Tag Archives: rest

A Simple Life

A Simple Life

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  2 Corinthians 11:3

Have you felt overwhelmed lately with the busyness of life?  I am trying to slow down on purpose to be more reflective and thoughtful.  Perhaps you are busy right now.  Us Americans tend to rush to this event then run to that event. We barely make it to work, school, or church on time.  Many arrive late, if they arrive at all.  Depending on your life stage and if there are kids in your home you are running them all around as well.

Why are we in such a hurry?  Why is life so busy?

  1. We have the same amount of time as we have always had. 24 hours a day.
  2. We attempted to crowd more things into those 24 hours.
  3. With the promise of more leisure time, we depend on electronics and technology.
  4. Even with the fluctuation of inflation, and the value of the American dollar, we have more money and resources than any nation or people in the history of the world.

Is it possible that while we may be “getting more done” that we are actually accomplishing less?  The answer to that question’s rests primarily on your list of priorities.

  • When was the last time you began a new meaningful relationship and friendship with a person or family at church?
  • When was the last time you gave a gospel tract to a neighbor or spoke to an acquaintance about Jesus?
  • When was the last time you prayed before the Sunday morning Bible study and church service and participated with gladness?
  • When was the last time you and those in your household opened a Bible and prayed together?
  • When was the last time everyone in your house enjoyed a dinner together around the table with no television or cellphones taking away from the moment?

One of Satan’s greatest and most effective strategies has been to keep good people busy doing good things, so they cannot engage in the more important and best things.  Satan remains subtle in many ways today.  Most Christians do not run after gross and obvious sin.  Adultery, fornication, lying, cheating, are not usually where good people start to drift.  It is in the seemingly small and mundane things.  They go after potentially good things and are so busy the neglect the best things.  Before long, the best is squeeze out of their lives.

Renowned scientist of yesteryear, Albert Einstein said:

“The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.”

I like that thought.

Are you too busy?  Feeling overworked, stressed, and frazzled?  Try taking some of the non-essentials out.  Be sure to continue or start the basic expectations of the Christian life.  The times of solitude in prayer, moments of discussion with family, and the accountability of being with others in church will only refresh and encourage you.

Sports teams, dance and art class, the local school, and the lessons you signed up for cannot replace the simple things that God has given to us – in Jesus.

While Satan is making life complicated and adding new priorities to your list – Jesus is simplifying our life! He wants you to enjoy the simple things and to find meaning in “being with Jesus” not just running around trying to achieve things in so many areas of life.  With all the available “distractions” it is a wonder that anyone goes to church or opens a Bible any more.  Yes, it is that bad for many people.

Learn from Jesus in Matthew 11:29, He said: “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.”  While Satan wants you to carry your own weight in being busy in life, Jesus wants you to find rest.  Don’t “yoke up” with Satan or this world!  Jesus has a different and better pace of life based on relationship with Him.  It is OK to slow down.  It is good to reassess and refocus the direction of your life.  Take a step back: “Am I running all over when God wants to give me rest?”  Or: “Am I so busy that I no longer have time for God? Family?” Or: “for the things that really matter most in life?”

Find a simpler life in Jesus.  Put the main things in life – first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

This Never Takes a Day Off

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 

2 Timothy 3:13

Do you look forward to a vacation?  Christmas break? Spring break?  How about the end a work week?  Sure.  We look forward to moments of rest and relaxation.  Jesus even told His disciples to “Come apart and rest a while.”  Rest is good.  While we need physical rest, emotional/relational relaxation, and spiritual renewal, we should never “take the day off” from be vigilant Christians.

We have an adversary who is always on duty.  We have an opponent who never takes a break.  We are in a spiritual battle and at just the right time, a moment of weakness, or unawareness, Satan will pounce.  1 Peter 5:8 says, Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour…

Radio preacher Erwin Lutzer suggested: “No matter how many pleasures Satan offers you, his ultimate intention is to ruin you. Your destruction is his highest priority.”  He is certainly right about that.

Here are several sobering thoughts:

  1. Evil never takes a day off.  Just turn on the news.  Evil is escalating everyday.
  2. Satan never takes a day off.  Like a ferocious lion, he is always prepared to pounce.
  3. Temptation never takes a day off.  Every one of us, everyday, will face new temptations.  Sometimes the temptations are recycled forms of previous temptations.  Sometimes they are brand new.  Whatever the case, the Lord can give you victory over that temptation.

Because Satan, evil, and temptation never take a day off, I encourage you to not become lazy in your Christianity.  Be aware of the score.  Know what is going on in the battlefield.  Pack your “spiritual bags” at church to be more prepared when tempted to sin.  Hear more Bible preaching, not less.  Be filled and satisfied with Bible truth, not with the non-sense entertainment and distractions of the world.  Put on the whole armor of God.  Keep your shoes on to flee from Satan.  Be around spiritual people who will encourage you and challenge you to faithfulness in service to Jesus.  Open the Bible and let the Word of God into your life.  Don’t be deceived! Be an aware believer, engaging actively each day.

Your life depends on it.

Your family depends on it.

Those around you will be influenced by your choices.

Don’t take a spiritual day off.

Stops and Steps

Stops and Steps

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

Psalm 37:23-24

And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

Mark 6:31

 

“The stops of a good man are ordered by the Lord as well as his steps.”  —George Mueller

With summer break it is easy for parents to disengage, to go into autopilot and to lesson expectations for their children.  Taking a break is not the same thing as being lazy.  While taking a break is good, we should still have some basic Christian and family life expectations in our homes.

Here are some ideas for students this summer:

  • Take a break from school work, but keep reading the Bible.
  • Take a break from classes, but still attend Sunday School.
  • Take a break from Physical Education, but still exercise prayer and discernment.
  • Take a break from academic teachers, but never stop learning how to live from your parents.

Here are some ideas for parents this summer:

  • Keep structure in the home. While a little more relaxed there should still be a bedtime and wake up time and normal times for meals.
  • Communicate expectations concerning chores. Each child should have several jobs in the home that help you, that add value to them, and gives them a purpose and a role to fulfill in your home.
  • Have limits on media. Vegging out in front of a TV or a small media device for hours on end is unhealthy. Cultivate real people interaction.  Give play time outside.  Try a new sport.  Take a hike or a bike ride. Have friends come over to do more than play video games.  Get a ball and enjoy the weather.
  • Get several interesting books from the bookstore or the library and except your child to read 1 or 2 books during the summer months. Ensure the mind stays sharp!

My prayer is that you will have a safe, fun, and God-honoring summer break!

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I Prepare for Attending Church

How I Prepare for Attending Sunday Church

“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them…” Acts 20:7

It became an every week event.  God’s people would gather in a designated area to hear preaching, pray together, sing to the Lord, and to enjoy encouraging fellowship.  It was every Sunday.

Depending on the church, there would be a pastor such as James preaching. Sometimes it was Paul as he traveled through.  Others rose up as pastors, missionaries and evangelists to declare God’s Word to those who gathered as the “Church.”

Church attendance is something that should be on each Christians weekly agenda.  For Sunday worship to be truly a “day given to the Lord” then a plan of action would help.  Sunday church should be greatly anticipated in our households with pleurae and expectations for God to work in our lives.

The following are methods that I use to prepare and get ready for attending Sunday church services.  They are not “rocket science” but proper preparation does require personal and family discipline.

Here goes:

  1. I do not start major home improvement projects Saturday if they have no definitive stopping point. If in planning it looks like a project will take a lot more time than I hoped or if it would leave the house in conditions that would distract or even prevent the family from being able to easily go to church I will save that part of the project for another day.  If it can be started and finished, or even “paused” by around 2:00 PM then it is a project I may try to tackle.  Projects may take more time, but our children will be less likely to misunderstand our priorities.
  2. I leave a “margin” for time and distance when traveling so that we would arrive home in time on Saturday to set everything back in its place so that Sunday morning preparation is a breeze. Late Saturday night arrives home from long or short trips are avoided.
  3. I check the “weather” ahead of time. Forecasts are educated guesses, but I like an idea as to how I will need to dress.  Hot or cold, rainy or snowy?  It makes a difference in how you prepare for a day.  Check Saturday night if you can.   This helps with planning what to wear.  Selecting the cloths you plan to wear the night before can also be a help. Some people will set them “out” to be easy to find.
  4. I go to sleep early on Saturday night. 9:00 PM is a good time for me.  Perhaps because I am the one preaching.  A low energy guy like me needs good rest to preach.  You and I have both noticed Sunday School teachers that could use more energy Sunday morning.  Even those not preaching or teaching would do well to be well rested so they can be more engaged with the events of the church services. Our children go to sleep earlier than I do.
  5. I like to eat a breakfast with protein, get some “prayer” walking (about a mile) in, and read a chapter or two out of the Bible in addition to a few moments of prayer. Message preparation is at a different time for me.  These are things I do if I am preaching or not preaching in the church services.
  6. I know where my Bible is. Have your Bible ready to go. Your Bible and the Bibles of each family member should have a regular place it is set when not in use.  For me it is on the corner of a kitchen counter top.  Every time.
  7. I leave the TV off. Some of our senior saints enjoy some of the Bible teachers on TV, and that can be good.  I would encourage you to avoid watching cartoons, turning on a movie, or being absorbed by the “news.”  I glance at the major headlines online to ensure I know of any major attacks, events, or trouble that people may ask me about – but Sunday morning is not the time to study the problems of the world on the TV.  There are many online radio stations that offer encouraging, conservative, and worshipful music that may help.  Please see the page of this site about “Christian Radio.”
  8. I do not play video games on Sunday morning. Many teenagers today are “glued” to their phones playing video games.  I encourage each parent to take the phones away or have them turned off.  Some teens play during the ride to church, all during Sunday School, and even the church service.  Sometimes when greeting teens in the pre-service, it is difficult to get their attention to say “hi” because they are so focused on their game.  That is not a good way to be “prepared for meeting with God.”  Parents and adults are just as prone to “zone out” on Facebook.  A distracted heart is not as inclined to “hear” God’s message or as engaged in the church service.
  9. I avoid the rush. That rushed feeling can be avoided if you leave the house at a reasonable time.  If it takes you 20 minutes to drive to church, then leave 30 minutes before.  Even if you live close to the church like I do, add time or “margin” so that you are not rushed.  Kids who are “rushed” to Sunday School and church and still show up late do not receive as much from the lessons because their hearts are racing, they have probably been yelled at by a parent to “move faster” and their mind is not as engaged as it would be if they got there early.  “On time” is really 15 minutes before the service or class begins.  Try that for a while and see how it calms your spirit.
  10. I enjoy a nap Sunday afternoon following our family meal. Sometimes we go out to eat.  We avoid major projects, yard work, and big outdoor activities that could cause a person to not be ready for the Sunday Evening Church services.  We have found it best not to get on a boat or take a hike Sunday afternoon.  Choirs, fellowships and the church services come fast.  Being involved is terrific but it does take effort.

There are so many distractions from giving a day of worship to the Lord.  With a little discipline, we can be ready with hearts prepared to worship Jesus.  With better planning than you do for school and work, you can plan and prepare for making it to church services on time and ready to learn, worship, connect to others and grow. I hope these ideas that have helped me and my family are a blessing to you as you get ready for church this Sunday.

 

After Election Thoughts

After Election Thoughts

No matter if your candidate won or not, life goes on.  Congratulations to both candidates for their effort. Kudos to Mr Trump.  Consider this short list of things to continue or to begin doing in the coming days.

Read the Bible.  Psalm 119:105 teachers: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”  We need God’s wisdom to properly process what is happening in our world.  Seek His guidance in the Bible.

Pray.  Psalm 55:17 says, “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.”  Take your concerns, care, troubles, and problems to the Lord.  Spend some time worshiping Him and thanking Him that He will always be God and that there is no one like Him.

Go to Church.  Speaking to the day we live in Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”  Isolationists and “holier than thou” people who are avoiding others cannot glorify God.  Actively evangelizing, and edifying believers can only take place through the local church.  Exalting Jesus includes reaching the lost and encouraging other saints. One cannot happen without the others.  A thoughtful illustration one pastor printed in his bulletin looks like this:

“This___is___the____way__the___church__sometimes____looks__to__the_______pastor____when____he___goes__into______the____pulpit.”

“Wouldlooklikethisifeverybodybroughtsomebodyelsetochurch.”

Witness.  Acts 1:8 declares, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  With the same passion for politics you have or saw others have in the recent election – take the Gospel to others.  Talk about Jesus in your home, neighborhood, coffee houses, and at family gatherings.

Rest.  Rest in the will of God.  Peace is found in Christ.  Let Him handle the issues of the day.  Sure, do your part, but leave it all with Him.  Psalm 118:4 says, “Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever.”  And Psalm 118:29 declares: “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”  Thank the Lord for the peace that is found while resting in His mercy.

Life goes on following every election.  Things change, but life goes on.  Jesus sees the bigger picture.  Politics and government is not the solution to the greatest needs – Jesus is.  A revival of loving God can only begin in an individual heart.  These are not items “Good Christians” have in their lives.  These are things that “Growing Christians” strive to nurture in their lives. Be more or become more like Jesus today.