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.
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
I love to bake – cookies, cakes, slices, bread, you name it, I’ll attempt to make it. I am always up for trying something new; in fact, you will rarely find that I make the same treat twice. About a year ago I tried my hand at making sourdough bread. I made my own natural yeast starter, fed it and looked after it, and eventually once it had grown, attempted to make bread. My very first loaf was a complete failure. It was dense, barely rose and did not look like sourdough in the slightest. My attempts improved very minimally over the following weeks, but I certainly never achieved anything close to the perfect sourdough loaves that you find at the farmers market or artesian bakeries with that classic open crumb. And as much as I desperately wanted to create beautiful ‘social-media worthy’ bread, and was aware of the many intricacies in the art of creating sourdough, the problem was not with my starter, my kneading technique or my oven – it was with my patience. I simply didn’t have the patience to mix, let my dough rise for some 20 hours, only to knead it once more, and let it rise for another 12 hours before baking it. I wanted my bread to be made quickly, to eat it that day (so much so I actually tried adding instant yeast to the mix …) So needless to say I quickly resorted to returning to normal instant-yeast bread recipes that involved much less waiting-time.