Category: Devotional (Page 2 of 2)

Do You Pray Naturally?

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Prayer is Supernatural

The last book Bonhoeffer published in his lifetime was “The Prayerbook of the Bible.”  He writes this book while in prison for his participation in a plot to kill Hitler, and the subject of the book is the Psalms.

Remember, the Psalms of the Old Testament are Jewish literature.  You can bet that the Nazis weren’t all that thrilled with publishing books celebrating Jewish literature.

Apparently, he was unaware that such material had to be submitted to the Board for the Regulation of Literature before publication.  Bonhoeffer was sticking it to The Third Reich at the same time he was teaching Christians how to come closer to Christ Jesus.

Natural Prayer and Supernatural Prayer

In this book, Bonhoeffer suggests that we naturally wish, hope, sigh, lament and rejoice—but we should not confuse these things with prayer.  Unlike these internal and natural impulses, prayer is supernatural in that it must be initiated from outside of us, by God.  For this reason, he encourages Christians to pray the Psalms as Christ did.  Our own prayers would travel to heaven along with those of Christ.

Metaxas points out that praying the Psalms was much too Jewish for the Nazis, and probably too Catholic for the Protestants, who don’t go for recited prayers, but Bonhoeffer was insistent that Christians must pray the Psalms.

Because of this publication of this little book, Bonhoeffer was forbidden to publish anything again.

Whether you accept Bonhoeffer’s imperative on the praying of the Psalms, it is important to understand that prayer is a supernatural activity.  My problem is that I usually forget this and do what comes naturally: wishing, hoping, sighing, lamenting and rejoicing.

Praying with the Psalms—which means praying with Christ (as well as the historical Church)—will at least externalize the source of my own prayers and once again remind me that my ability to approach God at all is his gift of grace.

 

Doing the Dishes and the Gnashing of Teeth

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When my kids were younger they had chores—one of which was doing the dishes.

It should have been as simple as everyone taking a turn on a rotating basis, but was never that simple.

Lacrosse games or ballet practices meant that somebody would miss their turn. To ask another child to take care of it resulted in anguished lamentations. These were even louder if the prospective dishwasher could conjure up a scenario where this debt might not be repaid. Then there was the was wailing and gnashing of teeth over the unfairness of having to do dishes on a night when we had a roast, as opposed the other night when a sibling had only to contend with the remains of a meal of bread and soup. Sometimes I got so sick of it that I just did them myself.

Grudging Obedience

I wouldn’t have been any happier if I had their silent obedience either.  It certainly would have been quieter, and possibly less frustrating, but it wouldn’t have lead to their happiness, and in my better moments what I wish most for my children is fulfillment regardless of the circumstances.

The problem in both of these responses, wailing lamentations or grudging obedience, is that doing the dishes is seen as a duty.  The idea of duty or obligation or requirement is set in opposition to happiness and joy.  For my young children, happiness and joy could only be achieved by doing what they wanted as opposed to what they had to do.  My kids put freedom first.

All this was a long time ago.  My children have all grown up. The great thing now is that when they come over for a meal, they joyfully do the dishes. It’s the same activity, but their attitude is completely different.

What accounts for this difference?  Surely, it’s maturity.  They’ve lived away from home and know how much money and work it takes to put a delicious meal onto the table.

But it’s more than maturity; the most important thing for them is no longer freedom from duties and obligations, but a relationship with me, their parent.  I cook for them a delicious meal because I love them and they wash the dishes because they love me.

If we think that Freedom is more important than anything else in order to live the good life (read more here), our focus will usually be hostilely directed toward those things which limit one’s freedom, and those who seemingly impose duties, obligations, responsibilities.

This creates resentful people.

If relationship is more important than freedom, our focus will be lovingly directed toward other persons who we love.

It’s obvious which leads to greater joy and happiness–fulfillment.

Biblical Basis of Fulfillment

It’s all there in Deteronomy 10.  The writer implores God’s people to

 12 . . .walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.

Obedience certainly restricts our freedom, but washing the dishes after a good meal is a loving and joyful response to a great meal prepared for you in joy and love, and it’s all for our own good anyway.

My kids were miserable when they were focused on the duty and they are happy now that they are focused on the relationship.  God wants what’s best for his people, and it turns out that is obedience.

Not Simply Obedience

But it’s not simply obedience.

Simple obedience is for the simply religious, and they are miserable.  It’s joyful obedience that God is after and that will be a blessing to us.  In verse 16 of the Deuteronomy 10, it says 

Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.

Circumcision was a duty for the people of God and if they understood it only as an obligation, they’d be stiff-necked.  God certainly didn’t want disobedience, but silent and grudging obedience wasn’t any better; he wanted their hearts so that we can flourish.

Human flourishing is not about freedom, nor is it about fulfilling religious obligations, it’s about relationship.

 

Made for Freedom?

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When I got married, I was no longer free.  I couldn’t play League of Legends whenever I wanted.  I couldn’t eat chicken wings in bed.  I had to tell my wife that I was going down to the store to get a jug of milk.

But I don’t mind.  Not at all.

I’m not sure why exactly.  It’s not because I’ve somehow gained more than I’ve lost–it’s more like I’ve gained what I lost as well as gained what I’ve gained.  It doesn’t really make sense but that’s the way it is.

I don’t think I’m alone in this.  I think that this sort of counterintuitive accounting occurs when anyone is in a good relationship.

A. C. Grayling recently presented the first of eight  “Fragile Freedoms” lectures on CBC’s Ideas.  In it he said that there is no possibility of “living the good life” if one is not free.

Grayling, along with most other modernists, would be right if human beings were made for autonomy.  But what if we weren’t primarily made to be free?  What if we were made first for something else?

Made for Relationship?

What if we were made for relationship?  Not just in marriage, but in friendship and family, and not just with people but with animals and even the physical world.

The Biblical story suggests human beings are made to be in relationship, first with their Creator and, after, with everything else.  We were made to be the objects of God’s love.  He says through Jeremiah, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (31:3).  Suppose we were made to receive and the to return his love and to spread it out to the rest of the creation?

If this is the purpose for which we were made, freedom is still a very important part of who we are.   Love is impossible without freedom.  There is no possibility to love someone if there is no freedom to reject their love.  It’s all there in Genesis 1-3.  Humanity was created for relationship with God (and with each other and with the world).  We had a choice and chose to reject God’s love.  This didn’t change our purpose, just our ability to fulfill it.

So who is right about human nature?  The modernists like Grayling or those who adhere to the Biblical view of man?

There is a simple test:  Who experiences more fulfillment in life?  The person whose freedom is expressed through relationships or the one whose relationship is subordinate to his freedom.

Who is more fulfilled? The person whose freedom is expressed through relationships or the one whose relationship is subordinate to his freedom.Click To Tweet

In my experience, freedom is best enjoyed in the context of relationships, even though you surrender it most of the time.  I think this is a universal experience when we are talking about “good” relationships.  Those who insist on freedom first will be able to eat chicken wings in bed, but they won’t have anyone who cares that they stepped out for a jug of milk.

The Evening Sky

Calvin-and-Hobbes-HD-night-sky

Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes, once said, “If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I bet they’d live a lot differently.”

It wasn’t that long ago when people did sit outside and look at the stars each night.  This is certainly one of the reasons why anyone who lived before Edison had an entirely different view of reality than we do.

This passage from Psalm 8 is but one example.

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

When we look up at the night sky, we are seeing a tremendous distance through both time and space.

How far away is the farthest star?

Here are a few of the answers.

  1. The Milky Way galaxy is about 120,000 light years in diameter.  We’re about 25,000 light years from the center.  So, the most distant stars in our galaxy are about 95,000 light years away.
  2. The most distant known object has a redshift of just over 5.  That means that the light from this object started its journey toward us when the Universe was only  30% of its current age.  The exact age of the Universe is not known, but is probably roughly 12 billion years.  Thus, the light from this object left it when the Universe was a few billion years old.  Its distance is roughly 25 billion light years.
  3. Existing observations suggest that the Universe may be infinite in spatial extent.  If so, then the farthest star would actually be infinitely far away!

Calvin and Hobbes

There’s a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon in which Calvin is lecturing Hobbes on astronomical truth.  He explains,

“That cloud of stars is our galaxy, The Milky Way. Our solar system is on the edge of it. . . .  We hurl through an incomprehensible darkness. In cosmic terms, we are subatomic particles in a grain of sand on an infinite beach.”

Then, after glancing at his watch he says,

“I wonder what’s on TV.”

A regular submission to the night sky will certainly leave us impressed by our smallness.  In the modern world, we know it, but we no longer experience it.  Not with any regularity anyway.

Another Calvin and Hobbes cartoon has a similar theme.  Again, while looking at the night sky, Calvin says, “Just look at the stars! The universe just goes out forever and forever,” prompting Hobbes to say, “It kind of makes you wonder why man considers himself such a big screaming deal.”  Calvin explains, “That’s why we stay inside with our appliances.”

When you are in your family room, it’s not difficult to consider yourself to be a big screaming deal.  You are almost God-like in this context.

Omnipotent in your ability to create light.

Omniscient in your access to the internet.

Omnipresent because you have Google Earth.

Which perspective is more real?  The one from your family room, or the one from the campfire?

One of my favourite quotes comes from Robertson Davies’ novel, The Fifth Business:  “You have made yourself in to a god, and the insufficiency of it has turned you into an atheist.”

Application or Implication

 

When I was a kid, my Sunday School teachers were always asking us, “What’s the moral of the story?”

I love Larry Norman’s critique of the propensity to seek some moral in every Bible story.  His song, “Moses in the Wilderness” after tracing the exploits of Moses, ends with the ridiculous injunction, “Never borrow money needlessly.”

The Application

I’m wondering if this reductive reading of the Bible is embedded in the idea of the “Application.”  This is the part of the sermon when the pastor explains how the Biblical text applies to our lives.

By the way some preachers talk about the application, one might get the impression that this is the most important part of the message.  I wonder if it is.  No doubt, it is very important to understand the connection of scripture to our real lives,  but as a congregant, I am usually unable to live out the application of many sermons after I leave the pew–not only because Biblical standards of holiness are always out of our reach, but because I’ve forgotten it.

I think the problem is built into the word “application.”  The word suggests a  very modern, response to the text.  Dare I say, a non-biblical response?

If I do some free association with the word application, I come up with Band-Aids and other things that adhere, like those decals I used to stick onto my model race cars.  To apply means to stick something onto the surface of something else.

It follows then that to apply the lessons of a sermon means to stick its teachings onto me or my life.  The limitations of this word are becoming obvious.   For one thing, the pastor does all the work; he does the applying, and the listeners are passive, like a child receiving the Band-Aid.   And, like a Band-Aid, it makes us feel better, but it doesn’t usually stick longer than a day.  We walk away happiest if the bandage is one of those fancy kinds with cartoon characters on them.  We might even show our friends, who will be only temporarily enamored.

When Scripture is a Story

This is not a very good way to interact with any story, let alone scripture, for it makes of the Bible a box of Band-Aids.  A metal box filled with varied useful objects that can be extracted by the skillful hands of a skillful and equipped expert.  I’m thinking of my mother who, with deft and nailed fingers, was able to extract the appropriate Band-Aid from deep in the box and masterfully apply it with a kiss for maximum effect.

The idea of application presupposes a gap between subject and object–between me and the Band-Aid, between me and the Bible’s text.  It suggests that there are things in biblical texts that can be pulled out and used.  These things are almost always ideas, that is, intellectual propositions or principles.  It’s not that stories don’t communicate ideas, but that’s not all they communicate–stories are not primarily intellectual.  We use the derogatory word didactic to describe stories that are.

Good stories don’t stick to our surface, but they penetrate us and the encounter is implicit and transformative.  Let me illustrate this with the story of “The Good Samaritan” found in Luke 10:25-37.

Sermon Writing: Stories don't stick to us, they penetrate us and the encounter is implicit and transformative.Click To Tweet

The Good Samaritan

A lawyer, in an attempt to test Jesus, asks him what one must do to have eternal life.  Rather than answer directly, Jesus asks him what he thinks the Law says.  The lawyer correctly answers that he must love God and neighbour.

Jesus says, “Right.  Here’s a sticker for giving the right answer.”

The lawyer then asks, “Who is my neighbour?”

The lawyer wanted simplicity and clarity.  Jesus could have delivered the application right then and there, but because the answer cannot be reduced, a story is necessary.

A certain man was set upon by robbers and left seriously injured in a ditch.  A priest and a Levite saw him but walked past.  A Samaritan, hated by the Jews, helped the injured man and arranged for his care and promised to return.

If you were to apply the lessons of this story to your life, you’d likely be convicted to help others in need like the good Samaritan, and not ignore them like the priest and the Levite.  The problem is, I already know I am supposed to do this, and I also know that I will not do it to the extent that the God’s Law requires—and the lawyer knew this too.  So, I end up feeling guilty because I am a crappy Good Samaritan.

This application adheres to the surface and will, consequently, fall off during the first bath.

Two More problems with Application

As we’ve said, the Modern subject is separate from the world of objects.  So there is an assumed, insuperable barrier between me and objects–between me and scripture.  This creates two additional problems for the Modern reader that are implicit in the term “application.”

  1. The term application favours a self-centered understanding of the story.  The story is about me and what I am supposed to do.  After reading the story from Luke 10, I’ve got to be on the lookout for the people who have been tossed in the metaphorical ditch and do something about it.
  2. The term application assumes that the subject is in control of the work of scripture.  The human subject takes up and applies the lessons to the life of the congregants.  The term implication suggests that this work is done by the story.  The object, the inspired Word of God, takes us into itself and transforms us.

So much for application.

The Implication of the story of The Good Samaritan

Rather than application, I would like to suggest the word implication.  It suggests a lot more ambiguity than application, but that’s a good thing since the clarity of application is often achieved through a reduction of the truth to a moral.

Implication is not about how the sermon fits into, or onto, my life; it’s about how I fit into the story.  Implication bridges the gap between subject and object because I enter the story and it enters me–I experience the story as a participant.

The clarity of a sermon's APPLICATION is often achieved through a reduction of the truth to a moral. #SermonApplication #SermonWriting #Application #ImplicationClick To Tweet

I can enter the story of the Good Samaritan at several points.

  • I can enter it as the Samaritan and see that I am inadequate because I’m not enough like him.
  • But I can also be honest and see myself in the action of the robbers,
  • or the priest and Levite who are not so different than the robbers who harm the man through inaction.  Let’s be honest, this is most of us.
  • I can also enter the story as the victim of the evil of others.

In reality, I occupy all these roles in various ways—I am in the story.  And because I am in the story I can experience the truth of the story.  Implication is better than application because experiential.  I experience the truth of the story with more than my mind–but with my emotions and my imagination as well.

To read the story of the Good Samaritan as a lesson about what I am supposed to do is to miss the point. This story is more about what I can’t do, and what Jesus has done.Click To Tweet

So what is the implication of the story from Luke 10:25-37?

What the Samaritan did was incredible and beautiful.

This story is all about Jesus.

When I understand that this story is not just about me and my inadequacy, but Jesus and his adequacy, I am free to love my neighbour out of gratitude because I have been given the eternal life the Lawyer was asking about, even though I don’t deserve it.

When you read the story of The Good Samaritan, do you feel guilty or grateful? Click To Tweet

Jesus refuses to give a straight answer to the Lawyer, as to who a neighbour is.   By refusing to simplify the Truth to an application he points to something far greater–an implication–an implicit and transforming truth about God’s grace.

I am not suggesting that every pastor who uses the word “application” at the end of his sermon is leaving his listeners with a simplistic, individualistic idea.  I am just arguing that the word implies a limited understanding of story.  By using the word implication, we have a better tool to experience the transformative power of the Bible’s stories.

Have you ever experienced a powerful, unaccountable feeling of Joy?

I took this picture in Renne, France.

This feeling of Joy fell upon me.  I was in the medieval part of Renne, France.  It was a sunny summer afternoon.  I was sitting in an outdoor cafe on an ancient street drinking something called Piçon biere.  It’s hard to describe, but I think it was Joy.  It didn’t last long, but I thanked God for it immediately because I knew him to be the source.

C. S. Lewis was Surprised by Joy

In his spiritual autobiography, Surprised by Joy, C. S. Lewis describes something similar.  Of these moments Lewis says, “the central story of my life is about nothing else.”   Lewis’ recounts three such episodes in his childhood.  The first occurred while the young Lewis, looking at a blooming currant bush, remembered a toy garden he had built in a biscuit tin.  A powerful sensation came over him which he describes as an intense desire.  Lewis senses this to be a supernatural encounter in that, following this brief glimpse, “the world turned commonplace again.”  The second event was through Squirrel Nutkin by Beatrix Potter when Lewis experienced a “trouble” which pointed toward “the Idea of Autumn”; he became “enamored of a season.”  The experience was again, one of intense desire.  The last glimpse occurred through the poetry of Longfellow’s Saga of King Olaf.  Common to each of these experiences is the feeling of “unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any satisfaction.”  He called this sensation Joy.

His description of these encounters implies that this was a meeting with the transcendent for they came “without warning, and as if from a depth not of years but of centuries” (20).

Later, Joy reprises its invitation.  Lewis uses the imagery of a sudden spring to describe the second summons of Joy.  The encounter came with a quote from and an illustration of Siegfried and the Twilight of the Gods which produces the feeling of “pure Northernness,” a deliberately ambiguous term describing the feeling derived from “a vision of huge, clear spaces hanging above the Atlantic in the endless twilight of the Northern summer, remoteness and severity . . . .”  This feeling awakens and fuses with the memory of Joy to create an “unendurable sense of desire and loss.”  He characterizes the feeling as “incomparably more important than anything else in [his] experience.”  From this point in his life, Lewis pursues Joy; he is on a quest to find its source.

What do encounters with Joy mean?

A clearer idea of what these experiences may mean was suggested to me at a recent teacher’s convention.  Syd Hielema was talking about looking at our lives using the Creation-Fall-Redemption-Fulfillment paradigm.  I’ve looked at a lot of things with this template, from coffee to zombies, why not myself?

Here are Hielema’s questions:

  • Creation: How am I wired? What are my gifts? What gives me joy? In what situations in my past have I felt most fully “myself”? (Read Psalm 139:13-14)
  • Fall: In what ways do sin and fear affect me?  In what ways do I pretend to be someone I’m not?  What interferes with me loving God and loving others?  How do the wounds I’ve received from the brokenness of life affect me? (Read Jeremiah 17:9)
  • Redemption: Where have I seen God in my life? What helps me and what hinders me in terms of walking with him?  What am I quite clear about and what am I quite confused about?  Are there particular events or people that stand out on my road to Redemption? (Read Isaiah 43:1-2)
  • Fulfillment:  What might I be like when God has finished his refining work in me?  What might his universe be like?  How might I live anticipating that completion as a new creation?

It’s not very difficult to find creational goodness in ourselves, nor is it very difficult to see how we are distorted by sin.  The movements of redemption are also apparent when we look for them.  But the Fulfillment piece was something I figured was out of my experience–we get that when Christ returns.  But Hielema suggests that we might have the occasional glimpse by which we can extrapolate who we will be when God has finished his work.  And what it will feel like.

I instantly thought of my moment of Joy in medieval Renne. Are those moments that Lewis called encounters with Joy, a small sip of what it will be like when I am made new?

If they are, oh, I’m looking forward to it!

 

 

Maybe the day doesn’t start when you wake up.

 

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

After I had finished my little devotional rant about Bad Theology on a Bookmark, one clever image bearer asked, “How I can include God in my sleep—I can’t have Godly dreams every night.”

After a pause an idea came to me, and I turned to Psalm 1.  That didn’t help me a bit, because what I was looking for was in Psalm 4.

My thought is that by adopting a more Hebrew, less Western, concept of the day, we can make our physical act of sleep a little more sacred.  This ancient concept is apparent in the ordering of Psalm 4 and Psalm 5.  Psalm 4 includes these lines: “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”  Psalm 5 says, “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”  The editors of the Psalms placed the evening poem before the Psalm about the morning.

In Genesis 1 we find the same pattern.  The first day of creation is described and then it says, “And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.”  A few verses later, the same thing, “And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.”  You get the idea; the day begins in the evening.  Anyone who has watched Tevye hurry home before nightfall in Fiddler on the Roof knows that the Sabbath starts on Friday night, but it’s not just the Sabbath Day that starts in the evening; in the culture from which the Bible came, every day starts in the evening.

Already in Progress

Thinking about the day starting at night will change how you think of sleeping and, indeed, yourself.   In our culture, the day begins with me.  I wake up, and then the day begins.  I must be pretty important if the day—and you might as well say, the universe—doesn’t start until I roll out of bed.  It would be quite appropriate to declare upon waking, “I am here, and, thus, the day may now begin.”

Consider the Hebrew concept of the day starting in the evening.  The day starts when I stop.  The first seven hours of every day have passed while I drooled on my pillow.  But God hasn’t slept; He’s been at work through the night.  He has a plan and a pattern for the day and I join it, already in progress, and fit into that plan.

We think the day begins when we join it. So, each day begins with a ritual reminder of our personal significance. How might our perspective change if we adopt the Hebrews day? When we wake, we join it already in progress. Click To Tweet

I’ve been trying to live in Hebrew time for at least 10 years now, and every morning when I wake up, well almost every morning, I say, “Good morning, Lord. Thank you.”

Understanding the day in this way reframes the seven hours that I sleep in that it reminds me of my cosmic insignificance in the context of His divine Providence.  It also reframes the hours I am awake.  It is a quotidian reminder and that the all-powerful king of the universe loves me because he’s there every morning to hear me say, “Good, morning Lord. Thank you”

How to Give God 100% and Still Have a Little Fun

Photo by Niklas Hamann on Unsplash

I couldn’t find my copy of The Screwtape Letters which I have been reading with my English class so I picked up a Bible that was sitting close by.  As I was turning to Psalm 19 I came across a little slip of paper that someone had presumably used as a bookmark.  What was written on this bookmark caused a bit of a rant, and I never did get around to reading Psalm 19.

On the paper was the following information:

 

Sleeping – 7                    ||                   God:

Eating – 2 hrs                  ||

School – 6 8 10               ||

TV – 30min                      ||

Hobbies – 5 hrs              ||

Total: 24.5 hours/day     ||         Total 2hrs. per week

Between the list of daily activities on the left and God on the right, they had drawn a heavy line.

On the back the calculations continued:

Calculations

Other things:                                       God:

Total 1: (24.5) x 365= A                     Total 2: (2) x 52 = B

A = 8942.5                                          B = 104

Minus 5 years from age                   – 5 years from age

A x 12 = 107310                                   B x 12 = 1248

Again, between these two sets of calculations was this heavy line.

I don’t claim to know the reason for these calculations.  My guess is that some well-meaning adult was trying to make the point with a group of young people–the point being they weren’t giving enough of their life over to God.

Sadly, this sort nonsense is all too common in Christian circles and the young people are particularly susceptible to taking it seriously.  This is the case even if someone isn’t deliberately teaching it to them.

Can you give everything to God and still have some fun? Click To Tweet

Christian Guilt

The child that made these calculations predictably fell far short of what God demands—God demands a lot, 100%.  This child couldn’t get past 1%.  The certain result is guilt.  With this approach, you can never escape the guilt.  Do we really want to be guilting our young people toward better religious performance?  I think not, for it is contrary to the Gospel.

What if this seventeen-year-old spent an hour a day in prayer and meditation instead of doing homework or wasting time on that hobby?  That’d certainly improve things, for they’d get God bumped up to receive 5%.  Two and a half hours a day would get God around 10%; that’s like the tithe–would that be enough?

No.  God demands our all—everything–so 10% just won’t cut it.  Guilt!

The Separation of Nature and Grace

This whole problem starts with the premise that the things of God—spiritual things—are distinct from the things of “real” life.  It’s the problem of the separation of Nature from Grace, or the Natural from the Supernatural.   (I’ve posted on this problem before, here and here.)

The problem is right there in the line that the child drew down the middle of the bookmark.  Unless you engage in some sort of focused devotional activity every minute of the day, every day of the week, every week of the year, you’d never be able to satisfy God’s demand on your life.  But, even Jesus slept and went to the bathroom.

So get rid of the line!  Hobbies and homework can’t be any less about God than singing and supplication.  The only way to give everything to God is to remove the line and let him have school and eating.  When we stop separating Nature from Grace, he gets both.

So, you can have fun and God at the same time–it means that he doesn’t just get a few hours on Sunday.  He gets hobbies and homework.  He calls the shots in your friendships and family relationships.  He is lord of what comes out of your mouth and what goes in.  Although this may sound restrictive, it is actually the only path to freedom and really having fun.

After this little rant,  one clever image bearer asked, “How I can include God in my sleep—I can’t have Godly dreams every night.”

Here is my answer.

 

 

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