Award-winning author Amy C. Blake is a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mother of four. She has an M.A. in English from Mississippi College and has written articles, devotionals, and short stories for a number of publications. You can connect with her on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter. She’d love for you to visit her website at amycblake.com for tips on homeschooling, advice for the rookie pastor’s wife, and helps for the Christian life. You can also find more information on her website about her novels–Whitewashed, Colorblind, and The Trojan Horse Traitor.
7 Ways to Maximize the Gift of the Lord’s Day
by Amy C. Blake
God’s commandment for us to keep the Sabbath isn’t about squeaking in the minimum required time at church on Sunday. God wants more, and in return, He promises great blessings. Here are some ways we can maximize the gift of the Lord’s Day:
• Show up. Yes, the Sabbath is a day of rest, but that doesn’t mean we ought to sleep in and skip church. When we show up for Bible Study, Worship, and other activities with God’s people, God promises great benefits, including the greatest blessing of all, His presence with us.
• Participate. Showing up is necessary, but it isn’t enough. If we’re snoozing on the back pew during Worship Service or texting during Sunday School, we’re not learning what God wants to teach us. To get the most out of church, we need to take an active part in whatever’s going on. We should sing during song time, listen during teaching and preaching time, discuss during discussion time, pray during prayer time, and talk with others during fellowship time.
• Give cheerfully. Part of the blessing of the Lord’s Day is offering back to God a portion of whatever allowance or pay we’ve been given. If we can’t give ten percent with a good attitude, we should figure out what we can give with joy and do so faithfully. On the other hand, if we can give more than ten percent cheerfully, then we should do that.
• Use our gifts. God gave every Christian at least one talent to use for His church. When we look for ways to use our gifts, we get the pleasure of serving others in the congregation. Also, when we do the jobs we’re equipped for, we’re not leaving the burden of those jobs to somebody who wasn’t gifted to do them.
• Don’t grumble. Remember what happened when God delivered the children of Israel from Egypt, and all they did was grumble about the good things God did for them? They died after wasting their lives wandering in the wilderness when they could’ve lived fulfilled lives in the Promised Land. When we spend our time at church gossiping and complaining rather than worshiping and learning, we miss out on God’s blessings. In fact, we may just be earning God’s judgment instead.
• Appreciate our leaders. God gave us teachers, elders, deacons, youth workers, and pastors to help us get the most good out of the Lord’s Day and to help us continue living God’s way throughout the week. If we learn a lot from a particular Bible Study, it encourages our teacher when we say so. If a particular youth activity was really fun for us, we should thank our youth minister for planning it. We can also send the occasional card, text message, or email saying how much we appreciate the hard work our church leaders put in for the good of the church.
• Thank God. When we keep the Sabbath the way God commands, we see more and more clearly what a great gift the Lord’s Day is. Cherishing the Sabbath makes us want to praise God still more for His goodness to us.
Eighteen-year-old Christy Kane has always been Daddy’s princess. But on the first day of her music internship at his mega-church, reporters shatter her world with terrible news: Daddy’s had an affair with the church preschool director. Christy feels as betrayed by God as the man she’s always considered Prince Charming.
When Mom sends her to Buckeye Lake to help with Aunt Jo’s School of Music and Dance in the restored Pier Ballroom, Christy’s problems only increase. First, the ballroom sits on Buckeye Lake, making her face her greatest fear—water. Second, she must help lead a handful of semi-talented volunteers, who harbor racial tensions and mysterious underlying antagonisms, in a professional quality performance for the Grand Reopening of the ballroom. The stakes are high—Aunt Jo will lose the place if they fail. Third, Christy discovers a diary written by Lillian, who lived near Buckeye Lake in the 1920s, and becomes intrigued by the stories of thousands coming to play at the amusement parks and dance in the ballrooms. But her interest soon turns to concern as tragic events from the diary happen in Christy’s world, ninety years to the date of their first occurrence.
Between her shattered past, her uncertain future, and her dangerous present, Christy doesn’t know where to turn. Does Daddy’s God really exist? If so, does He care enough to rescue her?