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“I will give you rest … you will find rest for your souls”

 

Jesus’ invitation to those who are weary from carrying heavy burdens and stress is one which many of us fail to grasp.

 

We long for the rest Jesus promises and of which many others speak, but it escapes us because we do not attend to the RSVP on the invitation.

 

The RSVP is: Take my yoke upon you.

 

Rest comes not to those who long for it in Jesus’ name, but to those who yoke themselves to Jesus, letting Him carry their burdens.  

 

If you are weary and stressed, stop running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off praying, “Jesus help me, I am tired.”

 

Instead of running around Jesus, frantically reaching out to Him, stop and link yourself to Him.  Then, and only then, will you find rest for your souls.

 

Come to me, all who weary and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (1)

 

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(1) Matthew 11:28–29
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I will give you rest (1)

In my youth I wanted more money, as I age I want more time.  I want to do more than just work.  I want to pursue interests, develop ideas, engage friends, and die full rather than exhausted.

Though self-flagellation has gone out of style, many of us drive ourselves like racehorses. We whip ourselves into action, ignoring how exhausted we have become. (2)

For years I have prided myself for working long hours. Despite working long hours, every night I went to bed knowing that my work was not done.  There was something else I should-of or could-of done.  I closed my eyes exhausted rather than satisfied.  This is not a good way to fall asleep.

The pride of drivenness, always gives way to the exhaustion of self-righteousness.

Is rest a dirty word?

Rest can easily move from idleness, to laziness, to nothingness.

Or, rest can move from refreshment, to renewal, to restoration, to meaningfulness.

While we long for the latter, we will only achieve the former if we drive ourselves into exhaustion.

Sabbath-rest is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.

Farmers rotate their crops and rest their fields in order to insure greater yields at the harvest.

I am in the process of deliberately cutting 10 hours out my work week because I have learned that when I am exhausted, I am unable to rest in the Lord.  If I do not rest in the Lord, I am worthless to all.

“My heart, Lord, does not rest until it rests in Thee.” (3)

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  1. Jesus from Matthew 11:28.
  2. Young, Sarah (2004-10-12). Jesus Calling – Deluxe Edition: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (p. 289). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (edited).
  3. Saint Augustine.

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PWYP!

If you are a regular reader of my blogs, Daily Bread Crumbs or Reclamation316, you that that I frequently write about Sabbath Rest, slowing down, being still, etc.  As a recovering workaholic, I have this sermon down pat.  I can preach all the how-to’s and where-for’s of not resting.

When I write about sabbath rest, a few of you chime in and said, “Preach it pastor!  I love this encouragement.

If I listen for the still small voice of God, I hear Him saying, “Rus, practice what you preach!” (PWYP)

When I began writing my devotionals, I committed myself to posting them daily.  Good writing requires daily discipline and practice.  This is a discipline of reading and writing which soothes my soul.

But even the daily writer needs sabbath rest!

Thus, for the next 16 days, until July 31, I will be PWYP about Sabbath Rest and take a break from writing these daily devotionals.

Come back on August 1.  I will have a word of encouragement for you.

Until then, remember, “God loves you!”


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Think of the enormous leisure of God! He is never in a hurry. (1)

The dog-days of August have come early this year.  It’s hot and dry.  The air conditioner labors to cool down the house, while the body longs for a fresh breeze.  No one is in a hurry these days.

We are use to being in motion.  Rest and leisure are sins in our culture, especially when businesses are cutting back and pushing for more productivity.  “Be busy, stay busy, act busy” has become the workers’ mantra.

Yet, God is inclined to idleness.

After creating the world in 6 days, God created the Sabbath, and has rarely pressed the pedal to the metal since then.  A thousand years in God’s sight is but a day! (2)

A constant cry of God’s children is, “How long, O Lord!”

God proceeds at a resting pace as we run frantic, begging for rest.

Perhaps A. B. Simpson was correct when he wrote:

Often there is nothing as godly as inactivity on our part, or nothing as harmful as restless working, for God has promised to work His sovereign will. (3)

Like most Americans, I was raised on the Puritan work ethic.  Simpson’s counsel does not seem right.

If God is for us, as Paul asserts, and if God wins, as God reveals in His revelation to John, then perhaps we need to trust God, be content in His provisions, and slow down.

If we would trust God more fully, would not contentment and rest come more easily.  When we trust God we drop the entanglements and perplexities of life into God’s hands and leave them there. (3)

He is the Creator of heaven and earth.

Perhaps it is time to Let God be God, and place your life into His hands.

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  1. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).
  2. Psalm 90:4
  3. Reimann, Jim; Cowman, L. B. E. (2008-09-02). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 263). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

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On the 7th Day,

God was finished with the work He had done

and He rested! (1)

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My oldest son was a long distance swimmer in high school and college.  While he was a good sprinter, he had the strength, endurance, and patience to win a long distance race.

Marathoners in any sport start well and pace themselves for the long haul.  They do not fret over losing segments of the race, rather they focus on being strong for the finish.  A good marathoner knows the importance of resting during the race.  

Even in The Kentucky Derby, which is frequently seen as a sprint, the jockey must allow his horse to rest at some point during the race to be strong for the finish.  It is rare for the winner of The Derby to lead from wire-to-wire.  How many times have you seen the leader from the opening bell run out of gas during the last 3 lengths?

We live in a non-stop world.  The pressure is on us to produce, to be active, to succeed, and to be on top of our game 24/7.  

We try to succeed at what God refused to attempt!

God took a rest after 6 days of inspirational speaking.  He rested on the 7th day and commended the same rest to every one of us.  But let’s face it, we are convinced that we are too good, too worthy, too important, too strong to need rest every 7 days.

Without rest we break, we fail, we crash, we hit a wall, and we lose the race.  Our good fight is for naught because we forgot about the 3 minute break between each 3 minute round.

Why do we do this?

I believe we refuse to allow ourselves the grace to rest, to miss a deadline, to not get item number 23 checked off of today’s To Do List because we want to prove ourselves better than God.

David reminded us, “Be still and know I am God!”  (2)

We cannot know God 24/7 if we go 24/7.

Grant yourself gracious rest today.  

I did yesterday and I feel much better today.

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  1. Genesis 2:2.
  2. Psalm 46:10

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How often we choose labor when He says “Rest”

There is a blessed resting in lying still, 

in letting His hand mold us. (1)

Selah!

If you read the Psalms regularly, you have seen this word frequently.

Selah!

It is a musical term which means rest, pause, break.

Frequently, either in between sections of a psalm or at the end of a psalm, we are instructed to selah.  It is a time to rest and take a deep breath.

Singers and public speakers know they must take a rest, a deep breath, to refill their lungs, before they can sing or speak further.  The failure to take adequate pauses and a deep breath robs your voice of power and narrows the range of tone.

Selah provides a blessing for the listener as well.

The brief respite from noise, sound, words, or music allows the listener to soak in what they have just heard.  Without pauses the words, notes, and lyrics begin to back-up in the brain like rush hour traffic.  Without pauses, the listener becomes so overwhelmed, he stops listening.

Without pauses we lose our voice and our ears.

In ministry, my life is a marathon from Labor Day to Memorial Day.  However, from Thanksgiving to Easter it is a sprint.  When I get to Noon on Easter Sunday, I am spent.  I need to pause.

If you are a daily reader of my devotionals, you have noticed that I have posted by devotionals later and later each day, instead of them being ready when you rise in the morning.  My internal warning signs have been flashing in front of me Selah, Selah, Selah!

This morning, I finally took the pause I desperately needed.  In fact I plan to Selah the rest of the day, piddling around the house and yard letting my mind and heart wander as I ramble through the day completing inconsequential tasks.

I will be unproductive, while my spirit reproduces.

As I read my morning devotions (I read through 12 each day) over half of them said, SELAH!!  The words were different, but God’s message was clear.

I feel better already.

If the voices and tasks in your life are beginning to look like a train wreck during rush hour, I encourage you to selah!

It’s a “Be still and know I am God day” for me!”

If you need one of these take it, even if you have to play tag-team parenting with your spouse.

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  1. Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E. (2008-09-02). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 154). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

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