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.
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.
You are not needed by God. I am not needed by God. God is all powerful and all sovereign, He is perfect in his character and has always been, long before the creation of the Earth. Yet here we are, living out our lives to share the gospel and make disciples, spending each day aiming to glorify God in all we do, pursuing knowing Jesus and make Jesus known. We do this despite not being needed. Why?
No one really enjoys sharing their weaknesses, let alone their sins. Even if we understand the great benefit that can come through sharing and confession to others (for both ourselves, our fellowship, and even for others learning from our mistakes), it can feel humiliating. We are often ashamed of our sin, discouraged by our failings, and now more than ever through social media, we can really portray ourselves how we want to be seen, having it all together in a ‘perfect’ life – so why would we want to tarnish that by sharing how short of the mark we fall?
As I explored a bit in my first reflective post Reflecting on Reflecting, I think that vulnerability and, alongside it, openness and authenticity is a vital part of Christian growth and community, so I want to share with you one (or some!) of my recent failings and what I have been reflecting on it.
” 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?