Do you live by the way you feel or by the Word of God? As we enter the season of Lent, God’s love being so great that He sent His Son as a sacrifice for our sins and His Word so true that His promises are still in place for you and me should take precedence in our hearts and minds.
Living by the way we feel can bring calamity our way. Just ask Peter! His deep love for Jesus caused him to rise up in the garden and angrily slash the soldier’s ear. Jesus cautioned with the Word, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.
Prior to Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, He asked His disciples to watch and pray as He talked with His Father. Jesus’ hour of prayer caused Him to sweat drops of blood, ask if the cup could be removed, was strengthened by an angel, and in agony – prayed even more earnestly. Then, He rose up from prayer and went to His disciples to find them sleeping.
He said, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray lest you enter into temptation.”
If you watched The Passion of Christ, reflect on how you felt as Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, endured inhumane treatment on His journey to the cross. The gruesome scene of Jesus being chained to a pole and beaten almost beyond recognition rises up in my mind often. His heartbroken mother watched her son carry his cross to the hill where the Word of God prevailed – piece by painful piece. When darkness covered the earth, the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two, Jesus cried out with a loud voice.
“Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”
The rest of the Easter story stirs deep rooted love and joy as Jesus fulfills the Word as recorded in God’s Word. Though we know the details and quote the scripture of the Easter story, being intentional during the season of Lent to read our Bibles, study the Word, and spend time praying as Jesus taught by example can make us feel much closer to Christ and strongly grounded in the Word of God.
Making time for family devotion and prayer at home can change the way we live. There is power when we come together – without interruptions — to focus on family and faith. Children, parents, and grandparents are hungry for quality time together with loved ones. Often, family meals are eaten in shifts, without interaction due to electronics and other distractions, and hurried due to overextended schedules. Spending little quality time together with the Lord and loved ones leaves family members hungry for sharing how they feel and being strengthened by the Word.
Recently, I shared a special family night with dear friends made family by choice. I was in awe as we shared a meal, movie, and a whole lot of love in their home. Throughout the night, you could feel the sweet spirit of Jesus and see His Word living out loud in each family member’s words and actions. The parents made a covenant to protect their family night, which meant saying ‘no’ to speaking engagements, invitations to dinner with friends, ballgames, and many other enticing things that separate the family unit during dinner hour, after dinner fellowship, and preparation for bedtime, when it is so important for our children to pray with their parents and feel their love when the lights are turned out and the covers pulled close to their precious little faces. As children grow and go, tucking them in isn’t reality. Yet, when we train them up in the way they should go, our children will not depart. They will always remember how they felt growing up in the home parents provided and the Word that was honored, taught, and lived within the walls of home sweet home.
Tim and I began a tradition of kneeling beside our bed and saying The Lord’s Prayer together on our honeymoon. Our special prayer time continued as our family grew. Cameron and Clint knew how we felt about Jesus and God’s Word. There were times when our prayers ended in laughter as Tim would squeeze the boys’ hands or bend their fingers until they surrendered. When one of us had commitments; our prayers were completed but hurried. Carving out time to purposefully read the Word and share prayer time can be difficult. Yet, we are charged to train up our children to love the Lord and to treat people the way they want to be treated. Instilling the importance of praying together during the weeks when our little boys were growing into young men, showed how their parents felt. When we gather together today, we always hold hands and pray. During Christmas, I kneeled one night to say my prayers and felt a hand on my shoulder. Having my son praying beside his mother was a gift given that was greater than silver or gold.
James and I embraced the joy of praying together also. We looked forward to our daily time of sharing the Word and our prayers before heading to work and before hopping in bed. My sweetest memories and what I miss most are times James and I shared talking about God’s blessings and lifting our thankful hearts to Him with praise and prayer.
Living by the Word instead of how we feel makes for happier, healthier individuals and closely connected, caring families. Feeling of hurt, unhappiness, and hatefulness can ruin our destiny. When our feelings show love, joy, peace, and kindness grounded in God’s Word, we get God’s attention and enjoy our journeys!
Becky Spell Vann is the owner of Tim’s Gift.