often, yet I’m still subscribed to her because her articles are high-quality to me. Specifically, they are truth-filled, and they draw me closer to my Lord.

At the same time, yes, it’s possible to publish quality posts while being consistent. But this might not work for everyone, well, it didn’t work for me at least. I could even challenge the aspect of every writer or author needing a blog. Blogging itself is not suitable for everyone; however, let’s not chug off the track, Clarissa.

After discussing with my friend, I prayed about it. Then I decided to post as and when God leads me to it instead of sticking to fixed dates. (To clarify again, I’m not saying that He did not guide me to post each week. I did not have much work back then.) At the same time, I won’t post inconsistently in a way that I publish content once every three to four months.

Rather, I set a general target of one to two posts a month. So far, I’m less overwhelmed than before, and perhaps, just perhaps, I’m improving in quality. But we shall see as I continue. Ultimately, the most important thing is that God is building it, and not I (Psalm 127:1). And that focusing on the number of readers does not take His place in my life because

being close to Him and loving Him is my goal.


How about you, my friend: is blogging consistently working out for you? Are you blogging to increase the numbers of followers or because you love your Lord? And is He building your house?



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train

P.S. You can peek into Lisa’s blog here.

P.P.S. Sarah who wrote the article on productivity also has a Part 2 of it! I highly recommend you to read it because it’s a very important lesson for all of us: Part 2: Has Productivity Become Your Idol? And if you miss Part 1, here it is: Productivity from a Biblical Perspective.

P.P.P.S. Also, should I write an article challenging the aspect of every writer/author needing a blog? Just kidding!



~

Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.

Sorting My Priorities to be Priorities Again

Journal, Writer's Articles

Dear Friend,

It seems that many people are swamped with work these days. Be it school or normal career work. As for me, I could not escape my own mountain of writing projects. I’ve always wanted to write a post on priorities; however, the right time for it didn’t come until recently.

A few months ago, I was going through a difficulty, and subsequently took a break from my own writing. After God brought me through my challenge, He eased me back to writing. Weeks later, I found myself buried in the mountain pile. Before I completely lost myself in it, He reminded me that writing should be treated as a job, instead of something that threatens to take His place and permeate every aspect of my life. I wanted to slap myself. How could I forget that?

And a few weeks ago, I told my mother I would do a certain project after I completed a writing task. She replied,

“Your work is never-ending.”

She was right. Just like secular work, my writing doesn’t “ends”. So why was I overwhelmed with it?

The problem lies with my priorities.

It was important that I settle this as soon as possible because they surround my personal walk with the Lord. I prayed, reflected on my priorities, and arranged them by macro (the big picture) and micro (within writing). My list of macro priorities showed what should be most important in my life.

Macro Priorities:

1. God

2. Family

3. Friends and people

4. Work (secular and writing)


I needed to ensure that God is always first in every aspect, that I’m protecting my quiet time with Him, and that I’m trusting everything into His hands. As a result, everything else naturally fell in their place. Then I asked Him to sort out my micro priorities within writing. He then reminded me of the list I wrote right after my difficulty.

Micro Priorities:

1. Letters for Book F

1. Fiction writing once letters for Book F are completed

2. TCK Ministry and blogging

3. Editing lessons, reading to give feedback, and guest writing


My problem was that my mind shifted from Him, and was fixated in completing my projects that they all became equally important. Before they could consume me, I surrendered them to Him, returned to the list He intended, and gave each moment to Him.

I reminded myself, priorities are something that I need to make a conscious effort to trust the Lord with each day. I shouldn’t have taken them to my own hands and assume I could handle them by my own strength. The truth is, I can’t because I’m not perfect. But Jesus Christ is, and I have His Spirit with me.

As days passed, I did not strictly follow the writing list because I was sticking to His leading. At times, He wanted me to rest from my letters and work on a blog article, or give feedback to another writer. Other times, He wanted me to pause from writing and spend time with my family and friends. And sometimes, He wanted me to encourage someone who needed it.

The writing list that He sorted became a reference for me when I have no clue on what to do next. I also found that ultimately, everything on my lists surrounded Him. And currently, I’m not overwhelmed by life anymore because

Christ is in the center of it.



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train

P.S. A friend of mine wrote an article on productivity which encouraged me greatly. It is not what you might expect it to be. I expected it partly because I read several of her writings before. Anyhoo, you can read it here if you’re interested.

P.P.S. I’ve started a small section called Snippets of Truth. A snippet is a bite of the Bible, a simple lesson which you can read from the homepage. It’s also open for anyone who wants to contribute. If you’re interested, contact me.



~

Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.

New Updates on My Journey

Journal

Dear Friend,

Much has happened in my life for the past six weeks. And today, I can finally type my own blog post. The last article was drafted in June actually. The draft and the two guest posts helped me when I needed it. Thank you for your articles, Katja and Breanne, and I thank the Lord for His perfect time. If you haven’t read Katja’s personal writing journey and Breanne’s TCK article on citizenship, please do so.

Currently, I have a mountain of writing projects and non-writing related tasks waiting for me. I’ll thus be posting blog articles twice a month starting from this week. If I can’t, I’ll post as and when I’m able to. Here are quick updates on where I am in my journey:

Writing

I’ve returned to blogging, and Book F (written to maintain contact with my close friends). God willing, I may resume my fiction projects after I completed several letters for Book F. Other than that, I’ve resumed drafting articles to be submitted to other channels.

TCK Email Ministry

It’s continuing as usual by God’s grace. Any other update will be sent through the emails. Although they’re for Christian TCKs, any Christian would find them applicable. You can read sample letters here. If you want to receive emails every month, you can register here.

Content Editing Lessons

The editing lessons I’ve been taking taught me significantly in both crafting and editing. Also, I’ve been reading other writers’ projects, and giving them tips to help improve their craft. I subsequently learned a lot from all of these, especially from my mistakes. Funny how that works.


And there you have it folks! How about you? How are you doing in your journey? And do you need me to pray for you?



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo Choo Train

P.S. You may be wondering why I post in letter format. I started using Dear Friend and Very Sincerely Yours in the letters I wrote to my close friends (Book F). Then I decided to use the format in my blog, and articles published elsewhere.



~

Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.

Two Tips Every Christian Writer Should Follow

Writer's Articles

Dear Friend,

You probably saw the title above and clicked it to read what the two tips are. Yes, it’s about writing. At the same time, non-writers could apply them if you change one word from below. I’ve heard/read practical advice such as, write consistently, set your writing aside before returning the next day, write your first draft as quickly as possible, etc. Many of them are subjective to personal preferences. I could continue on about them, but I don’t want to leave you hanging. A fellow Christian writer, who’s also a friend, told me two words which I think every writer should follow:


“Don’t write!”

Sarah Susanna Rhomberg



After all, we’re humans with lives to live. We have priorities outside of writing: spend time with God, learn from Him by reading His Word, and apply what you’ve studied by living it! How does one write well if one only sits at one’s desk and writes all the time? How could one convey stories of brokenness, humility, tragedies, hope, love, redemption, the Truths, and God when one never learned them in one’s life?

And spend time with your loved ones: family, church, brethren, and friends. Go out. Fellowship with them. Study the Bible and talk about God with them. Do activities with them. Have meals with them. Another suggestion: pick up a new hobby or continue your current hobby. Do something that’s non-writing/non-reading related. Rest!

“But I need to write for Him.” You may explain.

Check which is first: writing or Him? If you find that writing is taking His place, pause and re-examine your priorities. Remember, your body, the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), belongs to Him. If He wants you to rest, do so. Trust and obey. Months ago, I experienced a week of writing several thousands of words per day regardless of my increasing fatigue. I was leading myself toward an impending burnout until God used a friend to warn me this, which is the other good advice:



“… give [God] every word that you write that He might use it to reach someone and give Him complete control of not just your writing life, but your life in every way, shape and form … Also, don’t push yourself too hard. Take it easy, but don’t be lazy. Write as much as you can a day, and no more than that … Putting God first above everything else doesn’t mean everything will be easy … however, God is with you at every step, every moment and every breath … It doesn’t matter if all you write one day is five words, those five words will add up. Just one word a day dedicated to God is worth far more than a hundred pages not written for Him.”

Arthur J. Colin




God already knows you’re doing your best for Him. My parents ingrained these words in my mind since I was a teen, “Do your best and leave the rest to Him”. So, rest. Even if you’re not a writer, pause from whatever you’re doing that’s draining your health and/or taking God’s place in your life. Go into your bedroom, open your Bible, and tell Him you’re tired. If you find yourself holding on to what you’re doing, give it up to Him. Then Christ will draw you close.


“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30, KJV (Emphasis added)




I too need to be reminded of the above. That is why I wrote this article.


Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train

P.S. What are two important writing tips you apply in your life? Why?



~

Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.