- Wednesday, August 23, 2017
- By Karina Cowan
In·crease Your Faith This Summer
Yes, you still have time! Summer's not over yet! There are technically still 4 more weeks of this beautiful season, and we've got some tips for how to use them well:
Tip #1: Enjoy God’s Creation
When God finished the work of creation, He looked at the heavens and the earth and declared all of it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). If God enjoys the forests and mountains, seas and skies, and plants and animals, we should, too. Summer offers many opportunities for us to spend time outdoors enjoying God’s very good creation.
Spend a day this summer navigating the hiking trails at a local park or enjoy a long weekend camping. Pay close attention to the sights, sounds, and smells around you. Listen to the birds that “sing among the branches” (Psalm 104:12). Take in the scents of flowers. Look out on “the work of [God’s] fingers” (Psalm 8:3). Then give thanks for all that God has created.
Tip #2: Pray Outside
One of the biggest challenges in maintaining a healthy prayer life is distractions such as the television, computers, video games, and household tasks. (How often have dishes in the sink or stains on the carpet kept you from giving your complete attention to your daily devotions?) But those are indoor distractions! Summer weather gives us an opportunity to step outside and away from many of the things that disrupt our relationship with God. This summer, spend time outside praying, reading Scripture, and being attentive to God’s voice.
Tip #3: Take Sabbath Seriously
God commanded the ancient Israelites to “Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). This commandment applied to everyone in the household and to the livestock. Leviticus adds a Sabbath year in which even the land would be allowed to rest. But the practice of setting aside time for rest has become counterintuitive in a culture that never stops and places a premium on productivity. Since many people, especially in the West, grow up in school systems where “summer” is synonymous with “vacation,” summer is a natural time to think about rest.
Taking Sabbath seriously isn’t about doing nothing or spending long hours watching television or playing video games, but about restoration and a renewed focus on one’s relationship with God and others. Worship, restful time with family and friends, and time outdoors enjoying God’s creation, all are healthy ways to honour the Sabbath.
Tip #4: Host a Cookout
Throughout His ministry, Jesus relied on the hospitality and generosity of friends and acquaintances who invited him to come to their homes for dinner. When He appeared to His disciples on the shores of the Sea of Galilee following His resurrection, Jesus had a cookout on the beach (John 21:1–14). Cookouts are as much a part of summer as lemonade and baseball. This summer, emulate the hospitality and generosity shown by Jesus’ hosts by hosting a cookout. Drawing inspiration from Jesus’ parable of the great dinner (Luke 14:15–24), go out in your neighborhood and invite anyone who is willing to come. (And, if you’re serious about following Jesus’ culinary example, serve bread and fresh fish at your cookout!)
Read more: www.beliefnet.com