There are few things more uplifting and encouraging in a difficult situation than hearing words to remind us that God is going to pull us through. Therefore, it is no surprise that there are a number of choice bible verses that we as Christians love to turn to in these situations. We have them memorised, ready to share at a moment’s notice, we write then in cards, put them in our diaries, and stamp them over everything from tea towels to coffee cups. These ‘coffee cup’ verses are indeed encouraging, but more often than not, amidst the desire to say and hear what we think will be most helpful, we are at risk of being encouraged by them for the wrong reasons – that is, what we imply or think they mean is not actually true.
I remember the period of being engaged, (a season of my life I did not particularly enjoy) and longing for the day to be married. I spent many hours praying for the day itself, about it being a witness to our non-Christian friends, that they would hear the gospel with open ears and hearts, that people would be blessed by our preparation and by our generosity. And I spent many more hours praying for our marriage itself, that God would grow in us graceful and humble hearts, that we could live hospitably and have a desire to serve the other always, and to be a reflection of Christ and His love for the Church, and the church’s love of Christ in return.
Rebuking a brother or sister in Christ can seem like a punch in the face. It is one of the hardest parts of Christian fellowship to implement, and particulaly to implement well. We shy away from rebuke for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest is out of fear of causing hurt, or damaging our relationship with that person. We convince ourselves is actually unkind, we’ll do more harm than good, that someone else is probably closer to them and should bring it up, or maybe that the Holy Spirit will reveal the sin to them in his time, so it’s not up to us to breach the discussion.
Post-Christmas, with every day that passes in the lead up to New Years Eve, increasing joy and excitement bubble up in my heart. There is something about the opportunity to reflect on the year gone by and the anticipation of a fresh start in the new year which just isn’t the same as intentional times of reflection throughout the year. Bloggers worldwide reflect on their top books of the year gone, write their hopes and prayers for the new year, and provide wisdom and practical advice on how to approach new Bible reading plans or being more engaged in important spiritual disciplines as people start to think about new year resolutions.
Here we continue our discussion of five ways we can glorify God when on holidays. You can find the first post, including the first three points here.
To recap, We have looked at how be intentional in glorifying God on holidays through:
1. Time spent enjoying God’s creation
2. Time spent reflecting, and
3. Time spent resting.
This week, my husband and I have started packing for our eagerly awaited holiday to the USA. I have been finalising our itinerary, buying last minute supplies, and attempting to work out what on earth to pack. As each day has passed, excitement has built with the realisation that this holiday is almost upon us. This anticipation has been far more enthusiastically expressed by myself than my husband (who says he is ‘looking forward to it’ but won’t really be excited until we are going), so in an attempt to share my joy, I frequently ask the question ‘what are the top 5 things you are looking forward to in the trip?’. In asking this, and hearing my husband’s responses, it has made me conscious of the reasons why I am so excited for this time away, and has consequently caused me to reflect on some ways we should be intentional in seeking to use our time on holidays to serve and glorify God.
Over two posts, we will look at five ways we can be intentional in glorifying God as we travel or go on holiday:
1. Time spent enjoying God’s creation
2. Time spent reflecting
3. Time spent resting
4. Time spent in communion with the Lord
5. Time spent serving