FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


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A God Break

In my state, North Carolina, the Wage and Hour Act does not require mandatory rest or meal breaks for employees over the age of 16.  Additionally, there is no law requiring employers to give smoking breaks.

However, most wage and hour employers offer such.

Not once, but at least a couple of times during the day if an individual works eight or more hours.  And most do not require employees to “clock out” or “go off the clock” for these breaks.  Bottom line – most employers give their employees breaks and pay them to take them!

Why?  Because most companies realize that for one to do his or her best work, he/she needs periodic mental and physical breaks – even if just for a few minutes.  The same is true for stressful and salaried jobs.  Long-distance truck drivers must document their breaks.  Likewise airline pilots and air traffic control employees.  Surgeons’ work hours versus off-work hours are routinely monitored.

But some of us are “Energizer Bunnies” going from sun up to sun down 24-7.

Not good!

Research shows that breaks are critical not only to our productivity but also to our health and our happiness.

Scripture shows breaks are critical to our spiritual health and growth!  That is if we take a God Break!

Look at the example of Jesus:

“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there” (Mark 1:35 NASB).

“After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone” (Matthew 14:23 NASB).

“But Jesus Himself would often slip away…and pray” (Luke 5:16 NASB).

Habitually.

And this is a practice that needs to become habit for us, too.

If we want to fulfill God’s vision for our lives, we must continually hear from God. If we want to be more like Jesus, we must spend time with Him.  If we want to be all that God calls us to be, we must feed regularly at His table.

In the book named after him, The Prophet Habakkuk wrote (v2:1 NLT), “I will climb into my watchtower ….” meaning that he would go to a place away from distractions, away from people, away from busyness, away from his own thoughts.  And this is what we need to do – find a quiet place away from the distractions of life and take a God Break.

This Week:  Begin making it a habit to press the pause button and take a God Break.  Psalm 46:10 teaches, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Take time to “be still” before God and alone with God.  Use this time to align your heart and mind back to God – to His Word and to His plan for you.  You may need to begin with a reminder –  a sticky note on your bathroom mirror, an alarm on your cell phone, a note penciled in your day planner.  Remember, it doesn’t have to be a LONG break, but it needs to be an intentional, focused and private break – just between the two of you..


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Defining God

My head hurts.

I think it has something to do with my homework that is due Tuesday. Here’s the assignment.

“Develop a personal Definition of God and the Person of Jesus Christ (deity and humanity).  Your formal Definition brings together the various elements of Trinitarian theism into coherent concepts of God and Christ. Specifically, the Doctrinal Statement should define the names and attributes of God, and especially the Trinity—the Father, Son (including the incarnation and two natures), Holy Spirit, and the Trinitarian relations. The one-page statement is to be your definition or credo (I believe…), not an exposition, argument, or apologetic.” (There’s more.  I’m sharing a shortened version so your head won’t hurt, too.)

Aside from the fact that I struggle with the Turabian Style Guide (I was raised on APA) and the fact that I just had two huge quizzes and face another this week as well as having to write another paper for another class, this is a LOT to think about. A personal Definition of God.

Hmmm…

God implores us to “be still, and know” that he is God (Psalm 46:10).  I’ve spent a lot of time this weekend being still. I’ve read Scripture. I’ve listened to archived sermons from my pastor. I’ve read countless articles. I’ve sat just pondering all that I read and heard.

And while I must complete this assignment, or accept that a zero will be calculated as 20% of my final grade, I’ve come to the conclusion that God is not so much to be defined on paper by penning lists of His qualities and attributes – omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent… or even by listing His names – Elohim, El Shaddai, El Olam, El Elyon…

“Be still, and know.”

Know is the word that strikes me. There are different ways of knowing.  When I was a school principal, I always told teachers that they need to know their students as students but also as people. There is intellectual or factual knowing or, as the German say, “wissen” and the Latin and Italian “sapere.” This is knowing that is general, abstract and rather easily put into words like a student’s reading test score or knowing the answer to a math problem. But there is also individual, particular and often hard to articulate knowing that comes through relationships and experience. The German call this “kennen” and the Latin distinguish it as “cognoscere.”

I believe God desires us to have “head knowledge” – “wissen” and “sapere” about Him. He would have us study the Scriptures, know His names and know the works that He has done. But when His word tells us to “be still, and know,” I believe He means for us to know Him in true relationship and personal experience – “kennen” and “cognoscere.” And when you really stop and think about it, isn’t that awesome? That He desires us to know Him this way, at this level?

The King of Kings’ the Lord of Lords; the one true, living God wants to know you and wants you to know Him. Just think about trying to walk up to Queen Elizabeth, Xi Jinping (President of China), Vladimir Putin (President of Russia) or Barack Obama (President of the United States), introduce yourself and get to know them at a personal level? Probably ain’t going to happen. You’d have to try to navigate all kinds of red tape, background checks and Secret Service. And the key word is “try” because you’d probably never get through it all.

But God who is greater than these, wants you to know Him, to have a personal and intimate relationship with Him, to spend time with Him. Acts 17:27 (NASB) says God desires that we might “grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” He wants us to be in relationship with Him such that He has not hidden Himself away behind walls, bars, armed guards, bureaucracy or Secret Service.

God desires to build a unique intimate and personal relationship with each of His followers so that He may reveal more of Himself to each – truth by truth – as that knowledge is needed.

Who is God?

Be still, and get to know Him for yourself. Some possible resources for you follow. I’ve got to get back to that paper! (But I’d love to hear who YOU think He is.  Share your comments!)

RESOURCES

How to Know God

http://www.insight.org/resources/topics/how-to-know-god/

How to Know God Personally

http://www.cru.org/how-to-know-god/would-you-like-to-know-god-personally.html

How Can I Get to Know God Better?

http://www.intouch.org/you/all-things-are-new/content/topic/how_can_i_get_to_know_god_better_all_things

How Can I Deepen My Relationship with God?

http://www.intouch.org/you/all-things-are-new/content/topic/how_can_i_deepen_my_relationship_with_god_all_things