rest


rest.jpgSpend some time today and reflect on how you need to incorporate rest into this season. Here are a few ideas you might consider:

  • Mentally rest perhaps by spending time focusing solely on Jesus and not the chaos around you.
  • Physically rest by doing something you enjoy or that relaxes you.
  • Emotionally rest, maybe by talking with a friend, having a good cry or simply laughing.
  • Spiritually rest by laying aside self-condemnation and judgment and abiding in God’s loving arms.

Lord, help me to find rest in You during this busy season and throughout the coming year.

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rest.jpgHe got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. Mark 4:39 (NIV)

What does rest look like to you? Maybe a vacation, a day at the spa, or perhaps just a good book that turns into a long nap on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Rest is vital for our bodies. We are hard wired to desire rest, and when our bodies and minds don’t get it, things start to break down. We know that God rested (Genesis 2:2), and He even gave us a whole day each week for rest. What a cool God. But do we use that day for rest? Probably not.

Although the Advent Season is truly my favorite time of year, I seem to have a frenzy of storms around me. Some can be emotional—will my expectations be met this year? Some can be spiritual—am I really taking the time to celebrate the birth of Christ or am I getting caught up in all that I have made it? Some can be physical—can my body handle the stress of everything on my to-do list? (more…)

rest.jpgBe still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

I’m supposed to be writing a devotional about rest; it was due three days ago. Instead, I’m still sitting on the couch, in the semi-dark, staring at an offensively blank laptop screen, thinking about anything and everything but writing. Or resting. I gotta be honest, I’m stressing. It’s ironic, preparing to write about rest by doing the opposite. But I can’t help it. Resting has never been my cup of tea. I know how to rest physically. I practically have my PhD in the art of napping. My big problem comes when I try and convince my brain that it’s time to rest. My thoughts race around like cars in the mall parking lot on December 24, driving erratically and honking their horns, circling and backing up, dodging distracted pedestrians and slamming on the brakes. Anyone else ever feel like that? Maybe it’s just me. (more…)

rest.jpgLet us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. Hebrews 12:28 (NIV)

How on earth is it possible to find rest in December? Probably not in sleeping late, clear calendar days, or a cease of activity. But I’m willing to bet that in the midst of a hustle-bustle month, the Holy Spirit can reign in our souls and provide rest – a “slowing down for perspective and gratitude” kind of rest.

Several years ago, Christmas Eve found us stranded in a diner in Clayton, New Mexico, along with a throng of impatient Texans attempting desperate travel to the mountains.

The highway department closed the road out of Clayton due to heavy snowfall, leaving us no alternate paths. Nowhere to go but back the way we came. And with darkness falling, the road wouldn’t open until morning. (more…)

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This is what the Lord says:
Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good
way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ . . .

(Jeremiah 6:16, NIV)

During the busy holiday season, I crave rest more than any other time of the year. And despite what I know God’s Word says about how to get rest, I have often taken matters into my own hands. I’ve tried to force rest, and I’ve even tried to buy it.

For instance, I will carve out an hour or so for a nap. I make sure the ringers on the phone and cell phone are turned off, and I lie down for a blissful, uninterrupted nap, only to be awakened by the barking dog next door or the doorbell. Or, I will try to schedule a massage or a weekend getaway, only to realize that the stress of aligning all the details outweighs the benefit of any temporary rest that I might receive. Even though these are well-intentioned attempts to rest, they still might not produce true rest. (more…)

final_advent_cover1.jpgTake my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 12:29-30 (NIV)

To be honest, Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday. The season brings too much pressure. Too many things to buy, do, and bake. Not to mention all the family pressure, like whose house we will be celebrating at this year. I tend to get overwhelmed and tired and forget what I am celebrating.

I think the Hebrew people understood this to some degree. They had over 600 laws that they were supposed to follow. Even when they celebrated or worshiped they had to be very careful to follow all those specific laws. It must have felt like an overwhelming and impossible task. They probably couldn’t really follow every single one of them, or even half of them. (more…)

final_advent_cover1.jpgCome to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 (NAS)

Can I tell you something? I struggle to do a daily quiet time. Sometimes I go days without sitting down to pray. Before Bible study last week, I couldn’t even find my Bible. And we’ve never done a family devotion time.

I feel totally vulnerable now. Sometimes I feel like I’m less of a Christian for not having it all together. Why is it that the very things that are supposed to draw us closer to God — pull us into deeper relationship with Him — are the very things that can make us feel defeated and hopeless?

Every Christmas starts the same for me. I have grand intentions of reading a portion of the Christmas story every day, using our Advent calendar as a catalyst for a family devotion time, and preparing for the arrival of the Child in the manger. I determine to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas the entire month of December, like I think a “good Christian” should. (more…)