Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Christ follower living in a secular world: Life by HIS rules, keeping the Sabbath holy

A Christ follower living in a secular world: Life by HIS rules, keeping the Sabbath holy: About 9 months ago my work went from a 5 day a week operation to a 24/7 work place. I was concerned for several reasons but mainly how this ...

Life by HIS rules, keeping the Sabbath holy

About 9 months ago my work went from a 5 day a week operation to a 24/7 work place. I was concerned for several reasons but mainly how this would affect my Sundays as I worship God everyday but in a big way on that day in particular starting early in the morning.

After some wrangling I managed to secure a shift that included Sundays off. This came up for renewal a couple of months later and again was able to stay on the same shift. God blessed me in this time and my ministry opportunities grew as my new shift freed me on a Monday morning too(I work GY shift and had Saturday/Sunday nights off). I built a life for myself around this shift and life was good.

My work has this kind of crazy arrangement IMO where everyone has to resubmit their shift preference every 6 months. I kind of figured it would be difficult to attain this shift again but did my best to try to keep the status quo. It didn't work out but I did attain what seemed to be the best scenario my seniority could afford which meant my shifts were Tuesday night until Saturday night meaning my week would end Sunday morning at 7 AM. This I figured would be difficult with my Sunday schedule and would mean a big adjustment in my early morning routine. That being said I was thankful to get what I did as it was still allowing me to attend my main Church service on Sunday(all be it tired) plus minister on a Monday morning which has become a big passion of mine.

Well I worked last Saturday night and made do with it. I attended Church but everything just felt a little off. As the week went on it just didn't sit well in my spirit. This has become a spiritual battle for me and a question of faith. You see God has always provided what I need and I am fully devoted to him.

But do I truly trust him? You see recently I entered into a relationship that has been life changing and I can totally see building a life with this person and feel a strong desire to provide and be a stable influence. Can I trust God to be the rock or will I turn to my own devices? Isaiah 2:22 which I read the other day provided some clarity for me. I was trusting in my own human reasoning when really all I know for sure is there is oxygen in my nostrils!! I had to turn the situation over to God and trust him.

So On Friday night at work I did just that. I informed my supervisor verbally and by letter that I would not be available Saturday night anymore. I've applied to go part time(in the letter I stated why I can only work 4 of my shifts per week) as there are provisions in my works CBA for part timers but it has to be approved by the Industrial Relations department. I think it will likely be approved but if it isn't I could be in a bit of battle. Even if it is approved it will mean I will have to get by on less in the interim. I'm going to trust in God on this one. He provides for me and has done things in my life far beyond what I was praying for. I'm not saying that will be the case here because the moment I try to interpret what God is about to do in my life he does something I never even thought of.

Regardless, I have the peace of God in my heart this Sunday. I got up at 5 AM but was actually in prayer from about 1:30 and on. I feel God's presence and his kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven. So whatever happens, happens as it is in God's hands now. His will, will be done in my life and in this situation.

So praise the Lord, praise his Holy name. Thank you Jesus, lover of my soul!

There are certain things that should/can be done on a Sunday that are not ungodly or unholy. Certain occupations are necessary on a Sunday but warehouse work is hardly one of them. Working on a Sunday for a Christian is a real hardship and I could not reconcile it in my occupation. I would really rather my work didn't work it at all but just because it does I don't see the need to force a Christ loving Christian to work it just to eke out a living. I trust God to work it out.

Blessings to you today!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Christ follower living in a secular world: Life without TV, sane or insane?

A Christ follower living in a secular world: Life without TV, sane or insane?: My church recently concluded a 21 day fast. Now, not everyone can go 21 days without food and while I could I felt it would have made me a l...

Life without TV, sane or insane?

My church recently concluded a 21 day fast. Now, not everyone can go 21 days without food and while I could I felt it would have made me a less effective worker at my job so I asked God to give me something else significant I could fast. Over the last 7 years I've gone on various fasts including short term food fasts. All of them have ended up changing me at least a little and IMO for the better. I don't enter fasts to end up improving myself but to honour God. He just does that as a gift because he is God and God loves his children so much more than they deserve.

Anyways, I gave up TV for the fast and while the fast ended on Sunday night I am still going. I look at my blank TV screen once in a while and think maybe I should throw it on. I mean I have a PVR(cable is included in my rent so not watching TV while living here isn't going to save me anything) and I have 6 hours of Christian teaching to watch never mind anything else I may want to partake in. My TV viewing has changed significantly over the last several years. The stuff I tend to watch more so now is cerebral or socially interactive or a little of both. I like Survivor and Amazing race because I like to see how people think out situations and I can discuss it with friends/family during and/or after the broadcast. I enjoy sports too but more for watching how the players react to stress than just watching the pretty plays.

I think I'll give sports it's own paragraph since I don't have to follow conventional story structure :)

Sports was a big part of my watching. At one time I could watch pretty much anything that was a competition. From Darts to hockey to poker to curling to etc etc etc. I still watch Hockey, a little CFL, some golf and auto racing. Hockey has been king for me in the past. I lived and died with the Canucks. A side of me comes out I don't particularly like when I watch the Canucks. I get frustrated with the bad calls, I get angry at the opposing team players and I act with less grace towards fans of other teams especially when the Canucks are pitted against them. I have lost a lot of my passion for it but it is still there. I mean before coming to the Christ I went through tremendous highs and lows. Sports could make my day good or bad depending on the outcome. It was ridiculous and it now looks absurd to me but I know that ungrateful wretch is still there in my sinful nature. I want to be able to watch a game still but not at any cost. It is something I will hopefully not have to drop entirely but it may come to that. After the fast started I became aware how much Canuck paraphernalia was hanging around my place. I never intended it to be but my place was like a shrine to the hockey gods. Thankfully I wasn't bowing to them but I got rid of half the stuff and am not sure about what I have left. At least it doesn't dominate the suite anymore.

Several significant relationships I am developing are with people who don't watch TV or at least seldom do. A couple of them were developing for months before the fast. The other started soon after the fast started. This most recent one is particularly important to me as it is something that could be life changing(not that all new friends aren't life changing to a certain degree but this one is even more significant I believe). I planned on watching TV on Monday, then on Tuesday and was at my Mum's on Wednesday and she watches it a lot but I asked her not to and so here we are at Thursday and the Canucks are playing the Wings in an hour. I fully intended on watching this game just yesterday but now I am wavering. The question is do I want to receive or give or both. TV is mostly receiving and often not very improving of yourself as opposed to reading non fiction which can lead to wisdom and knowledge depending on what you do with it. I don't have any plans today for a change(I've been pretty busy) and I think I will spend my time reading if nothing else pops up.

I must say one of the huge benefits of not watching TV has been in my visits with my Mum. I see her virtually every Wednesday for dinner(and often one more visit at random times during the week) and these past 4 weeks have been the best visits I've ever had with her and I mean EVER. It has been a huge blessing, God is good! Totally an unexpected benefit and a very welcome gift from Papa.

In conclusion, I can totally see watching TV again but I'm pretty sure it has been placed way further down the priority list than it was just 25 days ago. I love my life with God as my guide. It is always interesting and revealing. I never know what is going to happen but bring it on!!

Sane or insane? You decide for yourself.

Blessings to you and for you!! James