Before I launch into this week's post, let me say a sincere "Thank You" for the cards and gifts this past Sunday as you celebrated me on Pastor Appreciation Sunday. For those of you who didn't know, the wrapped gift was a box of Bada Bean Bada Boom snacks - much to my delight! But more importantly, I was humbled by your outpouring of kind words in your cards. It is a joy to get to be your pastor, and I look forward to seeing God's work continue in you and through you.
And now to our regularly scheduled programming...
In case you didn't know, I swim for exercise. I am by far more of a long-distance swimmer than a sprinter. Truth be told, I hate sprints! However, I have discovered that sprints and interval workouts actually improve my long-distance swims. So I reluctantly push myself almost every Friday.
Now, this will come as no surprise, but I can't sprint constantly. My lungs can't handle it. My heart would feel like it is going to explode. My legs would cramp and my arms would probably fall off. There may be benefit in doing sprints, but I can't maintain that pace continually. So I have to take a momentary break before pushing off the wall for yet another dash through the water.
While your life may not be a sprint, too many of us just keep going and going without a break. That's what this series, Resting in the Rhythms of Grace, has been about. I've been encouraging you to find ways to rest each day, week/month, and year that will help you feel connected with God through Christ.
But to finish off our series today, I want to give you some ideas of what you can do in a moment. While you might start your day off with Bible reading and/or prayer, come to Riverwood's Worship Gathering most Sundays, and fast during the 21 Days of Prayer each January, what can you do in that frustrating moment when...
...and your emotions take a hit because of the moment?
Here are a few ideas:
When you get "hit" by an emotional wave, take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, say a simple prayer like:
Feel free to repeat your breath prayer a couple of times!
Another thing you can do is memorize a Bible verse or two that you can then quote to help you stay calm and maintain focus, remembering God's presence and heart for you. Verses like:
One thing I find helpful is to not only quote the verse but to actually pray the verse. For instance, if I were to use Philippians 4:7, I might pray, "Father, thank you for giving me a peace that surpasses understanding. Please guard my heart and my mind right now through that peace, which is only found in Jesus and the Gospel."
For some people, there are moments when their emotions are so strong, it blocks their ability to focus and remember things like Bible verses of Biblical truths. If you find yourself in such a moment, consider using something like the One-Minute Pause app or the Abide app on your phone to guide you to reconnect with God through Christ, the gospel, and Scripture.
Lastly, whip out your phone and text a fellow Jesus-follower to let them know what you are facing at the moment, so they can pray for you. Don't go it alone!
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