Rest: the Craving of our Souls

I wanted to let you know that Soul Sisters, a women's devotional group that I co-lead, now has a website. Our heart's desire is to encourage women in God's word each day, as well as to pray for one another. If you're looking for a daily lift in His word (M-F), check Here is a sample devotional:

Free to Rest
Read: Matthew 11: 25-30; Philippians 1:6
 “If we are not free to rest, we will either burn out or the work will be about our agenda, not God’s. In a society of to-dos and goals and ambitions, the Father asks us to rest assured. He wants us to stop trying so hard to matter.” (Rebecca Lyons)
 In our Scripture today, Jesus says, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." I'm wondering if every one of us reading this devotion right now is weary and heavy laden in some way. We, as women, have so many demands: homes, husbands, kids, grandkids, elderly parents, jobs, ministries, and so much more. Does this full work schedule give us an "out" for resting in the Lord? I think Jesus is saying the exact opposite. He says to those who are burdened with work (and in His day, those burdened with following all the rules of the Law), "Come to Me." This invitation of "Come" is the precursor to the Lord's command of "Go". Will we answer His plea to simply be with Him? IF we do, His promise is rest for our souls. I believe our souls crave this rest (relationship with Christ) more than anything else in this world. Jesus also says, "Learn from Me." How did Jesus live? He, being fully God and yet also fully man, had to prioritize His 24 hour day/night. Priority number one: He went away often to be with His Father. Only after hearing His Father's guiding words, did He go and do. When we come to Him, He refills us for His appointed work. Just like the obvious stop we have to make at the gas station for our cars, we must stop and rest from our going and doing in order to be empowered with His wisdom and strength. Otherwise, as Rebecca Lyons stated above, "we will either burn out or our work will be about our agenda, not God's."

First and foremost, God has called you to a relationship with Himself. Within this relationship, He has mapped out His work for you. Rest today in the confidence that He will complete good things in and through you in His time and way. Our worth is safe and secure in the author and finisher of all good things, Jesus Christ. So, sister, we get to rest in Him!
Dear Lord,
Forgive me for trying to go and do Your work without You fueling me with your Spirit. I tend to take on things in and of my own flesh that You never meant for me to do in the first place. I try to fix things and control things and produce things. Remind me that YOU are the ultimate Fixer, the flawless Controller, and the marvelous Producer; let me rest in YOU. When my thoughts are racing in the morning concerning my agenda, may the first words I hear be, "Come to Me". Help me to respond to this loving invitation with an expectant heart. Speak to me, O God. Tell me what You want me TO DO, and what You want me NOT TO DO. I pray I will crave Your rest above all else. May I fuel up with Your word and Spirit BEFORE I go out into the chaos of the day. Yes Lord, in this personal relationship with You, I ask for Your strength, Your peace, and Your joy to equip me in Your appointed work. In Your Name. Amen.

Consider the Daylily

Many years ago, I bought some daylily bulbs from a friend of a dear friend. I picked a special place in my backyard near a stone wall to plant them; and then, I waited. The first bloom was a huge celebratory moment for me (I do NOT have a green thumb in the least, so anything that grows in my yard is a minor miracle). Now, every summer I look forward to the re-birthing of these radiant flowers.

What's crazy to me is that this flower's bloom only lasts one day, hence the name day-lily. It's as if this particular plant embraces this fact however, and puts a hundred percent of its beauty into the time it has been allotted. These brick red, butter yellow, and melon orange blossoms splay themselves open unashamedly, shouting "Beautiful!" and "Majestic!" and "Glory!" in the designated place that they have been planted. Scripture uses the blossoming flower as an anology to teach us:

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever."  I Peter 1:23-25

So, when studying the temporal flower alongside the above scripture, a wise, yet convicting question can be, What am I doing with my days? Am I shouting "Beautiful", and "Majestic", and "Glory" in my designated place? 

Be challanged by the Creator of both the fleeting flower and your seeking soul. Take inHis word, the imperishable seed, and choose to hear it, and heed it. And then, without fail, you will not only be living in this world radiantly, but also at some point, leaving this world triumphantly, having impacted it for eternity. And this my friend, is a major miracle.

Teach us to number our days, that we may enter the heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Now and Then

I recently had some recurring thoughts that made me look for a post I wrote many years ago...

Every now and then, I think about the now...and then.

The other morning the thought about the present-day and the unseen-future came to mind when I stepped outside with puppy-Juliet for her "morning duty." Most of our outings together at this wee-morning hour still possess the remnant of night-time, with the black sky and the twinkling stars. However, for about three mornings in a row, our scenery was different; instead of a clear nightly
sky, Juliet and I were greeted with a dense white fog. When standing on my front porch, I couldn't see our driveway, our black fence, the surrounding trees, the cows in the field. Nothing was in view.

I think sometimes our present day, the now, is a lot like living in this kind of fog. There are so many unknowns, whether it's about our health, our finances, our direction, or our relationships. The seemingly impassable uncertainties can create a worrisome unsettling in our hearts... so many questions, so many emotions.
But as I was walking with little pup down our driveway in the midst of this penetrable thickness, I heard a whispering in my soul, "Chris, this is what it means to walk by faith not be sight" (II Cor. 5:7). The Lord's sweet reminder to my questioning heart, was that I am walking with the One who holds all the answers. And I am called to put my faith in Him, not in myself or my surroundings. Remember, He is called the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow (James 1:17). 

And let us also remember this truth on our walk: in the midst of all this faith-fog "now" there is the promise of crystal-clear "then"! You may never understand the goings-on of this life, but if all you do is hold onto the hope of heaven while walking through the befuddlements of earth, then God has been glorified in and through you. Someday He will set all things right, and we will then understand.

As I walked back up the driveway, God set my mind on another Word of His: 

For we know in part, and we prophecy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away... For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I have also been fully known. (I Cor. 13:9-10,12)

In light of this truth, let us each walk by faith today, remembering that God Himself is in-step with you. I pray your heart will hear Him whispering words of hope, for your "now"... and your "then."