Monday, December 28, 2015

Call the Sabbath a Delight

Within the last couple of days I have heard people apologize for being out of church. One man admitted to my hubby that he only attends about twice during the year. Another woman informed about something happening in her family and then confessed to having not been in church for several weeks.

In my Bible reading this last week, I came across a passage that spoke to me about this very thing.

"'If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.' For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." Isaiah 58:13-14

Here is how I interpret this for myself today: Keeping my feet from breaking the Sabbath would mean that I don't go somewhere else other than my place of worship. To keep from doing as I please is self-explanatory. I am to remember that God made that day of worship holy. I am to delight in gathering to worship. God promises if I will keep His holy day then I will experience joy in Him.

Honoring the Lord's day is an act of obedience. It's investing in the Christian legacy I hope to leave to those I have influence over.

Now, as a pastor's wife, I'm there for worship whether I feel like it or not. But this is where I need to work. God wants us to call the Sabbath a delight. This takes preparation and perspective.

Preparation needs to happen before I enter my place of worship. This preparation should be ongoing throughout my week. Here's what it looks like: I'm in the Word, listening to what the Spirit is revealing to me. I'm praying for wisdom and guidance and even for that day of worship.

Perspective means I will be focusing upon my God who deserves my full attention and worship. I will lay aside those personal preferences and solve those relationships that hinder my time with the Father.

When I don't approach the Sabbath with an attitude of worshiping God and delighting in those moments, I might just as well be one of those people who haven't been to church in a long time.

What a great idea for a New Year's resolution! Learn to delight in the Sabbath.

What do you do to delight in the Sabbath?

Friday, December 18, 2015

Don't Dodge the Opposition

So often the Spirit nudges me while I'm reading the Bible. I will read a verse or passage and a message jumps off the page.

As I read in Philippians one day this past week, a section at the end stuck in my mind.

"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved - and that by God." Philippians 1:27-28 NIV

"Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. Let nothing in your conduct hang on whether I come or not. Your conduct must be the same whether I show up to see things for myself or hear of it from a distance. Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people's trust in the message, the good news, not flinching or dodging in the slightest before the opposition. Your courage and unity will show them what they're up against: defeat for them, victory for you - both because of God." Philippians 1:27-28 The Message

When I read these verses, I felt like Paul was speaking straight to Christians of today. With so much opposition to our faith every way we turn, it would be easy to be frightened and just dodge it all. But Paul is giving us a pep talk here.

First he reminds us that we aren't alone. We must stand unified as Christians, as the body of Christ. Both verses use the word contending which has the synonyms of competing, battling, and fighting. We must have a team with a unified goal to compete well for souls. We do much better in a battle when our comrades are by our sides. We can fight more effectively with those who share our vision. We aren't meant to be lone Christians.

Paul says we must specifically stand up for the message of the gospel without being frightened, flinching, or dodging the opposition. This can be difficult with what the enemy is throwing our way. I mean really, removing the Linus monologue where he quotes Luke two in the Charlie Brown Christmas program? And not allowing signs or expressions of Merry Christmas? Then our opposition will sound loud and proud as they spout off their rights. They begin to gather those who agree and they get louder. Cue in the flinching, dodging, and fright. But Paul says to continue to live in such a way that we are a credit to our message of Christ.

What I love is that Paul doesn't just say not to fear but that our courage and unity will prove what our opposition is up against. The truth is that there is defeat ahead for those who oppose Christ and victory for us. I love that Paul is quick to add that this has nothing to do with us but all because of God.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, please know that I stand with you in the truth of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and will contend with you, resisting fear and knowing victory is sure.

In light of this, I wish you a very merry and Christ-filled Christmas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

For Our Good

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

The truth from this verse has a lot to do with my book, For Our Good.

The heroine, Charlie, doesn't believe in this verse at the beginning of the story. She has experienced too many painful things in her past and can see no way that God could make anything good come from it.

If you haven't had the chance to read Charlie's story, take advantage of a special ebook price on December 8th featured on Ereader News Today.

Nancy Mehl - Author of Finding Sanctuary Series, had this to say about the book: "Author Paula Mowery skillfully combines suspense and romance in her book, For Our Good. A compelling plot, along with authentic, richly drawn characters, will keep readers turning pages of this taut and exciting story."

You'll also find a Bible study at the end of the book to further explore the themes.