Rest Day Survey Results

Not long ago, I asked my friends to complete a totally anonymous survey about taking a rest day each week. First of all, thank you to the 58 friends who filled out my survey. I value your input.

Here are the results:

Do you take one day off each week?

  • Yes. 52%
  • No. 16%
  • Sometimes. 33%

If you do NOT take a day off, why not? (37 answered this question.)

  • No time. I work full-time and work at home when not working outside the home. 14%
  • I work seven days a week. 5%
  • I never really thought about taking a day off. 8%
  • Other. 73%
  • Comments:
  1. I am a housewife. How do you take a day off? We go out to eat on Sundays but Sunday is the biggest day as far as other activities.
  2. Needs often come up to change my schedule.
  3. I haven’t figured out how to take a day off from household duties. Hubby doesn’t take a day off.
  4. We try to take a day off … but one phone call can change that—and usually does.
  5. We don’t have a set day off, but we try to have some down time one or two afternoons a week.
  6. We do what we can’t on Saturday, if it needs to be done immediately.
  7. Sometimes something comes up in the ministry that does not allow me to take a day off.
  8. We usually work/do ministry at least a part of every day. We take time away for doctor appointments or to have meals with friends periodically.
  9. Too busy with homeschooling and ministry.
  10. Minstry schedule does not usually allow for a full day off. I try for a half day once a week, and the occasional full day when I can.
  11. We have not been intentional about it or sticking with it.
  12. It depends on what needs to be done.
  13. This rarely happens, but some weeks get so demanding with what others need that I can’t find one. I do sometimes try to keep half a day restful if this is the case.
  14. We try to take days off but there is always something that interrupts
  15. Mostly I do, but there are occasions that my job does not allow me a day off.

If you DO take a day off, which day is it?

  • Monday 40%
  • Tuesday 10%
  • Wednesday no one
  • Thursday 2%
  • Friday 10%
  • Saturday 14%
  • Sunday 25%

Do you believe that the Sabbath Day command in the Ten Commandments is for today?

  • Yes. 57%
  • No. 32%
  • I hadn’t thought about it. 11%

Answer only if you are in a ministry family: do you take a different day off, since Sundays are very busy for you? (46 answered this question.)

  • Yes. 74%
  • No. 7%
  • Sometimes. 20%

If you do NOT regularly take a day off, how do you rest? (36 answered this question.)

  • We take short holidays. 28%
  • We enjoy our vacation once or twice a year. 17%
  • Other. 56%
  • Comments:
  1. I do not feel like I am overworked. Our ministry is quite small. I feel like this survey is better given to the husband than the wife. The problem, of course, is that, “What is work?” Is doing laundry work? Is answering a personal message work? Is asking someone on social media how their dog is doing work?
  2. Daily rest periods and Sunday afternoon naps.
  3. Try to take one day off but if the day has to be changed I can’t go too long without some alone time.
  4. I take rests on days I feel overwhelmed. Take a nap read a book watch a movie.
  5. Rest at home.
  6. (A foreign missionary) We don’t rest enough and came back to the States this furlough completely exhausted.
  7. I try to take a couple of hours here and there. Sometimes I sleep in so I can get caught up.
  8. We take half day breaks as necessary to do errands or appointments. We also have a coffee out at least once a week.
  9. By staying at home.
  10. We take a half-day on Monday and half-day on Friday, which allows my husband to answer necessary correspondence or “clean up” issues from Sunday on Monday morning, and then we do something as a family. We mostly have a four-day homeschool week but we do math and English on Monday morning while Daddy is “working.” We do usually sleep in, have brunch and dinner only, and take a relaxed approach to the day. Also regarding the sabbath question we observe it as a command to rest and cease from our everyday labors, but it’s not always the same day or a 24-hour period. It does include fixing meals and such, but I try to avoid other housework like laundry and bills and shopping.
  11. I do take short vacations. And Saturday evening through Sunday evening, I try to have the Internet off and not be doing prep work for ministry. I might be teaching Sunday School on Sunday morning or doing something with ladies Bible Study on Saturday, but all my studying and printing etc. will be done ahead to not be last-minute frenetic, to set my heart ready for church. I (usually) do not go on social media during that time. If I were elsewhere, it would be more feasible to have a full Internet fast, but needing the Internet for communications, and with different time zones, I don’t adhere to that. But I do not actively seek out online recreation/time.
  12. Although I do take a day off from ministry related work, my day “off” is spent doing laundry, housework, and grocery shopping. What is rest?
  13. Some weeks it’s Monday some weeks it’s Thursday. We try to have some down time each week.
  14. Sad to say, we don’t do much.
  15. We try to find days or moments here and there to rest, but dedicating an entire 24-hour period is very difficult in our cross-cultural ministry. We try to set reasonable boundaries, but when someone calls or texts or stops by and needs something, we don’t tell them that we can’t because it’s our day off. We honor Sundays as special days for service and worship, but Sundays are very busy and tiring for us most of the time. I don’t believe the actual laws for honoring the Sabbath are for today, but the principle of setting aside a day for worship and reflection/rest in the Lord still stands.
  16. Sit at home in quiet and read, take a book on a hike to get away, enjoy time with friends. (I’m single, so sometimes being around people is restful and calming for me.)
  17. We take a day off each week and a bit longer breaks a few times throughout the year.

As you can tell, my friends are all over the place on this question. Some take time off regularly, and some don’t. Many ministry friends are willing to change their schedule and go help people at the drop of a hat. Two asked the valid question, “What is rest?”

Well, what is rest?

The dictionary definition is: “cause (someone or something) to stop doing a particular activity or stop being active for a period of time in order to relax and get back your strength.” Cambridge Dictionary.

To me, the next important question is about the Sabbath rest. Is this a principle for today—or not?

I was brought up in a family that always attended church on Sundays. We also had several rules for that day. One was that it was usually spent at home and with some kind of rest. It might mean playing games with our grandparents, taking naps, or reading a book, but there was no raucous behavior permitted. From my junior high years on, we attended evening services at church, and that cut our afternoon time to a minimum, especially since we sang in the choir and had a practice before the service.

When I was in college, because of the demands of studies—many quizzes on Mondays—I found it hard to rest at all on Sundays.

As a newly married couple, my husband and I had to figure out our own preferences for Sunday. I remember being in a pastor’s home on a Sunday afternoon, and he turned on the TV to watch a football game. Neither my husband nor I had “indulged” in watching sports on Sundays before. My husband and I had a conversation about this afterwards.

Is it okay to do things on Sundays—or not?

Let’s look into the principle of the Sabbath rest in the Bible and see if we can come to some kind of a conclusion. Are you ready?

The Fourth Commandment says, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it (Exodus 20:8-11).

This is the Old Testament Law, and it explains exactly what was expected: people and even load-bearing beasts were expected not to work on the Sabbath Day—which was Saturday. It was a holy day, meant for worship.

Further, Exodus 31:15b says, whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

Let’s go to the New Testament now.

Matthew 12:1- tells the story of Jesus’ disciples plucking grain and eating it on the Sabbath. The Pharisees saw this and criticized them to Jesus for breaking the Jewish law and “working” on the Sabbath. Jesus answered them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day (verses 3-8). So, Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, and even in the Old Testament, there were times when people broke these laws but were blameless.

Matthew 12 continues to address this subject: And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him (Jesus), saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days (verses 10-12). Here, we see that Jesus says it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.

There was a blind man, and Jesus made clay and healed him on the Sabbath. Again, the Pharisees were critical. They said, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them (John 9:16; Complete story in verses 6-16).

After the resurrection of Jesus, believers began to gather for worship on the first day of the week, Sunday (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2).

The Apostle Paul addresses convictions about eating meat offered to idols and the Sabbath in Romans 14. I believe it’s important for us to know what the Bible says. (I’ll skip the part about food.) One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it…. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God (Romans 14:5-12).

What a concept! If you make Sunday a special rest day or if you don’t, you are responsible to God alone for your actions. No one should judge you whether you do or don’t. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

We find this same teaching in another passage: Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days (Colossians 2:16).

The truth is, everyone needs to rest, or they will burn out physically. It’s also true that the New Testament leaves it up to you how you observe Sundays and when you relax.

Thoughts?  Please feel free to comment.

Women of the Bible 9: Who am I?

I became a believer just beyond the city walls. There were regular services with Jewish God-fearing people, meeting beside the river on the Sabbath day. Women sat on one side, and men on the other. On this particular Sabbath, a teacher approached our women’s group, sat down, and clearly shared the good news of Jesus with us. I don’t exactly know how to explain it, but God opened my understanding. I felt so dirty and unworthy because of my sins. The way the teacher explained what Jesus did for me, I could only cry out to Him for my soul’s salvation.

My heart was unburdened in that moment. Joy and peace filled me, and I began to praise God. It wasn’t long before my whole household believed in Jesus as Messiah. I was baptized, and so were they.

I am fortunate to be a woman of means. Knowing Jesus makes me want to serve Him. One way I do this is by opening my spacious home to God’s servants. I began showing hospitality to the teacher who led me to Christ, along with those traveling with him.

When I opened my home and my heart, believe me, I received more from my visitors than I could ever have given. The talk around my table—teaching, laughter, sharing blessings and experiences—I learned so much from my new brothers and sisters in Jesus.

Not long after my decision to follow Christ, two of the teachers were jailed in my city. They were flogged and locked in a cell, their feet clamped in irons. They actually sang and praised God after experiencing that. Instead of bitterness, they demonstrated their joy in Jesus. That’s not all. These two men used the opportunity to preach to the other prisoners. Hurting and bleeding and not able to move, they cared for other peoples’ souls.

God honored their faithfulness and sent an earthquake. I felt it in my home. Water sloshed in the fountain, and a large oil jar tipped over and broke. Thankfully, there wasn’t a lot of oil in that pot, and that was the extent of it. Apparently, the earthquake inside the city was strong enough to free all the prisoners. The prison keeper saw that the gates were open and was about to kill himself, surmising that all had run away.

But the prisoners hadn’t left. They called out to the jailor. He was later saved when he listened to the gospel. When he invited the teacher to come to his home, the prison keeper’s family and household were saved—just as mine had been. The jailor washed the teachers’ stripes and cared for them.

Unfortunately, the governors expelled the teachers from our city. They lodged at my house outside the wall, where one of my servants tended to their physical needs until they were well enough to travel again. All the while, the teachers invited our church members into my home and comforted them. These men were suffering, yet they comforted others.

What a blessing it has been to host these men of faith!

Who am I?

Outside which city do I live?

I’m a working woman. What do I do for a living?

Who were the two teachers that went to jail?

What spiritual lesson can we learn from my story?

And, for added credit, do you think this biblical woman was married, a widow, or single–and why?

Fundamental rights

My country’s Constitution states, “all men are … endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”*

Today, I keep hearing about other “fundamental human rights,” such as:

  • freedom from slavery and torture
  • right to have an abortion
  • freedom of expression and opinion
  • freedom of movement
  • right to a fair trial
  • 4G Internet service
  • freedom of religion
  • right to work
  • LGBTQ etc. rights
  • right to education
  • freedom from discrimination
  • travelers’ rights
  • right to personal ownership
  • right to marriage and family

While many of these should be included in basic human rights, some shouldn’t for various reasons, for example: should all people of the earth expect 4G Internet service as a fundamental right? For many of us, we can only dream of fast Internet. Many of my friends live in third-world countries, where they’re fortunate to have electricity. Yet, I’ve never heard of the right to reliable electrical service or the right to clean water or the right not to have to soak veggies in a special solution. How about the right to nutritious food? I didn’t find that in anyone’s list.

Years ago, I read a book titled, Have We No Rights? by Mabel Williamson, who was a missionary in China. It is thought provoking. She discusses the issue of being willing to give up all personal rights for the spreading of the gospel. I decided both to agree and disagree with her.

The Apostle Paul referred to his rights as a Roman citizen, and we know Jesus and Peter paid taxes. God gives authority to governments.

Do Christians have fundamental rights?

I think so. We have the rights afforded to us by our government, companies, and laws worldwide. We have rights as citizens. Citizens can appeal to government leaders, embassies, and other entities and ask for protection and help. Persons can take matters to court, if need be.

We have rights as Christians, as well. The right to:

  • prayPray without ceasing (1 Thesalonians 5:17).
  • exercise our faithAnd herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men (Acts 24:16).
  • follow ChristAnd he (Jesus) said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me (Luke 9:23).
  • meet with others in a local churchNot forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is (Hebrews 10:25a).
  • give a personal testimony of God’s graceFor we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard (Acts 4:20).

Some governments prohibit a Christian’s owning a Bible and exercising one’s faith in public, especially meeting together with other believers. The Christian must then choose whether to obey God or man and, if necessary, pay the cost of non-compliance. About sharing the gospel, Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). We see examples of this all through the New Testament. Some paid the ultimate price. Hebrews says of those tortured, exiled, and killed for their faith: the world was not worthy (Hebrews 11:38a).

No one can take prayer and a relationship with the Lord from a Christian, since the Holy Spirit dwells in his heart. This intimacy between a believer’s heart and God is what being in Christ is all about.

A Christian also has the right to live his daily life to please God—every day. Whatever the cost, he can choose to obey the Lord.

Do Christians have rights?

Yes, I think so.

* Constitution of the United States.

An interview with suspense author, Adam Blumer

Adam Blumer is the author of three Christian suspense novels: Fatal Illusions (Meaningful Suspense Press); its sequel, The Tenth Plague (Kirkdale Press); and Kill Order (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). A print journalism major in college, he works full-time from home as a book editor after serving in editorial roles for more than twenty years. He lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with his wife, Kim, and his daughters, Laura and Julia.

Thank you for joining us on Walking in the Way.

Please tell my readers about your writing journey. How did you get started?

I’ve loved to write stories since I was a kid and studied novel writing in college. I completed five unpublished novels, mostly for youth, before I began Fatal Illusions, my first published novel, in the spring of 2002 in conjunction with a Writer’s Digest correspondence course on novel writing. In January 2006, literary agent Steve Laube, a well-known and respected voice in Christian fiction, responded enthusiastically to my book proposal and asked to see the entire manuscript. Of course, I was on cloud nine. Though he ultimately declined to represent me, he kindly gave me eight suggestions on how to make the novel publishable.

Energized, I followed his advice and got to work, but I still couldn’t find an agent or publisher. A year later, I contacted Kregel Publications, not about my novel but about opportunities to edit books from home. The managing editor noticed on my résumé that I had written several unpublished novels and asked to see my latest project. Kregel accepted it for publication in August 2007. God opened a door I never could have opened for myself.

What inspired you to write Kill Order?

My dad, Larry, passed away from brain cancer in 2011, and several aspects of his cancer journey kicked off the initial story idea. One key detail involved a medical procedure; the doctors agreed to remove as much of my dad’s brain tumor as possible and replace it with medicinal wafers intended to fight the existing cancer. My mind began playing the what-if game. What if the doctor implanted something else, something that could monitor or even control my dad’s life? The story’s premise grew from there.

What is the hardest part of the creative process of writing?

I rarely have difficulty coming up with story ideas and even an engaging premise, but getting from the beginning to the ending is a circuitous path that can sometimes come to dead ends. The hardest part of novel writing, in my opinion, is choosing the right path that comes out at the right ending. There are so many moving pieces and critical decisions along the way that the writer can become paralyzed, overcome by too many choices.

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

Authors write what they like to read. When I was a kid, I devoured Hardy Boys books—yes, even my sister’s collection of Nancy Drew. While growing up, I read Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks, Ray Bradbury, and Madeleine L’Engle. Eventually I gravitated to suspense fiction by authors like Frank Peretti, Terri Blackstock, and Mary Higgins Clark. I grew weary of whodunits and preferred suspense novels. I like novels that grab me around the throat, keep the pages turning, and never let go until the final period. Suspense novels filled with plenty of action and conflict captivate me like no other books I read, though I also have a fondness for good literature, fantasy, history, biography, true crime, and science fiction.

What was the hardest part about writing Kill Order? How long does it typically take you to write your novels?

The ending was tough to write. While I’m typically an organized plotter, I took off the training wheels on this one and let the story glide where it and the characters wanted to go. The journey became both fun but scary. I had the premise and some plot developments in place, but how the story concluded took more work than I expected.

I typically take at least a couple of years for the actual writing of the book. But that doesn’t count the time needed to shop the novel around through my agent and then wait on a publisher before and after the contract; the publishing wheel turns much more slowly than most readers realize. I wish I could write more quickly than that, but that’s the reality for me, since this isn’t my full-time gig.

Your branding indicates that you write “meaningful suspense.” What inspired you to write these kinds of thrillers and suspense novels? Also, I personally appreciate your “clean fiction guarantee.” Could you please share what inspired that as well?

I began reading Christian novels in junior high and soon gravitated to suspense. Back in the day, an inspirational thread was a staple in Christian fiction, and I believe a Christian novel can do more than simply entertain. These days many authors are leaning toward clean, moral stories but avoiding overt Christian content. I’m a believer that the inspirational content should stay (hence “meaningful suspense”). Books can encourage and even challenge readers’ thinking while taking them on a roller coaster of a ride. The “clean fiction guarantee” came about due to the rise of objectionable content in some Christian fiction. My fans were expressing disappointment due to content issues when they tried books by some Christian authors. I felt it was time to declare where I stood, and many readers have appreciated my guarantee.

I’m curious. Where is your favorite place to write?

I have been blessed with a wonderful home office. Though I often like to write in other locations, this is by far my favorite place. I can close the door, shut out life’s distractions, pray, and become immersed in my story. Now and then, if I need a break, I can glance out the window and delight in God’s creation.

What are you reading at the moment, and who are a few of your favorite authors and why?

I’m currently enjoying Mind Games by Nancy Mehl. I especially enjoy a good thriller, whether Christian or secular. Some of my favorite authors are Steven James, Terri Blackstock, Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, and Brandilyn Collins. I like how they weave story threads together and craft their scenes in ways that keeps the plot moving forward. Their books are great examples of what works in suspense writing. I learn so much simply by reading their novels.

Tell us what brings you joy as an author.

I love hearing from readers who went to work tired because they stayed up too late finishing one of my novels. If I kept them immersed in my story and entertained, that’s a score in my opinion.

Do you have any new writing projects on the horizon?

I’m almost finished with the first draft of the sequel to Kill Order and hope to have something ready for my agent sometime this fall.

Thank you, Adam, for sharing with my readers. I absolutely loved Kill Order and will be reviewing it on Walking in the Way in the near future. I’ve also enjoyed your other two books. Most of all, I appreciate your dedication to clean books with a Christian tone. This one is your best yet, and I can hardly wait to read its sequel.

Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my writing life.

You can buy a copy of Kill Order at:

Paperback:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1645261867/
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kill-order-adam-blumer/1132572349?ean=9781645261865
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas: https://www.shoplpc.com/product/kill-order/

Kindle E-book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VRSPGMN/

You can connect with Adam at his website: http://www.adamblumerbooks.com/ as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Instagram.

The real problems with mass murderers

Serial killers, mass shooters, knife attackers, bombers, and suicide killers have several things in common.

  • I have read that all use drugs.
  • Most are from homes without a father.
  • They are subjected to some kind of hate information—online, influencers, or in their communities. They are encouraged to carry out attacks, whether actively or generally, through vicious ideologies.
  • Many of the young people committing these crimes train beforehand on video games or in actual physical training grounds.
  • They plan their attacks in detail.
  • Almost all leave behind some kind of evidence that exhibits hatred for their targets. They show an obsession against a group of people.

I don’t want to get into a debate about guns or knives or the means of carrying out these attacks. We don’t seriously believe machetes or kitchen knives are to blame any more than we do the innert materials that go into explosives. So, we’ll leave aside a discussion of weapons in this post.

The sad patterns listed above combine to give us a portrait of a mass murderer. He takes drugs, listens to hate language, and trains himself to kill people.

The root problem, though, is his heart.

I don’t think for one minute that if we erradicated illegal drug use, made sure everyone had a father figure in his life, shut down the dark web, and cleaned up video games—all of these virtually impossible—that we would never have another mass killing in the world. It would be helpful if some of these things were done, but it would not change the fact that there will always be evil people intent on doing harm to others.

Why is there evil?

We only have to read Romans 5. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (verse 12).

That one man was the first man on earth, Adam. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression (14a).

I’m so thankful it doesn’t end there. Read these verses of hope: But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (15, 19-21).

If we could reach young men and women with the gospel—the good news of forgiveness and eternal life available through Jesus Christ—hearts would be changed. Changed hearts result in changed actions. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).

I don’t believe that all who hear the gospel will accept the Lord. My opinion is that that we go about trying to fix society’s worst problems in the dumbest ways. Blaming items on the list won’t help.

Only Jesus can change people’s hearts. That is everyone’s biggest need.