Tag Archives: Philippians 4:8

More than a Nap

Rest does not come easy for me. I can sit or lie down or even collapse into the bliss of the softest of billowing pillows and I’m like the kid whose mom punishes her by sitting her on the sofa, to which the little girl replies, “I’m sitting down on the outside, but on the inside I’m jumping on your couch.” That’s me in a nutshell. I may be lying down on the outside but on the inside I’m jumping on the bed, or strategizing ministry plans, or ciphering how I can make life work. My mind refuses to take a nap. It’s a rebellious little critter to say the least!

I know I need rest. I’m much more conscience of that post heart attack. I’m trying hard to prioritize life and in the process of that I discover that my biggest issues do not come from without, they come from within. So when I read Genesis 2:2

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

We know that God is all powerful, that He does not sleep. He does not grow weary, so why would He rest? It must have been important to even the Creator and yet I cannot seem to find the mindset for it in my life. This is a conversation that I had with my husband David as we laid down in  bed last night. He was so tired. He’d worked all day, he’d left work and went straight to the fire department for their weekly meeting and didn’t get home until after 8 p.m. I too had had a busy day cleaning house and ministering in music at the nursing home. I followed that with another meeting with friends. All of which are joyous times but they tired me out. As I lay in bed my heart was not comfortable and I told David, “We need to learn to rest better, it’s not about taking a nap.”

It’s truthfully about catching my breath. That hasn’t been easy for me the last few weeks, literally. The fluid around my lungs has caused me to labor to breathe when it’s humid or I over exert myself. It’s much better now, but I still struggle on some days. I have to remember that yesterday was only my one month anniversary of my open heart surgery, because I feel great most of the time; which is deceiving to my body that says, “Slow down, catch your breath!”

I recently heard a preacher describe God’s “rest” as breathing in. He had spent 6 days breathing out. He had spoken the world into existence, He had breathed life into humankind and on the seventh day I could honestly imagine God taking a deep breath in and sitting in His easy chair to “rest.” He no longer needed to think about what cows and hippopotamuses would look like, or how deep the rivers and oceans would be. His formation of Adam and Eve was “very good.” And now He could just watch.  Not think about it, just watch.

Yesterday I returned to the room of a Nursing Home resident who makes no bones about the fact that she is heading to Hell. But she’s still not ready to be saved. Before I left she confessed she’d been “thinking about it.” Glory to God! That’s progress. I could breathe out a little when I left her room; leaving her in God’s hands and asking Him to keep her on this earth until I return to witness again. Those type of life issues I can release to God much easier than the mundane problems of my own. Those things that I actually think I have control over. I want to rehash my own sin and failures, complain about the condition of the hearts of people and focus on things of virtually no eternal significance. David focuses on the failures of politicians, the lack of volunteerism, the waste of government money, and all things out of his control. He and I are quite the pair.

So I made him promise me that on his upcoming bike trip with his buddies that he would not think on those things of a negative sort.

Philippians 4:8 tell us

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Just breathe.

Now to obey that rule myself.

God took 24 hours and did nothing. He did not create or instruct or do the things God had done for the previous six days.

This causes me to question what my 24 hours of rest would look like if I didn’t do the things that I do the other six days of the week. I’m not speaking of Sunday, because I’m a minister of the Gospel so there is a work to be done. I speak of another committed 24 hours. A day where I would not write, draw, speak or sing for the ministry’s sake. I would just breathe and watch and listen. No worrying about souls. Trusting them to God who is far better at caring for them than me.

Perhaps your 6 days is filled with a job in the secular world, or children that must be cared for all seven days. If it’s a job, commit to taking NO thought of it or anything else that causes you to breathe hard for 24 hours. Consider it a stress fast. If it’s children, try to prepare ahead to spend the day watching and enjoying what you created. Make it a cold cereal and sandwich day with ice cream sundaes for dessert. And laugh. A lot! It’s not about taking a nap. It’s about catching your breath. And it’s about making a weekly practice of it.

If it was important for God to do it, why would we even consider not doing it?

Being the Captor not the Captive

the cross

From the time our eyes first fly open in the morning we’re in a battle with the enemy, or at least I am. My mind starts rolling with to do lists, my iPhone buzzes with received messages, social media is calling my name and the covers are oh so warm… let’s wait a while… and Izidora the Chihuahua agrees that under the covers is a better place to be. Why move?

I love places of comfort! The church is that to me (meaning my home church building). I love walking into the vestibule where it feels like I’ve just arrived at the home of my best friend; I guess technically I have. Be it a Sunday Service or when I’ve forgotten my computer cord in my classroom and have to go back and fetch it at 9:30 at night, I feel at home. My thoughts are much easier focused on the things of God when I’m in that place, not so when I walk out the door. So many things are vying for my attention and my thoughts are not always godly. As a matter of fact sometimes they scare even me. Why do such thoughts and images pop into our minds? I won’t share them with you for fear you’d know how warped I am… but perhaps you have your own warped mind to deal with. A Word from God for me this morning:

2 Corinthians 10:5 

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

The Captive

I usually have a flee mentality when I get into one of those scary thought moments. I just want to get my mind as far away from that idea as possible by getting into another area of thinking. You know the mode…. Happy thoughts, happy thoughts! But sure enough it won’t be long until those thoughts catch back up to me and I’m in the same boat causing me to wonder if somewhere deep down in the recesses of my mind an evil Shari is waiting to come out. Crazy right? Please tell me I’m not alone.

Satan. He loves exalting himself and having control. Being that I was not raised in a Friday the 13th movie world and I still close my eyes on the commercial for a horror movie I know that these images and ideas have to be fabricated in some other realm for the purpose of getting my eyes off Jesus and causing fear and anxiety with in me. In that condition I’m of little use to God. So how do I become the captor not the captive?

The Captor

To “cast down” is to utterly destroy those imaginations and things that try to get between you and the mind of God. So how can you destroy a thought that you have no control over?

2 Corinthians 10:6

 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Obedience to the Savior trumps Satan every time! Satan may be able to cause those crazy thoughts to enter our mind, but within us is the Holy Spirit! Rather than fleeing, stand your ground. The Holy Spirit stands ready for us to call upon Him and rescue us out of Satan’s little shop of horrors. SPEAK JESUS! You’re not alone. Don’t just shake that thought off and go on with life, it needs to be taken captive. Take the thought and destroy it through the Word of God by dismantling it one word, one image at a time. Is it true to who you are? No. Is it honest? No, it’s a lie out of the pits of Hell. Is it just, unprejudiced? No, it’s fabricated by Satan. Is it lovely, a good report, worthy of Praise? No? So envision the Holy Spirit locking that up behind bars and refocus your mind on Christ!

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things

My mind needed rescued this morning. The Holy Spirit… my Hero!

Good Grief Charlie Brown

I realized I was out numbered last night in the teen class when I ask a question about their favorite television classics. I watch very little television, preferring silence or a podcast of my favorite preachers, perhaps I’ll pick a little on the guitar or play the fiddle but upon the occasion that I decide I’d like to watch a movie or show, I spend more time scrolling through the guide than I do actually watch anything. I usually end up on DIY or HGTV channels because at least there I don’t have to put up with gore, drama, language or just plain idiocy.

I’m for certain dating myself, but when the commercials came on for the Halloween episode of “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown,” my heart went pitter pat wondering if my grandbabies would find it as big a deal as I did as a child. We waited weeks with anticipation for those special TV nights when kids ruled! Today half the kids in America have their own TV and there’s a new cartoon on every hour. Wow… that’s really sad. Another example of excessive living taking away the wholesomeness of our youth.

The conversation in the teen class last night stemmed from the question “Why does it matter about the music or Television I entertain myself with?”

I gave them the verse Philippians 4:8~ Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

It’s really hard to think on those things when you have zombies screaming at you from the television, or a chick just got stabbed to death. Reality TV is not reality at all… or is it? Have we really gone that far as a world today? Even my beloved DIY shows have gotten ridiculous as spoiled brat couples are just SO STRESSED OUT because the million dollar home they toured had the wrong color tub. Oh my goodness, my stomach just seriously rolled over, and this is why I don’t watch television.

In the words of Charlie Brown, “Good Grief!”

I need a Philippians 4:8 day. I need things that are honest, just, pure, lovely, a good report and praise!!! I need good news! I know the world’s full of bad and I need to understand the dangers that are out there but I do not need to sit with my nose glued to the latest Ebola report or watch garbage on television that makes me treat every stranger as a suspect in a murder or go to bed with fearful thoughts.

I don’t care if Charlie Brown’s not cool. As much as I love the technology of today, there’s a part of me that longs for those Kool-aid and popcorn nights and the Great Pumpkin…