Guilty pleasures…

We run hard.

All the time.

Life pushes and stretches every free moment of our day. Work demands, school, sports, friendships, church, errands, bills, laundry, homework, cleaning the bathroom, the trash, the dishes, email, social media… the details of our everyday pile up and up as our free time evaporates. We never seem to catch up or slow down.

But when we actually do find a few precious hours of unscheduled, un-demanded free time… we may be confused. 

We can feel guilty. 

Uncomfortable with the unfamiliar freedom. 

It’s at times like this that I often find myself looking for something else to do. I feel so out of balance when life slows down that instead of enjoying the moment and resting,.. I rev up and chase after some distant almost forgotten task or meaningless assignment. Just to avoid the ‘uncomfortable’ void of doing ‘nothing. It’s as if rest has become a ‘guilty pleasure’ that I don’t deserve.

Ever feel that way…?

The truth is very different, the truth is we need rest.

The truth of God says we are commanded to rest every seventh day. In the Old Testament, we were supposed to take every seventh year off and enjoy the fruits of our labor. But we don’t. In fact we can’t really even allow ourselves to enjoy the few brief moments of unscheduled life that come our way.

Sabbath-2

Let’s stop rushing and filling our lives with stuff. Let’s agree to trust that our creator knows what’s best and start planning to not plan every hour of every day.  🙂 

Peace can be found in letting go of the need to be in control and resting in the assurance that God’s promises are true.

Simple as that. 🙂

Pastor B.

Resting or Re-arranging? A Sunday dilemma…

For some of us, Sundays are not a day of real rest. They are just the one day a week we have to catch up, clean, do laundry and re-arrange our homes, garages and briefcases for the onslaught of the coming weeks work. Of course we make it to church each morning, but our day is really crammed full before it even begins, and our minds and thoughts are often torn between worshiping God and checking off our “to-do” lists for the day in an anxious exercise of keeping track of all the un-trackable’s in our lives. Sunday has for many of us become a day to review, re-arrange and revisit the things we really can’t control anyway.

Before I go a word further… I am as guilty or more so than any.

God is stirring in me a desire to learn what it really means to “REST” in Him. To cease from striving, from solving, from working out a situation in my mind until it’s desired outcome is assured. To stop my relentless need to asses, analyze and understand my life and my problems and then to resolve them quickly and logically on my own. It’s only when I fail to find a solution, or see a potential relief from the pressure of the crisis I’m in, that I stop and ask for help.

Why ?

Simply put, I still am guilty of compartmentalized faith and my relationship with Jesus gets crammed into a box that fits pretty well on Sunday mornings, and I can pull that box out for use on those days of extra heavy stress or fatigue… But the rest of the week, my go to guy is still “ME”. My internal understanding of how completely God wants to release me of my pressures, my planning and my control is still quite undeveloped.

So… I strive. I wrestle and I creatively problem solve my way through my days, and Sunday afternoons when God has commanded me to stop, and rest and release my burdens, my need for closure to Him. It’s not a suggestion, it’s a commandment. Not to the extent of making the sabbath another legalistic ritual without meaning or purpose, but to the extent that I can leave my guilt behind me when I simply stop working and enjoy my family and friendships for a day.

To actually intentionally slow down long enough to really reflect on the goodness and provision of my God who has safely carried me, us, this far in life, without fail. To enjoy and expect the promise of divine protection and provision and renewed perspective for yet another week as it stretches out ahead.

That’s what Sundays were meant to be… if only I could slow myself down long enough to remember that ? Oops, no…what I mean was, when I slow myself down long enough.

Peace out and Grace to you as you like me…. seek to keep your kids and families in – between the lines and on the road of life.

brad.

Finding strength in our weakness

As a parent we can often find ourselves exhausted, overwhelmed and discouraged, and then to add to our misery we condemn ourselves for feeling so exhausted, overwhelmed and discouraged. We struggle to carry the load of personal guilt for being ‘bad parents” as if somehow we have failed our families for being weak….? That voice of condemnation we hear is dark, divisive, dangerous and for sure not from God.

Let me encourage you with a simple reminder that comes directly from God’s word…

Bible gateway.com  9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me”

If in your day-to-day struggles of leading your family, you find yourself in a position of weakness… don’t panic. It’s O.K.

Remember that God has a wired us to need Him, not just for our first time sinners prayer experience… but for our entire life. We are not meant to be able to handle life all on our own, it’s our own pride that insists we should. A religious pride that can sneak into our minds and rob us of our peace and joy and comfort in Christ. It whispers to us that WE should be able to handle things easier, better or stronger that others. It would never dare to challenge our basis for salvation, but indirectly it nibbles away at our foundation of grace until we eventually forget that we never ever had the power to change our lives on our own.

Step back today, remember the GRACE of God to change our hearts from old to new. From failed men and women to redeemed and remind yourselves of the power that is only found in our savior Jesus Christ. When we hit empty and drop to our proverbial knees in failure… His power and His strength are revealed.

So this week, as you labor to lead your families and kids, don’t surrender your faith in overcoming the multitude of challenges in your life, just surrender the need to believe you have to solve everything on your own.

When we convince ourselves that its up to us alone to be good parents, we live under the pressue of having to have an answer for everything. We have to be able to find a resolution to every dilemma or summon enough patience for every frustration or conflict we encounter. When we assume the responsibility alone… we are actively stepping back into a world of self and stress… a world that carries a ton of weariness and guilt and it’s impact will rob us of much of what we have been freely given in Christ. Sometimes we forget that everything we have, and are and are going to be is accomplished not by us, but by the grace of God in our lives. REMEMBER;

Your kids are going to be saved by GRACE.

Your marriage will be kept by GRACE.

Your home will be at peace by GRACE.

Your job will be effective by GRACE.

Your ministry will change lives by GRACE.

Your day will begin and end in peace if you choose to live by GRACE.

So if you dare… stop thrashing your way through your day… Re-start your day by “waiting” for God. Wait to hear His voice before making decisions. Wait to feel His strength before engaging with your latest struggles. Wait to feel His peace before confronting the latest emotional explosion in your home. Wait and be renewed in the power of your weakness. Waiting is as simple as “listening” to God after you ask in prayer for help. It may mean shutting off your radio, television or iPod, it may mean stepping back into your bedroom before going out into the day. For some, pulling off the road or taking a walk at work, do what you have to do to get quiet enough to hear the still small voice of God for you.

Isaiah 40:31 /  (ESV)

31but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
   they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
   they shall walk and not faint.

Be encouraged faithful onesGod is with you, He is beside you and He will empower you in the very darkest of your days. No matter how empty, weak or discouraged you “FEEL”… God is waiting for us to surrender again.

Peace and Grace to you as we all “seek to keep our families in between the lines and on the road of life.”

Brad.