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Aww…sleep

Ecclesiastes 5:12 – “The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.”

I was able to do one of my most favorite things this morning – turn off my alarm. Tomorrow is Saturday – the one day a week that I can sleep in. And for that, no alarm. Sleep until I wake up. Love it!

As a whole, we are sleep deprived. Modern lighting has caused up to stay up way past when God intended for us to be asleep. We stay up too late and get up too early, all thanks to modern conveniences. But I will say this – I am thankful for the modern convenience of a dishwasher and washer/dryer! 

Anyway….

Why do I treasure my Saturday morning sleeping in so much? Work. Work. Work. All week long it is run here, run there, pick this person up, get this accomplished, remember to do that, be up early for this and stay up late for that. Wears me out just thinking about it. But you know what? I’m truly thankful for my busyness. Me being busy means that my family is healthy and active. It means that I have a job that pays me and a vehicle to safely transport me. It means that God has given me strength and ability to provide for my family. Busyness is good…most of the time. 

But there is another part of this verse – the part speaking of abundance. Now, I feel abundantly blessed indeed, but what is this talking about? What does this mean – “the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep”? 

Ok, here’s my take on it – there are some people who do not have to labor for what they get. They may have lots of money or not, but they don’t work for what they have. Being in this position provides no sense of accomplishment or satisfaction. Just because you have what you need to get by doesn’t mean you feel good about it. We all need that sense of accomplishment and satisfaction to encourage peace. There is a deep stirring of the heart when you know deep down that everything is being handed to you. There has to be. Why else would God Himself encourage us to work? He knows that we need to work for what we have. He put that desire in us!

And with hard work comes the need for restful sleep. It is the sleep that comes with knowing that you have done your best today. It is the sleep that comes with knowing that you have let God lead you and guide you and that you have done your best for those around you. That’s what God has placed in our heart and that is what gives us a peaceful night of rest. 

So today, work. Work hard. Be diligent. Be devoted. Do your best. And then tonight, when your head hits the pillow, rest. Lay your burdens down before laying your head down and be at an even greater place of peace. Work needs rest. Don’t forget to do it. 

My Time

Ephesians 5:15,16 – “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Hello. My name is Melissa and I waste time…sometimes.

I think we are all guilty of wasting time. There are things that need to be done, things that should be done, but I just can’t muster the strength or the desire to get them done.

But here, we are warned to not let time go to waste. “Circumspectly” means “cautiously; vigilantly; heedfully; with watchfulness to guard against danger.” Most days, I don’t incorporate any of those actions into my day. I just go along my merry way doing what I think that I need to do and sometimes getting it done.

One of the many specific definitions of “redeeming” is “to save”. We are “to save” our time. We need to rescue it. Something or someone is trying to take it away – evil, sin, the devil, that is who or what is stealing our time.

What are we supposed to redeem it to? What should I be doing with my extra time? Theoretically, I should be doing something to advance the cause of Christ. Ideally, that is what I would be doing with all my redeemed time.

But you know what? Sometimes, I find that staying out of trouble is enough. Sometimes my redeemed time is used to relax and keep my heart and mind from the sin of complaining and being mean spirited. On days where I am stressed to the utmost, I treasure wasting time. I need that. And I am learning to be grateful for the unexpected opportunities to waste time.

I am also learning to appreciate how God can work in my life to provide the time that I need to get accomplished all that He wants me to do. Sometimes I stop and review my day thus far and think, “How did I get all of that done? Thank you God for giving me the stamina and the desire to get it all done!”

So, let me encourage you today to waste time but don’t waste time. Don’t let your time be used in activities that don’t honor and glorify God. Redeem it for His use – even if that use is relaxing. God knows that we all need that sometimes.

Alone time

John 6:15-17 – “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea, And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.”

Alone time. We all need it, don’t we? With my kids having gone back to school, I now have some time to myself. It is beautiful. But I have a problem, I find myself constantly working at home. You know, cleaning, picking up, doing laundry – all the mom stuff that we complain about. 

My husband reminded me the other day that since the kids are back in school, I need to find some time to chill. He said, “I don’t care if it is just stopping long enough to drink an extra cup of coffee. Do something to relax every once in a while.” He knows I need it. I know I need. So, who’s going to tell my crazy brain that I need it?! I can come up with a million excuses of why I shouldn’t sit on the couch and read a book. 

Alone time is good though. You need that time to just be. Jesus recognized that in the midst of His busy life that He needed some time away from his beloved disciples. They were just like His children – yes, I know they were God’s children but sometimes they acted like toddlers! Sometimes we all act like toddlers and the ones that we are around need a break. 

Just try to imagine Jesus’s time alone – if He was anything like me, He was talking to Himself while He was straightening it all out in His mind. He may have found a nice tree to lay underneath and take a little nap, that was very much needed. He may have found a nice fruit tree and had a little snack. He may have just enjoyed some of the memories of recent and past times that were a comfort to Him. 

Whatever He did, the disciples weren’t too worried about Him. They just started off for the other side of the lake. I find that interesting. How could they have just left Jesus behind like that? I would have been really concerned about where He was. Maybe that’s just the times we live in – we have to know where every one is at all the time for fear of someone taking them and/or hurting them. The disciples knew that Jesus would show up eventually. They didn’t seem too worried about it. They trusted Him, at least they trusted in the fact that He would eventually show up. 

So, the whole point in all of this rambling today is this – take some time for yourself. Plan it in your day at least once a week. Maybe it’s just sitting at the coffee shop alone with your latte. Or maybe it’s just sitting in your bed with a book 15 min before the spouse comes to bed. Or maybe it’s just folding laundry without all your “helpers”. Whatever your moments of solitude look like, enjoy them. Pray during them. Remember who you are during them. It’s a time to rejuvenate and recharge. If Jesus needed that time alone, then surely you need it as well. 

Rejuvenate

Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

What a week! I have been at church camp all week AND have been working. Needless to say that between the early mornings and late nights, I am needing the B12 vitamin like crazy just to stay awake! 

But church camp is a great time to unplug and refocus. It gives each and every one of us the much needed face to face time not only with others but also with Jesus. The lessons we learn there are things that will stick with us through all kinds of spiritual terrain, and the connections we make with others will last a lifetime. 

Jesus wants us to come to Him for rest. He wants us to crawl up in His lap and just chill for a while sometimes. He know that this world is insane. He knows that we are bombarded with all kinds of yuck and our armor gets a little dirty sometimes. We need a safe place to stay and get cleaned off every once in a while. We need to allow ourselves this time of downtime. We need to be alright with not going and doing 24-7. We need that time of rest. His burden is light compared to what the world requires of us. His yoke is easy compared to what the world says we need to accomplish. 

Today is Friday. Tomorrow is Saturday – the weekend. I want to challenge you to take some time and crawl up in His lap. Just be there for a while in His love. What that may look like will be different for each of us. One may need to lock themself in a room with their Bible; one may need to sit out on the porch and watch the sunrise or set; one may need to sleep after a really long prayer. Whatever you need to do to yoke up with Jesus and share His burden, you need to do it. Satan wants to keep us spiritually tired and mentally fatigued – that’s when we are easy  prey. Rejuvenate this weekend. Let Christ give you what you need to face every thing that is ahead.