Posted in Faith Nuggets, Repost, Thoughts, Thoughts from Life, Thoughts from Scripture

Expected Rest

This is part two of the rest series originally published in Arkansas Baptist News.

Recently I shared that God has been teaching me a good deal about rest. I love that the learning never stops. He builds on each lesson, continually growing me. The more I learn, the more I see how much I have left to learn.

Discovering the depths of rest is no exception.

In addition to the surprising lesson that rest is relational, God is showing me more and more that rest is expected. I suppose in the true nature of biblical instruction, I should say that rest is commanded, for that is the reality. Either way, rest is not an option.

But I am just beginning to understand why God expects us to take rest seriously.

What keeps us from resting?

I asked myself that question recently, and I was not too fond of the answer: a lack of trust prevents my rest.

Far too often, I resemble the children of Israel wandering in the desert. They grumbled about the lack of food. So, God sent them manna. But, He told them to collect the manna in a certain way. Five days out of every week they were commanded to collect only what they needed for that day. On the sixth day, their collection was to be enough for two days.

It was illogical. It was improbable. Why would manna that did not last more than twenty-four hours five days a week last forty-eight hours on the sixth day? Had I been among the Israelites, I probably would have obeyed. But I can guarantee you I would have been very skeptical that first week. Even if I took God at His word, it would not have been easy.

But He said to rest on the Sabbath. And He never gives a command or holds an expectation without providing the means for obedience.

That is as true for me today as it was for the Israelites then. God expects me to rest, and He will always provide the way for me to accomplish it.

What about the work I am behind on? What about the little things that have not been done during the week because of other obligations? What about the expectations upon me? What if I let someone down? What if I do not get something done?

Yes, God even has provision for those.

If I choose to not rest, it is because I do not trust Him to take care of everything just as He said He would. And believe me, it feels as improbable, illogical, and unlikely as the preservation of manna. But it is just as expected for me as it was for them.

May we trust Him enough to obey and rest.

Posted in Around the Web

Around the Web

There is so much out there on the Internet these days. Some days I feel pretty overwhelmed by the massive nature of it. But I love it when Doug or friends recommend something. Here are a few of the things that have come my way lately:

How to be Friends with an Introvert

– by a precious introvert named Jamie

First of all, a laugh. I love this post! It truly captivates the essence of an introvert. I especially love #6.

3 Common Traits of Youth Who Don’t Leave the Church

– by Jon Nielson

Will our children stay in church? Will they leave? It sometimes feels like we’re rolling the dice on this one.

– We tried to raise them right.

– We made them go to church.

– You never can tell, I guess.

I think #1 in this post really is the kicker. Are we looking for the fruit of salvation in our children?

The Problem for Complementarians Will Come from the Right

– by Carl Trueman

Doug shared this one with me. And I think there’s a great deal of merit to it. When our goal is to fight against the left, we often end up overreacting. We push so far to the right that we adopt unbiblical and extra-biblical practices. Our focus is not on Scripture and being Christlike. Our focus is instead on being the opposite of the left.

Don’t Forget These Blogs!

Doug’s blog is always my favorite first stop, so don’t forget to keep up with his wonderful words of wisdom!

And the content of hedua.com never ceases to amaze me. I watch the ideas and posts roll in, and I find myself humbled and honored to rub shoulders with these people!

What are you reading this week?

Posted in Around the Web

Around the Web

Happy Wednesday to you! What have you found as you’ve perused the Internet this week? I have seen everything from hilarious to sobering.

Here’s just a glimpse:

The Princess Bride and Legos

Is that not a fun combination? I did not sit through this whole twelve-minute video, but I did skim through it to see the different scenes created in Legos. Yes, it’s fun. And yes, some people just have too much time on their hands.

 

Doug’s Blog

If you follow me on social media, you know that I go through spurts sharing Doug’s blog posts. Then I get behind on reading and have to catch up. Well, I’m in catch-up mode again, determined to become more regular about reading and sharing. But I thought it might be fun to share his weekly sermon post here.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

 

Adoption

After a recent trip to Kenya, these were the thoughts on Tricia Goyer’s heart:

The Sad News About Adoption in Our World

I have seen and experienced the reality that, contrary to Tricia’s experience, not everyone can easily adopt from the foster system in the state of Arkansas. But, our hurdles are mere rumble strips compared to adoption issues in places like Kenya. And, we often allow ourselves to be derailed by obstacles much more easily than we should. This is not only true of adoption but of many challenges that face the western church. When the biggest challenges to our faith are health issues and inconveniences, we must realize that we have it easy.

Please don’t get me wrong. A precious, precious family said a final goodbye to their young daughter/niece/granddaughter last week when she lost her earthly battle with cancer. There is nothing easy about that! But from a spiritual level, it is relatively easy to keep our faith and be Christians in our culture when the biggest challenges are things like cancer.

But I digress.

Tricia’s article is a good one that made me think about many issues. Worth the read.

 

Plans to Grow?

And while we’re on the topic of adoption. Need more sleeping space to fit the growing family? How about this?

Triple Bunk Bed Plans

Have a great week, and don’t forget to share what you’ve found around the web this week!

Posted in Around the Web, Homeschooling, Thoughts, Thoughts from Others

Around the Web – June 18, 2014

I haven’t gotten quite back into the full scope of blog reading this week as I’d hoped, but I’ve still come across a few posts that I really enjoyed.

Doug’s Blog

A couple of weeks ago, Doug wrote a post about earning his MDiv and contemplating what’s next. Obviously, I know all about his journey and his plans because we have talked through these things many, many times. But, “Third Degree Burns?” also has a point. No matter what might be ahead, consider where God has you right now. Obey here and now. I needed that reminder.

Oh, and if you like historical fiction and want something a little different, take a look at Doug’s review of Edwin, High King of Britain.

The Fun of Homeschooling

The Nerd Factor

I love the way homeschooling feeds our nerdiness. Here’s the phrase that caught my attention this week:

Do you hear the words Allon-sy, Geronimo, and Fantastic all the time in your house? Are jelly babies on short order? Does the sound of the T.A.R.D.I.S. echo from your living room? If so you might be the parent of a Whovian. (Who am I kidding? You might be a whovian yourself.)

I love that a fellow homeschool mom wrote “Using Doctor Who in Your Homeschool.” And my oldest immediately said, “Yes, please!”

The Training Factor

I also ran across this post about the need for children to move and play and be outside: WHY CHIDLREN FIDGET: And What We Can Do About It

And this post about summer boredom:
Dear Children: Let Me Explain This Thing Called Summer

A Lifestyle Thought

Then there’s this post: Because There is a Difference

I absolutely loved this post. It expresses what I know to be true about myself. My eating habits, or any other health or discipline habits, mean nothing if my heart is not in tune with Christ. Aimee Byrd articulates that fact beautifully.

Be sure to check out what my HEDUA friends have been reading and writing in Must Reads. And don’t forget to share your links with the rest of us!

Posted in Around the Web

Around the Web

What do you read around the web each week? I am trying to get back to keeping up with a few blogs. I thought I’d share a few of the blogs I follow or posts of interest that stand out to me each week.

Learning, Teaching, and Laughing

Yes, I’m biased. This is my husband’s blog, and I love it. Doug shares his sermons each week, writes a Through the Bible series that walks chapter by chapter through books of the Bible, and shares other thoughts here and there. I love his insights. And no, I’m not just saying that because he’s my husband. Even back in college before the thought of romance entered my mind, I loved to hear his explanations of various truths.

HEDUA’s Blog

Again, there’s a bit of a bias here. Blog management is in my department at HEDUA. But, I really can’t take any credit for the awesomeness that goes here. We have an amazing team of writers and a phenomenal blog manager. Also, TeamHEDUA shares Must Reads every Saturday – posts that stand out to us as we peruse the web. Some of what I share there will also show up here, but many other posts come around as well.

The Choate Family

Want to get to know an incredible missionary family? You can’t get much better than this precious family of six. They are the kind of people everyone just falls in love with, and they love getting to know bloggy friends. Right now their posts will probably be a little briefer and spottier than they will be late this summer when the family leaves the village for a time. But, that just gives you a chance to look back and get to know them better!

These are my top favorites. I’ll share more specific posts next week. Meanwhile, what are your favorite blogs? What have you read this week that really stood out to you?

Posted in Repost

The Line

The other day I took a few minutes to browse through old journal entries. I laughed as I saw one from almost a year ago. I wrote it not long after we put up the Christmas tree, and a few weeks later I turned those thoughts into a blog post. It was a good reminder to me to reread those thoughts, so I figured I’d share them with you again, too.

Originally posted Jan 2, 2012

Last weekend the Christmas decorations came down. I was definitely ready, but not for the obvious reasons. I love Christmas decorations, and I’m never in a hurry to see them packed away. But, our cat Mina takes some of the pleasure out of them – well, the tree, at least.

Mina has a fixation with being under the Christmas tree. If it was just that she wanted to sit calmly under it, then I don’t think we would be so concerned about it. When Steven was a toddler, mama cat Smokey used to love to escape from his over-anxious little hands by hiding under the tree behind all the gifts. Smokey is a petite, dainty cat. She walks silently and is rarely destructive in any way. So, we had no problems with her being under the tree. Her daughter Mina, however, is just the opposite. Mina plows through life like the proverbial bull in the china shop. And, she’s not content with just resting calmly under the tree. She wants to climb the limbs (which her weight would break) and knock off ornaments. She wants to be right on top of gifts (many of which her weight would crush).

So, our rule is that there are to be no cats under the tree. For the past three Christmases or so, we’ve used a spray bottle to reinforce that rule. If a cat goes under the tree, he or she is sprayed with water. Jack and Smokey learned the rule very quickly and have pretty much decided that the tree isn’t worth the effort. Mina, however, is another story. Every year she seems to be magnetically drawn to that tree. This year was no exception.

The funny thing is that this year Mina found a spot that would allow her to be as close to the tree as possible without actually being under it. She seemed to know right where to lie down to avoid being sprayed, and somehow that magical spot brought her great satisfaction.

One morning, though, she decided to take a bath in that spot. As she moved and bathed, she ended up under the tree, bumping the ornaments. She remained oblivious, convinced that she was still in her “safe” spot.

I didn’t spray her that morning. It wasn’t worth the effort to me. But, I did think about how easy it was for her to “accidentally” end up under that tree simply by her choice to locate herself so close to a spot of danger. Smokey and Jack never ended up even remotely under the tree because they chose other favorite spots throughout the house. But Mina couldn’t handle completely giving up the tree. Because of that choice, she ended up “sinning” just through the normal course of life.

I’m sure you can see where this is going. There are things that we know are wrong. But, we flirt with them. We convince ourselves that it’s okay to be close as long as we don’t fully indulge. We know that there is a point we must not cross. But, we also know that to set up a fence 100 yards behind that point leads to legalism. Since we so greatly want to avoid legalism, we instead go the opposite direction – we live right on the edge. We stay right beside the tree.

What is going to happen when the natural course of our lives bumps us into the tree? I guarantee that happens. When we choose to live right next to the things that we should completely avoid, at some point we will find that we’ve crossed the line. What does that do to us? To our relationship with our Lord? To our influence on others? To our witness?

What if we were to instead just live close to the Lord? What if we were to ignore not only the line right near the temptation, but also any fences that legalism could put up? What if our focus were truly and simply to be as close to Christ as absolutely possible? I guarantee if we did that, we’d never “accidentally” bump that tree.

Last weekend, Mina’s temptation was removed. No more tree means no more lines to accidentally cross. What about us? We can remove our own temptation by being more concerned with being close to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ than to anything else this world has to offer. May we hunger to do so.