In the next few months and/or over this coming summer, many of our readers will be traveling to the beach, to Disney World, or biking across the country.
We all tend and try to take at least a week's vacation once the warm weather sets and sinks in, and this summer will probably be of no exception.
But as much as we might desire to get away from it all, the one aspect of our lives that should go with us wherever is our relationship with the Lord.
In fact, you know the Scriptures, Psalm 139:7-10: "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast."
We couldn't take a vacation from our omnipresent God even if we wanted to. So, in light of that, I thought it advantageous to offer a short spiritual reflection to take with you on vacation. What is here is based on a week away and assumes that you will have your Bible with you.
And here it is, for your reflection …
First day of vacation: We are not loved because we are lovable, for we are not. It is true that some of us may be lovable to some others of us, but this is only when we look at the matter from a human perspective.
From God's perspective there is nothing in us to make us even remotely desirable. He is holy; we are unholy. He is just; we are unjust. He is loving; we are filled with hatred and all forms of sin.
In short, we are sinful and in willful rebellion against Him. Yet He loves us. In fact, so great a marvel is this that God even uses it to commend His love to us. Read Romans 5:6-8.
Second day: In creating us God created us with a vacuum that can only be filled by Himself. In other words, He created us, not to a meaningless existence, but to an existence that is the highest existence possible for any created object, namely, communion with the One Who created it.
So it is as St. Augustine said, "For Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it comes to rest in Thee."
The fact that we can know God and are restless until we do know God is proof of His love. Read Psalm 63:1.
Third Day: Some of us try to crowd too many things into our lives. We try to crowd in our own plans for our lives. We try to crowd in other people. Some of us crowd in our successes or the good opinion of our friends.
Then we are disturbed when our lives seem cluttered and disorganized and when they seem to have no meaning. If that is so for you, you need to learn to let other things go.
Let Jesus have His rightful place and learn to pray with true sincerity, "Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven." It is rightly said that either Jesus is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all. So allow Him to be what He must be and certainly will be one day.
The Bible says, "For He must reign, till He has put all enemies under His feet." Read Psalm 102:25-28.
Fourth Day: The privilege of prayer should not lead us into a preoccupation with our own affairs, as though prayer were a blank check drawn on the bank of heaven given to us so that heaven's resources can be spent purely on our own needs or pleasure.
Prayer implies responsibility, and part of that responsibility is intercession for others. Do others have needs? Then we should pray for them. The one who truly understands prayer and who prays according to the will of God will pray for others; when a believer is himself in the will of God and is therefore praying according to the will of God then he will pray for others. Read Ephesians 6:18.
Fifth Day:To walk as Christ walked is to live, not only by rules, but by example. It is to follow Him, to be His disciple. Such a discipleship is personal, active and costly. It is personal because it cannot be passed off to another. There was no escaping the call to a personal discipleship for Peter.
To walk as Christ walked is also active because the Lord Himself is active. To be inactive is to be left behind. Finally, it is costly as well, because the path that Jesus walked is the path to crucifixion. It leads to glory, but before that it leads to the cross.
Such a path can only be walked by the one who has died to self and who has quite deliberately taken up the cross of Christ to follow Him. Read Ephesians 5:1-2.Sixth Day: Christians often fail to love those who are in the world and so fail to win them to Christ.
But it is also true, scandalously true, that Christians often fail to love Christians. They believe in brotherhood, no doubt. But they restrict it to their own particular company of believers.
Sometimes this is a social division, as when Christians associate with and love only those in the upper-middle class or, by contrast, only those within a lower level of society.
At other times the division is by denomination. At still other times, Christians will hold closely to those only within some rigid theological persuasion. Is this right? Can Christian brotherhood and the love that goes with it be so restricted? Membership in the family of God is not limited by anything other than confession of Jesus as the Christ. Consequently, the love of Christians for their brothers and sisters should extend to all who thereby give evidence of being God's true children. Read I John 4:21.
Seventh Day: What is God like? The answer is that God is like Jesus. Do you think that God is love? You know that God is love because Jesus Christ is love and showed it by dying for us.
Do you think that God is holy and righteous and good? Do you want to know that God is filled with wisdom, that He understands you, that He is able to help you in any extremity? You know that because of Jesus.
Therefore we, as Christians, are not left in the dark as to what God is; we do not find ourselves saying, "Oh, I wish I knew what He is like! If only I could know Him, that would certainly be satisfying!"
We are not in the position of those who make that kind of statement. Rather we are those who turn our eyes to the Christ as we find Him in the Scriptures and say, "There is our God revealed." And we love Him and worship Him because of it. Read Colossians 1:15-20
So, cut this article out and pack it in your travel bag, have a great vacation, and go with God.
The Rev. D.G. Davis is pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Corry.