NovelSisters

watching, reading, and writing stories

A Day Off

Happy Labor Day! Sorry it’s been over a month since my last blog post. I’ve realized how hard it is to do things when you are working a full time job. For all of my life up to this point I had been working part time, and I could do a lot of extra things with my time because I wasn’t working. And now, even though I’d still like to do some of those things, they just are harder to do with less time to work with. So since it’s a Holiday and I am not working today, I thought I’d write a blog post.

It’s easy to get into the grass is always greener on the other side syndrome. When you work part time, you wish you had a full time job, when you aren’t married, you wish you were, when you’re bored and have nothing to do, you wish something would happen, when you’re running around like crazy, you wish you had a day off and some time to relax.

But it’s important to be thankful. To stop and appreciate what you do have. You may be very busy with lots of work and responsibilities, but it also means you have a job and that what you do matters to a lot of people, and that’s a blessing.

Or maybe you don’t have a job and you really want one, but in that place of not having a job, you have a lot of free time that you can use to invest in people, to volunteer, to help others.

You can always find something to be thankful for, even if life is hard. You just have to look for it. So here are some of the things I am thankful for today.

-Rest. God intended us to have a day of rest once a week and I am so thankful for my days off. They allow me to refocus, refresh and allow me to spend time with the people I love.

-Friends. I am so blessed to have so many close friends, whether they live in other cities, states, or in my own neighborhood, I have so many people that love me, care about me, encourage me and will be with me through all the ups and downs of life.

-A Job. Even though it can be hard sometimes, I am so thankful that my job allows me to bless so many people, to be a part of what God is doing in this city and state and that I can join in His work. I know most people don’t dream of a job of answering phones and emails and organizing supplies and placing orders, but I love it, because it’s needed and a big part of a ministry that changes people’s lives and reveals God’s glory.

-A place to live. It may not be perfect, some things could be fixed up or upgraded, but I have water, food, a bed, and people I live with that I love and care about.

There are so many more things I could write about that I am thankful for, but with the fall upon us, I may want to spread them out for some posts leading up to Thanksgiving. In any case, I hope this post reminds you to be thankful, to enjoy the little things God has blessed you with, like a day off, or a cold drink, or a beautiful sunset.

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Ten Things a Christian Should Try

Gold top 10 winner

I’ve seen a lot of blog posts or quizzes where we’re told places we should see, things we should try, or something we have to experience before we die. There’s food, landscapes, movies, books. Just ask and you’ll get hundreds of suggestions of what you should do. But I was thinking about this the other day, and a lot of the suggestions you get of what to do before you die are… empty. You do them and it’s fun, or yummy or pretty. But then it’s over, and that’s it. I started thinking through what things can we do that have eternal significance, that actually make a difference. So I started making a list of suggestions I would make to other Christians of things they should ‘try’ and hopefully continue to do. Anyway, it’s not in any specific order, but if you’re following Jesus maybe you should try some of these things.

1. Give Sacrificially

Hands, Suit, Give, Take, Offer, Present, Presentation

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/hands-suit-give-take-offer-462296/

Or in more plain terms, give till it hurts. Try giving money or time or possessions not so you feel good about yourself or don’t feel guilty, but actually for someone else. Give in a way that is hard, maybe more than you think you can give. It’s surprising what can happen when you do, and how freeing it is. It can also help remind you that your security comes from God and not what you own.

2. Pray for Everything

Girl, Praying, Hands, Eyelashes, Closed, Eye, Eyes

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/girl-praying-hands-eyelashes-15599/

 

I mean this not in a greedy way but in actually praying for things even when they seem trivial or impossible. Like ask God to help you find your lost car keys or pray and ask Him to restore a broken friendship, or heal someone of cancer. I won’t promise that He will say yes to every request, but He knows best how to answer your prayers and He loves it when you ask Him. You may be surprised with how He answers.

3. Read the Whole Bible

Bible, Hand, Designate, Read, Christian, Study

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/bible-hand-designate-read-1089968/

I know some people struggle with reading their Bible at all, or prefer to read favorite sections over and over. But I can honestly say reading the whole thing has been so good for me. Sometimes reading a passage that isn’t quoted often brings new insight to me, or a little surprise, and spending time in God’s word is so refreshing and good for me. It reminds me what is true and important and often puts my life’s problems in perspective.

4. Serve at Church

Church, Buildings, Christian, Clergy, Spire, Steeple

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/church-buildings-christian-clergy-157216/

Many people at least in America can view church as a place to get their needs met, to be taught, and encouraged and in some cases, entertained. But the Church is meant to be a body with everyone helping each other. Even if it’s passing out bulletins, or hanging out with children, if you get involved with a church and seek to serve and not just be served, there is so much blessing!

5. Share the Gospel

Clasped Hands, Comfort, Hands, People, Adult, Friends

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/clasped-hands-comfort-hands-people-541849/

Share the Gospel with a friend, a coworker, a neighbor or even a stranger. There’s nothing like telling someone about what has changed your life, made you who you are and given you hope and peace. Not only is it a command but it brings so much joy and purpose into your life when you step out and share the Good News that Jesus saves sinners.

6. Rest on the Sabbath

Girl, Sleep, Child, Feather, Snowflakes, Portrait

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/girl-sleep-child-feather-1041019/

I know it’s hard to stop, especially in this culture, but we all need a break and God gave us the command to rest for a reason. Actually taking a break, even from good things like work or serving others, is needed. Otherwise we get burned out. Plus, changing up our routine and taking a break can help us listen to God more easily.

7. Fast

Rigatoni, Pasta, Noodles, Food, Meal, Cuisine, Cooked

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/rigatoni-pasta-noodles-food-meal-569072/

Or more specifically fast from something that’s hard to let go of. It may be food, but it could be your cell phone, or television, or internet. Take a break from something that controls you, let go of it and don’t let it dictate your life. Often when we let go of something that distracts us constantly, and consciously choose to ignore it, it is much easier for God to speak to us.

8. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Woman, Girl, Afraid, Frightened, Scared, Young, Female

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/woman-girl-afraid-frightened-933488/

This could be as simple as talking to a neighbor you hardly know, or driving to that part of town that you don’t like, or even going on a mission trip across seas. But the point is, when you follow God into uncomfortable situations, it forces you to rely on Him and not yourself. And it’s a constant reminder that it’s not about you but about God. And even though it’s uncomfortable, you don’t have to worry, because God’s in control, and you might find that it’s quite fun to see God work in your uncomfortable situation.

9. Care for the Poor

People, Homeless, Male, Street, Poverty, Social, City

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/people-homeless-male-street-850097/

Jesus constantly told us to care for the poor, but it’s easy to forget. However, what if you actually did it? What if you packed extra water bottles in the car to pass out to the homeless, or spent a day serving at a soup kitchen? There is great blessing in obeying Jesus and caring for what He cares about. Why not try and see what He does?

10. Worship God

Person, Human, Joy, Sunset, Sun, Orange, Lust For Life

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/person-human-joy-sunset-sun-110303/

Worship everywhere, not just at church. For me singing is a way to worship God and I can do it by myself in my room, or along with the radio as I’m driving, but it always reminds me of what’s important, who God is and who I am and I need that reminder more than just on Sunday mornings. Maybe you’re not a singer and staring up at a night sky, or at a beautiful sunset inspires you to praise God for His handiwork. But no matter what your preference, take time to worship God, and refocus on Him.

Well there’s my list, I hope you get a chance to try some of these, or do them again if you’ve already done them. But more than that, I hope you grow closer to God through them and become more like Jesus, because that will last through eternity.

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Need a Recharge?

Angel Fire

This past weekend, I got to join my church’s youth group on a ski trip to New Mexico. It was a long 12 hour drive to the ski resort, and I noticed something new on this trip, that I hadn’t experienced before. Throughout the drive, someone’s phone was always plugged into the car charger. Students took turns with the charger, but someone always needed it. In the past I’ve limited my phone use to texts and calls, which doesn’t use data and also saves my battery power, so I only needed to charge my phone at night. But that isn’t the norm anymore. Although I didn’t need to use the car charger on this trip, I can see how it’s becoming a necessity to always have a charger on hand.

And this observation brings me to my real revelation from the trip. Our phones need to be recharged, but what about us? I found myself reading in Exodus during our trip, and was reminded of when God first instructed the Israelites to take a Sabbath rest. Now this doesn’t seem like a hard rule to follow, I mean God is telling us to take a break from work. I love that idea! But actually doing it, well that’s gotten tricky. It seems like more and more, our vacations, our breaks, our time off, is not refreshing, it’s work too. Planning and organizing, traveling and catching up. It’s really hard to just stop. But just like the phone, there are consequences for us if we don’t take time to recharge. A phone will ‘die’ or shut off, and a person can burn out, get sick, or hit a wall.

God gave us the command to rest for a reason. He knows we need it, and it’s not just so we don’t get overwhelmed and crash, but so we stop and remember what’s important. In the busyness of the work week, it’s easy for me to think that emails, calls, and projects, are really important. But getting things checked off my “to do” list is not what life is all about. And taking a break from that routine and spending some time with God, helps me remember that life is all about Him. This weekend, God helped me do that.

Maybe even if you got President’s Day off you still don’t feel rested. I want to encourage you to take some time to recharge and be with God. To let Him refresh you and remind you of what’s important. After all Jesus says, “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.”-Matthew 11:28-30

I think we can all benefit from a recharge with God.

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