Tag Archives: rest

Rest Defined and Learned

Rest: The manipulation and deception of the body into a position where exhaustion takes over with a result of sitting still or falling asleep, only to arise in a state of guilt and frustration later for the “wasted time.”

That’s my warped definition of rest.

It’s only been lately that I’ve come to the realization about how very little I rest. And by rest I don’t mean my warped definition, but that of the Lord Jesus Christ who said in Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Prior to that verse He had chastised cities where He had done great works, but there was no repentance (vs. 21-24) But then His conversation turns to those for whom He has compassion, the wise and the prudent,”  who God has hidden things from as though they were babes; those who still don’t understand who God is but are willing to learn. (vs. 27)

I don’t really consider myself to be the “wise and the prudent.” But I guess that I am from the standpoint that I seek to know God deeper, past the infant state that I feel that I’m in most of the time. And often times I can’t get to that deeper relationship because I’m just too tired from life. And so God understands and gives me this verse to chew on today, and to experience it once again, but this time, to go deeper into understanding “rest.”

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  (vs. 29-30)

Take my yoke… attach myself to Christ in such a manner that the two of us are working together as one.  The same work that I’ve put upon myself, alone, believing that to be the best idea. Yes, I am that foolish mortal.

God desires to bare that load and give us rest even in the midst of the labor. But we must first yoke ourselves with Him so that every step we take, in every day, we take it together.  Allowing Him to shoulder the load that drives us to exhaustion.  When I do the dishes, He is there, When I make the bed, He is there. When I write, sing, serve, He is there!

Not only allowing Him to shoulder the load, but getting so close, as we’re bonded together through the yoke, that we begin to witness and understand the character of Christ. He’s not a slave driver; He is meek (humble) and lowly (common and simple) willing to take on and share in even the menial tasks of our lives so that our lives can be better.  God, the Creator of all the earth, wants to walk with His creation just as He did in the days of Adam, but now through the Holy Spirit.

What must it have been like when Adam walked in the garden with God? No doubt an awesome, enlightening experience. We have that opportunity, but we’re too busy to realize He’s there, waiting to shoulder our load, our every burden, and talk us through.

I am a critter lover. I have two dogs, a cat, and 10 chickens. They each have their own personalities and agendas. The dogs live to serve, the cat lives to be served and the chickens live to be fed and to feed me (eggs). They all depend upon me, but they’re not all grateful. However, the one thing they all have in common is they understand the need for rest.  Critters don’t overthink anything, they just do what they’re created to do.

I get that they don’t have souls, they’re not burdened for the lost, nor do they really care if I have money in the bank. They don’t understand any of that. But they understand the simplicity of the Creator. The humble and lowly Jesus.

If we are to live our lives being more like Him, we, or at least I, need to stop overthinking life because it overwhelms my soul and robs me of rest.

Jesus knew that. That’s why He wrote those verses. That’s why He made me a critter lover, so that I could see Him through His creation.

More than a Nap

Rest does not come easy for me. I can sit or lie down or even collapse into the bliss of the softest of billowing pillows and I’m like the kid whose mom punishes her by sitting her on the sofa, to which the little girl replies, “I’m sitting down on the outside, but on the inside I’m jumping on your couch.” That’s me in a nutshell. I may be lying down on the outside but on the inside I’m jumping on the bed, or strategizing ministry plans, or ciphering how I can make life work. My mind refuses to take a nap. It’s a rebellious little critter to say the least!

I know I need rest. I’m much more conscience of that post heart attack. I’m trying hard to prioritize life and in the process of that I discover that my biggest issues do not come from without, they come from within. So when I read Genesis 2:2

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

We know that God is all powerful, that He does not sleep. He does not grow weary, so why would He rest? It must have been important to even the Creator and yet I cannot seem to find the mindset for it in my life. This is a conversation that I had with my husband David as we laid down in  bed last night. He was so tired. He’d worked all day, he’d left work and went straight to the fire department for their weekly meeting and didn’t get home until after 8 p.m. I too had had a busy day cleaning house and ministering in music at the nursing home. I followed that with another meeting with friends. All of which are joyous times but they tired me out. As I lay in bed my heart was not comfortable and I told David, “We need to learn to rest better, it’s not about taking a nap.”

It’s truthfully about catching my breath. That hasn’t been easy for me the last few weeks, literally. The fluid around my lungs has caused me to labor to breathe when it’s humid or I over exert myself. It’s much better now, but I still struggle on some days. I have to remember that yesterday was only my one month anniversary of my open heart surgery, because I feel great most of the time; which is deceiving to my body that says, “Slow down, catch your breath!”

I recently heard a preacher describe God’s “rest” as breathing in. He had spent 6 days breathing out. He had spoken the world into existence, He had breathed life into humankind and on the seventh day I could honestly imagine God taking a deep breath in and sitting in His easy chair to “rest.” He no longer needed to think about what cows and hippopotamuses would look like, or how deep the rivers and oceans would be. His formation of Adam and Eve was “very good.” And now He could just watch.  Not think about it, just watch.

Yesterday I returned to the room of a Nursing Home resident who makes no bones about the fact that she is heading to Hell. But she’s still not ready to be saved. Before I left she confessed she’d been “thinking about it.” Glory to God! That’s progress. I could breathe out a little when I left her room; leaving her in God’s hands and asking Him to keep her on this earth until I return to witness again. Those type of life issues I can release to God much easier than the mundane problems of my own. Those things that I actually think I have control over. I want to rehash my own sin and failures, complain about the condition of the hearts of people and focus on things of virtually no eternal significance. David focuses on the failures of politicians, the lack of volunteerism, the waste of government money, and all things out of his control. He and I are quite the pair.

So I made him promise me that on his upcoming bike trip with his buddies that he would not think on those things of a negative sort.

Philippians 4:8 tell us

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Just breathe.

Now to obey that rule myself.

God took 24 hours and did nothing. He did not create or instruct or do the things God had done for the previous six days.

This causes me to question what my 24 hours of rest would look like if I didn’t do the things that I do the other six days of the week. I’m not speaking of Sunday, because I’m a minister of the Gospel so there is a work to be done. I speak of another committed 24 hours. A day where I would not write, draw, speak or sing for the ministry’s sake. I would just breathe and watch and listen. No worrying about souls. Trusting them to God who is far better at caring for them than me.

Perhaps your 6 days is filled with a job in the secular world, or children that must be cared for all seven days. If it’s a job, commit to taking NO thought of it or anything else that causes you to breathe hard for 24 hours. Consider it a stress fast. If it’s children, try to prepare ahead to spend the day watching and enjoying what you created. Make it a cold cereal and sandwich day with ice cream sundaes for dessert. And laugh. A lot! It’s not about taking a nap. It’s about catching your breath. And it’s about making a weekly practice of it.

If it was important for God to do it, why would we even consider not doing it?

Ministry Isn’t An Afterthought

I seldom ever just draw for the sake of drawing. It’s likely with a blog or a request in mind that I doodle the “Jesus Chick” cartoon that I use so often. Today, I finished some work for the Bible College, began to process my thoughts about a blog topic and determine what might follow that as far as getting something accomplished for the Kingdom and then my mind drifted. To a place of just wonderment. A siesta of sorts. I know… I just came back from a siesta. Four nights of revival and two at the beach and the sad part is, I needed that siesta to remind myself that I need to take more siestas.

Most people who look at my life look at me as an “unemployed woman” who occasionally serves the Lord (which isn’t a real job according to most), sings a little on the side (which is technically goofing off) and is readily available to forget about the laundry and dishes (true story) and go off on jaunts across the world with her bestie and play with her grandbabies with the remainder of her spare time. I just wore myself out talking about my time off!

I thought, perhaps today, I’d share a little about the glamorous days of “The Jesus Chick.” If you’re in the ministry, you can no doubt identify in many ways. If you’re not, please use this as a catalyst to pray for those of us who “don’t have a real job.”

On Monday’s I pack my guitar and song books into the car and travel to our local nursing home. I sing and minister in word to about 10-15 long term care residents. I try to sing songs of their childhood faith so that they can chime in. What a blessing that is to see patients who can’t remember their name half the time, recall every word of “How Great Thou Art!” Sitting across from me is usually a very cranky faced woman. She breaks my heart. She knows religion but she doesn’t know Jesus. She’s bitter at the world and my music soothes her soul temporarily, but just like Saul, who hired David to soothe his, when the music stops… so does the peace. She doesn’t know peace. I carry that home in my guitar case. It gets heavy sometimes.

On Monday nights a couple of friends and I meet at the church for a Bible journaling class where we share our art, but more importantly we share our heart. We’re burdened for our people. We want our churches to grow, we want our friends and family to experience the fire of Jesus! During the day I prepare handouts for the girls and conversation starters. Everyone needs conversations of the heart. It helps us grow in our own faith when we sow seeds into the lives of others. Good seed. That’s important to know. Stay away from those who sow weeds in your garden.

Wednesday’s I have a teen ministry where I try to sow good seed and pull the weeds of the world from the lives of children. Good grief there’s a lot of weeds to pull. If it’s been a while since you’ve sat down with teens to have an in depth conversation about their life you’d be shocked at what they face and be awed that they can come out of it unscathed. Only in Jesus.

If you follow this blog you know I have weeks of abundant writing and weeks of less. It depends on how much life takes its toll on my time. I sing at every opportunity. Often times for secular events hoping that my words in song and my testimony in between will spark a conversation with someone in the audience.

Spare time is often helping other ministries with promotion and publication art. And then when the weekend rolls around it’s game on for Jesus! I teach Sunday School, sing solo and sing in the choir, organize events and take care of our own church publications and such.

Does it sound like I’m complaining or bringing attention to my works for Christ? I surely hope not. That’s not my intent. My intent is to allow you to see that ministry may appear that it’s an afterthought; especially for those who work “real” jobs. But carrying the burden for souls in a guitar case, a hymnal, a cyber church and the occasional back pocket or purse is a heavy load. There’s no time off from your mind. I speak not only of myself but of ministers all over the world. Serving God is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, I’m sure they’d say the same.

But sometimes you just want to fly away… or splat a mud puddle in cute boots.

“And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then I would fly away, and be at rest.” PSALM 55:6

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This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

 

From Wreck to Rest

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Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

I have often heard and occasionally said the statement, “God knows my heart.” Those words usually come at a time in a person’s life when their purpose or intention is brought into question. And as a rebuttal to the doubt of another soul they will say “God knows my heart.” And I can almost hear out of Heaven, “Yes, yes I do.”

When I truly take those words to account it weakens my knees a tad bit if I dwell on the knowledge that God knows me inside and out; dividing asunder (meaning into parts) of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It’s why my knees weaken, because when the Word of God convicts the soul and the spirit speaks to the heart, and the body reacts in kind. I told my teens Sunday that the Bible is a spiritual wash cloth, it will clean you up! But perhaps I should have also said that it was a sword to dissect your day and your ways. The word of God is amazing how it can expose what we’d rather stay covered.

I hate dealing with life. Many, many days drain me. So when I write, as I did a day or so ago on fleeing from God, I’m not blowin’ smoke. If I could get into my car and drive somewhere that God would not be, I would likely try. But that is not possible. And so I trudge on through life and daily get into His word and ask God for mercy on my soul to bring me through a dark time.

Sound dramatic? I have a feeling that the air over my head is dramatic and that there are angels battling the demonic forces of the night to keep my mind focused on the word of God. Else I’d be in the car. The spiritual world is as real as the chair I’m sitting in and this morning I can feel it. But I can also feel the Word of God slicing through the discouragement and fears in my heart to expose the tender part to words that need to be soaked in and rested in. Word like the preceding 3 verses in Hebrews 4: 9-11

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Working for rest? Sounds pretty oxymoronic. But getting to the point of resting in God is most definitely work. I’ve had to unpack Hebrews 4 and repack it a time or two this morning to find my rest. I had to wrap my mind around the fact that I have to cease from my own works and rely on the works that was done on the cross by Jesus Christ. In verse 13 it says that 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” Exposing yourself is laying everything on the table with God. He knows it anyway, but it’s putting it out there and saying “God, help me with this. I can’t do it.”

14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

God does know my heart. It’s full of infirmities (deteriorated vitality, feeble, weak of mind, will or character is how Merriam Webster described it.) I’d describe it pretty much the same way. And God says “I get it. I understand because I’ve been there and have overcome. So bring it boldly not ashamedly. Lay it out before me and let’s work on it together so we can get you to a place of rest.”

I needed to hear that today. I need to remember that God knew how very messed up I was and He chose to call me into His service anyway. But the only way to get to place of rest in my life is to rest in Him.

Do you need to hear from Jesus today?

Holy SpiritI’ve had afew days off to rest and recoup from VBC teen Camp 2014 and I’m enjoying the lack of responsibility (my house will attest to that fact today). I really must get crackin’, but before I do, I’ve spent this morning just enjoying the Spirit of the Lord. Coffee in hand and Chuck Compton singing the glory down through YouTube videos and I’m a happy woman. It never ceases to amaze me what the Holy Spirit does in the life of a child of God. Jesus told us He would, but we so often allow the world to over shadow our daily steps that we forget Who it is that should be leading.

John 16:13-15 ~ Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

How awesome is that! To Shari quote it, Christ said that the Holy Spirit is repeating what Christ would have us to know, and what He would have us to know is everything that He knows. Christ is feeding the Holy Spirit the wisdom we are in need of, and yet we treat it like a radio dial, switching it to another station if it’s not exactly what we want to hear. Color me guilty.

This Saturday morning blog is short and sweet…

Are you in need of wisdom, peace, solutions?…. Tune in. If you’re a child of God you have the answer within but you’ve got to get receiver tuned in to the right station. And there’s only one way to do that… Shut every other noise maker off.

Prior to writing this blog I was praying for wisdom as to what to write about today. As I was praying I was listening to a favorite gospel singer and blessings were just pouring down around me. And while that was an okay thing to do, I couldn’t hear what God had for me. So I shut it all down, and opened the Word of God and this was the direction He and I walked together.

Christ feeds the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit nourishes our souls. But neither will be in competition with anything else. Shhhhhhh….. listen.

When you’re done reading, and listening to the Holy Spirit, please go back up and click Chuck Compton’s name… get ready for the glory – “Did I mention that I Love Him”

The Profit of Rest

Monday without God

Hebrews 4:1-2 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

Ahhhhh the weekend. My absolute favorite part of the week. Short of the house work part of it! But Monday through Friday I look forward to those periods of rest over the weekend that allow me to be rejuvenated for the coming week’s work. Saturday is the precursor to Sunday; the day I prepare my heart to enter into His day of rest. I often wonder what I did pre-salvation and what those whose focus is not on the Lord on Sunday do to find rest. Certainly you can find rest for your physical body, but without the rest for the soul the physical body continues to fight for peace.

We have the promise of rest

God left us the promise of rest, although many fall short of it. Not because they can’t have it but because they won’t have it. They’ve heard the gospel but it’s not “mixed with faith.” Jesus says in Matthew 11:28 ~ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

We have the profit of rest

God’s desire is to see us successful; not only in the numbers (position and finance) but along with those we should have peace. You can be president of the company with the highest salary of all but without peace you’ll never fully enjoy it… you’ll have no rest. I Timothy 4:14 says “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.  Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.”

Whether you are called into the ministry or secular work there is a gift within you that God would love to bless. But so that it may profit you there is an expectation that you put God first… As “the first day of the week”, which would be Sunday… Which would be church day. Get the picture?

The rest of your week will go much better the first day is dedicated to the Lord. The Word of God teaches it as so. Acts 20:20 ~ And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house,

God doesn’t keep profit away from us. We do. By not reading His Word as fact, and with faith believing every word within. This is not prosperity Gospel. I’m not saying if you give God your time on Sunday that He’ll make you a millionaire on Monday. But I’m saying that when you have faith in God and put Him first, you’ll discover the rest that comes from it is priceless.

The writer of Hebrews (likely Apostle Paul) knew what every other child of God knows that without Christ there is no rest to be found in the whole world.

Mark 8:36

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

I hope you find profit in this word today!

Don’t Make Life Harder Than It Is

I have an old friend who when ask how things were going? Would reply, “Simple people have simple ways.” Even though he was an attorney, working with Alex Spiro he never lost the foundation of a humble childhood and country way of living. King David must have been much in the same mindset.

I’m often shocked at the ignorance of intelligent people. I make no claims at deep intellectual abilities, but in my way of thinking if great intelligence is not used for the glory of God, then it’s wasted. Am I saying that wisdom is wasted on the secular world? No. But as Christians what we learn, teach or do should point back to the cross at some point.

Psalm 116: 6-9

The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

Simplicity Brings Rest

King David had all manner of riches but he knew and sought peace only with the Lord. David’s predecessor King Saul sought David to play the harp and soothe his soul, David used the harp to praise the Lord and soothe his own. That’s why it’s so important to have your own relationship with the Lord. We need to be in church on Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night, because it is there that we’ll be fed and encouraged by the man of God, but the balance of our week should be seeking God on our own, through His word and in His service. That’s how David did it! David was in the battle, not on the sidelines.

Simplicity Brings Wealth

God had dealt bountifully with David, but his wealth was not in gold, it was in the impact he had on others. To think of how many souls have been touched by the words of David is unfathomable. I weep in thinking of how God has used him to stir my soul. Oh that I would stir souls like that for the cause of Christ! If everything in my world pointed to Him, how rich would I be…

Simplicity Brings Direction

Where ever David went he walked before the Lord. David knew God was watching and guiding his steps, he knew God’s hand was on him. When David spoke, whether it was in the authority as the king, as a psalmist, as a shepherd, regardless of what he was doing, his words pointed to the Lord. His ways were simplistic: he ask God, trusted God, and then praised God, and God blessed.

Don’t make life harder than it is.