Archive | June 2018

Physical and Spiritual Rest: A Dynamic Combo

 



I did not write a blog post last week. I felt too tired and stressed. I needed rest. God is patiently teaching me to take care of my body in a way that honors him. Physical rest goes hand-in-hand with spiritual rest. In the last few days, when I lacked sufficient sleep, my anger level rose. My tongue could easily have become a sword of destruction.

Amazingly, during this time, the Holy Spirit gave me songs and poems to build up my faith and to share with others. I also have a patient and loving husband who listens as I struggle to get to the place of faith and rest. 

Does that mean that it’s okay for me to neglect physical rest? No, indeed. That would be presumptuous–doing something I, because of the limits of my body, have no right to do. At times, it’s okay for me to go without sleep in order to perform a task God’s called me to do. He provides grace for that.

Most of the time, God’s plan for my day includes physical rest. When I provide for physical rest, I cooperate with the Holy Spirit, as he works to produce spiritual growth in my life.  When I neglect physical rest, I resist the work of the Holy Spirit. Not a good idea! 

Making every effort to “supplement your faith with virtue,[e]and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love” (2 Peter 1:5-7 ESV), includes making the effort to secure my physical rest.

Neglecting to do so could mean that I will needlessly go through another dark valley. 


How many dark valleys of the soul
Must I go through before I find peace?

How much longer must I experience
Bouts of guilt, fear, shame, and unbelief?

Lord, I want the rest which you promised
To give to your weary sheep

I feel ashamed of my struggles
Fluctuations of faith bring me grief

Fluctuations are unknown to you
Always and forever, you are the same

I will cooperate with your Spirit
My hope is the integrity of your name.

I will continue pursuing you
Adding to my faith, goodness;

Adding to goodness, knowledge;
Adding to knowledge, self-control;

Adding to self-control, perseverance;
Adding to perseverance, godliness;

Adding to godliness, mutual affection;
Adding to mutual affection, love

Lord, whatever the future holds
Whatever pain, fear, or affliction

I know you will never desert me
I will rest in the truth of your affection

1/30/2018 Jane Ault

This entry was posted on June 22, 2018. 2 Comments

Why I Don’t Feel Guilty About Oversleeping and Skipping Church


 


Last Sunday, my husband and I slept late and skipped church. That might not have seemed like a big deal to most people, but it could be a very big deal if you are one of the pastors of a church. Fortunately, John was not scheduled to preach. In fact, he asked to be excused from his usual duties so that we could celebrate our wedding anniversary. 51 years is a big deal.

Surely then, out of gratitude to God for blessing our marriage, shouldn’t we attend church? I could have chosen to feel guilty for skipping church. I considered that option—but not for long.


 

Instead of binding myself to the restriction of a self-imposed, you-must-never-skip-church law, I chose to live in the freedom of God’s grace.

 

Does that mean that I think church attendance is unimportant? No. It simply means that I can live in the freedom of grace, as Jesus did. He understood what the purpose of the Sabbath was and is.

Something designed to bring rest for our bodies, refreshment to our souls, and renewal to our spirits. Not something to be used for attaining performance points.

 


Rest, refreshment, and spiritual renewal come to us when we simply receive God’s grace and live in his presence.

His presence is not limited to the square-foot dimension of any church building. Jesus, the Creator and Sustainer of every universe is present everywhere in it.

As John and I walked among the trees and flowers of the arboretum in Ottawa, we knew that God was with us. 

Our bodies, souls, and spirits were refreshed and renewed. Will we go to church next Sunday? Yes, indeed! We seldom miss a service.

 


When we worship with like-minded brothers and sisters—having the eyes of our hearts focused on Jesus and desiring his presence—he comes in awesome ways to teach, comfort, strengthen, and heal us.

Why don’t I feel guilty for oversleeping and skipping church? Because I don’t go to church in order to earn brownie points from God. He doesn’t like me better when I go.  I’m free to go or not to go. He respects my choice. Most of the time I chose to attend church. Not because I have to. Because I want to.

I hope that’s the same for you.

     

 

 

 

 

   

This entry was posted on June 8, 2018. 8 Comments

How to Feel Sorry Less Often

 



“If you were really sorry, you would never do that again!” Has someone ever said that to you? Or have you ever said to yourself, if I were really sorry, I would never do that again! In many ways, I’ve vowed that I would not make the same mistake and then stumbled in the same old way. I wish this were not true. 

Last week I volunteered to help a neighbor who is moving pack her boxes. Then, I got busy with other things. My husband and I made a decision that required unexpected time and energy. Consequently, I forgot about the promise I’d made to my neighbor.

My husband also made a promise to our neighbor. When she appeared at my door on Monday morning to receive the help he had promised, he came through with it. I asked her if she needed help with her packing. “No,” she said,” I’ve finished. I only need help to move the larger things. “

I felt sorry that I had not provided the help that I’d earlier promised. I scolded myself for not keeping a commitment that I’d made. And I realized, once again, I’d made a promise and not kept it.

How can I break this habit? How can I change any unhealthy pattern of behavior?
These are some of my choices:

1. A) I can live in denial, pretending there’s no problem, or
    B) I can honestly look at how my behavior pattern affects others, as well as myself.

2. A) I can live in regret, allowing a condemning conscience to beat me up, or
    B) I can humbly confess my failure and accept forgiveness.

3. A) I can demand instant and complete perfection, telling myself I will never do that, again, or
    B) I can recognize that change is a process and find out what that process involves.

4. A)  I can blame my failure on circumstances, the devil or others, or
    B)I can accept responsibility for making changes in my life and learn what the causes are.

5. A) I can place total reliance on my ability to change, or
    B) I can admit that I need the help of a power higher than myself and rely on my Creator.

6. A) I can struggle with the same old problem year after year, or
    B) I can secure accountability that will help me address the issues that lie behind my destructive habit, give me encouragement, and rejoice with me over victories I gain. 

7. A) I can focus so much on my performance (am I making the right choices?) that I’m consumed with worry, or
    B) I can focus primarily on who God is, trust in his power to transform me and rest in his grace.  

In regard to choice number 7, I  quit worrying about my performance when my neighbor said, “you are the best neighbor I’ve ever had.” 

Sometimes, the “A” choices that I’ve listed attract me. They’re the default mode of operation of the sin-nature. They feel so right. Why would I want to make the more difficult and less attractive “B” choices?

This is my motivation: “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (Hebrews 4:11 NLT).

I want more of the peace that comes from right living. I want to feel sorry less often. My intention this week is to make more “B” choices than “A” choices. I hope that you will join me. 

Questions for reflection:

1. Which “B” choice is most challenging for you?

2. Which “A” choice do you make most often?

3. What other “A” and “B” choices do you have to suggest?

This entry was posted on June 1, 2018. 4 Comments