Resting While You Work

Resting While You Work

I’ve always been a worker-bee. Well, perhaps not as a child. As an adult, though, and especially as a Christian, I’ve been a worker-bee. I found great pleasure in life by accomplishing a goal, but there was a driven-ness in this way of living. I’ve discovered that being a worker-bee is especially dangerous, spiritually. I’ve lived for a long time under the yoke of what I call "to-do list" Christianity. What a bondage. Self-effort doesn't work when it comes to doing what only God can do,which is anything of any spiritual value. That's why I love the Lord's invitation to the weary, burdened folk who followed Him:

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An Invitation to Rest

An Invitation to Rest

Ah! REST...what a glorious word! I inhale and exhale deeply at just the sound of it. And oh, how we humans need deep, glorious rest... Moms especially need it...as do dads. Single folks need it; workers need it; retirees do, too..Even kids need it (although they would protest most loudly...especially in the midst of the frenetic-ness of no-sleep sleepovers!)

I remember as a mom of an infant how I longed for rest, praying my crying-in-the-middle-of-the-night baby would just fall quietly back to dreamland. Or my napping toddler would stay napping so I could lie prostrate for just a few more moments (Please, God!) And now, even as a senior retired adult, that beautiful rest calls my name more often than not in the midst of my afternoons. So I often take to my overstuffed couch and doze as I watch the old westerns from my childhood.

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Quiet Places

Quiet Places

In his book The Way of the Heart, Henri Nouwen spoke of silence as a portable cell or sanctuary, a place of transformation that can be carried into ministry. Yet true as that is in active ministry, my ministry now is mainly to family and those that God brings across my path. Even when I’m with family, my heart longs for a quiet place in the midst of chaos. In my oldest daughter Karen’s home it is her sunroom, decorated in a nautical theme. I search for things in the beach painting in front of me – the shapes of the clouds, the rocks at the edge of the water that soothe my soul and help clear my mind.

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Revisiting my "Words" ... wanting them to find me afresh!

Revisiting my "Words" ... wanting them to find me afresh!

I'm weary and blank. The death of a friend, new health issues arising, aging making itself felt, even good things piling up beyond energy levels, desires to do too much and then paying for it ... all of it. So I'm revisiting my "words" of recent years. And I'm especially parking on this year's word "REST." Journey along with me?


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Finding Rest: Wearing the Yoke that Fits

Finding Rest: Wearing the Yoke that Fits

Finding REST, yes! Oh yes!

Rest is my "word of the year," yet it is still a quest for me. You too? Actually, rest is both a gift and a quest while on this earth. Let me explain. 

When we come to Christ by faith, He gives us rest, in fact He Himself IS our Rest -- rest from the penalty and power and one day, the presence of sin. As a result, we are totally acceptable to God, born into His family, beloved children of His who live by His indwelling life. I am IN Christ, and He is IN me. And this rest is a free gift ... given! Not earned!  

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Quiet Places: Shared Wisdom from a Guest Branch

Quiet Places: Shared Wisdom from a Guest Branch

Today and next time here at the Branch in the Vine, I am honored to share words of wisdom from a new friend, Mary Petzinger. Mary and I met at the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove in Asheville, NC this fall. As we shared with each other bits and pieces of our lives, we discovered that we had much in common humanly and spiritually. And our husbands also have a common interest, "Evidence of the Creator in the Creation" (Intelligent Design).

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A New Word for 2018... my word found me!

A New Word for 2018... my word found me!

...Now what about this year 2018? Well, my Word found me.

In the midst of some long-lasting, deep grief from life circumstances and relationships, my blood pressure has shot up again. It had been low and totally good for months and months. It was in the midst of this broken mess that my word came. I wasn't even looking for it.

 

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Jesus, I am coming, coming...for rest!

images-2

images-2

Come to Me...and I will give you rest...Matthew 11:28

Rest is a fragile thing!

The thoughtless slight, the smallest disappointment, the embarrassing mistake, the insecure thought...as well as the big stuff of life, like health, marriage, family, financial crises...

All can dispel our peace and rest.  And anapausis, that inner tranquility of soul, can be gone in a flash!

Oswald Chambers

Oswald Chambers

Over the years, as I've "struggled" at times to be at rest, I have come back to several readings in O. Chambers' uplifing devotional, My Utmost for His Highest.  All of the entries are based on Jesus' invitation and promise in Matthew 11:28.

As you read, may you be encouraged, as I always am, to respond to our Lord's COME and receive His anapausis (inner rest) for your soul. [Note: these are excerpts; to read the devotionals in their entirety, click on the title of each]:

Self-Consciousness

...Self-consciousness is the first thing that will upset the completeness of the life in God, and self-consciousness continually produces wrestling. Self-consciousness is not sin; it may be produced by a nervous temperament or by a sudden dumping down into new circumstances. It is never God’s will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him.

Anything that disturbs rest in Him must be cured at once, and it is not cured by being ignored, but by coming to Jesus Christ.

...Never allow the dividing up of your life in Christ to remain without facing it. Beware of leakage, of the dividing up of your life by the influence of friends or of circumstances; beware of anything that is going to split up your oneness with Him and make you see yourself separately.

Nothing is so important as to keep right spiritually. The great solution is the simple one – Come unto Me....

peaceful walk

peaceful walk

Completeness

Whenever anything begins to disintegrate your life with Jesus Christ, turn to Him at once and ask Him to establish rest. Never allow anything to remain which is making the dis-peace.Take every element of disintegration as something to wrestle against, and not to suffer. Say – Lord, prove Thy consciousness in me, and self-consciousness will go and He will be all in all.

Beware of allowing self-consciousness to continue because by slow degrees it will awaken self-pity, and self-pity is Satanic. Well, I am not understood; this is a thing they ought to apologize for; that is a point I really must have cleared up. Leave others alone and ask the Lord to give you Christ-consciousness, and He will poise you until the completeness is absolute....

If we try to overcome self-consciousness by any common-sense method, we will develop it tremendously. Jesus says, "Come unto Me and I will give you rest," i.e., Christ-consciousness will take the place of self-consciousness. Wherever Jesus comes He establishes rest, the rest of the perfection of activity that is never conscious of itself.

restful cross

restful cross

After Surrender— Then What?

True surrender is not simply surrender of our external life but surrender of our will— and once that is done, surrender is complete. The greatest crisis we ever face is the surrender of our will....

Come to Me . . . and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). It is only after we have begun to experience what salvation really means that we surrender our will to Jesus for rest. Whatever is causing us a sense of uncertainty is actually a call to our will— Come to Me.  And it is a voluntary coming....

Jesus, I am resting, resting...or at least wanting to!

Ah! REST...what a glorious word!  I inhale and exhale deeply at just the sound of it!  And oh, how we humans need deep, glorious rest... Moms especially need it...as do dads.  Single folk need it; workers need it; retirees do too...even kids need it (although they would protest most loudly...especially after no-sleep sleepovers!).

I need it!

This is the time of the year that I begin to really drag, needing my rest!  The energy of summer has passed. (Maybe I'm really wanting to hibernate like the bears?)

But there is work to be done, students to teach, deadlines to meet, and of course, grandsons to love on...

So let me say it again -- we humans ALL (especially this writer!) need deep, glorious rest...no matter what our role in life.  And we need rest, not just for our bodies, but for our souls most of all!

I don't know about you, but I am going to the only Place I know to go for the rest I need...and that place is my Lord Jesus Christ!  HE is Rest!  I'm responding to His gracious invitation,

2 chairs...resting

2 chairs...resting

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 NASB

We can receive eternal, spiritual rest as we come to Jesus and receive eternal life as a free gift. We don't work to exhaustion for it (through good works, religious or otherwise) but embrace it for the taking when we come to Him who is our rest.

And we believers who are burdened and work to exhaustion can also findanapausis (RESTin Greek). But this is not just the "take a nap" kind of rest...it goes much deeper:

In Matthew 11:28-29, the Lord promises "anapausis" (inner tranquility) to the weary and heavy laden who come to HIM while they are engaged in necessary labor. Spiro Zodiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament, p. 156

Isn't that good news, dear friend? Even when we cannot take a break from our duties, we can have inner tranquility because of our relationship with our Lord Christ.

And there's an interesting emphasis in that short phrase, Come to Me, in the original Greek.  Literally, Jesus says,

HERE (Hither, KJV)...to ME!

That's right, the word COME isn't found in the original!  It's just implied...and I think, for a reason.

I picture Jesus Himself beckoning to the battered and beleaguered crowd of ordinary people following Him.  He points to HIMSELF as the source of spiritual rest:  HERE...to ME...for rest!

The religious rulers, who hounded them, burdened them with duties above and beyond what God required.  Jesus, on the other hand, joins (yokes) Himself to His people to give them rest on every level.  So in a sense, He says,

Don't go to THEM! HERE...to ME!

And the same is true for you and me, dear friend.  What is hounding and harassing you?

Is it the pressures of mothering? ...the stress of financial needs? ...the guilt of not being spiritual enough: reading the Bible, praying enough? ...the confusion and grief of relational rifts? ...the concern for struggling/straying loved ones? ...the fatigue/uncertainties of your job? ...struggles with ill health? ______[fill in the blank]______?

In every situation and in every stage of life on this earth, He Himself is our Rest. Join me in responding to His invitation:   HERE...to ME!

yoked animals

yoked animals

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28-30 MSG

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Suggestions for your COMING...from the mundane to the sublime [and I am practicing what I preach :) ]

Play instrumental hymns/praise/classical music softly in the background all day.  It's amazing how the music sets a peaceful atmosphere.  This is one of my favorite things to do when I'm home...keeping my music softly playing all day!

Memorize and recite often Psalm 23.  This is especially good when falling asleep or waking in the middle of the night! Visualize the scene, and let the peace of your Shepherd wash over you!

Take a break from social media for a period of time...however the Lord leads.  Call it a fast if you like and slow down the inner craziness to focus on the Lord.  Maybe just fast from it each day until after you meet with the Lord :) And if you are a blogger and hit bloggers block, let it be for awhile until the Lord breaks through with something fresh :)

Moms...get up earlier than your children, even if that means putting the coffee pot in the garage to brew (my son as a toddler/preschooler would wake up within 15 minutes of brewing my morning Joe).  Have your Bible, journal, devotional, &/or hymnbook in a handy spot.  And commune with your God...COME to HIM for your anapausis (rest while you go about your needful work) for your day! If little people do interrupt your time, let them join you...with their own Bible and journal :)

Home-school moms...when I was homeschooling and hit exhaustion, I would "take to my bed" for a whole day... homeschooling my son and daughter from the place of rest (my bed!).  They were a bit older and worked well on their own.  So I'd give them assignments, read with them, checked work (or have them check their own) etc. with them sitting next to me on the bed.  Then they would go off to complete assignments on their own.  Trust me, it really worked.  Then I'd be refreshed to continue on normally the next school-day!

Singthis wonderful hymn...focusing on the words to help in focusing on the Lord:

Jesus! I am resting, resting In the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness Of Thy loving heart.

Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee, And Thy beauty fills my soul, For, by Thy transforming power, Thou hast made me whole.

Jesus! I am resting, resting In the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness Of Thy loving heart.

Oh, how great Thy loving kindness, Vaster, broader than the sea: Oh, how marvelous Thy goodness, Lavished all on me!

Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved, Know what wealth of grace is Thine, Know Thy certainty of promise, And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus, I behold Thee as Thou art, And Thy love, so pure, so changeless, Satisfies my heart,

Satisfies its deepest longings, Meets, supplies its every need, Compasseth me round with blessings, Thine is love indeed.

Ever lift Thy face upon me, As I work and wait for Thee; Resting 'neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus, Earth's dark shadows flee.

Brightness of my Father's glory, Sunshine of my Father's face, Keep me ever trusting, resting, Fill me with Thy grace.

Obsessive thoughts...where is the Rest?

The closest I've come to a full-blown anxiety attack in 30 years! Thoughts grabbed hold of my mind...obsessively, relentlessly...

Round 'n round...on 'n on...ad infinitum, ad nauseum...just miscellaneous nothings as well as daytime uglinesses in the darkness ...they wouldn't let go!  Robbing of sleep all night...then all day...then ready for the next night!

Where's the reprieve? the relief? the release...the Rest?

In the engrafted word that saves the soul:

But we have the mind of Christ.

I have the mind of Christ!  Do you hear that, O my soul?

I have the mind of Christ! Right here...right now!

Those obsessive thoughts are not the mind of Christ!!!!

And so I reflect and journal:

The Mind of Christ is a Present-Tense-Mind...not past, not future...

because Christ is a Present-Tense Person, the Present-Tense God!

The great Jehovah...the great I Am!

He was in the past when it was present.  And He will be in the future when it is present.

He is also the Present-Tense God made Man, Emmanuel.  He is the fullness of God...in bodily form...and that's huge!

So He knows what it's like to live in time...my present tense!

And He always lived it in present tense with His Father...so I can too, because He lives in me and through me, as me!

He is forever the indwelling I Am...

Living Water for my thirsty soul right now,

the Bread of Life for my hungry heart in this moment,

the Light of my world today,

my Good Shepherd for this situation,

the Resurrection and the Life for my present "deadnesses,"

the Way, the Truth, the Life for the path I take right now,

the True Vine in whom I am now abiding...

He Himself is my indwelling Peace, my ever-present Joy!

So I bathe myself in HIM and His Words.  I sink myself down in Him who is in me...I rest in Him, and I am set free!

The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:15-16 ESV

Thank you, Lord, for that Word grafted in by Your Holy Spirit that delivers my soul from the darkness!

Jesus, I am coming, coming...

Come to Me...and I will give you rest...Matthew 11:28

Rest is a fragile thing!

The thoughtless slight, the smallest disappointment, the embarrassing mistake, the insecure thought...as well as the big stuff of life, like health, marriage, family, financial crises...

All can dispel our peace and rest.  And anapausis, that inner tranquility of soul, can be gone in a flash!

Over the years, as I've "struggled" at times to be at rest, I have come back to several readings in O. Chambers' uplifing devotional, My Utmost for His Highest.  All of the entries are based on Jesus' invitation and promise in Matthew 11:28.

As you read, may you be encouraged, as I always am, to respond to our Lord's COME and receive His anapausis (inner rest) for your soul. [Note: these are excerpts; to read the devotionals in their entirety, click on the title of each]:

Self-Consciousness

...Self-consciousness is the first thing that will upset the completeness of the life in God, and self-consciousness continually produces wrestling. Self-consciousness is not sin; it may be produced by a nervous temperament or by a sudden dumping down into new circumstances. It is never God’s will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him.

Anything that disturbs rest in Him must be cured at once, and it is not cured by being ignored, but by coming to Jesus Christ.

...Never allow the dividing up of your life in Christ to remain without facing it. Beware of leakage, of the dividing up of your life by the influence of friends or of circumstances; beware of anything that is going to split up your oneness with Him and make you see yourself separately.

Nothing is so important as to keep right spiritually. The great solution is the simple one – Come unto Me....

Completeness

Whenever anything begins to disintegrate your life with Jesus Christ, turn to Him at once and ask Him to establish rest. Never allow anything to remain which is making the dis-peace.Take every element of disintegration as something to wrestle against, and not to suffer. Say – Lord, prove Thy consciousness in me, and self-consciousness will go and He will be all in all.

Beware of allowing self-consciousness to continue because by slow degrees it will awaken self-pity, and self-pity is Satanic. Well, I am not understood; this is a thing they ought to apologize for; that is a point I really must have cleared up. Leave others alone and ask the Lord to give you Christ-consciousness, and He will poise you until the completeness is absolute....

If we try to overcome self-consciousness by any common-sense method, we will develop it tremendously. Jesus says, "Come unto Me and I will give you rest," i.e., Christ-consciousness will take the place of self-consciousness. Wherever Jesus comes He establishes rest, the rest of the perfection of activity that is never conscious of itself.

After Surrender— Then What?

True surrender is not simply surrender of our external life but surrender of our will— and once that is done, surrender is complete. The greatest crisis we ever face is the surrender of our will....

Come to Me . . . and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). It is only after we have begun to experience what salvation really means that we surrender our will to Jesus for rest. Whatever is causing us a sense of uncertainty is actually a call to our will— Come to Me.  And it is a voluntary coming....

Jesus, I am working, working

Come to Me...and I will give you rest...Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me...and you will find rest for your souls... Matthew 11:28-29

I'm such a worker bee...how about you?  I get great satisfaction out of accomplishing something.  It can be a "driven" thing if I'm not careful. By the time I realize it, I'm really dragging! And rather than being satisfied, I'm disgruntled and out of sorts!

Being the worker bee is especially dangerous when it comes to the spiritual life.  I lived for a long time under the yoke of what I call "to do list" Christianity.  What a bondage!  Self-effort doesn't work when it comes to doing what only God can do...which is anything and and everything of any spiritual value.

That's why I love the Lord's invitation,

Take my yoke upon you...and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:29-30

Rest is a gift.  Anapausis, the inner tranquility of soul while engaged in our necessary labors, can only be mine when I respond to Jesus' gracious words, Come...Take...

But how can rest be mine while I am working...doing what needs to be done?  It's all wrapped up in the image of the yoke.

A yoke is a bar or frame of wood to attach two animals (such as oxen or other draft animals) together for work.

I love this image of being yoked to Christ.  Notice who takes on Whose yoke -- Jesus calls me to take on HIS yoke...I don't try to get Him to take on MY yoke.

But isn't that what we often do?  We "invite" Him to take on OUR yoke...we take on a project and then ask the Lord to bless and prosper it!  But the question always needs to be...is it HIS yoke?  He is the source of the work and the power behind it all.  He invites me to join Him in HIS work because of my union with Him. 

The late Maj. W Ian Thomas describes this taking on Jesus' yoke as the faith-rest life:

...Christ is in action, and you in your humanity are simply the clothes of His divine activity.  This is the rest of faith...it is your hands with which He is at work, your lips with which He is speaking, your eyes with which He sees the need, your ears with which He hears the cry, and your heart with which He loves the lost. The Indwelling Life of Christ, p 99

Fellow worker bees, join me in responding in a new way today to Jesus gracious invitation:

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:29-30

RESTING

Once my hands were always trying,

Trying hard to do my best,

Now my heart is sweetly trusting,

And my soul is all at rest.

Once my brain was always planning,

And my heart, with cares oppressed,

Now I trust the Lord to lead me,

And my life is all at rest.

Once my life was full of effort,

Now ‘tis full of joy and zest;

Since I took His yoke upon me

Jesus gives to me His rest.

A.B.Simpson

Jesus, I am resting, resting...

Ah! REST...what a glorious word!  I inhale and exhale deeply at just the sound of it!  And oh, how we humans need deep, glorious rest... Moms especially need it...as do dads.  Single folk need it; workers need it; retirees do too...even kids need it (although they would protest most loudly...especially after no-sleep sleepovers!)

This is the time of the year that I begin to really drag, needing my rest!  I'm a teacher, not really looking forward to the beginning of the new school-year. But I'm also a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, sister, etc.   And right now, as an author, I'm hitting Blogger's Block/ Writer's Block -- that brain-draining fatigue that hits everyone (including students) who has put pen to paper regularly.

So let me say it again -- we humans ALL need deep, gloriousrest...no matter what our role in life.  And we need rest, not just for our bodies, but for our souls most of all!

I don't know about you, but I am going to the only Place I know to go for the rest I need...and that place is my Lord Jesus Christ!  HE is Rest!  I'm responding to His gracious invitation, 

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

We who are burdened and work to exhaustion can find anapausis (RESTin Greek). But this is not just the "take a nap" kind of rest...it goes much deeper:

In Matthew 11:28-29, the Lord promises "anapausis" (inner tranquility) to the weary and heavy laden who come to HIM while they are engaged in necessary labor. Spiro Zodiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament, p. 156

Isn't that good news, dear friend? Even when we cannot take a break from our duties, we can have inner tranquility because of our relationship with our Lord Christ.

And there's an interesting emphasis in that short phrase, Come to Me, in the original Greek.  Literally, Jesus says,

HERE (Hither, KJV)...to ME!

That's right, the word COME isn't found in the original!  It's just implied...and I think, for a reason.

I picture Jesus Himself beckoning to the battered and beleaguered crowd of ordinary people following Him.  He points to HIMSELF as the source of spiritual rest:  HERE...to ME...for rest!

The religious rulers, who hounded them, burdened them with duties above and beyond what God required.  Jesus, on the other hand, joins (yokes) Himself to His people to give them rest on every level.  So in a sense, He says,

Don't go to THEM! HERE...to ME!

And the same is true for you and me, dear friend.  What is hounding and harassing you?

Is it the pressures of mothering? ...the stress of financial needs? ...the guilt of not being spiritual enough: reading the Bible, praying enough? ...the confusion and grief of relational rifts? ...the concern for struggling/straying loved ones? ...the fatigue/uncertainties of your job? ...struggles with ill health? ______[fill in the blank]______?

In every situation and in every stage of life on this earth, He Himself is our Rest. Join me in responding to His invitation:   HERE...to ME!

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28-30 MSG

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Suggestions for your COMING...from the mundane to the sublime [and I am practicing what I preach :) ]

Play instrumental hymns/praise/classical music softly in the background all day.  It's amazing how the music sets a peaceful atmosphere.  This is one of my favorite things to do when I'm home...keeping my music softly playing all day!

Memorize and recite often Psalm 23.  This is especially good when falling asleep or waking in the middle of the night! Visualize the scene, and let the peace of your Shepherd wash over you!

Take a break from social media for a period of time...however the Lord leads.  Call it a fast if you like and slow down the inner craziness to focus on the Lord.  Maybe just fast from it each day until after you meet with the Lord :) And if you are a blogger and hit bloggers block, let it be for awhile until the Lord breaks through with something fresh :)

Moms...get up earlier than your children, even if that means putting the coffee pot in the garage to brew (my son as a toddler/preschooler would wake up within 15 minutes of brewing my morning Joe).  Have your Bible, journal, devotional, &/or hymnbook in a handy spot.  And commune with your God...COME to HIM for your anapausis (rest while you go about your needful work)for your day! If little people do interrupt your time, let them join you...with their own Bible and journal :)

Home-school moms...when I was homeschooling and hit exhaustion, I would "take to my bed" for a whole day... homeschooling my son and daughter from the place of rest (my bed!).  They were a bit older and worked well on their own.  So I'd give them assignments, read with them, checked work (or have them check their own) etc. with them sitting next to me on the bed.  Then they would go off to complete assignments on their own.  Trust me, it really worked.  Then I'd be refreshed to continue on normally the next school-day!

Sing this wonderful hymn...focusing on the words to help in focusing on the Lord:

Jesus! I am resting, resting In the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness Of Thy loving heart.

Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee, And Thy beauty fills my soul, For, by Thy transforming power, Thou hast made me whole.

Jesus! I am resting, resting In the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness Of Thy loving heart.

Oh, how great Thy loving kindness, Vaster, broader than the sea: Oh, how marvelous Thy goodness, Lavished all on me!

Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved, Know what wealth of grace is Thine, Know Thy certainty of promise, And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus, I behold Thee as Thou art, And Thy love, so pure, so changeless, Satisfies my heart,

Satisfies its deepest longings, Meets, supplies its every need, Compasseth me round with blessings, Thine is love indeed.

Ever lift Thy face upon me, As I work and wait for Thee; Resting 'neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus, Earth's dark shadows flee.

Brightness of my Father's glory, Sunshine of my Father's face, Keep me ever trusting, resting, Fill me with Thy grace.

The Rest of the Gospel: Songs of the Week {Be at Rest...Rest}

sheep at rest
sheep at rest

So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Hebrews 4:9-10 ESV

Enjoying God's rest...what a peaceful thought.  Jesus Himself is our Rest.

And as we bring our summer book club to a close this week, I thought it appropriate to share two beautiful songs.

Relax and enjoy your rest, thanks to your union with our Lord Christ, who is our Sabbath Rest.

Be at Rest

Be at rest, be at rest once moreO my soul, for the Lord has been goodBe at rest, be at rest once moreO my soul, o my soulBe at rest once moreFor the Lord has been good to you

For You, O LordHave delivered my soul from deathMy eyes from tearsAnd You, O LordHave delivered my feet from stumbling

Words and Music by Jeremy Johnson © 2005 Van Ness Press, Inc. / ASCAP

Rest

Rest, the Lord is nearRefuse to fear, enjoy His loveTrust, His mighty powerFills every hour, of all your days

Chorus:There is no needFor needless worryWith such a SaviorYou have no cause to everDoubt, His perfect WordStill reassures, in any trial

Rest, the Lord is thereLift up your prayerFor He is strongTrust, He'll bring releaseAnd perfect peace, will calm your mind

(Chorus)

Call HimIf you grow frightenedCall HimWith loving careHe'll lift the burden and you'll

Rest, the Lord is nearRefuse to fear, enjoy His loveTrust, His might powerFills every hour, of all your days

Rest, the Lord is nearRefuse to fear, enjoy His love

Lyrics and Music by Phill McHugh And Greg Nelson

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-W3B3OUkN0[/youtube]

The Rest of the Gospel: Entering God's Rest (Chapter 25)

Chapter 25  Entering God's Rest Key Verses:

So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. Heb 4:9-11 ESV

Read Chapter 25:  Entering God's Rest

1. Is your life characterized by an inner rest? What does your answer tell you about the degree to which you are trusting Christ as your life?

2. Does being at rest mean that we will cease having any soul fluctuations? Explain.

3. According to Hebrews, what is they key to entering God’s rest? What might that look like in your life? Use a specific example from your life this past week in your answer.

4. What is the prerequisite for entering God’s rest? Give some examples of how this operates in our lives.

5. What does Dan mean when he says to turn your spiritual eye inward? Is this a self focus or a God focus? Explain.

6. What role does communion with God play in experiencing God’s rest?

7. What happens to the externals on the path to God’s rest? How is God making this happen in your life now?

8. In what ways are you seeking for God to give you something beyond Himself? In what way is He insufficient for all your needs? What is God saying to you about this right now?

9. What did Barbara mean when she told Dan to only talk about the unseen? What message is there in that for us?

Hebrews: "The Rest of God" Quiz

Students of Hebrews, try your hand at this pop-quiz...open book (Bible, that is).  Search out the answers from the passage (chapter and verse).

Reflections (a.k.a. answers) down below...but try them on your own first :)

The Rest of God Hebrews 3:11-4:15

  1. What is God’s rest?
  2. When do we have this rest?
  3. How is it entered?
  4. How is it missed?
  5. Who can enter?
  6. Where is that rest?
  7. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Answers:

    1. A finished work, the rest of completion (Hebrews 4:3-4)
    2. "Today" (Hebrews 3:7,13,15; 4:7)
    3. By faith/obedience (Hebrews 4:2-3) By ceasing from own works--works that originate with us (a.k.a. self-effort), not God (Hebrews 4:10)
    4. By unbelief/disobedience (Hebrews 3:12,18-19; 4:2,6,11)
    5. Anyone who hears and believes/obeys (Hebrews 3:7-8,15; 4:2-3,7,10-11)
    6. In Jesus, our Sabbath (Hebrews 4:9-10)

Hebrews: "Lord, let Your Rest take hold deeper & deeper in my life!"

True Sabbath REST is not an external thing...I knew that, but I still need to KNOW that!  Thus my conversation with the Lord the other day...listen in if you'd like:

Lord, let Your Rest take hold deeper & deeper in my life!

You don't need it deeper...You already have it as deep as it can be.  I gave it to you, remember?

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

I gave you REST when I gave you MYSELF! 

What you need is to live from Me your Sabbath Rest.   I'm the One Who dwells deep in your spirit, in the eternal realm. 

Live from ME united to you deep in your spirit, so that My rest can permeate the outer levels of your being, in the temporal realm...your soul and your body....and then pour forth to others.

But how can I do that, Lord?

Take 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.

You will find rest as you take MY yoke upon yourself, moving as I move, stopping as I stop, speaking as I speak, doing as I do...

And learn from Me...by stopping and spending time with our Father...letting Him speak and refresh you, as He did Me.  He is the Revealer of mysteries...He leads you into restful service because My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

Thank you, Lord!  I receive Your mysteries revealed by You to my resting, learning heart because...

 The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us...that we may follow all [His] words. Deut 29:29 NIV

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His revealed mysteries for me this week...that I may live from His Sabbath Rest...my Lord Jesus Christ. Maybe for you too?

1. His rest is His adequacy:

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor 3:5-6

2. His rest is His fullness:

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made full... Col 2:9-10

3. His rest is His grace:

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God [united]with me. 1Cor 15:10

4. His rest is His power:

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. 1Cor 2:1-5

5. His rest is His life:

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Gal 2:20

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You may like to read these beautiful sermons by Ray Stedman:

 Jesus is our Sabbath Rest, Stedman

Living out of Rest, Stedman

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You might also like:  Jesus, I am Resting, Resting...(in previous Hebrews post)

Jesus, I am Working, Working...how to work but not work :)

Jesus, I am Coming, Coming...including some great excerpts from Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest

Hebrews 3 & 4: Consider Jesus...and Rest!

STAR-GAZE at JESUS!  That's what these words mean:  CONSIDER JESUS!

Why gaze at anyone or anything else?

  • He is God's final WORD!
  • SON of GOD
  • SON of MAN
  • BUILDER of God's House (us!)
  • Our SABBATH REST

Let us be diligent to enter HIM, our SABBATH-REST Let us enter day in and day out! Let us live in HIM and let HIM live in and through us!

Amen and amen!

Homework --   Read Hebrews 4:14-5:10; 7:1-28 Answer questions in Hoping for Something Better, p. 193-195 Read chapter 4, p. 55-72, Hoping…

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I've attached two posts that you may enjoy as you bask in Jesus our Sabbath:

Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting  (April 2012)

Ah! REST...what a glorious word!  I inhale and exhale deeply at just the sound of it!  And oh, how we humans need deep, glorious rest...

Moms especially need it...as do dads.  Single folk need it; workers need it; retirees do too...even kids need it (although they would protest most loudly...especially after no-sleep sleepovers!)

This is the time of the year that I begin to really drag, needing my rest!  I'm a teacher...among other things like wife, mother, grandmother, friend, sister, etc.    A year or so ago, I also became a blogger/amateur writer.  Right now, I'm hitting Blogger's Block/ Writer's Block -- that brain-draining fatigue that hits everyone (including students) who has put pen to paper regularly.

So let me say it again -- we humans ALL need deep, glorious rest...no matter what our role in life.  And we need rest, not just for our bodies, but for our souls most of all!

I don't know about you, but I am going to the only Place I know to go for the rest I need...and that place is my Lord Jesus Christ!  HE is Rest!  I'm responding to His gracious invitation, 

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

We who are burdened and work to exhaustion can find anapausis (REST in Greek). But this is not just the "take a nap" kind of rest...it goes much deeper:

In Matthew 11:28-29, the Lord promises "anapausis" (inner tranquility) to the weary and heavy laden who come to HIM while they are engaged in necessary labor. Spiro Zodiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament, p. 156

Isn't that good news, dear friend? Even when we cannot take a break from our duties, we can have inner tranquility because of our relationship with our Lord Christ.

And there's an interesting emphasis in that short phrase, Come to Me, in the original Greek.  Literally, Jesus says,

HERE (Hither, KJV)...to ME!

That's right, the word COME isn't found in the original!  It's just implied...and I think, for a reason.

I picture Jesus Himself beckoning to the battered and beleaguered crowd of ordinary people following Him.  He points to HIMSELF as the source of spiritual rest:  HERE...to ME...for rest!

The religious rulers, who hounded them, burdened them with duties above and beyond what God required.  Jesus, on the other hand, joins (yokes) Himself to His people to give them rest on every level.  So in a sense, He says,

Don't go to THEM! HERE...to ME!

And the same is true for you and me, dear friend.  What is hounding and harassing you?

Is it the pressures of mothering? ...the stress of financial needs? ...the guilt of not being spiritual enough: reading the Bible, praying enough? ...the confusion and grief of relational rifts? ...the concern for struggling/straying loved ones? ...the fatigue/uncertainties of your job? ...struggles with ill health? ______[fill in the blank]______?

In every situation and in every stage of life on this earth, He Himself is our Rest. Join me in responding to His invitation:   HERE...to ME!

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28-30 MSG

Jesus! I am resting, resting In the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness Of Thy loving heart.

Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee, And Thy beauty fills my soul, For, by Thy transforming power, Thou hast made me whole.

Jesus! I am resting, resting In the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness Of Thy loving heart.

Oh, how great Thy loving kindness, Vaster, broader than the sea: Oh, how marvelous Thy goodness, Lavished all on me!

Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved, Know what wealth of grace is Thine, Know Thy certainty of promise, And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus, I behold Thee as Thou art, And Thy love, so pure, so changeless, Satisfies my heart,

Satisfies its deepest longings, Meets, supplies its every need, Compasseth me round with blessings, Thine is love indeed.

Ever lift Thy face upon me, As I work and wait for Thee; Resting 'neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus, Earth's dark shadows flee.

Brightness of my Father's glory, Sunshine of my Father's face, Keep me ever trusting, resting, Fill me with Thy grace.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm9_MHAbbIE[/youtube]

For the rest of the Resting in Jesus series, click here.

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Job Descriptions in the Father’s Vineyard (April 2011)

By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. John 15:8

Have you ever started a job with no job description?  I have, and it’s pretty confusing.

About 8 years ago, I was looking for a part-time teaching job.  A friend asked if I would like to apply to substitute teach in ESL & GED classes.  I told her that I didn’t have a clue about either one of those.  She assured me that it wasn’t difficult.  All I had to do was follow the teacher’s lesson plans.  So I naively applied.

Well, guess what?  As my application reached the supervisor’s desk, the beginning ESL teacher was in a very serious accident.  This was at the end of the first week of class.  By then, beginning ESL students don’t know much more English than the day they walked in.  There were no lesson plans and no curriculum, because the teacher was so experienced that she did her own “curriculum”.  Needless to say, I was terrified.  But God met me in my need (and that’s for another post!).

BUT that first year, I had no job description.  I just took the bull by the horns and prayed and taught and loved it.  And I think the students did too, by God’s grace!  (I’m still teaching that class 8 years later.)

However, without a job description, I made many mistakes and often got myself in trouble.  Most of the time, my mistakes were from my ignorance…or from my zeal to “do things right”.  As a result, in several instances, I unknowingly went over the head of my supervisor and assumed her role.  Not good!

That’s what happens for us believers with living the Christian life.  I don’t think we truly understand our “job description.”   We try to do in our own strength the things that only God can do.

John 15 is a perfect place to start to understand what it means to be a Christian (the branches) in relation to our Father (the Owner/Gardener) and His Son (the True Vine).  So let’s look at WHO does WHAT in a vineyard?

First there’s the Gardener or Vinedresser.  His job is to care for the vine and branches by watering, fertilizing, and above all… pruning. Without that almost “violent” pruning, a rich crop cannot come forth.

And after all, the vineyard owner’s reputation is at stake!  If someone sees a barren vineyard, no one shames the branches or even the vine, but rather the owner/vinedresser.  That’s because whoever does the work gets the credit or the blame!   So it’s his job to do whatever is necessary to ensure an abundant crop of grapes.  Even the good, new growth gets cut back so as to bring forth an abundance of fruit.

As we’ve seen in a previous post, that is what the Father does for us branches.   Sometimes we may feel like we’ve grown so much and have been “fruitful”…then all of a sudden, the desert! dryness! seeming barrenness!  But the process is not done yet!

Then there’s the Vine.  The Vine is the source of life for the branches, which then enables the fruit to come forth.  Without the life of the Vine flowing through healthy branches, nothing fruitful can happen!

Jesus is the Source of life for us His branches.  In another post we saw that Jesus, the I AM, is LIFE itself! In Him was life, and the life is the light of men…I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly. John 1:4; 10:10b

And that’s why the main job of the branches is to abide or stay connected to the vine.  The branches are the vehicles for the life of the vine to flow through so that fruit will come forth.

Jesus said,  Abide in Me and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  John 15:4

So what does it mean to abide in Christ?  It means to live in & from, remain in, sink down deep into, rest in, stay [experientially] connected to HIM!

Here’s a feeble, but hopefully helpful illustration of what I think it means to abide.  I have this wonderful couch in my living room.  It is hard to sit or lie on this couch without falling asleep.  When I come home from a full day of teaching, I look forward to sinking my weary body into that couch.  I’m often able to just put some instrumental music on and surrender to the comfort of my glorious couch. Later, I leave that place refreshed and energized!

However, sometimes I still have things I need to do before supper time.  So I abandon my tired self to my life-giving couch and make my phone calls or read my lessons or do whatever duty or desire dictates.  I still come away refreshed because I’m working from a position of rest.

That’s what I think abiding in Christ means.  I do what I do from my position of rest in my Glorious Vine.  I’m secure in Him and He in me.  His resurrection life flows through me, His branch, to bring forth the fruit designed by the Father for my unique life.

What about you?  Are you living the Branch-life?  Do you do what you do from the position of rest in your Glorious Lord Christ? Or are you trying to do what only God can do — give life and produce fruit?

I am the Vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me, you can do nothing.  John 15:5

For the rest of the Vine & Branches series, click here