Beach season is upon us! Perhaps your family plans to head off for your annual “chill-out” or should I say, “burn-out” since the hot winds of the seaside are hardly conducive to chilling. Although I do believe burn-out is what we are each trying to escape or avoid or come out of (whichever may be the case in any given year). Even when funds are low, Chuck insists that we need this week of refreshment. Who am I to argue? So days ahead, we begin pulling out buried goggles, boogie boards, beach towels, and swimsuits.
Every year, my dear husband reminds me to purchase 50+ sunscreen even though he wears a long-sleeve shirt and a baseball cap with a large bandana attached to the back into the ocean. He looks more like he's part of a caravan traveling by camel-back through the hot, dry desert than merely jumping into the waves for some afternoon fun. Generally speaking, when my beach beauty daughters see him sauntering down the sand toward the ocean in his more than unusual garb, they look the other way or bury their heads in a magazine. I simply smile and say, "Isn't he cute? Gotta love him!" They sigh and apply more sun lotion to their already brown, baked bodies. Perhaps someday we girls will see the wisdom of the man in our lives with his hanky laden cap bobbing up and down in the water. At least we know how to locate him.
Indeed, for our family, the "beach week" is a time to kick back, be free, and experience individual and family delights, whether it's reading a good book, playing a round of golf, shopping at Bare Foot Landing, or playing Marco Polo in the pool. It is a time to refresh, relax, reflect, and regroup. But with the freedom comes a sense of foreboding that Satan is lurking behind some dark corner ready to snatch us by the throat and draw us in to some hidden temptation.
That is exactly why each year we covenant together to request the honor of Jesus' presence at our vacation. Not that He isn't there with us already through the Spirit that lives within; He most definitely is there, but we find it helpful to verbally ask Him to make us AWARE of His presence. It is far too easy to give in to subtle and not-so-subtle pressures to conform to society's agenda when sunbathing on the beach or viewing billboards along the road. When we ask Jesus to take us by the hand while strolling down the beach, we are far more apt to guard our hearts and heads and thwart those temptations that walk past.
Here are some helpful ways to include Jesus on your vacation.
*B eware of Satan's tactics. Don't let your guard down just because it's time to relax. Remember Satan never goes on vacation.
*E at in moderation. Resist the urge to woof down every delicacy in sight. It only brings regret later as you try to work off accumulated pounds.
*A sk Jesus to shield your eyes, protect your thoughts, guard your heart, and guide your steps. The Psalmist, a man speaking from experience, once said, "I will set no worthless thing before my eyes"(Psalm 101:3). Wise advice.
*C ommit your way unto the Lord. Ask Him to open doors of witness for you. Pass out tracts at each gas station. Leave one with a tip at restaurants. Listen to people in the elevators to discover spiritual hunger. If you ask for an open door, God will provide one. Watch for the door.
*H elp people in need along the way as God prompts you to do so. Be polite and courteous to others in the parking lot. Take turns at the pool shower. Little deeds of kindness can lead to a greater witness. Remember, we never take a vacation from the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
This vacation, whether you're headed to the beach, the mountains, or around the corner for a cool soda, invite Jesus to come along. You'll have the time of your life!
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