Actually Finishing Something [in] July (5)

Finale Questions

Did you reach your goal? 

Not in July. I set the goal very high and hardly expected to reach it, but hoped to make a lot of progress. Finishing would have been an extra blessing, but it wasn’t exactly expected. 🙂 It did not help that I had an out-of-town conference the last week in July, either. I also started the challenge more than a week late – and I am making this post exactly one month after I made my first post.

If you didn’t fully complete your goal, were you able to make a good amount of progress in your project?

Yes! I was able to get an amazing and encouraging amount of progress in during July. It was much more than I would have done without the challenge, I believe. On July 31, I had only twelve chapters left to write in my commentary on the whole Bible. As of today, August 10, 2013, one month after my first Challenge post on 7/31/2013, I am now finished with writing my commentary on the whole Bible!

What was the most difficult part of finishing something this July?

One of the most difficult parts was saying “no” to all the distractions I can create for myself. I need to just write and not do anything else in my personal time. Another very difficult part was the busyness of this July – needing to take care of children, cook, deal with garden produce, and generally keep a household running on top of writing.

Did you maintain a writing schedule? How often did you write to meet your goal?

For the most part, I maintained a writing schedule. At first, I completed five chapters a day in the Prophets section of scripture. In Life of Christ, I shot for five sections a day – but my main goal was to complete the document in a week. In Apostle’s Doctrine, I tried to do three chapters a day (since I tend to write more in that section of Scripture). I can gauge about how long it will take me, so it worked fairly well – and I believe I could have finished in July had I not had a conference to go to. I wrote six days a week as much as I could – and until conference week, I managed to write at least something all of those days.

List some of the musical tracks/artists you listened to most frequently this July. Tell us why they inspired you and how they fit with your story.

Our Heart Embrace the Cross – pondering why Jesus embraced His cross and how we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him, this song fits perfectly.

Lamb of God – I was writing commentary on Jesus, the Lamb of God, suffering as a sacrifice for us – He is God’s spotless Lamb.

It Was His Plan – “Sadly, on a dusty road one night / Two people walked and wondered at their plight. / A stranger soon appeared; / His words made all things clear. / His hands had wounds that cruel nails had made – / Because that man had sinned, and He the debt had paid. / It was His plan; it was His purpose; / It was ever in His mind / That we should walk in fellowship with God…” This fit perfectly with writing commentary on Luke 24 about the two disciples who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus.

Trust in God, My Soul

Interestingly, playing very quietly on shuffle on my computer just as I finished my project was a reading of Revelation 22. Just as I finished, it was saying, “The end of the New Testament. The end of the Holy Bible.” Meanwhile, my sister was listening to “God’s Word Shall Stand Forever.

Snippets! Share as much, or as little, as you choose.

I will share one short one and one long one.

~~~

His life is perfect. My life is horribly marred and scarred by sin.

My hands are whole. His hands have scars/marks/prints of nails. Something is seriously wrong with this picture.

Praise God for His covenant exchange. Praise God that Christ came in the flesh and was wounded that we might be whole. Words cannot express this love.

~~~

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. ~ II Timothy 2:3-4

This is war. We are soldiers. We are called to fight. A battle rages; how are we acting? Are we lazily indulging in selfish pleasures? Are we trying to entertain ourselves? Do we ignore the war or try to stay as far from the front lines as possible?

We are called to fight. We cannot afford to be AWOL, a POW, or a poor soldier. We dare not run away, hide, or ignore the facts. We must live as though we are at war. We must be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

A good soldier of Jesus Christ is disciplined. There is no room for laziness, indulgence, or selfishness. The good soldier follows the Master’s orders to the letter, never making excuses or finding reasons to slack off.

A good soldier is strong. The good soldier must endure hardness – and indeed, much hardness will be encountered during the battle. The world, the flesh, and the devil will try their very best to throw as many obstacles as they can in the way of the soldier of Jesus Christ. Strength is essential. This is not physical strength or fleshly strength; it is strength derived through constant intimate connection with Christ Jesus.

A good soldier is persevering. The battle may be long. The discipline may be severe or boring. The enemy may be fierce. The good soldier is called to endure hardness – not once, but as long as necessary. It may wound severely, but the ground must be held. The enemy must not be allowed to advance. The good soldier never forgets the intensity of the battle and the life-and-death nature of the war, even when the fighting seems less intense and the sounds of war seem far away. The good soldier knows that this is an extremely crucial time to persevere.

A good soldier fights. In the Word and on his knees, the good soldier presses on. Even if the good soldier falters or fails, he gets back up and continues storming the gates of hell through the power of the Captain’s name and with the armor He has provided. If a soldier fails to fight, he is not a soldier.

A good soldier is set apart. He must not be entangled with the world or the flesh. One who is already has a foot in the enemy’s camp – and not as conqueror. The affairs of this life will drag a soldier down – mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. They will first put the seriousness of the battle out of the soldier’s mind, and will later put even the reality of the battle out of his mind. The enemy will use the pleasures of the world to convince the soldier that the battle is not real and certainly is not won. The enemy will steal the soldier’s weapons through enticing him with the cares of the world. All affairs of this life will choke the Word and prayer in the good soldier’s life. The good soldier cannot afford to enjoy the pleasures of the world for even an instant. The focus must be kept.

A good soldier pleases the Captain. The battle is won – it was won on a cross and at an empty tomb. However, the enemy still fights. As the good soldier presses on to know his Captain, purposely puts the world and the flesh aside, devotes his life to knowing the Word and the Captain, and chooses to place his mind on the Word and intercession rather than on its own things, the good soldier does please His Captain. The Captain excessively delights in the good soldier who has turned aside from all normal human, worldly things for the sake of the Captain, the battle, and the Kingdom!

Are you a good soldier?

~~~

Pick a character from your July writing project and describe his or her daily wardrobe. Imagine how this character would dress is he or she were living in the year 2013.

We know that Jesus wore a garment without a seam. I imagine that if Jesus were on earth today, He might dress similarly to many men in whatever area of the world He was is. He would be modest in keeping with His humility. His clothing would not draw attention to Himself.

Bonus Question (skip if so desired–I shan’t be offended)! What was your favorite part of Actually Finishing Something [in] July? What could be done next year to improve the challenge?

To improve the challenge, maybe throw in a question or two suited to those whose writing does not fit the “fiction story” mold that these questions are all tailored towards. It would not have to be much – just a question once in a while so that we aren’t left behind trying to answer questions about characters and other things more or less irrelevant to our non-fiction projects.

My favorite part was the extra motivation it provided. There is something inspiring about knowing you are part of a challenge with others; this is not something you are doing in isolation. I also liked how it allowed me to get a huge leap forward. I enjoyed answering the questions. It was an excellent experience and I am excited to be finished after nearly three years!

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