Travelling the World for the Glory of God (Part 2)

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.

We coninue with:

4. Time spent in communion with the Lord

Whether your dream escape is a week on the beach with nothing to do, an adrenaline-packed outdoor adventure, or exploring big cities finding the best coffee and museums – holidays have down time. This could involve the hours spent on planes or buses (or waiting at the airport…), sitting down after setting up camp after a day spent hiking, or those endless afternoons by the pool. The nature of holidays is that they are different from your day-to-day life, in which family, work or study consume large portions of your time; on holidays, your time is yours to commit to whatever you choose. For this reason, one of the things I get most excited about when going on holiday is the time I have to spend with God. I can read the Bible, pray and have the time to read books that aid my walk with God that I wouldn’t have as much time to when at home.

Now of course this isn’t always  easy. We once went on a cruise where we had heaps of luggage allowance, and spent our days on the ship sitting in the lounge with unlimited free drinks, Bible and commentaries in hand. There were few logistical barriers for us spending time with God in that circumstance. But that is quite different to a 12 weeks backpacking holiday where you want to carry as limited luggage as possible, and every flight is overnight at the end of a long day, and the last thing you feel like doing it reading.

For our upcoming trip, on our budget flights out of Australia, luggage was expensive, so we have only 15kg each. And many of our flights are long and overnight, and we experience 6 different time zone changes throughout our trip, so we will be tired a lot. Therefore, we have had to be creative in the way we prepare for our opportunities to read and grow and spend time with God when we are away.
What we have found useful so far is:

1. Set aside intentional rest periods – No plans, just time to spend reading and discussing, so we don’t feel the pressure to fit this around our full itinerary. You could even plan in an hour at a nice cafe or the local park to spend reading and praying at.
2. Invest in some Christian audiobooks – This is my new favourite thing! We signed up to audible, and have bought some great books to listen to, and which will be perfect for tired plane trips when your brain isn’t up to reading, or for car/bus/train trips together.
3. Photograph your paper devotional or get a devotional app – Books are heavy, if you have a daily devotional you are using, reading one page a day on your phone isn’t too bad. Otherwise you can use an app (such as this one).
4. Take a book you read alongside the Bible and use a Bible app – I am still trying to find a way to fit my Bible in my luggage, but unfortunately my Bible is quite heavy. But I know that I struggle to read my Bible app like I do my real Bible; it’s convenience can become an excuse in not reading it because ‘I could read it whenever I want’. My favourite books are these God’s Word for You  books – they guide your reading with great exegesis, explanation and application. One of these alongside your Bible app is a great way to go (and is lighter than a Bible)! And as a bonus, you can also get some of these on audible.
5. Take your Bible anyway – If you are struggling to read your Bible, maybe taking it with you is the motivation you need. Knowing you have taken up that space and weight might make you more motivated to make sure you use it – with the prayer that you do so joyfully and can delight in God’s word.

5. Time Spent Serving

Now this point seems to stick out like a sore thumb. “I thought I was going on holiday to have a break from working” I hear you proclaim. Well the truth is, when on holiday, we don’t have a break from being a Christian. We are not called to stop loving others as part of our resting. And so when we are on holidays, we are still called to serve others and to serve God, just as we are in our day-to-day lives – and this can actually be such a joyful part of travelling.
Of course when on holiday, you may need to be more creative than normal in the ways you serve. You are not at your usual home church, often not surrounded by people you know, and it is hard to have people over for dinner or babysit or cook meals for people. But you if you are travelling with others or visiting friends whilst you travel, it is a great opportunity to love and serve these people, whether by planning parts of the itinerary, cooking for people or shouting drinks or dinner; there are still many ways you can be intentional in serving others.

You will also most likely come into contact with people you don’t know in your travels, and have the opportunity to serve them in one way or another as well. We have recently been thinking about the culture of tipping in the USA, and coming from a country that pays their staff properly, we think the concept is completely ridiculous (and rather frustrating). But we have been challenged that maybe this is an opportunity to faithfully serve others, to be joyful in the opportunity to be generous to people we don’t know, for the sake of God’s glory.
More often than not, being unable to see a way to serve those around us is not because there is no way to serve them, but because we aren’t looking.

I hope and pray that these few ideas might be of encouragement or challenge to you, for whenever your next holiday may be.

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Stand Firm: Preparedness in the Gospel of Peace

” And, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” (Eph 6:15)

When thinking about our preparedness for a spiritual battle, being ready for war against Satan and evil, ‘peace’ is probably not the first word that comes to your mind. In fact, when I first sat down to look at this verse in Ephesians in order to write this post, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to say. The Belt of Truth and Breastplate of Righteousness are rich and deep, but at face value are also somewhat self explanatory- they make sense in the scene of battle. But shoes of peace – maybe not so much. Does it mean we should be pursuing peace? Or searching for peace? Or if we wear these said shoes we will have peace despite a raging battle around us?

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Heart Questions: Putting Jesus’ Words into Practice

On the very last page of my Bible, I am slowly developing a list of questions—mostly ones that I come across in my reading, but some which come about through reflecting. I call these ‘heart questions;’ they are ones which I ask to my heart, in a very broad sense, ‘how am I going at this area of life?’ I also use it as a method to remember things I have been struck or convicted by in past reading to ensure I continue to focus on and invest in pursuing Christ and growing in His likeness. They are not questions based on spiritual disciplines (e.g. ‘How have I been going at reading my Bible?’ ‘Am I praying every day?’), but are rather the practical, fruitful outworking of these things; they are an indication of being in a posture allowing the transformation of the Holy Spirit. This might be something along the lines of, “Am I aware of God’s peace in my day to day life?” “Does my life demonstrate to others that I have complete trust in God,” etc. As I was spending time with God recently, I came across another of these questions to add to my list, and thought that putting together such a list could also be helpful for others as a reference to prompt prayer or reflection, or for considering ways to be growing in greater obedience to God. I will compile them into a page (which you can access from the home page), and plan to include a link to the short post I write about them when they are first added to provide a bit more context to the questions.

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The Reading Rut: Resources (#6 of 6)

This article is the final of this series on the Reading Rut, and actually the inspiration for the whole series in the first place. Of course there is a myriad of resources out there, so this is just a snapshot of things I have found helpful – so I encourage you to try them out, and I hope that they might be as good for you as they have for me. However if you find they are not for you, I also encourage you to look for something that is! Over the last few years I have discovered the importance of finding a routine and resources that works for you. My husband reads commentaries – he buys the top 3 on each book of the Bible, reads the entire thing making notes, and sits and reflects upon it. This method just isn’t for me – as much as I am so glad that he does it because it means the devotionals he runs for us are so knowledgeable and in-depth – and similarly, what I recommend here may not work for you.

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The Reading Rut: Reflecting (#5 of 6)

REFLECTING ON GOD’S WORD

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lordand on his law he meditates day and nightHe is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.” (Psalm 1:1-4) [emphasis mine]

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The Reading Rut: Routine – (#4 of 6)

When I first planned this series of the ‘Reading Rut,’ this post was not included in my plan. But as I constructed the previous articles, I realized that the following is an important aspect of reading that needs to be considered. So far, we have looked at some pretty important and encouraging reasons why we should be reading The Bible. In light of these, I hope that it has been clear that reading the Bible is not an aim to be achieved in itself; that is, it is not so we can tell others that we are ticking the Bible-reading box, or even to feel that we are fulfilling our ‘requirements’ as a Christian before God. Rather, it is a means to a greater end—Christ-likeness for God’s glory. Because of this purpose, the way we approach and undertake reading the Bible is incredibly important.

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