Thursday, May 18, 2006

 

my extra sleep is worth less than my calling

Beep…beep…beep…beep…” (Press snooze button). Ah. Sleep. Bliss. Hmmmm. “Beep…beeps…beep...” It’s Monday morning in a nutshell. And Tuesday morning. And Wednesday morning. And…wait! This happens every morning! Yes, waking up every day is a part of life. So is sleeping.

Why write about sleep? Here are three great reasons:

  1. We all sleep, Moreover, my guess is that almost all of us have (or have had) struggles with sleep.
  2. As teens, we tend to love sleep too much. For many of us, sleep has become the latest idol. The alarm clock is our sworn enemy.
  3. Sleep takes up one-third of your life. Look at it this way: if I live to be seventy-five years old and sleep an average of eight hours a night, then by the time I die, I will have slept approximately 219,000 hours in my lifetime. If you didn’t notice…that’s a lot of time. That equals 25 years worth of time spent sleeping.

If you are still not convinced that sleep is an important topic to think about, look at 1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”[1] Sleep is a part of the whole “whatever you do” thing. Besides that, the words sleep, slumber, sleeping, and sleeper appear ninety-two times in the Bible. I think that sleep is something that God cares about…so we should care about it, too.

Wait. What do sleep and God have in common? Nothing, right? I mean, God never sleeps. Never has, never will. We humans can’t help sleeping…every person who has ever lived on this planet has slept. But even though He doesn’t sleep, what does God say about sleep? How does that affect who I am and how I serve Him? Well…

Start thinking about leadership. As teenagers, we are the leaders of the future, correct? And as Christian thinkers, we hope to be leaders now, as well. A leader is someone who makes a difference and is an example to those around him or her. In Isaiah 56, God was rebuking the leaders of Israel. In a long list of grievances, God says in verse ten that “His watchmen are blind; they are all without knowledge; they are all silent dogs; they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber.” (Emphasis mine). Israel’s leaders had problems, one of which was loving sleep. To be effective, you have to open your eyes – Proverbs 20:13, “Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.”

So what is the purpose of sleep? Simply put, it’s for refreshment of the body. It’s sole purpose is to make sure you are at optimal functioning capacity each day. It is not for pleasure. It is not for personal gain. It is not because it feels good. It is solely for God’s glory. Sleeping is a part of the body, so 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 applies here: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

God doesn’t look kindly on lazy sleepers. Proverbs 10:5 tells us that a son who sleeps in harvest (when there is work to be done) brings shame. Later, in Proverbs 24:30-34, God says that only a man lacking sense sleeps in laziness. His vineyard looked like a weed patch, and he is going to be one hungry person when winter comes along.

Fellow teens…I think that we can be self-disciplined in many facets of life and forget this vital area. We eat right, we exercise, we get done with schoolwork and chores, we are responsible with our siblings…but we sleep way longer than we should each morning (not to mention going to bed too late at night). Consider with me for a moment that every time we press the snooze button, we are using time that we could have spent in profitable things, such as time with God or family. Every time we press the snooze button, we are saying “I can’t have self-control in this area."

Now, I don’t want you to become sleep deprived. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America Poll, 80% of teens today do not get the optimal amount of sleep that they need. So begin using the gift of sleep wisely by getting enough shut-eye (that means 8 ½ - 9 ¼ hours of sleep each night). Go to be early. Get up in a timely fashion. This is not a call to less sleep. This is a call to responsible sleeping habits. Sleep is supposed to glorify God, like everything else in life. Use sleep as a tool…do not let it control you.

Most importantly, make time for our Lord in the mornings. When you rise early each day, you are saying that God is more valuable to you than a few more minutes of sleep. Follow the example of Jesus by rising early and spending time with our heavenly Father. It will be worth it…it always is. The road that we take to follow God is hard at first, but gets easier as we go on.

One might say, “Come on. Sleep to glorify God isn’t exactly culture-changing Christianity, is it?” Oh, friend, do not forget the mundane of life! It is in the commonplace that we live. Honor God in how and when you sleep. Worship Him by taking care of yourself in how you sleep, then show how valuable He is to you…infinitely more valuable than sleeping five more minutes.

Beep…beeps…beep… Next time you hear the alarm clock, thank God for it. You are master of your sleep. Be a good steward of it and slumber will serve you well. With the hymn writer, get up each day with these words on your lips:

Awake my soul and with the sun

Thy daily stage of duty run.

Shake off dull sloth and joyful rise,

To pay thy morning sacrifice!



[1] All scripture quotations from the English Standard Version

And on that note, I think that I'll go to bed! :-)

For His Glory,

Kristi


 

For Example...

This past Sunday, a gentleman came to our church to speak. He had some very good things to say on Islam and Christianity, but what especially struck me was his testimony. When he was a young man in Asia, he came to know Jesus Christ personally. After that, he soon became excited about preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to others, and he brought some children to the Lord.

The Muslim parents were far from thrilled.

They invited this young man to their home. He went, thinking that he would have an opportunity to share the gospel with the parents. He was wrong. The father took a big stick and began beating him for his faith.

After that, he told God, "I don't want to be a pastor. It's a dangerous job!" Well, it was dangerous, but God kept his hand on that young man's life, and soon he surrendered his will to God's and became a pastor for the lost Muslim people of his country.

Now he lives in the United States, an exile from his homeland through a series of incidents that aren't important to this post. He continues to preach to American people because he loves them with all his heart, and because he has a great desire to see people come to Christ and His truth.

Becoming a pastor wasn't an easy choice. This man has been threatened, persecuted, beaten, and finally chased out of his country. But if you could hear the man preach, you would know that he is happy in his Lord. He rejoices because he believes that to live is Christ and to die is gain. His response to death threats? "If you kill me, I will go to be with Jesus."

Do you and I have this mindset? That serving our Lord is more important than our personal comfort and ease? I so wish that we did. I think that there are lots of Christians who try and take the easy road. Those of us who do have no idea of the joy of living for something other than ourselves. The joy of worshipping the Creator for whom we were made. Are we willing to suffer for Him? Die for Him? And perhaps do what is even harder: live for Him?

I hope so. I want to fall so in love with Christ that His plan is the only one that need be carried out. Not mine. His. To die for Him daily by denying self and living in obedience is great gain, for "If you kill me, I will go to be with Jesus." Hourly. Daily. Monthly. For the rest of our lives.

For His glory,
Kristi

Saturday, May 06, 2006

 

On a personal note...


This is me. Well, not really. But this represents me. Unicorn and cat, coming together in a beautiful orchard, with a stormy sky in the background...it's a unique picture, and I like it, so...this is me.

Who am I? Well, I'm an agent carrying secrets that will someday send the industry into a tailspin from which it will never recover. Which industry? That, my friend, is one of the deepest, darkest parts of the secret. But my profile tells you anyway, so...it's mattress manufacturing. But don't tell anyone, for crying out loud!

To be frank, I don't have that many secrets...although it's my firm belief that the company I work for (which shall remain nameless) produces some of the highest quality beds in the market today. :-) I shall say no more. In fact, I've said to much.

Who else am I? I'm a teenager who has just finished high school. I'm going to take a year and work almost full time, take a couple classes from the local bible college, and pursue certification with the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors. The year after that, I'm considering attending Bob Jones University in South Carolina. One day, if marriage doesn't come down the pike (or maybe even if it does), I'd like to have my own business. I'm thinking about majoring in Family & Consumer Science. Or perhaps Cinema Production. I definitely need a plan before I go, because I certainly do not want to go to college just for the sake of going to college. If I wanted to do that, I might as well attend my state university, and be marinated in evolutionistic, liberal, socialist thinking. :-)

And that's me. I have a blogging sister, and a three non-blogging siblings, not to mention my two non-blogging parents. And there there are all the pets...horses, cats, dog, skunk, the occasional band of turkeys, deer...


Thursday, May 04, 2006

 

Definitions of God

Consider the following statements:

  1. "What an awesome ice cream cone!"
  2. "This song is really awesome!"
  3. "Dude, you have such an awesome pillow!"
  4. "Our God is an awesome God!"

Now, think with me. How do you feel about the 4th statement in light of statements 1 through 3? With what sort of attitude to you come to statement 4? What does statement 4 mean to you? I can tell you that after reading the first three statements, statement 4 seems to imply that we have a really cool God.

Is that true? Do we have a "cool" God? Is that what is meant when we say that He is an awesome God? I don't think so. In a world where slang is so prevalent, we have cheapened many words - awesome is one of them. When we cheapen words, we cheapen what they are used to describe. When God and ice cream are both put up as awesome, God is brought down to a lower level. But that's ok, because we can relate to God better that way, right?

Wrong. Our culture is failing morally and I believe that the heart of the matter is a low view of God, because low view of God always equals high view of self. Not only does this affect our culture (Romans 1:21-32), but I think that it is affecting Christians as well. We are losing our effectiveness because effective Christianity has always been about Christ. I'm concerned that today, Christians are very much about self. It's in the books on self-esteem (by Christian authors). It's in the birthday cards that say "God made something special when He made you." It's a way of thinking that criticizes the music in church and the grammatical errors of the sermon and the general discontent that goes on in our churches. It permeates our children's sunday school materials. I submit that Christianity woud gain some ground if they would recognize our God.

To truly live the the God-driven life, we must be all about Him. Implication: we must not be about us. God is jealous. Righteous. Holy. Sovereign. Lord. King. Loving. Angry. Compassionate. Forgiving. Passionate about His glory. When we see God, we are driven to our knees in worship, and we see how truly small and insignificant we are.

This is a call to come see God. Come see God in His greatness and glory. Come see God for who He is...not a teddy bear, not Santa Claus, but Creator God!

Hopefully in the weeks to come, I will occasionally be posting on an attribute of God, so that we may keep our eyes fixed on Him. This is the foundation of the God-driven life: a high and exalted view of God. What is your view?


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

 

Radical Thinking

No, I'm not a socialist. I'm not advocating the group and downplaying the individual. I'm not in favor of communism, and I've never approved of Marx.

However, I'm introducing a way of thinking that is completely opposite to accepted trends. It is an attitude that says, "You first, then me." It is a belief that says, "God is everything." It is an way of thinking that says, "I will obey even if it's hard because my personal desires pale in comparison to who God is and what He has called me to do."

I'll cover these thought patterns in detail over the next days and months, but this is the basis of the life that I propose: the calling is more important than self. In fact, self is of no consequence in the glory of the calling. It's not that you and I are worthless (we're not), but that the calling is worth infinitely more.

Ok, so what is the calling? Simply put: it is to honor Christ and make Him known throughout the earth. God said in Isaiah that He created his people for His glory. Christ commissioned us to go throughout the earth. This is a calling that is the same for everyone who has believed the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Come climb the mountain of the God-driven life. Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him.

For His Glory,
Kristi

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