REST! Is it really a lost commodity among our culture? In our hurried, never-sitting-still-society-for-fear-of-being-run-over-by-society, you would think it is. That speaks of physical rest, but what of the rest of one’s soul? A time where one can enjoy some peace and quiet on the inside instead of always feeling like their world is in turmoil.
I think many of us can really relate to that need of rest. Sometimes, we wish we could do like Jesus and stand before the storm and say, “Peace, be still,” and literally make every wave of adversity shut its mouth! I know you want to. I do, too! It just becomes too much to deal with at times and the need for space, to breathe, to come out from under all this mess becomes an overwhelming factor.
God bless you if you can’t relate to what I am saying here. For most of us the challenge of dealing with daily schedules, mess and problems leave us feeling totally surrounded. As if, no matter what direction we turn there is something there to prevent one from really enjoying that rest.
“And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest,” Psalm 55:6
Oh, but if I had two wings! I would fly! The idea of rising above every problem and adverse circumstance is very tantalizing. Right there I begin to form a mental picture in my mind of me soaring. Below me is everything that tries to come against me. All those problems and schedules are trying to reach up and grab hold of me, but it can’t! I have risen too high for them. I have learned how to fly above it all!
The problem with that is it is fantasy. Oh, that it were real. While we are living on this side of glory we are always going to have something to deal with, but that still doesn’t mean we can’t fly. Isaiah 40:31 emphatically declares, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles . . .” God never promised to remove every problem from our lives but, what He did say, is that He will renew the strength of those who turn to Him in the midst of it all.
God is strong in power and there is none like Him, Isaiah 40:25-26. We recognize today, that though I may not have suddenly sprouted two wings coming out of my back when I rely on His power, it is as if I am already soaring! And, that my friends, is real rest! It is confidence that fills the heart and lets me know that I don’t have to feel beaten down and worn out. God’s got this! He sees what I am going through. Psalms 5:11-12 says, “Let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.” I may not have two physical wings on the outside, but on the inside, I’m flying higher than it all. Why? Because though it may seem at times that I am totally surrounded, I serve the Lord God Almighty who is able to “compass” me “as with a shield.” Therefore, today, I can fly!
“. . .And so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law:
and if I perish, I perish,” Esther 4:16, KJV
There are a lot of things that act like blockades in our lives, but fear by far has to be one of the hardest to overcome. Fear can render useless the one who entertains it because unlike physical limitations, fear messes with the mind. It changes one’s perspective on how they view the world, the people around them and their own lives.
Fear acts like a photographer. It snaps a picture and develops it in the dark recesses of your mind. When the picture is finished being developed it comes out for you to view a new reality, whether it’s true or not. Fear is not based on truth but it wants you to believe in the image it presents to you more than God. That’s why many of us will never tread the courts of the king as Esther did. We can become so focused on that false image (the things that we see that make us afraid) that we fail to step out with courage.
The Bible tells us, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” (Heb. 11:1, KJV). Going against fear takes faith. Faith doesn’t concentrate on what is visible to the naked eye. Faith concentrates on the truth of God’s promises. And His promises declare, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness,” (Is. 41:10, KJV).
That’s what faith sees!
With Queen Esther’s physical eyes the picture she saw wasn’t pleasant. What she saw was her beloved uncle Mordecai’s life was in danger, (Esther 5:14). What she saw was hatred and an evil desire for her people to be destroyed, (Esther 3:8-9). What she saw was the anguish of her people, grieving her also, (Esther 4:3-4). What she saw was a law that could take her life, (Esther 4:11).
A decision had to be made. Esther could look at the circumstances and let the fear of those images stop her from doing what’s right. Or, she could take a stand against the fear that assailed her and go for it, debunking that old image to see something new.
With great resolve and commitment she said, “If I perish, I perish.” She took a stand against the fearful, stepping out into the unknown, not sure if she would find favor with the king. Her people needed her to be brave. Her uncle needed her to be unbending in her determination. She needed to step up to the plate “for such a time as this,” (Esther 4:14, KJV).
In what area of your life do you need more courage? Is there something you are dealing with that is extremely hard, yet you want to be determined to see it through? It takes a resolve such as Queen Esther possessed to stand against the fear of what you see so that you too can walk the King’s court in victory!
“By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You,” Psalm 71:6, NKJV
As you look back over your life, is there ever a time when you know you should not have made it? Is there a time when you recognize that it was only by the grace of God that you are still here today?
Yeah, me too!
Life has a way of throwing us many curve balls. Sometimes we hit it and sometimes we miss. Sometimes we are even awesome enough to get a home run, whereas at other times we would just be grateful to still be in the game. The fact that we are, is a testimony to the love of the Father on us. It is evident that He still has you and me in His hands and in His plan.
There are times that come that make it extremely hard for us to recognize this great truth. Crushing times that weigh on us making us believe that we are forgotten or that we are walking this path alone. Nothing could be further from the truth. God has always been with us. God has always taken care of us. God has always been the one holding on to us when our lives seem to be spinning out of control.
I find it utterly amazing that we have been upheld since birth. Truth be told, Psalm 139:16 shows us that He was paying attention to us even before the time of our birth. It says, “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them,” (NASB). Even before day 1 of our lives, God had His eye on us.
How awesome is that? I find great comfort in verses like these because I realize that yes; I have gone through some very difficult and troubling times. Yes, as I look back through the different stages of life I wish things could have been better or I wish wrong choices could be undone. But, despite all the “I wish I had…” or the “could have and should have,” these verses remind me that I never walked alone. There was never a time in my life that God didn’t see me and didn’t see what I was going through. There was never a time when He was absent. He was there the whole time reaching out for me and calling me with His love, beckoning me to stay in the safety of His arms and rest there.
God’s hands have always been us!
I don’t know what you may be facing today but the Word of God is sure in all it promises and His Word promises that you are not alone. Yet, sometimes it does seem that way. It seems like you cry and cry and cry some more, but I assure you, your tears do not fall on deaf ears. As you cry, the one who has had His hands on you since birth feels the flow of your tears running over His hands as He holds you. Stay right there in His loving embrace.
If you have to, turn back to Him and trust Him who has you in His hands today and wants to hold you forever.
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well,” Psalm 139:14
Oh, the creative power that took place for you to be here today. From the moment of conception, and from the time cells began to divide within themselves, you were and are a product of beautiful design. Uniquely you, you are made just the way God intended. And, since we know that He doesn’t make any mistakes, whatever we view as shortcomings in our lives may be there for a much higher purpose. Our so-called defaults are part of the plan that God has laid out in your life.
What would happen if every Christian really armed themselves with this beautiful truth? How would that personally make us feel? How would it affect the way we live, the way we walk and talk? More importantly, how would it affect the way we move in our Christian walk? How much more would we be apt to express our faith knowing the value He places in each and every one of us?
I believe if Christians really got a hold of this truth they would turn the world upside down. They would step out with a newfound faith knowing that they are something really special before God; knowing that their worth is not in how the world sees them; rather, how God sees them. What does He think about me?
Let me tell you what He thinks about you. Jesus said in Luke 12:6-7, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” “Ye are of more value!” Humanity is the apex of all His creation. He made sure everything that was created was put in proper place and proper order for us. We are the only part of creation where God claimed Himself, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion . . .” (Gen. 1:26). Not only created, but we created in “His image.” Not only in “His image,” but we are also created to have “dominion;” authority over all the earth including the thoughts that come to make us feel less than anything He said of me!
Today, I want to be me. I want to walk like I walk. Express me like only I can. I want to relish in the wonderful thought that when no one else is taking notice of me, He is. Because He designed me this way and I know the care that went into this design, I can rest and enjoy me. I can love me some me. Even when it seems no one else does, I can love me because He loves me.
If He says I’m good just like this then all I have to do is learn to work in what He gave me and just be me. “Marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Does your soul know that you are a marvelous work of God? Can you believe that today so that you can just enjoy being you? You are so incredibly special. Let no one rob you of the precious way that God sees you.
“Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us and not we ourselves. . .” (Ps. 100:3). I’m so glad I didn’t do this myself. As they would say in social media circles: “LOL (Laugh Out Loud)!” It is a laughable notion because there is so much that goes into this that we will never figure it out. Then again, I don’t have to because He already did. He stepped back and looked at creation and said, “It was very good,” (Gen.1:31).
I am good! From the time that He has “covered me in my mother’s womb,” (Ps. 139:13), I am just the way He wants me to be. So, today, I can be me! Now, that’s something to 🙂 about!
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth
his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth
shall prosper,” Psalm 1:3, KJV
I believe right there the trees stop and laugh at us. Whether it is planted in the inner city or deep in the countryside, as long as it has soil, water and sunshine it will grow. The tree doesn’t look for excuses for why it can’t do what it was purposed to do. It just does it. It grows and bears fruit.
We have to learn to be abundant where we are planted. Take inventory of where you are right now. What is there that can be done by you? What gap can you fill? What soul can you reach out to? What aspect of ministry can you lend your talents to? Don’t always look at the big stuff; there are little tidbits of things that can be done by each of us. There are small ways to minister (serve) that God can put to good use to cause increase in His kingdom.
Psalm 1:1-2 speaks of the choice of the individual to do right. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night,” (KJV). Now it’s time to walk in the fruitfulness of vs.3, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper,” (KJV).
So, if you have already made the same choice and are now planted, it’s time to let some fruit grow. Nobody will know anything about you unless you start growing fruit; until you start producing something. An apple tree is not an apple tree if it does not produce apples. Matthew 12:33 declares, “. . . for the tree is known by his fruit,” (KJV).
Today, I urge you to make a proclamation to yourself and say, “Self, today, right where I am planted, I will produce!” Do you not know that God will honor that? The Word of God emphatically says, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed,” (Matthew 17:20, KJV). God doesn’t need you to try to grab hold of the biggest thing in ministry there is. But, if your heart is sincere and your faith is genuine, He will honor the fruitfulness of every little step you take.
Don’t let intimidation stop you from being effective for the Kingdom of God. If all I have is a small measure to work with then, I’m going to work that small measure until I see the increase. So, I declare that, “Today, right where I am planted, I will be fruitful!
Handle with care I wish I could post,
a stick it note to remind of what matters the most.
Distractions, directions unprofitable and robbing;
relentless in their unfocused pulling and prodding.
But my days are few upon this earth,
to make an impact of valued worth.
The reins have to be taken back;
no longer the less valuable plans to detract.
Focus, you only have one life to live.
Frail, is this only life to give.
Here today, and gone tomorrow;
let me cherish each one without resentment and sorrow.
Life is fragile and can break like a dam.
So, Lord teach me to measure my days, that I may know how frail I am.
To gain the worth of each day given.
This time on earth; this limited edition.
Invest in the works, the love and matters of the soul.
To fulfill His glory is our heavenly goal.
“LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am,” (Psalms 39:4).
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth,” Psalm 121:1-2
“Me, myself and I,” a phrase commonly known to us all. It usually comes on the heels of an aggravating event or from dealing with the frustration of a letdown because one depended on someone else to do something for them and they didn’t follow through. Or, how about this one, “If you want something done right you have to do it yourself!” Another frustrating sentiment spurned by the letdowns of others.
Here we just see them as phrases, just something we blurt out because of the emotions that stir within us when we feel we can’t get that help we need from someone. The sad part of it all is the reality that this has become the prevailing attitude in the world today. It is a mindset that has become detached from the cares of humanity; not in a good way.
Many people are wandering adrift in the world. Day by day they go through their daily routines really believing that they are in this alone. Wandering and questioning, “From whence comes my help?” More often than not, that questioning person does not know that there is One who stands at the ready to appeal and work on behalf of those who call out to Him. Not realizing this great truth causes them look to their own selves once again, reaffirming that self-sufficient attitude of “Me, myself and I.”
I believe God likes goal-setters. I believe God loves to see His people be filled with the zeal of being a real go-getter. I say that because God has never, ever promoted laziness. God has equipped mankind with a mind to think and gifts to operate in, and He wants to see the fulfilling of all of that to come to pass. But, and here’s where the warning bells go off, when one tries to operate independently of God with an “I don’t need Him” attitude, buddy, that’s when we got a problem!
“Can I get some help around here?” Oh, if that isn’t a familiar cry to us all. When life feels at loose ends and everything just seems to be unraveling before us we often wonder where can we get help from? The writer of this psalm found his help by lifting his eyes up. The human eye tells one where to focus. As I sit here on my couch writing this I keep peeping out of the window. In line of my view are a bunch of beautiful trees that are gently swaying with the occasional breeze. Every time I look out at them I feel a certain little measure of restfulness and peace. Because this is what my eyes see it relaxes me.
How much more for the one who chooses to focus on that Sovereign, Omnipotent Presence and truly realize He’s there? Not only is He there but He is ready to be our help. “The righteous cry, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles,” Psalm 34:17. Deliverance is there. Help is here. God loves a “can do” attitude, but not a “can do it without Him” attitude. Especially, since He loves us so much as to be the offering for our much needed help. I have to receive of His help daily. Zeal, and even talent, will only get you so far. I can’t be so high and mighty to think that I can do even the basic things without His help. So, today I want to receive God’s help. What about you?
Despite my failings,
my shortcomings and shame.
Despite my choices
from which heartaches did rain.
Despite the coldness
of my sometimes failing heart.
Despite the right path
of which I did depart.
Despite the apples
on the tree.
Despite the way
my sin views me.
Despite the world’s
Despite the lies
on which I did feed.
Despite it all,
despite the mess.
Despite the feeling
of total brokenness.
He brought me out;
and for His glory,
restored me wholly,
magnifying His love story.
“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit,” Psalm 51:12
God blesses. He’s the author of all that’s good and lovely. The enemy, on the other hand, opposes all the wonderfulness that God has in store for His people.
Have you ever noticed that God will bring you to a place of sanctuary in your life; a place to make things right, restore, and grant rest for the weary world traveler? Then, the enemy swoops in quickly to try to undo the blessedness of God.
FYI, that’s his job. He comes to “steal, kill, and destroy,” (John 10:10). The moment God brings you to a place of rejuvenation, a place where you feel you access grace and peace – the enemy deploys hatred, confusion, and anything it takes to disassemble what God has put together for us.
It’s not a strange thing, even if it hurts, to feel under attack when being blessed by God. These interruptions of peace are designed to throw you off your spiritual game; yet in Him, we are assured that we are “more than conquerors,” (Romans 8:37). We have the overcoming ability to rise above troubles and to claim the peace God so freely gives.
The Bible declares, “The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blessed His people with peace,” (Psalm 29:1). Peace is a divine blessing. It’s something that is the right of every child of God to have. Although our outward situations may not favor that sentiment, it’s the inward man that is to stand up in faith, believing every word of God to be true, that fights and upholds the right for that God-given peace.
“He promises peace to his people,” (Psalm 85:8) and that’s something we shouldn’t easily let go of. We sing the songs that tell what God has for me, it is for me, but we have to do more than sing it – we have to claim it, own it, and diligently fight day-by-day to possess it as our own.
How do we do that? We are told, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee,” (Isaiah 26:3). The place where the interruption of peace is hardest fought is in the mind. When hurts and confusions begin to penetrate that tranquil soil of promise it sprouts weeds of dysfunction, distrust, and terror that were not meant to be there.
But, when one’s focus shifts from what is right before the eyes to beyond the surface and refuses to let go of that promise of peace, those seeds of faith will germinate by His heavenly grace and become fully mature fruit in your life.
It’s all about what you decide to let to be dominant in your life. Your focus can either be your weapon or your enemy. It can either help you to look past what is currently before you or it can be your stumbling block that doesn’t let you get over this hill.
Here’s the thing. You get to decide for yourself which one it will be. Faith is not passive – it’s very much active. You are the one that has to fight for it. You are the one that has to refuse to give up on God’s promise for you.
Interruptions of peace will come, but how far it gains access is up to you.