A Time For Rest

Living in the Midwest, we experience all four seasons. Spring is my favorite season, with everything “greening up”, and buds bursting forth into bloom with a wide array of color following the stark black and white of winter.

Each season has its own work, and own perks. In spring, many people, including myself, plant gardens and test a hand for a “green thumb.” We relish in the warming rays of afternoon sun, and start venturing outside a bit on the weekends.

Summer is filled with barbecuing, picnics, bike rides, and hiking.  School’s out and busy afternoon activities are in. I often find myself  chauffeuring and chaperoning our daughters and their friends.

Autumn is harvest time which means our annual apple-picking trip and an afternoon of making homemade applesauce. It also means back-to-school and back to studying. The colors of autumn are a vibrant promise that winter won’t last forever and that we will see God’s creation grow and bloom again.

Winter has its perks with the anticipation of the celebration of Christmas. The days are shorter here in the Northern Hemisphere, and after the holidays, I find myself sitting quite a bit more that usual. I have learned to enjoy this season of rest.

While the snowflakes fall lazily from the sky, and the temperatures dip at a threatening speed, I have learned to enjoy winter. I still arise early, before the sun says “hello”, and quietly process Scripture before the fire.

God designed us to rest. I don’t know about you, but that is something I have needed to make myself learn. Raised in this fast-paced American culture where busyness in condoned and applauded, I needed to take time for both the Lord, and my thoughts.

I love Psalm 46:10 , “Be still and know, I am God.” However, that is not a practice I have mastered. Some might remind me it’s just my stage of life, or that one day I will have plenty of time to be still and contemplate spiritual truths.

But I have found I don’t want to wait for life to slow down, I must make the time now.

As I contemplate the new calendar every year, I see winter as a gift from God. Having previously declared it my least favorite season in years past, I have found a new affinity for it. The weather and lack of light encourages me to settle into my home earlier in the day, not venturing out as much in the evening. When home, my life often feels quieter, not rushed, and less scheduled. Maybe, God intended for me to realize I can spend time with Him and learn from Him, even during this busy time of life.

As I glanced out at the winter landscape, I used to feel confined indoors, with little to brighten the day. Now I see those cold, cold days as a perfect time to start a delectable dish in the crock pot, bake something in the warm oven, and sit before the fire, snuggled with my favorite people and puppy!

God can speak to us through anything. Even the weather, even the seasons. Even as we experience them time and time again.

How do you slow yourself down to listen for Him?

 

He Will Be Praised

Frustration coursed through him as he sped away from the one person who so easily broke his heart.

It only took three words: I can’t believe.

He dearly loved his heavenly Father. He knew his life was a testimony to God’s goodness; without God he would never have become a decent person.

Watching his sister struggle so profoundly with faith tore his heart out.

He’d witnessed with words on countless occasions. He’d acted with love when love wasn’t returned.

He’d held his tongue while harsh words rung in his ears. He’d forgiven when she had cut him to the quick.

As he sped away he heard God’s gentle retort,

You don’t need to defend me. You don’t need to change her heart, that’s my job. You only need to love.

Be still, my son, and know I am God.

His heart stilled as he pondered the familiar Psalm. Be still and know I am God.

I don’t need anything from you, be still, calm down. I’m in control here. I am God.

I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

God will be praised simply because He said it. And He isn’t relying on any of us to bring it about.

We can each relax and trust that He is God. He will orchestrate it all, and it will happen.

Braking the car, he thought to himself, God doesn’t need my defense. With that final though, he pulled into the driveway and parked the car. He also parked his heart directly on Psalm 46:10.

He would stop talking, doing, and concerning himself over things God hadn’t called him to do. He would instead trust that God would indeed fulfill His word.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for my calling. And Lord, thank You for limiting that calling. Please remind me to be obedient to that calling and only focus my words and actions on your instructions. Please help me recall your promises. They will happen because You declared it. Not because I did anything. There is such freedom in You limit! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

Be Still…Who, Me?

Be still and know I am God,” Psalm 46:10

Monday:

Alarm ringing.

Late again.

Child screaming.

Broken glass.

Milk spilled.

Pets unfed.

Lost mitten.

Polar vortex!

Misplaced boot.

Broken zipper.

Dirty floor.

Be still and know, I am God.

How do I have time to be still, you might well wonder.  Yet, that is the great paradox of faith: we must trust what we cannot see.  Do I truly believe the promise, “I will supply all your needs.”? (Philippians 4:19) Do I trust that if I do what God is calling me to do, that He will indeed make sure what needs to get done, indeed gets done?

Reflection: How can I find peace and be still before God, in a world filled with chaos?

Tuesday:

Looming deadline.

Car battery died.

New Health Insurance.

Work physical.

Diet changes.

Exercise plan.

Layoffs announced.

New manager.

New policies.

“Be still and know I am God.”

Even when daily life is uncertain, overwhelming, and just constant chaos; there is someone desiring to give us peace.  He knows even more about the details of life than we do.  He knows when our jobs will change before we get the notice.  He knows the diagnosis on before we experience the symptoms. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

We need to be still and let Him exchange our panic for peace.

Reflection: Am I choosing chaos over His peace?

Wednesday:

Home late.

Cluttered floor.

Cluttered furniture.

Hungry kids.

What’s for dinner?

Homework help:

Inverse Property(?)

Kid’s bubble bath.

Story time.

Hugs and kisses.

Dirty dishes.

Unpaid bills.

How often do I see burdens in my blessings?  Instead of looking at a sink, (and a counter) full of dirty dishes as the evidence of a well-fed family, I see a monumental mess!

Instead of seeing my children’s toys, books, and electronics, which are scattered around my house, as evidence of healthy, inquisitive, and very blessed lives; I see clutter, which needs picked up NOW!

Instead of sitting down to a stack of bills as a reminder of how blessed I am, that we can pay for heat in a cold winter, and we earned enough this year for the government to tax us; I sour at the thought of doing one more thing that night.

Be still and know, I am God.”

He’s placed each of us here on this earth, where and when we should live.  He has ordered our lives.  He has blessed our days, even the difficult ones.  We must choose to search for that blessing.

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Reflection:  How can I focus on the positive, to see the blessings of my chaotic life?

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe4SckesWLE

Thursday:

Warm weather.

Birds singing.

Clean house.

Clean car.

Good food.

Wife happy.

Kids quiet.

Grass green.

Flowers blooming.

All’s well.

Be still and know I am God.

Does the prayer time slack off in the midst of constant bliss?  Do we remember to praise God and take time for Him, when all is well?  We don’t know what He’s up too, but in enjoying the blessings of each day, we must remember to thank Him for our lives.  We must come before Him, silent our cell phones, our racing thoughts, and our hammering hearts.  Ask what He has for us to do today.

Reflection: How often do I communicate with God when all is well?

Friday:

How is your approach to Psalm 46:10 now?  Do you see it as simply something to offer in time of need, to comfort a hurting soul?  It does offer comfort, but it’s also a command. If you have dedicated yourself to Christ, if you really want to live a Christ-centered life; then your hours, your words, your actions are not your own.

There is a plan for your life.  There is a plan for your day.  There is a plan for this moment.  Maybe we’re all ready to ask God what that plan is.

Prayer: Dear Father,  You know the plans you have for me.  You love me.  You created me to do good works.  Please let me not get distracted with this life that I miss my calling.  Please, help me not to be so enamored with this life, that I miss building a relationship with You.  May I remember that You can and You do use everything for good, and that no matter what ‘stuff’ I’m dealing with today, You will use it in Your great plan.  Thank you for Your forgiveness and Your faithfulness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thanks for reading!  Please return by Monday, February 17, for the next post.