Enter Into the Promised RestRead Now
I am tired today.
I am tired of division.
Tired of injustice.
Tired of malice and bitterness.
Tired of fear.
I am tired of grief, all around me and spilling up out of me when I least expect it.
I am tired of uncertainty.
I am tired of corruption.
I am tired of deception.
I am tired of feeling like I don't even know the next right thing to do sometimes. Does anyone know what the 'right' or 'best' thing truly is, anyway?
I am just tired and overwhelmed and in desperate need of rest. True rest.
I'm lamenting all of these things while scrubbing mud off of a white tile floor and suddenly think again of the Israelites.
Delivered from bondage and slavery in the most astounding and miraculous and unimaginable of ways and then ushered right into the wilderness. Truly living from glory to glory. Daily manna that is gracious and supernatural in and of itself, yet the miracle of it lost day after day, week after week. A people chosen by God Almighty, spared and under His great and all-encompassing provision. A people keenly aware of the character of their God, of His mercy and faithfulness and of the sheer terror of His might and power. A people at the same time weary of hardship.
My mind wanders to several weeks ago, during a different kind of lamenting and pining for my own perception and idea of rest, when the Lord set His Word right in front of me: Hebrews 4, titled 'The Promised Rest'.
The promise to enter his rest remains, says the Word of the Lord. But we are exhorted to be diligent to enter into God's rest. John Piper writes,
"Be diligent! Pay close attention to what you’ve heard (Hebrews 2:1); don’t neglect your great salvation (Hebrews 2:3); consider Jesus (Hebrews 3:1); do not harden your hearts (Hebrews 3:8); take care against an unbelieving heart (Hebrews 3:12); exhort one another every day against the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:14); and fear the unbelief that will keep you from your promised rest (Hebrews 4:1)."
We are to be diligent, especially when we come up against hardship, to not fall into the same pattern of disobedience, to not harden our hearts "as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness." (Heb 3:8)
We are warned against unbelief.
And sister, this has been real heavy on my heart in recent months. When we are feeling hit from all sides, surrounded and stuck, with not a clue as to how to come through; when what lies before us seems formidable and overpowering and oppressive; and sometimes when we are simply weary, unbelief creeps in.
We are sometimes like the Israelites, standing at the edge of the Promised Land, trembling at the massive Nephilim and feeling like grasshoppers. (Numbers 13)
And we cry out, "How?"
And I say to you, sweet sister, this is okay.
This is even good.
As long as we remember.
Remember that we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses.
I exhort you to boldly approach the throne of grace, to throw yourselves at the feet of our great high priest who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin, so that you may receive mercy and find grace to help you in your time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Bring him all of your doubts and fears and yes, even your unbelief. Weep and mourn and repent. Lay out the circumstances that have your heart troubled before Him and ask Him, "How?"
We must keep our hearts soft in this way. In order for His truth to penetrate our hearts, they must not be hardened. If we want to receive His help and
rest in our time of need, then our hearts need to be permeable and open to receive.
So we lay it all at the feet of Jesus and we say, "This belongs to you, King Jesus. I know You are good. I know You are able. I believe. Help my unbelief"
"Here's my heart, Lord. Speak what is true."
Over and over again, friend, pray.
"Believe His promises and sing His praise." (Psalm 106)
Remember. Remember the relentless love of God. Remember how:
"He rescued them many times,
but they continued to rebel deliberately
and were beaten down by their iniquity."
"When he heard their cry,
he took note of their distress,
remembered his covenant with them,
and relented according to the abundance
of his faithful love." (Psalm 106:43-45)
Take care that you do not exchange His glory for lesser things, that you are not seized with craving in the wilderness. Take care that you do not forget God your Savior, who has done great things and wondrous works. Take care that you do not retain grumbling in your heart. (Psalm 106:13-14, 20-22, 25)
"Today if you hear his voice
do not harden your hearts."
Today, His rest awaits you, beloved.
It is promised.
Make every effort to enter in.
WRITTEN BY: OLIVIA CALDWELL
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Sweet RestRead Now
I can’t be the only one feeling like this: overwhelmed, stressed, apprehensive, exhausted. I am not sure what the culprit is. Some blame it on 2020, but the truth is that I felt like this before now. Feeling like this causes us to ask: Is this what life is supposed to be like? I may not know much, but I do not believe that life is supposed to be like this for us, sisters.
The number of times that “rest” or some version of the word is mentioned in the Bible is surprising (no I didn’t count, I just noticed). A few of my favorite examples of rest are when Jesus and the twelve get on the boat and a storm comes up in Mark 4 and is so bad that these experienced fishermen are freaking out. Jesus is sleeping through all this! If you ask my husband, that is my kind of sleeping!
Another example, just a few chapters later in Mark 6:31, Jesus tells his disciples:
“Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure to even eat.”
As a mother, wife, and teacher, I can relate to this. How many times are we so busy taking care of other people’s needs that we forget to take care of ourselves? Jesus recognized that this was happening and helped the disciples take a moment of rest.
So, Angie, what is the point? Jesus rested. His disciples rested. I am still stressed out!
If we take a moment to read in Psalm 4:8, there is a beautiful passage.
“In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
For you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Our rest, our peace, our sense of safety - all of these things are found in God. He didn’t send His son to earth so we could be a stressed out mess. He sent him so we could find a rest and peace that we didn’t and couldn’t otherwise have! This verse in Psalm reminds me that God ALONE gives us the environment where we can truly have rest. He has everything under control even when it seems like it is all falling apart.
I love the visual of a child sleeping in their father’s arms. Total trust. Total safety. Total rest. Be that child with God. Let him gather you up. Rest your head on His shoulder. Let His voice be the only one you hear as he tells you that he wants to grant you rest to your very soul. In order to do this, we might have to go away to a desolate place. We might have to stop the insanity of being so busy for a moment and hide in the closet or bathroom and just BE.
Our pastor reminded us this morning during the message that we are always in God’s presence because he is everywhere. We just need to take a moment and be aware of Him. I know that if we can make that a habit, our lives will take a turn toward rest in a restless world.
I wish you all a few moments of rest as we remember Jesus’ birth this week. As humble as it was, it was amazing. And the reason for it, beautiful ladies, is for us to have that wonderful father-daughter relationship with God himself. And part of that is the peace and rest He brings into our lives if only we will take the time. You are worth that time. You are worth that rest. You will be all the better for it. It was made for you. Accept that sweet gift of rest.
WRITTEN BY: Angie Reese
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Photo by Jordan Bauer on Unsplash
Do You Feel Distracted?Read Now
I had no idea what was above me. I was focused on the stop sign to the right of me, or the people crossing the street, or changing the radio station in the car that day...I was not caught up in what was above me. But, suddenly - and I can't say why -- I looked up.
There I saw a brilliant display of nature. The sky was gorgeous. It was radiant, blue, red and purple hues strewn all over the sky. It seemed to convey the brilliance, the majesty and the beauty of God all at once. I would have missed it if I had kept my eyes on the million little things happening in front of me. I would have missed it if distraction had a greater hold on me than my desire to look up. I would have missed it if I wasn't aware that there is usually more than meets the eye.
Yet, I looked up. We are told in Scripture to -- look up.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Col. 3:2)
Lately, I've been earthly focused. I see politics. I see news articles. I see what is not happening in my world. I see issues with people. I see problems.
Yet, essentially, God tells me -- Kelly, do not set all that -- look up!
I love how Isaiah 40:26 NIV says it... "Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing."
When we look up we don't get discouraged by what's raging all around. When we see higher, we get a higher perspective. When we look at what God has created, we remember He is Creator. We remember He can create a new thing at any time and at any moment.
This is rest.
Are you looking up -- remembering God's faithfulness? Giving thanks for what He is doing in your life today? Meditating on His Word? Singing of His goodness? Or, are you stuck in the muck of a million little distractions that are demanding your attention?
God is higher and stronger than everything and anything you may face today. Look up!
About “Rest Now: 7 Ways To Say No, Set Boundaries and Seize Joy”
If you feel overwhelmed, you're not alone. Three out of five people admit to doing more than they can manage. Thinking God requires this, we say, "I must be everything to everyone." Then we struggle and feel selfish and guilty when we say no, grow weary, or snap at someone out of sheer exhaustion. Is this what God desires? Somewhere along the line of being a good Christian, wife, daughter, or friend we lose sight of who we are in Christ. We put our performance above God and who he says we are. But what if we chose a more soul-full way?
Rest Now offers permission to breathe. It exposes the lies that distract, tire, and bully us, so we don't strive for rest but love from it, like Jesus did. Learn how to
- create boundaries that allow you to overflow with love
- say no so you don't hate yourself later
- ditch passive-aggressive behaviors in favor of healthy conversations
- embrace permission-giving thoughts to create mental space for God
About Kelly Balarie
Kelly is a Cheerleader of Faith and a Fighter of Fear. She’s a get-on-the-gloves kind of girl. By seeking God’s unending encouragement, she uncovers His deep callings right under the surface of her worst failings. Get all of Kelly’s Purposeful Faith blog posts by email for a dose of inspiration and encouragement. Kelly is a blogger at www.purposefulfaith.com, Crosswalk.com and iBelieve.com. Her work has been featured on Relevant and (in)courage.me, and as the cover story on Today’s Christian Woman.
As we get into the car exhausted from a long day with family and kids, I look at my husband and sigh. I remembered I still had a blog to write tonight…
As we drive home he asks about the topic, I laugh and say, “Rest.”
His response simply, a giggle and the hushed words, “That’s ironic.”
I laugh as I write this because, rest, to anyone looking at my life from the outside, would seem like a foreign word. In this crazy chaotic time of life there is no time for rest. As a matter of fact it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that previous to this last week, rest was NO WHERE on my radar!
This morning as I was pondering what I would be writing about I thought, ‘Rest, oh a nap would be so good right now.’ Now naps, naps are good and sometimes we even need to refresh our physical bodies and we can do that through naps but, a nap was not what I needed.
The rest that I needed was a rest from the expectations. I needed a rest from the to-dos of the day, week, month, year. I needed to let my guard down and just be. I needed to lay down what had to be done to do what needed to be done. Luckily, I know just how to do that. Or rather, I know just where to get it.
In Psalms 23:5-6 [MSG emphasis added] it says,
You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.
That was it! All I had to do was come to the table. All I had to do was sit with my Father and I was at rest.
I went to the table. I took the time in the middle of my business and sat at His table… My table… the one God specially made for me and in that moment God revived me. I found rest in Him. I found my peace in Him. There was no more striving or accomplishing. Exhaustion was a thing of the past. Stress seemed as though it just melted away. I seemed as if I was wrapped in the Father’s arms.
All of my chaos didn’t disappear, but it took a backseat. I still had a list of to-dos. I still had obligations and commitments, but those mountains that I was facing just a moment ago, that were exhausting just thinking about, no longer looked unattainable or impossible.
I was refreshed. I was renewed. I was rested.
When we take the time to spend with the Lord we realign our thoughts with His and He is so good to remind us that nothing is impossible with Him. No matter how big or small, nothing is to much. He reminds us that He is ours and we are His and that Father God really wants to be with us every step of the way in every moment of our lives.
It is not a long list of steps to find your rest in the season that you are in. We don’t have to follow steps A-Z until we attain total rest. Instead, the Father made is so that we always have an open invitation to go to the Lord’s table and find rest, always. He never leaves us hanging. We don’t need a reservation for this meal. We simply show up.
Sometimes there are seasons of rest in our lives where we can spend those long periods of time in the day where you just soak in the Lord and sit and read His word or worship for hours on end everyday. (That is not the season that I am in. LOL) And for some of us our seasons of rest in the Lord are those quiet couple of moments you get to have with the Lord in the morning before the rest of your family is up or you have to get to work. Sometimes it’s in the quiet moments of the night. Maybe, just maybe it is in those special moments where you are around family and friends, and maybe sometimes it is when we are on a lonely drive.
Either way, regardless of your season of life the Father always welcomes us to come to Him and find our rest. I invite you into that moment with the Father right now. Right where you are at.
Whether you are at work or home, alone or in a crowed room, there is no place the Father won’t want to meet you. (Insert awkward shower or bathroom moments here. You know who you are (-; ) It only takes a moment. Let Him refresh and revive you and give you rest.
WRITTEN BY: ALEXANDRIA BROWN
For more from Alexandria, visit her website at www.alexandriabrown.org.
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