One of the Ten Commandments was to “remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.” As Christians, we are always saying the Ten Commandments are still a necessary part of God’s Law that we should keep. So, why do the vast majority of Christians have their “day of rest” on Sunday when the Sabbath God set up for His people was Saturday? Are we really saying to keep only nine of those Ten Commandments? Are we being too creative with God’s word? What should we learn from the fact that there is no New Testament Scripture that officially moves the Sabbath to Sunday? Is the “rest” of a Christian different than the “rest” referred to in the Jewish Law? Are Christians required to cease from all work on their Sabbath?
Life can be a real challenge when we are pressed by personal anxiety or depression. These things can not only burden our days, they can constrict and suffocate our very moments. As difficult as living is under these circumstances, think about the overwhelming confusion anxiety and depression would bring to a child. They begin to see the world through eyes of fear and uncertainty. They lose interest in things that used to excite them and have no idea why this is happening or what to do about it. They withdraw, they lash out and they feel alone. Anxiety and depression in kids is a real thing. It is far more common than we would like to think. For parents, it is a fearful and confusing issue of life. How do we deal with it and try to understand it? How do we become the best parents possible to help our children to cope?
Everyone at times in their life feels anxiety. Sometimes it is a simple reaction to having to do or say something that we would rather avoid. Other times it is a more powerful reaction that lingers and may even cause us interrupted sleep or a lack of focus. These are feelings of anxiety. They are common and they are solvable. The big issue comes when the anxiety we face becomes a crippling and exhausting current of fear. It sweeps us off our feet and pulls us away from our normal routines with an overwhelming riptide-like intensity. For some of us this anxiety can last for months, years or a lifetime. For a Christian, the piercing questions that may arise from this are, where is my reliance on God? Does my crippled response to this fear prove my faith to be nothing more than words? Am I a hypocrite? Hard questions like these deserve strong and decisive answers and today we will find them! We have a special interview with Kylie Odetta on this program!
For many of us, daily life is a secret struggle. Some of us go through the motions of our daily routines while inwardly carrying overwhelming fear and anxiety. We don’t want to share what we feel as it is not only embarrassing, it is impossible to describe. For others of us, even our daily routines at times are themselves overwhelming. We feel as though we are thoroughly alone and relegated to a place of gloom and darkness. There seems to be no answer. Often it feels like there is no hope. I am describing anxiety and depression. While these challenges are incredibly common, they are also incredibly misunderstood. As Christians, we face these kinds of issues just like everyone else. The question is, what do we expect? Do we expect our faith to be like a magic pill that can make things better? Do we expect ourselves to be diminished in God’s eyes because we can’t “feel” our faith? What does God expect? What is possible for us to expect?
As Christians, we are clearly taught to live our lives in harmony with God’s will and His ways by following in the footsteps of Jesus. We all know this challenge is one we can never fulfill with perfection. We all have experienced failure along these lines. Because we are imperfect, God expects us to fail, and yet He blesses us. Does this mean He accepts us as we are? Does this mean our sinful thoughts and actions can actually be sources of blessing? How many times have you made mistakes in judgment or action, and through the experience seen God’s blessing and providence come through? How do we properly interpret our experiences to reflect what God is blessing us for and what He is leading us through?
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc. The virus itself is bad enough, but for most of us the havoc comes from what has been put in place to keep it from spreading. Jobs have been lost, social, religious and family gatherings are all on hold. We are supposed to just stay home. It feels like we have had enough. Boredom, restlessness, anxiety and depression are becoming our daily companions. Our personal desperation will likely continue to increase, as there is no clear-cut pathway yet revealed to ending this chapter of life. What do we do? As Christians, how do we manage the rules that hinder our worship? The over abundance of editorialized information? The isolation, the anxiety and the fear that drags on? Let’s take a few steps back and put all these things in order so we can have a plan and work that plan!
Easter Sunday is a widely celebrated holiday. It is a day that represents life. For Christians, it represents life in its highest form because it is about the resurrection of Jesus. It is far too easy to lose the deep meaning of Jesus’ sacrifice and victory in the commotion and fanfare of Easter eggs, the Easter Bunny and Easter chocolate. As Christians, we know Jesus’ resurrection was a world-changing experience, but was it a personal, life-changing experience for me? How does the fact of Jesus being in heaven again with God affect me every day? To trace the kind of changes his resurrection can have on us, we need to look at the kind of effect it had on some who were there and experienced it first-hand. What did they see? What did they change?
Jesus is our hero. His example, his teachings, his works and his faithfulness are absolutely legendary. They provide a flood of inspiration for anyone who would want it. To think of Jesus as being troubled in mind seems to be completely contrary to what we think of our Savior. After all, the book of Hebrews says he was "holy, innocent, undefiled and separated from sinners." How could he have anxiety? The fact is, there were three recorded instances in his life where he was troubled. Were these experiences a show of weakness or doubt? Did Jesus have some flaw we never talk about? No and no! What these experiences do show us is the amazing fortitude, courage and godliness of the man Christ Jesus.
Social distancing. Three months ago, if you heard that term you may have thought it was describing someone who was a loner or someone who swore off social media. Now we not only all know what it means, we feel its meaning and it is frightening. I was in the grocery store today, and on the floor of the line for self-checkout, there were tape lines six feet apart so shoppers could more easily avoid contact. The Coronavirus – COVID-19 - has arrived. It is potent, fearsome and sneaky. Because of its presence the entire world has been altered socially and economically in a matter of a few months. As Christians, what are we supposed to do with this pandemic? What should we know, how should we act and most importantly, is this virus connected to God’s plan?