Living in Faith, Scripture verses, What I've Learned Lately

Showing God to the world: 12 Bible verses to remember

When my employer directed us to begin working from home in March 2020, we had no idea how long it would last or what would happen along the way. There have been struggles and frustrations during this time at home and at work, but there have been lots of positive things, too. I have loved this time at home with family, have loved not dealing with my usual commute, and have loved getting back to some things that had fallen by the wayside — like writing.

12 Bible verses about showing God to the worldBut my department will start going back to the office in a few weeks, and I’ve been in a bit of a funk because of it. Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy my job and I work with great people. But I’ve gotten spoiled by the relaxed world of working from home in t-shirts and no makeup.

God reminded me a few days ago that even though I might not look forward to some aspects of returning to the office, I still have plenty to be thankful for. Things like:

  • Having a job to return to (and that didn’t change during this crazy time)
  • Still being able to work from home routinely, probably two days a week (which wasn’t the case before 2020)
  • Building memories with my family while we’ve been home together so much
  • Growing in my faith and trying to trust God more when things felt so uncertain

And then God reminded me of one big reason why I don’t need to always work from home and be mostly  surrounded by my church friends:

I need to be out in the world if the world is going to see God in me.

And isn’t that part of the point?

Our job as Christians is to show God to everyone around us through what we say, what we do — and what we don’t say or do. That means each day I go into the office, I have the chance to show God to my coworkers whether they realize it or not. And as fabulous as technology might be, it’s not a substitute for working side-by-side with someone and getting to know who they are and what they represent.

With that in mind, here are 12 Bible verses that help us remember that we’re not meant to keep God to ourselves. We’re meant to show others what it means to have Him in our lives.

12 verses about telling people about God

  1. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation. (Psalm 40:10)
  2. My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone. (Psalm 71:15-16)
  3. “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” (Matthew 5:13)
  4. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19)
  5. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. (Mark 16:15)
  6. “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him. (Luke 8:39)
  7. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
  8. I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)
  9. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)
  10. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:6)
  11. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)
  12. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1)
  13. We constantly face changes at home, at work, and everywhere we go. But wherever we are and whatever is happening around us, we can show what it means to love and follow God.

Share with us: How do you share God with the people around you every day? If you’ve returned to work or school after being at home for months, what made that shift easier? Or, do you have other favorite verses about sharing God with the world? Leave a comment to encourage the rest of us!

PS: On a writing-related note, I was the guest devotion writer this week at Inkspirations Online, a website for Christian writers. Here’s where you can read “Growing through critique.”


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God sightings, Scripture verses, What I've Learned Lately

Stepping (or floating) away from the rest of the world

getting away from the rest of the world

When was the last time you got away from the world for a while, just stepped away and enjoyed the peace and quiet without checking your phone every few minutes?

My husband and I spent several hours Sunday afternoon doing something we haven’t done together in years: fishing. And when I say years, I mean I can’t remember fishing together since before we were married (and we celebrated #31 in April!).

He’s gone with friends and has taken our kids over the years and has even fished in creeks or the surf when we’ve gone places. But just the two of us in a boat together? Not since our dating days.

Our church is currently sharing a pastor with another congregation, which means our service is over by 10 a.m. Afterwards, I picked up lunch while my husband got the boat ready and we headed to one of the local reservoirs.

It was a gorgeous afternoon, sunny and calm with a sky so blue it looked Photo Shopped. We heard lots of frogs on the bank and I could count on one hand the number of other boats we saw or cars we heard.

Lovely time away from all the other “things” — absolutely lovely.

Lots of things have changed for us as we’ve adjusted to life as empty nesters in the past year. Our schedules have shifted and we’re finding ways to fill the hours (nights, weekends) that used to be focused on the kids and their things (not that we ever regret those days — it’s what makes parenting parenting). It’s nice to find new things to do together or get back to some things we enjoyed years ago.

Stepping away from the rest of the world and its busyness can be tough to do, but it’s vital for us physically, mentally and spiritually. We need time away by ourselves and time away with those closest to us.

Jesus got away – so we can, too.

After all, if Jesus could take time away from the world in the midst of His ministry, who am I to think I don’t need a break myself? Sometimes Jesus got away by Himself (such as in Matthew 12:22-23, Mark 1:35) and sometimes He took a few of His closest disciples with Him (such as in Mark 14:32-42).

In both situations, Jesus set the example and sent an important message: it’s okay to step away from the world to relax and recharge. No guilt necessary. 😊

I think it’s also important to pay attention to when Jesus carved out these getaway times. They often were after something monumental had happened, when He needed focused prayer time, or when He was on the brink of a decision or change.

Sound familiar? Those are the times when I need to step away, too – and maybe the same is true for you.

When you realize that time is needed, how do you recharge? Sometimes I go somewhere by myself, such as the Monastery of the Holy Spirit that’s not too far from our home. Other times it’s nice to go with someone. I’m glad I said “yes” to fishing on Sunday and “no” to the other things I could have done. Because guess what? Those other things still got done later.

Plus, I started the week in a better frame of mind after getting away for a while. I hope you make time to step away from the busyness in your world this week, too. What will you try?

 

Dear Lord, our days are so full of things to do, things to plan, things that fill our minds and keep us busy, busy, busy. Help us slow down. Help us step away to rejuvenate ourselves and to reconnect with You and the people we love. Because when we slow down, we’ll see You. When we see You, we’ll be changed. And that’s what we want. Amen.


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How a puzzle reminded me of what the Bible says about procrastination

Tomorrow — June 23 — is Typewriter Day, so I’d like to share the story of the typewriter jigsaw puzzle in my office. And, as silly as it seems, how that puzzle reminded me of what the Bible says about procrastination.

what the bible says about procrastinationAs soon as I saw the puzzle on the shelf at our local bookstore, I knew I would buy it. After all, I’m a writer and the puzzle is an old typewriter. I was so happy to find that puzzle and could picture it framed and hanging on my wall at work.

What I couldn’t picture was how long it would take for that to actually happen.

Putting the puzzle together took less time than I expected. We finished it in about three days, with all four of us pitching in at different times. Then the anxiety set in.

I had never glued and framed a puzzle. And this one was a bit intimidating as a starting point since it’s contoured instead of straight-edged and big — a bit more than 20 inches across. What if I messed something up when I glued it? Once I glued the front, what if it fell apart when I flipped it to glue the back?

I dealt with the anxiety by ignoring it. The puzzle lay on the dining room table for a couple weeks, until just before family came over to celebrate our son’s birthday. I slid a piece of posterboard under it and carefully relocated it to my office downstairs.

That typewriter puzzle claimed a spot on my office floor for weeks … then months … then more months. As embarrassing as it is to admit, it stayed on my floor for more than a year.

Yes, more than a year. All because I was afraid something would go wrong when gluing and then taking it to the frame shop.

What a silly reason to procrastinate! I wish I could claim procrastinating is unusual for me, but it’s easy to do for all sorts of things. Scheduling a doctor’s appointment. Cleaning out the fridge. Starting a new exercise or eating program. Getting back to church after watching online services for so many months. Carving out prayer time. The list goes on.

For some situations, procrastinating can seem valid because something really could go wrong. In other situations, though, all procrastinating does is create a roadblock that doesn’t have to be there.

What the Bible says about procrastinating

Of course, the Bible includes plenty of verses chiding people who procrastinate, even labeling those people as sloths, sluggards and lazy. Ouch! Here are a few of those verses (realizing I’m not digging into their full context here):

  • But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. (1 Corinthians 14:40)
  • Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. (Ecclesiastes 11:4)
  • If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. (James 4:17)
  • As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. (John 9:4)
  • One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys. (Proverbs 18:9)

It’s easy to agree that everything should be done “in a fitting and orderly way.” But to compare someone who slacks in their work to one who destroys? That’s a zinger.

We assign ourselves “to-do’s,” but some also come from God. While it’s clear that we need to do whatever work is in front of us, procrastinating on some things — like gluing and framing my typewriter puzzle — won’t necessarily make much difference in the big picture of life.

Procrastinating on the things we believe God wants us to do is more serious. Whatever those things might be, if God wants us to do them, He’ll show us how. We might not need to jump in and do everything overnight. But as long as we take small steps in that direction, God will help us keep moving where He wants.

We might even look back later and realize our procrastination was pointless. That’s what happened with my puzzle. I put several layers of glue on the front and nothing fell out of place when we flipped it. I put a couple more layers on the back and had no trouble getting it to Hobby Lobby. The framing department was having such a quiet day that they finished it while I wandered the store for a while (which is easy for me to do there!).

So, yes, the puzzle I procrastinated about for more than a year was mounted, framed and ready to take home less than an hour after I took it to the store. I hung it in my home office that afternoon instead of waiting to take it to work.

Now it’s a focal point that always makes me smile. And a constant reminder that the things that make me anxious — the things that tempt me to procrastinate — can sometimes be things that aren’t worth worrying about in the first place.

 

Lord, it’s so easy to put things off because we’re anxious about what might happen, but that’s crazy because we’re not the ones in control anyway. You’re the one in control and we’re so glad for it. Help us keep moving forward the way you want us to go instead of letting ourselves get bogged down by procrastination. Amen.


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Living in Faith, Monday Motivation, Scripture verses

Monday motivation: Finding God in the everyday things

We expect to find God in the celebratory places, the hard places, the “big” places of life. But He’s also right there in the middle of all the other regular world things: grocery shopping and laundry folding and driving to work.

I love this quote from Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries — a reminder that God is in the little things, too. Once we start paying attention, start looking for Him in the little things, we remember that everything that surrounds us is His and that because it is His, it is holy.

For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. (Hebrews 3:4)

And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:17)

This week I want to find God in the small, regular places instead of just the big ones. I hope you can find Him there, too.


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