Resting In Rest

The Sabbath time that we choose each week is to be a time of rest. The Bible states: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Being still both on the inside and the outside allows for us to be in touch with the real “you” who lives on the inside. The often unexamined you. And for some, the unknown you. It also allows us to reconnect with God in very significant ways. It is a holy time dedicated to touching God in fresh ways and giving God time to touch us in even more powerful and dynamic ways.

Jesus said, “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 The Message Version).

What is it we will find rest from? What is it we are being “still” and removing ourselves from – so that we can find ourselves, the real ‘who we are,’ once again? Let me suggest a few things…

1> Rest from being hurt … Many of life’s events have the ability to hurt us. Hurt us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Consequences for our actions may stick with us for years afterward. They may be hidden or suppressed for a time, but that does not mean they are gone. Everyone picks up a collection of hurts as the years go by. Disappointment and loss are a part of life. We all hurt each other. We’ve all been hurt. Rest gives our souls the time they need to heal.

2> Rest from heavy labour… Unlike the slaves that God freed from Egypt, most of us do not struggle under heavy manual labour. Manual labour has its own reminder to stop. One can only move bricks so long before muscles cry out for rest. Unfortunately, other types of labour may not remind us of the need to lay down our burdens. What about answering emails, going to meetings, and working with customers? If we are to treat our bodies as temples, we must allow time for physical, mental and spiritual recovery from the labours of our week.

3> Rest from the pace of the world… We live in a fast-paced world. In the 1990s study for the British Council, Dr. Richard Wiseman recorded how fast people walked in cities as a gauge of those cities’ pace of life. Not surprisingly, faster-paced cities had higher incidences of coronary artery disease. A recent redo of Wiseman’s study found that the speed of walking has increased 10 percent in cities around the globe.

Speeding up our pace has an equal and opposite reaction. Fast living that includes fast food and fast eating may ultimately be slowing us down. Americans spend less than eighty minutes per day eating meals. What is the reaction? We’re getting fat. Nearly 35 percent of Americans have a body mass index (BMI) over 30. (A BMI of more than 25 is overweight, and one of more than 30 is considered obese.) In contrast, the French spend more than two hours a day eating, and only 10 percent of them have a BMI over 30. In 1972 Americans spent $3 billion a year on fast food; today that number is over $110 billion.

By eating fast food, we get calories into our bodies fast, but by taking the time to cook and dine, we nourish our souls. Face-paced lives leave less time for activities that build family and friendships. They may be so fast that they leave little time for either dining or the divine. Taking time to sit down and eat is sacred biblical business. Abraham fed the angels under the oaks of Mamre, Jesus taught over meals in the homes of His friends, and Christ was revealed to the travellers on the road to Emmaus when they broke bread together. In the book of John, Jesus taught over a slow dinner – nearly one-quarter of the Gospel of John! Where would we be if the disciples had used the drive-try windows?

Rest for our souls – and resting in rest to come to know God intimately and, as a result coming to know ourselves better … something God commands that we “remember.” He said, “Remember the Sabbath…” as if He knew that we would live in the fast lane and thus forget…

Next time:
Rest from the speed of change
Rest from the job
Rest from information

Leonard Ravenhill’s Son Has an Idea for How Creflo Dollar Can Get a $65M Private Jet 8:

Note: A great response from someone who loves Jesus…

I’ve been thinking about Creflo Dollar’s dream to upgrade his ailing jet for something better, much better, in fact. I hate to see this ‘man of God’ having to travel by way of a commercial airline, like the rest of us mere mortals.

Jesus borrowed a womb to be born, a boat to preach from, a donkey to ride on and a boy’s lunch to feed the multitude, not to mention a room for the Last Supper, etc. Aside from that, we are told “the Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head.”

But that was then and this is now!

I just can’t picture Creflo on a donkey, not when he is accustomed to driving around in his Rolls-Royce or Bentley or one of his other luxury cars. Which brings me back to how he can make his dream a reality.

The solution to his problem is simple. I can’t believe he hasn’t thought of it himself. He just needs to practice what he preaches. Since he is a staunch advocate of the seed faith message, all he needs to do is enclose a check for thirty dollars in his next mailing to each of his seed-faith partners; then stand back and watch as the money begins pouring in. After all, as the saying goes, ‘What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.’ If this is a spiritual principle that works for everyone, then why doesn’t he practice what he repeatedly tells his faithful flock every week? With only a 10-fold increase he would receive $300 for every $30 he sows. That being the case, why not enclose $300 to every partner and do away with the little jet in favor of the Boeing of his choice? He could then outfit his big boy jet to accommodate his Bentley or Rolls. In that way, he doesn’t have to stoop to renting a Ford or Chevy when he arrives to wherever he’s going.

I understand his net worth is around $27 million. Not bad for a man who has learned how to fleece the flock and live high on the hog. Perhaps it’s time for him to sell all that he has and give to the poor. In that way when he gets to heaven he’ll have some treasure waiting for him. Then again he could sow his $20+ million and reap a 30, 60 or a 100-fold increase and be well on his way to becoming a billionaire.

Incidentally this principle will work for all televangelists that preach the seed faith message. I just don’t understand why it only applies to us givers and not the receivers.

As for me, I’m happy flying in coach; it sure beats walking!


A Quiet Conversation With Yourself

William Wilberforce, member of the English Parliament and leader of the anti-slavery forces in the British Empire, had a tremendous personal discipline that saw him through both tough times and the good times. Times when he felt like he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Times when he was riding high and being considered for a cabinet position within the government headed by Prime Minister Henry Addington. He always had a weekly time of worship and solitude – a Sabbath. He comments that because of this discipline “earthly things assume their true size.”

One of the great secrets of his personal life: his commitment to weekly withdrawals from the wild scramble of public life so that he could engage in worship, connection with a small circle of friends, and quiet reflection (a conversation with himself). Reflection is an inner conversation – discourse one generates with oneself and with God. During inner conversation, your engagement with other people is suspended. There’s a time to love, to serve, to care for other people. But a time of inner conversation is personal and private.

Withdrawal for inner conversation parallels the priority flight attendants express when passengers on a plane are told that if the oxygen masks appear, they should put theirs on first before helping others. This is counterintuitive, especially for mothers, but thoroughly logical.

Writer Anthony Bloom describes his father as a man who knew inner conversation well. When he felt the need to do his own soul-work, he would sometimes tack a sign to his from door: “Don’t go to the trouble of knocking. I am at home but I will not open the door.” This is not easy for those who are extroverts or who are people pleasers. We are suckers for knocks on our front doors.

There is a sense of inner conversation in the Psalms when the writer quizzes his deeper self: “Why are you cast down, O my soul?” Or when the writer invites God’s attention: “Search me, O God, and know my heart.”

Sometimes inner conversation originates with God. You see it in the words God uses to caution Cain: “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?” You see it in the question God asks when Elijah flees to the wilderness in fear of Jezebel: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Then saying, “Slow down, sleep, eat, drink. And then tell Me again how you got here.” What follows is a fascinating inner conversation in which Elijah’s inaccurate perspective on things is repaired. Paul is probably referring to inner conversation when he speaks of his “thorn in the flesh” and his frustration with it. “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away.” But God didn’t.

During his many years as a public servant, Wilberforce rarely deviated from his Sabbath commitment to this inner conversation. Wilberforce not only set aside Sundays for inner conversation, but he usually began his working day in a similar but briefer way. He would push the spiritual reset button. He would spend time sweeping out the heart. Once Wilberforce said of these occasions, “In the calmness of the morning before the mind is heated and weary by the turmoil of the day, you have a season of unusual importance for communing with God and with yourself.”

Garth Lean comments that in the “day-to-day battle it was, more and more, these early mornings… and his quiet Sundays that gave (Wilberforce) strength and perspective on himself and the world.”

Maybe we need to make a fresh commitment to slow down the pace of life a bit and reserve that daily quiet time and another longer period each week that we can truly declare is our personal Sabbath. Don’t ignore those need inner conversations.