Tag Archives: Christianity

Jeremiah 37, 21, 34; Psalm 79; James 5

The space between spiritual blessing and divine conviction: what am I doing when there? Working five days per week yields structure, routine, and purpose for me. Yet, come Friday, I’m like a child brought to the playground, letting loose of his father’s hand, running off to play. Well, almost. In reality, on Friday afternoon I eat a meal that I didn’t make, take up residence on the couch, and basically waste time dozing off and on while a mesmerizing box pours nonsense into my depleted, vulnerable brain. I started this habit several years ago when I lived alone and was suffering from loneliness and sadness.  It was my way of forcing the noise in my head to die down and the tension in my limbs to relax. Somewhere in this space, I hoped to find peace. Not unlike the drugs of addiction, really. A chemical solution to a mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual problem, drugs anesthetize the hurt and pain or ignite and explode the numbing depression.

This space is, of course, a false interlude before the crashing realities return. Take for instance, the promise of peace when King Zedekiah commanded people to free their Hebrew male and female slaves, brothers to their Hebrew masters. God commanded that Hebrew slaves were to be freed after six years of servanthood, and for a brief time the masters let them go. Yet, it wasn’t long before the people were rounded up and taken back as slaves.

What went on between that time? Where did these Jewish slaves go? What were they doing? Did they lie on the beach each day, just thankful for a day without stress? Did they spend their days visiting family and eating home-cooked meals, or did they start projects around the house?

You may think my wandering thoughts are mundane and of little consequence, but let me ask you, “Do you look for that personal space where you can just do nothing if you want?” Why?

Why do we feel the need to get away? Why do we become weary? What disturbances in our world destroy peace in our hearts and why? James 5 has an interesting take on that space between suffering and salvation. Verse 7 – 8 says, “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”

This Scripture explains why on the morning after Friday’s down-time that I feel sick at my stomach (too much spicy food?), condemned in my spirit (seeking peace from a box on a stand?), confused in my mind (professing one thing, but doing the opposite?), and depressed and/or anxious in my emotions (wasting time, wasting energy?). I did not wait with the expectation that God may come right then. I did not establish my heart by seeking God’s instruction.

Well, one more Friday has vanished along with the regrets of a life that would have been better spent eating the Word which is sweeter than honey, looking for all that is lovely and uplifting, and waiting on God’s instruction for the night (might be sleep, could be holy visions…).

So I pray Psalm 79:

Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us… Help us, O God of our salvation…For Your name’s sake! So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, Will give You thanks forever; We will show forth Your praise to all generations.

I ask, Lord Jesus, that I learn to wait with hopeful expectation of Your very presence, and to participate in the sweet joy of living in peace with You now, and definitely next Friday!

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, James, Jeremiah, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Thank you!

Thank you for reading through the Bible with us in 2015!

You know what? We’re doing it again in 2016, starting tomorrow.

Read the Bible with a 5-day approach. Join us here Monday through Friday with a Bible reading plan that gives you weekends to catch up and a chronological influence.

Whether you’ve read the Bible before or this is your first time through it, God will meet you where you are.

Join us?

Happy New Year from all of us here at 66 Books in a Year.

2016 writers collage

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan

Gen. 5; Matt. 5; Ezra 5; Acts 5

This whole Christianity thing?  Not for the faint of heart.  The Bible is replete with examples of the Divine courage it takes to profess a belief in Jesus as Lord.  Take the apostles, for example.  They were imprisoned, they were beaten, and they rejoiced in every minute of it, because they were working under the Highest of orders.

“’Leave these men alone! Let them go!  For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.  But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.’  His speech persuaded them.  They called the apostles in and had them flogged.  Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.  The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.  Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”  (Acts 5:38-40).

I am convicted here of my chicken-heartedness.  If I’m being honest, the only thing I’ve ever really suffered in the expression of my faith is an eye roll or a knowing look.  At its worst, a friendship becomes strained.  And yet my eternity remains secure.  My personal investment is so far outweighed by His great reward to me.  And yet He loves me anyway.

Like the apostles, I am called to a divine purpose.  I know, because my failures are always due to my activity of “human origin.”  Human origin.  As in, “not omniscient.”  As in, “flawed.”  I can imagine God’s view downward upon us, the miniscule specs of humanity, moving our life’s pieces on a tiny planet, thinking we know how everything is supposed to work out, when in reality, the Divine Design guides every move.  I’ve been known to try shoving a square-peg decision into a round hole outcome because I want it so bad.  I’ve tried to shoe-horn, fast-track, kick-open.  And then I’m surprised when it doesn’t work.  That’s because it’s all me.  There is no God in it.  But when the Lord puts the hint of an idea in my heart, when I feel the hem of His garment as it passes by and there is a happy marriage of desire and success, I am emboldened.  I cannot be stopped.  I have courage enough to face imprisonment, or worse.

Mostly.

May I always rejoice in being counted worthy to endure whatever comes my way, suffering included.  May I remember God’s purpose does not – cannot – stop.

Sarah Perry

Guest today on 66 Books, and a wife and mother of three children ages eight and under. She received her J.D. from the University of Virginia, and in addition to numerous webzine articles and short stories, Sarah is the co-author of “When the Fairy Dust Settles: A Mother and Her Daughter Discuss What Really Matters” (Warner Faith 2004).  Sarah has served in youth ministry for over ten years, and is currently writing for www.ChosenFamilies.org where she uses her son’s Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis to encourage other families living with disabilities.

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament