Cabin Fever

I have cabin fever in a big way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m obviously extremely grateful for these weeks I’ve had with Gracelyn Rae as she has stolen my heart. The quality time with Jamie and even with my good dog Mo is not something I want to take for granted. But man I still want to get back to a routine.

I enjoy doing, going, living, acting. I don’t enjoy resting. Vacations are hard for me, as my mind runs forward to what’s after we get back. Days off are difficult for me, as I think through the to do list that looms over me when I’m back at work.

I’ve confessed on these blogs before my workaholic nature, and it certainly shows itself in my seeming inability at times to rest.

So, after two weeks of paternity leave followed by poor weather keeping me indoors, I think the Lord is trying to teach me something.

He’s wanting to teach me how to rest in Christ in a way that makes me productive for the Kingdom rather than burnt out all the time.

I think that our modern churches are full of people who like me struggle when it comes to finding rest. We scroll, scroll, scroll, and numb ourselves with tons of entertainment at our fingertips. We rest by spending hours of TikTok or Facebook, binge-watching Netflix, listening to tons of podcasts. And by keeping our minds ‘on’ all the time, we prevent ourselves from truly resting.

Jesus extends to us an invitation to allow our souls to find rest in Him. Jesus extends to us an invitation to turn off from the world and all its noise, to sit in His presence and enjoy the good things of this world for His glory and our good.

Nancy Guthrie puts it this way, when describing this theme in the storyline of Scripture:

Even in Eden, history was headed somewhere. It was headed toward an unending, all-satisfying rest in the presence of God.

From the beginning of human history, we have been invited into rest that is Christ-centered. We must fight back against the ways of this world we live in. We must take intentional action to renew ourselves in Scripture and in the ways of Jesus.

For me this week, it meant turning my phone off at 8 PM for a couple days. This seems so simple and easy yet it was difficult to do. When I did so though, my last hours awake were spent enjoying God, prayerfully meditating on His Word, enjoying the gifts that He has given me. The to do lists could wait. The work responsibilities could wait. In those hours, I had rest.

I don’t know what it may look like for you to learn to rest in Christ. I would encourage you to prayerfully consider ways that you can fight back against the indoctrination of our world, ways that you can set your mind on things above.

Trust me, the cabin fever is still real (in part because we were created for community). I still anticipate getting back out into routines and rhythms.

Yet in this week ahead, with a winter storm bearing down on us, I hope to rest in Christ.

In His Name,

Nathan Roach

Winter Snow

It’s hard to get into the Christmas season when it’s over seventy degrees outside, but I’ve still kept trying. Last night after church I cleaned around my home and then put up the small amount of Christmas decorations that I have. I’ve got a four foot tree, some garland, one wreath, and one string of lights. I’m incredibly grateful for these decorations that honestly some anonymous Christmas elf left at my door yesterday afternoon. 24302092_1519994381451567_5764404658296458904_o.jpg

I enjoyed several hours of Christmas music and reading and reflecting on the Christmas story. Later in the evening I went outside, and just down the road from me is a house that is stunning in its decorations. Thousands and thousands of lights pepper their lawn and home and shed. Their lawn is full of incredible life-size decorations and nativity scenes. To make this even more impressive, the lights are set to music you can listen to via car radio. It is an amazing feat of patience and ingenuity considering my twenty minutes of decorating had me ready to be done.

As I reflect on the amazing light show down the street compared to my modest living room decorations, it reminds me of the beauty and enchantment of the Christmas story.

God became a man. The God who is right now being praised on his throne by the angelic hosts and saints of old (including family members and friends who have gone before me) stepped down off his throne and became a man. He left glory and entered the muck and mire of our world. The King of the Cosmos becomes an infant babe born to a poor teenage woman in a manger. He didn’t show up with fanfare, He showed up unnoticed. What in the world.

Earlier today during my lunch break I was reading Revelation 19:1-10 and while I certainly do not fully understand what in the world is going on in this passage, I do understand that what this passage says about God is oh so true.

Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, – Revelation 19:1

Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. – Revelation 19:6b

The God from whom comes salvation, glory, and power. The God who reigns. The Almighty God. The Lord God. God became a man.

Now if you’re like me, you’ve heard the Christmas story many, many times. But have you paused to consider the wonder of it? God became a man. And he didn’t show up in great hoopla and power. He didn’t show up in awe-inspiring glory that made the whole world fall to its knees in fear and trembling. He could have showed up in a way that got everyone’s attention like a light show that you can see from blocks away. He could have. He didn’t.

Instead, he came as a little child. He came as a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Instead he came like a handful of lights in a living room. He came in such a way that the nations didn’t notice. Shepherds noticed only because the heavenly hosts drew their attention to Him. To the world He created, He was just another baby born to a young couple.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. – Philippians 2:5-7

Jesus is God. But He made Himself nothing by taking on the form of a servant in the likeness of man. Paul David Tripp unpacks this reality much more beautifully than I could:

God would take on human flesh and invade his sin-broken world with his wisdom, power, glory, and grace. But he wouldn’t descend to a palace. Instead, the Lord Almighty, the Creator, the sovereign King over all things would humble himself and take on the form of servant; he would live on our behalf the life we could have never lived, he would willingly die the death that you and I deserve to die, and he would rise from his tomb as the conquerer of sin and death. – Paul David Tripp 

He didn’t come like a hurricane, a fire, a tidal wave, or an earthquake. He came like a winter snow, gently and quietly.

Here’s three quick ways to cherish this reality and apply this to your own life this Christmas season:

  1. Look inI’ve written about this at length last week, but our minds and hearts are being formed by what we feed our eyes and ears. In this Christmas season, put away the media and technology for at least an hour before bed, giving yourself the time to reflect upon and meditate on the wondrous story of the birth of Jesus. Read the Scriptures, listen to music, put on a fire, and let your heart and mind be formed by Jesus and not the hubbub of our consumeristic culture. Acknowledge where you need to grow spiritually. It will pay off big time for you in the end.
  2. Look out. There is a world in need right outside your door, and it is my belief that God is at work in the nations in ways that we are too distracted to see. God is at work here in Vernon, Texas, and I simply don’t notice at times. So look out and see Him at work. We can also look out by remembering Christ came in humility, to serve. He could have come in justice, to reign (one day He will). Because of that, we can look out for people who are in need, and strive to serve them with the love of Christ.
  3. Look up. Gaze up at the stars sometime during this Christmas season. Absolutely go and look at Christmas lights, but also look further up. Nothing humbles me faster than looking way up in the sky and remembering just how teeny tiny I am and how magnificent and mighty God is. Revelation 19:4 tells us that Jesus is seated on the throne. Right now heavenly hosts and saints of old are giving him the praise that he deserves. Look up and join their magnificent chorus.

Make this Christmas about more than just gifts. Make it about Christ.

In His Name,

Nathan Roach

I appreciate any and all feedback and you can follow my blog below. Please give this a share if you enjoyed it!

iHeart

For the last year or so I’ve had a growing disdain for all things technological. Let me rephrase that. I’ve had a growing disdain for the way I’ve allowed myself to be controlled by all things technological. So, as of two short days ago, I’ve begun trying to implement strategies so that my foolish self won’t be so prone to addiction to these tiny boxes of information we call smart phones. iphone-addiciton

So I bought an alarm clock.

You see, that was my go to excuse for having my phone in my bed. I needed it as an alarm. Now that argument is invalid.

For the last two evenings, I’ve enjoyed honestly tremendous freedom, tremendous peace and rest with my Creator. I know it sounds somewhat laughable, but putting my phone up before bed and until after I shower in the mornings has been like a mini retreat of sorts.

I’m far from there when it comes to setting aside technology for rest. But I am glad to be making steps in the right direction.

Not every one will come to the same conclusions about technology. My purpose for this blog post is not to tell you guys to become more like me. Because that would be stupid, because I can be stupid. Instead, I’m wanting us all as a community of faith to consider our rhythms, routines, and habits. We rarely stop and consider in our culture why we do the things we do. I’ve only recently begun to stop and consider my technological habits.

Why should we as followers of Christ consider our habits?

This passage (among many):

How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word. I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander from your commands. I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You. – Psalm 119:9-11

Here’s the deal. It all starts with the heart when it comes to our walk with the Lord.

H.B. Charles Jr. says it like this:

The matter of the heart is usually the heart of the matter.

Solomon would say it like this:

Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life. – Proverbs 4:23

Our hearts are the center of our intellect, emotions, and volition. From our hearts springs all of our thoughts, emotions, and actions. Because of this, we must protect it. Because of this, we must guard it. And oh my goodness no this has little to do with dating or courting, it has everything to do with what we fill our hearts with throughout the day. Scripture tells us our hearts are wicked. Naturally, left to our own devices, apart from Christ, we have wicked and ugly hearts. Now when I spend hours a day on social media and/or Netflix, which most of the time aren’t honoring a Biblical worldview, then it’s no wonder my heart strays into broken thinking and ungodly actions.

Here’s the deal.

I’m a moron. To be honest, you kinda are too (I understand if you check out here).

We are all prone to depart from what we know is right. We are all prone to abandon Scriptural beliefs for cultural ones.

Look back at the passage from Psalm 119. Do you want to live a pure life? This means much more than just sexual purity. This means holistically applying the Bible to all of your life. Do you desire that? Then keep His Word. How do we keep His Word if we don’t spend time in it?

I imagine a day where I’m devoting all of my down time to growing closer to the Lord through prayer, Scripture memory, Bible study, and family worship.

Now, God gave us good things. He gave us hobbies and ways to unwind at the end of the day. Here’s the question though. Is it beneficial for you?

 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. – 1 Corinthians 6:12

This blog post is not intended to be anti-media or anti-entertainment. It is rather intended to be pro-spiritual growth. So we need to each ask ourselves what hobbies and habits are beneficial for our individual spiritual growth.

That means that for me, I can’t have my phone in bed at night or in the morning. I can’t. You can. You may very well have way more self-control than me and be able to not spend hours on it between the sun setting and the sun rising. But for me, I’m not disciplined enough. It is not sinful to have my phone in my bed, but I find myself mastered by it and thus it is not beneficial.

Look one more time with me at Psalm 119:10.

I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander from your commands. – Psalm 119:10

Devotion and humility.

That is what it takes to cling to Christ and grow spiritually. The Psalmist seeks God with all his heart, with deep devotion. In the same breath though he humbly acknowledges His need for Christ to cling to him. Don’t let me wander from your commands.

Let this be our prayer as followers of Christ. Let us seek Christ with devotion. Let us acknowledge that we need him to hold us tight, to keep us from straying.

Here’s a novel idea for all of us. It’s difficult to stray from Him when you’re focused on communing with Him each day. Hide His word in your heart.

My last rant is about the rat race. Don’t get caught up in it. We behave unconsciously via what we’re told is the way to behave. That’s why the thought of even putting my phone up at night before two days ago made me feel like a crazy person. Don’t listen to the culture at hand, cling to Christ.

Seek Him.

God’s Word teaches us all we need to live well.

In His Name,

Nathan Roach

I appreciate any and all feedback, and you can follow my blog below. Lastly, if you enjoyed this blog, please give it a share on Facebook!