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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 07/11/17

Rest is Underrated

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STORY: Time Out!

“Mister, I need to GO,” whined Jimmy as he tugged on the ref’s pant-leg.

“Okay, go tell your coach to call a time out for your team,” said the referee.

“No, Mister, I need to go NOW!” pleaded Jimmy.

What could the ref do, but send Jimmy to the restroom, while calling a time out. They were only second grade, don’t you know!

There are times when we all need to take a time out. Sometimes, it is a gradual build-up of pressure hinting, “You need a break.” Other times, it’s an urgent warning that we need to stop everything right NOW and take a time out!

A story is told of a man and woman who challenged each other to split wood for eight hours, and at the end of the time, see who had the largest woodpile. Every hour the woman took a break. The man went nonstop, thinking the extra time would amount to a larger woodpile. To him, it meant easy victory.

At eight hours, there was only one obvious winner. The woman’s woodpile was much larger. The man asked, “How can this be? I worked the entire time, while you took a break every hour.”

The woman responded, “I used that time to sharpen the ax!”

We each need to take time to sharpen our proverbial axes. What should we do, when we take a break from our everyday busyness? First, re-think the word break and spell it, BRAKE. Stop what we’re doing; put the brakes on. When we slow down, the inner quietness allows us to hear God’s still small voice. Through Him we find the peace we can’t seem to find anywhere else. We relax, allowing our physical and emotional wellbeing to rejuvenate and reenergize.

The Bible sets up a time for spiritual renewal. In the Old Testament that time was called the Sabbath. Many New Testament Christians set aside time for the Lord the first day of the week. Unfortunately, because of our busy workweeks, Sunday becomes the only day to complete chores and errands, and it is no longer a day of rest.

Are you feeling an urgent need to leave the playing field of Life for a break? Ask for a time out. It’s not just for ballgames or errant children. It can be ours today!

STUDY: Fly Away, Retreat Away, Rest Always

Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! (Psalm 55:6 NLT)

  • What does a dove often symbolize? What does peace have to do with rest?
  • Where would you fly away to find rest?

The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone. (Mark 6:30-32 NLT)

  • Can you relate to the stress of having others press in on you? What do you want when that happens?
  • The phrase quiet place is mentioned twice here. Why is that an important component of rest?

The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.” (Exodus 33:14 NLT)

  • How does God’s presence in your life affect your rest?
  • How does your heart feel, for God to want to be personally in your life?

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1 NLT)

  • What does it mean to live in the shelter of the Most High?
  • How close to God are you, to be found in His shadow?

No wonder my heart is glad, and my tongue shouts his praises! My body rests in hope. (Acts 2:26 NLT)

  • How will your heart be made glad?
  • What inspires you to praise God?
  • Luke (a physician) recorded this passage. Peter preached it, but he was quoting David from the Old Testament. This verse doesn’t say his spirit rested in hope—he said his body. Luke must agree with David and Peter, to include it in his writing. Dr. Luke’s prescription for rest is a glad heart, a praising tongue, and a hope-filled life.

STEPS: Relinquish the Rest to Rest

“Waiting on God and entering into His rest are the most productive moments of your life.” –Jack Frost.

  1. Own it. If you need rest, it’s not God’s fault. You can’t blame circumstances or others. It’s all on you.
  2. Disown it. If you are striving to perform or control something, you’ll never feel rested. Let go and yield to God’s control.
  3. Define it. If you define yourself based on what you do rather than your identity in Christ, you will find yourself in a rest deficit.
  4. Enter in. When you run to God’s embrace, you connect with the Source of your rest.
  5. Strive not. When you struggle, you resist rest. When you relax into God’s control, you will discover peace.
  6. Receive His love. Rest isn’t simply a matter of slowing down or stopping. It happens when you truly believe God loves you as much as He loves His Son, and you are worth loving.

“Are you tired, ...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)

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