Do you have any recurring dreams? I have several. Some of them leave me feeling anxious, while others leave me feeling free. There is one in particular that I want to talk about today that fascinates me. In this dream I have a huge mansion. The part that I love is that the master suite is a house in and of itself. It has all of the rooms that you would find in a normal home – Bedrooms, bathrooms, living room, kitchen, dining room. When I enter the master suite, it feels like a safe haven where I can escape or hide.
In real life I don’t have a habit of visiting mansions, but personally I have never seen a house inside of a house before. And that part of the dream is what really intrigues me. As well as the safety I feel when entering the suite.
My husband and I were at a funeral a while back and the pastor referenced John 14:2. It really struck me because of the Bible translation he used (KJV). Jesus said: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
Did you catch that? Inside this house there are mansions. The King James Version makes it sound like there are houses inside of a house. I normally read NIV, in which Jesus says there are many rooms inside His Father’s house. That is more along the lines of what we are used to in a home. But when the pastor read the words from the KJV, it jolted me, as I thought about my recurring dream.
(According to David Guzik’s commentary: “In light of the ancient Greek, mansions is better translated ‘dwelling places.’ The noun mone – connected to the verb meno, ‘stay’ or ‘remain’ – means ‘a place to stay.’ In light of God’s nature, it is better to translate it mansions. Whatever dwelling place God has for us in heaven, it will be as glorious as a mansion.”) 1
Jesus said these words to His disciples to comfort them. At different times, Jesus had told them that He would have to leave, He told them He would die, and He told them He would be resurrected. They couldn’t comprehend any of this. And, understandably, it grieved them.
So Jesus was leaving them with a promise. He was preparing a place for them. They would be able to join Him one day. They would be welcomed with open arms. They could stay in His Father’s house. They would have a safe haven.
This promise is true for us as believers, as well. I know it depresses some to think about our departure from earth, and I am sorry if that is you. But let it bring us comfort to know that we have a glorious home to look forward to. I can’t wait until we are all together in Heaven. We will be safe. There will be no more pain or sorrow. We will have all of our believing family and friends with us. We will be reunited with the loved ones that are waiting for us. For those of us who have family scattered in different places, we will have the joy of being together again, without worrying about travel. For those of us who blog, we will get to meet friends that we have only talked to electronically. And best of all, we will be with the Lord.
May we live with an eternal mindset. May we remain aware of the fact that this home is temporary. One day we will be in our forever home.
When we live with an eternal mindset we will put God first in our lives. In Matthew 6:33 (NIV) Jesus said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Maybe you are wondering, what are “all these things?” In the verses prior to this one, Jesus says not to worry about things like food and clothes. He assures us that the Father will provide for our needs. In verse 26, Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Reflecting on these verses helps us to see that having an eternal mindset also brings us peace. We remember that God is in control and He is trustworthy. We realize that the hardships of this world pale in comparison to what we look forward to. In Romans 8:18 Paul said, “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” (NLT)
When we live with an eternal mindset, we will be careful how things rank in our hearts. In Matthew 6:19-21, a few verses before the ones I mentioned above, Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
When we live with an eternal mindset, we are careful with our words and actions. We want to do everything for the glory of God. Colossians 3:17 (NIV) it says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
All of this leaves us with two key takeaways:
1 – Jesus has prepared a place for us. I hope this truth brings us comfort. This speaks loudly of the Lord’s love and care for us. He has adopted us into His family, and He welcomes us into His home. What joy awaits us!
2 – May we keep in mind what is eternal and what isn’t. This will help shape our actions, our words, our possessions, and so much more. Our time will be used wisely. We will become better stewards of our money. We will be more mindful of what items we allow in our homes. We will be quick to share the Gospel with others. Overall, I believe we will be more intentional in every area of our lives, when we have an eternal mindset.
(Side note… I have a blogger friend who has said to me recently that he doesn’t want to sound preachy in his posts. And I feel the same. So I wanted to take this opportunity to say that if I do happen to sound preachy, please know that I am always preaching to myself too. I am far from perfect. I want Jesus to make me more like Him. And as I learn and grow, I try to share those things with you. I appreciate you being here. I consider you all to be friends. And whether it be in posts or comments, I love when we can help each other grow. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17). Thank you for being here. I hope you know how much I appreciate it. I know there are a million other things you can be doing with your time. And it means more than you know, that you take the time to stop by and join me on this journey.)
© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas
At our church, we begin the service with worship before we move into the sermon. A few weeks ago during worship, the worship leader said that God was up to something good. Then we started singing a praise song with those words in the lyrics. But very quickly things took a turn. Suddenly, the power went out!
(Let me back up a bit by saying that the following day Vacation Bible School was starting. This means that a lot of extra equipment was set up and plugged in. So this obviously wasn’t a normal occurrence.)
But something wonderful happened. Despite the circumstances, the congregation continued worshiping. We didn’t let this hiccup stop us from praising God. For those that knew the words, they kept singing. And for those who weren’t familiar with the song, and had to rely on the television screens that normally displayed the lyrics, they clapped their hands in rhythm with the tune.
As we continued praising, different pieces of the electronics came up, one by one. And the rest of the service went on as planned.
But this service taught me a lesson. No matter what is going on around us, we have an opportunity to keep praising the Lord. We don’t have to let our circumstances stop us from singing God’s praises. God deserves all the glory and praise, no matter what. He is always good, He is always working on our behalf. He is always there.
Our problems might tell a different story. The enemy might try to whisper lies in our ears. But we don’t have to listen. We can choose to keep our eyes on the magnificence of our Father.
And something else I learned – it feels so good to keep praising God, even when things around us say we shouldn’t. I had a big smile on my face as we continued singing and clapping on that Sunday morning.
When we focus on the goodness of God, it helps our hearts to overflow. Praising God takes our attention off of any issues we might be facing. The more we focus on our problems, the bigger they seem to become. But on the other hand, praising God keeps our eyes on Him. And when we focus on Him and how amazing He is, our troubles seem to shrink in comparison to His greatness. Praising God also helps us to see that the Lord is our source. He is our strength, our provider, and our shepherd. Praising God reminds us that we don’t have to worry and fret because we have the Most High God by our side.
Some of my favorite Bible verses come from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” They are words I know well, yet I was recently struck anew by them. I was reading a devotional – Fighting Words by Ellie Holcomb – and in one of the entries the author referenced these verses. The part that really hit me was that it is God’s will for us to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. I knew those three things were important, but these verses show us how vital they are. It’s no wonder we feel better when we implement these three practices into our daily lives – because they are in God’s will! Ellie put it this way, “Whenever I begin to direct my joy, my desires, my doubt, my cries for help, my worry toward Jesus, something changes in my heart. And I have a sneaking suspicion on why that happens—because I’m living right in the middle of God’s will for me! Did you catch that part about this passage? We don’t have to fret about finding what God’s will is for our life—it’s right here! When we rejoice, pray, and give thanks, there’s no question or doubt: we’re living in God’s will.”
This is something I want to tuck away in my heart each day. Whether things are going well or if problems arise, I want to remember to focus on God’s goodness. I want to focus on rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks. No matter what comes our way, let’s keep praising the Lord. Let’s keep seeking Him in prayer. And let’s keep giving thanks.
Thank you for reading!
© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas
Do you ever have days when it seems like everything is against you? Every step you take seems to result in failure? Even when you try to do the right thing, or try to do something nice for someone, you are greeted with defeat?
Sometimes when we have days like that, it is the enemy who is trying to discourage us. (I am not saying every difficulty comes from him. Sometimes God allows difficulties in our lives for specific reasons, such as growing our character. And sometimes life just happens on its own. But I do believe that there are more obstacles coming from the enemy than we realize.) The enemy wants to take away our joy and our peace. He wants us to get angry or depressed. Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” The thief is the devil, and he comes to steal, kill, and destroy anything he can get his hands on. This includes our peace, our joy, our dreams, and much more.
But in John 10:10, Jesus didn’t end His statement there. He went on to say, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
I am sorry to say that sometimes I forget these truths. I forget that the enemy is out to get me. And I forget that Jesus has my back. Sometimes I fall into the traps the enemy sets out for me.
But one particular day not too long ago, I had a breakthrough. I was working from home and needed to get a particular task completed. I didn’t have the option to work late that day because my husband and I had something we needed to take care of that afternoon.
Enter the enemy… my internet went down around lunch time. I used my phone to check with the company and saw that they knew of an outage and they were working on it. Since it was around noon, I decided to take a lunch break while the company worked on the issue. Later the internet came back up and I got back to work. Or so I thought. The internet seemed to sporadically go down here and there for the next couple of hours. Each time I checked my internet provider’s website, they had a new time on when they estimated the issues would be resolved. I was so frustrated!
But then I remembered that there is an enemy who is out to get us. The enemy was trying to stop me from working, trying to ruin my day, trying to steal, kill, and destroy. So I took three steps that transformed my day.
1 – I prayed.
Most of the time my prayers are far from formal. Rather, I simply talk to God throughout the day. In this case I don’t remember my exact words, but I probably merely asked for the Lord’s help.
I am finding more and more that God loves for us to chat with Him during our day. We don’t have to use fancy words, or pray at length. Throughout the day we can just talk about what’s on our mind. And He is always there! Ready and waiting.
Yes, we can pray in the morning, and/or whenever we have quiet time with God. But let’s not think of prayer as a once a day task. Instead we have the privilege to communicate with God all day. Perhaps that is what Paul meant when he said, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
2 – I told the enemy, aloud, to move on. I verbally told him to flee, in the name of Jesus.
James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” In this case, I believe James was telling us to turn from sin. But I think it is also good to keep these words in mind when the enemy attacks. That is because his attacks can still lead us down a slippery path. We might be tempted to get angry, especially when we don’t realize it is the enemy that is working against us. How often do we allow the devil to get to us, without us even realizing it? But when we realize he is behind many of our difficulties, that helps us to take the right steps to move forward. As they say, “knowledge is power.” So once we realize what we’re up against, we can resist the enemy’s tactics, and he will flee from us.
Notice that I said that I told the enemy aloud to move on. He cannot read our thoughts. That is why I spoke aloud.
Also notice I said “in the name of Jesus.” We don’t have power on our own. In Matthew 28:18, Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
Our victory comes from Jesus. That is why we often end our prayers by saying, “In Jesus’ name we pray.”
The name of Jesus is the highest name there is. Philippians 2:9-11 (NLT) says, “Therefore, God elevated [Jesus] to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
All of our authority and victory comes from what Jesus did on the cross for us. He has already defeated the enemy. Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Notice Jesus didn’t say, “I will overcome the world.” He said, “I have overcome the world.” That means He already did. So we have nothing to fear.
3 – The next thing I did was put praise music on my phone, playing it out loud. And I sang along with the songs.
Praising God helps our heart, our attitude, and our mindset in a miraculous way. Why is praise so powerful?
– God is in the midst of our praises. Have you ever heard the saying that “God inhabits the praise of His people?” That comes from Psalm 22:3 in which the King James Version says, “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”
– Praise takes our minds off of our problems and helps us to focus on the Lord. God becomes bigger and our problems become smaller. I like how Psalm 69:30 (ESV) says, “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving” (emphasis added).
– The enemy hates our praises, so he runs in the other direction. It is believed that before his fall, the enemy played a big part in the heavenly music (see Ezekiel 28:13). But his pride got the better of him and he wanted to be exalted (see Isaiah 14:12-15). So it makes sense that he wouldn’t like hearing the songs we sing to the Lord. (Side note: I know this will not be something we all agree on and that is fine. But this is why I rarely listen to worldly music. There is a lot of great music out there from talented musicians. But I feel like if it is not of God, then it could be against God. We don’t realize how much spiritual warfare there is around us. C.S. Lewis said, “There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch, every split second is claimed by God, and counterclaimed by Satan.”)
After taking these steps, things turned around. My internet issues improved, I was able to complete the project I was working on, and most of all I felt so much better. I had joy and peace.
When things don’t go well in our day, it’s important for us to remember that the enemy could be behind it. That is half the battle. And even if our problem is not something that the enemy sent our way, prayer and praise are always a good idea. These two steps in particular will transform our outlook. When our minds turn in the right direction, we can focus and use our energy more efficiently. Too often we are tempted to allow circumstances to defeat us. Instead we can cling tightly to the Lord in prayer and in praise.
Thank you for reading!
© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas
Who am I that
The King of kings
Would care to listen
To the song I sing
Who am I that
The Lord of lords
Cares so deeply
And lets His love pour
Who am I that
The Holy Savior
Stands strong by my side
And does not waver
Who am I that
The Name above all names
Called out to me
Causing my heart to flame
May 18, 2022
How amazing it is to know that the King of the world loves us so deeply. He delights in us and cares for us. I fear that we might forget this sometimes. But when we keep our eyes on the cross, it helps the magnitude to settle in our hearts. May we take time to thank Jesus for taking our place on the cross. May we not overlook the enormous sum He paid for our sins. But may we also remember just how deeply loved we are.
I want to share a beautiful song with you. “Me On Your Mind” by Matthew West. If the video below does not work, try this link.
Thank you for reading!
© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas
Something I have been thinking about lately is how Christians are called to have a servant’s heart. Having a servant’s heart might come naturally to some. Others might have a hard time with it. In our world today, we are taught to look out for ourselves and live rather selfishly. And it is telling. When we look around us, we see a lot of hate in our world.
As Christians, we are called to be like Jesus. And when we read Scripture, we see how Jesus put others first. One story that always gets me is found in Matthew 14.
Jesus had just learned that John the Baptist had been beheaded. It says in verse 13, “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” Jesus wanted to be alone, possibly to pray and to grieve. That is likely what any of us would have done as well.
However, verse 13 goes on to say, “Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.” This sentence always bugs me. I wonder why the people couldn’t give him some privacy on this one occasion.
But then in verse 14 it says, “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” And then I am humbled all over again. Every time I read this, I seem to go through the same emotions. I see how Jesus had a servant’s heart in this story. He set aside His own feelings and sought to comfort those around Him.
This story reminds me that sometimes what we want isn’t always what God wants for us. As it says in Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
I have always appreciated the way some have translated the word Joy into an acronym:
This is a needed reminder to put Jesus first, then put other people next, and put yourself last. (This doesn’t mean that we don’t take care of ourselves. God didn’t intend for us to be doormats and allow other people to walk all over us. Sadly, there are people in this world who will gladly do that, if we allow them to.)
But we are called to serve God and serve others. This way of living is not intuitive to our human nature. Thankfully we have the greatest role model of all to follow – Jesus. Keeping God first place is key. He will guide us and help us and show us how to live with a servant’s heart.
This week, let us look for ways to live with a servant’s heart. It might be something simple, like making dinner for someone who is feeling low, helping a coworker with a project that has been stressful for them, or babysitting in order to give a weary parent a day off.
Honestly, for those of us who do not live alone, we have tons of opportunities every day to serve the members of our household. Cooking, cleaning, laundry. Any normal household chore can be done with love.
And truly I believe that when we live with a Servant’s Heart, we are honoring and worshipping the Lord. Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” When we have a heart that wants to honor God, it can be seen in all that we do. We worship Him, not just with our words, but also with our actions.
Let us look for ways to help those around us and spread the love of Jesus. In the end, not only will we bring a smile to someone else’s face, but we will find ourselves smiling too. That is because when we are kind to other people, this fills our own hearts with joy as well. When we selflessly give, we receive back more than we anticipated.
“But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.” – 1 Samuel 12:24 NIV
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45 NIV
Thank you for reading!
© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas
Some days might feel
Like we are on the waves
Tossed around in a boat
Looking for a hand to save
Splash after splash
We get soaked
We can’t catch our breath
With no anchor of hope
Our muscles are weak
From moving the oars
We’re getting nowhere
From an endless chore
Walking on water
A figure comes near
He gently asks
If we’ll allow Him to steer
When we hand Him the oars
We can finally breathe
Our worries dissolve
And our fears leave
Now we can rest
In His loving care
For each day we know
He will be there
April 20, 2022
One night when I was in bed, trying to go to sleep, these words came to me. I had to get up and make sure I captured them before they were lost. I was thinking about how so many of us struggle in life. Day after day, we use all of our strength to tread water and stay afloat.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We try to fight our circumstances, when what we really need to do is allow Jesus to carry us. Jesus is our lifeline, and He is there to help us. However, the key is allowing Him to do so. We can walk in peace knowing that our lives are in the hands of Almighty God. It doesn’t mean we won’t have trouble. But it means we can rest because we know He is handling our battles.
I admit that it can be difficult to get to this point. It means learning to trust Jesus and remembering how faithful our Savior is. And it takes a conscious effort of relinquishing control over to Him. We might have to remind ourselves to do this daily. But in the end, the rewards are well worth it.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – the words of Jesus found in Matthew 11:28-30
© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas
Last week I wrote about what I learned during Lent. And today I wanted to share about something else that I learned during those weeks. Towards the beginning of Lent I was feeling restless. Antsy might be a good way to put it. Sitting still was hard. And all of the normal activities that I enjoy couldn’t hold my attention.
Why am I so restless? I wondered. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling. So I was determined to get to the bottom of it.
Here are some thoughts on why we might have a restless spirit:
Perhaps God wants to tell us something. A couple of years ago I heard a sermon by Dr. Charles Stanley on the radio in which he talked about restlessness. He pointed out a story in the book of Esther. “That night the king had trouble sleeping, so he ordered an attendant to bring the book of the history of his reign so it could be read to him.” (Esther 6:1) Could it be that this sleepless night was divine intervention? When the king read the book, he discovered that a man named Mordecai had exposed a plot to kill the king. Mordecai’s good deed went unnoticed at the time. But now that the king was aware, he planned to reward him. (There is a lot more to the story than that. If you never read the book of Esther, it is a quick read and intriguing as well. You can find it here.) But this story points out that sometimes in our restlessness, God is trying to get our attention.
Maybe we are too distracted. In the Martha and Mary story found in Luke 10, Martha was distracted in preparing dinner. She wanted to make a good impression for Jesus, who was a guest at their house that day. But her distraction caused restlessness, and she missed out on quality time with the Messiah. While this particular scene was a temporary distraction, in our current culture we live in a state of constant distraction. Something is always dinging or pinging on our phones. We cannot remove ourselves from being accessible. I think the constant chaos definitely plays a role on our frayed nerves. Learning to lay down distractions, one by one, can help free us from the agitations we feel.
Sometimes the answer is obvious. It could be that we are worried about something. Often when we have a big issue we are facing, it is hard to think about anything else. We cannot reel our minds in, because we are too busy concocting a variety of “what ifs.” In such cases, the best thing to do is pray. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to “Cast all your anxiety on [God] because He cares for you.” What a comfort it is to know that we can hand our troubles over to the Lord, because He cares about us and He cares about everything we are going through.
There might be other reasons why we are feeling restless. And it might take some time in prayer to figure it out. I had to pray about my situation and God gave me the answer pretty quickly. He told me that I needed quiet time in my day. When I say “quiet time,” I actually mean it two ways.
One way refers to literal sound. I am an introvert and an HSP. In case you are not familiar, an HSP stands for highly sensitive person. An HSP is easily overwhelmed by a lot of sensory overload. It’s not just noise. It’s all the senses. For example, certain strong smells might give me a headache. Check out this website if you want to see if you might fall into this category.
So this means that usually a person like me thrives on peace and quiet. I realize that some people actually like a lot of noise, those who need to have the TV or radio on all the time.
However, when I say quiet time, I am also referring to time with God. My Bible reading time had been rushed, due to various circumstances. And I wasn’t taking the time to relax in the Lord’s presence. Even when I was exercising, I was multitasking by reading my emails and such while I moved my feet. All of this was causing extra jitters. I learned that in order to find peace, I had to intentionally seek peace. I had to be deliberate about carving quiet time into my day. My solution was to get up earlier in the day, so that I had time before the rest of my household got up. This space in my day and time with God was comforting and helped me to start my day in a better frame of mind.
I have learned that what we feed ourselves first thing in the morning can dramatically change our day. If we reach for social media or email first thing, then our day might feel scattered. But if we reach for things that refresh us, this will help us to face the day with peace and productivity.
Quiet time, especially quiet time with the Lord, can help shape our days and bring peace into our hearts. He fills us like no other. All the other things that we reach for will only give us temporary satisfaction. It’s like eating a piece of candy. It might taste good in the moment, but it will soon leave our stomachs growling for more. But when we reach for Jesus, the bread of life, we will find true satisfaction and fulfillment.
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. ~ Psalm 62:1 ESV
You move us to delight in praising You, because You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they can find peace in You. ~ St. Augustine
© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas
Admin Note: I am moving my posts from Tuesdays to Thursdays. I post every other Thursday on the Christians Read blog, so this will help keep things a little more organized on my end. Also, due to some extra projects on my plate, in the coming months I might start posting here on the opposite Thursdays from when I post on Christians Read. Thank you for understanding. I am trying to allow God to lead this journey, because it is all about Him and not about me…. I also want to take a moment to thank you for being here. I truly appreciate it. I know there are a million other things you can be doing with your time. So it means more than you know, that you take the time to read my posts! Now onto the main topic of this post…
In my last post prior to Lent, I talked about Fasting, as I was planning on fasting from certain things during Lent. Today I want to share a bit about what I learned over the past couple of months.
Constantly “doing” is an addiction. In our culture, we all wear “busy” like a badge of honor. We make comments about being “too busy” with pride. We feel that we are proving our worth when we are constantly busy. And I honestly believe that our devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) make us even more addicted to always doing something. When we get an alert on our phone, it gives us a dopamine boost. Therefore, in our culture, it can be extra difficult for us to learn to slow down and be present in our lives.
We have to retrain ourselves to be bored. Devices have cluttered our minds so much that we are never bored anymore. Being bored is actually a good thing, especially when it comes to creativity. When our minds have space, we have the ability to create and dream and flourish.
Quiet time is soothing for the soul. Once we get past the struggle with boredom, if we can truly embrace some quiet time in our day, it will soothe the soul. A lot of “noise” (whether literal or figurative) has a way of cranking us up like a wind-up toy. Too much of this can really fray a person’s nerves. When we intentionally add quiet time into our day, we will find a new sense of peace.
God refreshes us if we allow Him to. In our quiet time, it is also helpful to ask God to join you there. If you sit quietly in the Lord’s presence, He will help refresh your soul. Different versions of Psalm 23:3 verify this. “He restores my soul” (NKJV). “He refreshes my soul” (NIV). “He renews my strength” (NLT). What comforting words!
It is not about perfection. Any kind of fasting, whether during Lent or otherwise, is not about perfection. This is important to remember because if we strive too hard, we can fall into a trap of thinking that our works make us worthy and even assure our salvation. In Romans 8:1 it says, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” And the enemy might really try to wrap a chain around us in this area. The enemy will tell us if we don’t do it perfectly, then we are not worthy, and God is disappointed in us. Please don’t listen to his lies.
It is about drawing closer to God. Whether we are fasting or not, whether it is Lent or not, every day, the bottom line is that we want to draw closer to God. We can make decisions to do that daily, based on our own unique paths. This has the potential to look different for each of us. Prayerfully seeking God’s guidance is key.
It doesn’t always have to be about removing things. Sometimes adding things can help us grow too. One of the things that I added to my routine was a Lenten devotional Uncovering the Love of Jesus by Asheritah Ciuciu. This was a truly rich devotional that helped me to savor the Savior in a fresh way. However, adding things isn’t necessarily key either. It is about being intentional with our time and leaning into Jesus.
Follow God’s lead in finding a balance. As with most things in life, we need to find a balance. One of the things that I have been trying to do each morning is to squeeze in some exercise. However, as I write this, I am staying up past my bedtime to watch a baseball game on TV with my hubby. The result could be that I might get up later than I want to in the morning. But that’s okay. I am learning to balance things that honor God, while still loving others, and also paying attention to my own mind, body, and soul. As I mentioned above, I am trying to follow God’s lead. And that is important with every decision we make.
The past few weeks have taught me a lot, as I have been intentional about abiding in Jesus. It doesn’t have to be a special time of year to draw close to God. He is always there, waiting for us. We are always moving in one direction or another – towards God or away from God. Let us choose to move towards Him.
© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas