#2: Rest.

One thing I really struggle with is not resting. Yet, that is one of God’s commandments. He created rest on the 7th day “On the Seventh day He [God] rested”–Genesis 2:2.

I try to take Sundays from sundown on Saturday to sundown on Sunday as my day of rest. Sometimes, because of my shifts, it’s just Sunday worship in the morning til after youth group that evening. I’ve heard a lot of emphasis put recently on the Sabbath… that it should be out of our rest that we work, not the burn out of work that we rest.

This week is crazy busy regarding school. I am so thankful for the rest I had on Sunday. It was a wonderful morning of worship and church with Stephen, lunch with my family, games with them, and shopping with the Crossroads Student Ministry. This is how I celebrated the Sabbath yesterday. All of which I am incredibly thankful for. Those are the things that energize me.

I remember a number of months ago lying down in complete physical and emotional exhaustion and asking God to give me peace and rest. Instantly I saw him on the cross, looking down on me, saying “I already have.”

The story of the 7th day in Genesis continues on in verse three to say that “God blessed the Seventh day and made it holy.” Not only is rest holy, but it is blessed and we are blessed through it.

Yesterday I felt that blessing. And it continues on into the week, as we continue in the Spirit of the Sabbath, in the blessing, in the rest, in the hands of God. He’s given us rest and it is holy, we need only take it.

No doubt I have a long ways to go in learning to accept, use, and enact this blessing of God. But may I begin it with gratitude. And to initiate my original plan of saying how I will USE the gift to bless others–simply this: I acknowledge that I cannot bless others with the love and patience and grace of the Lord if I have not rested myself. I cannot give to Jesus nor to others my very best if I have not rested.

“Honor the Sabbath and keep it Holy”–Exodus 20:8

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The Way He’s Here–The Way I Long For Heaven

Sometimes I sense the presence of God. Sometimes I sense the Holy Spirit inside of me. Like today, the Holy Spirit was like a blanket over the top of Madeline and Monica and I during Madie’s baptism. But sometimes, I feel Him. Jesus. It’s like the presence of God, but also the presence of a person. Fulfilling one actual, person-sized, space. One day I was singing and church and I felt him walk up behind me and he just put his arms around me while I sang for him. When I left the church he held my hand and we walked out. It was so real I expected someone to shake his hand. When I left the church, He left too.

The idea that God, an unimaginabe, unfathomable, incredible, bigger-than-the-universe being would love us enough to wrap himself in skin. He became like us. Not just in looks. But also in scars. I love the story of Thomas. Thomas wasn’t willing to believe until he saw the scars. And I read that story from my perspective. I remember a youth leader once telling me that Jesus, on the cross, felt all my pain. He didn’t just die for us. He came into our worlds. That part of you that you feel like no one understands–Jesus gets it. Jesus has FELT it. He put himself in the place to feel it… and to conquer it. And with his conquering he gave a promise to us.

Jesus’ promise? He gave up everything and came as a King and a Priest and the God of the Universe to ask us. To ask me. To ask you. To marry him. We, who have nothing, can accept the engagement to be married to the son of God. He has promised he will come back for his bride.

I wanted to talk about Christmas, that being the date. Many girls I think want Christmas engagements. This is what I’m talking about. God arranged a marriage before the world began. In which we, who have nothing, would be promised to the Son who had everything. And the world who stole us and held us captive and took away our pricelessness, would put a price on our heads. And the Son who was dressed in Glory and infinite riches would come and not just pay the price on our heads, which was nearly worthless, but would pay the price of himself, which was infinite. It’s about love. It’s about sacrifice.

I just read the Gospel of John this week, and Jesus talks much about fasting after the groom leaves, waiting for his return. My eyes fill with tears. Tears of longing and tears of Joy. In a world of brokenness we only feel the presence of God sometimes. But He’s coming back for us. And I love him. I love the way He speaks. I love the way He holds my hands. I love the way He loved. And I long to see him face to face. “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”– 1 Corinthians 13:12

“Oh I’m running to your arms, I’m running to your arms, the riches of your love will always be enough. Nothing compares to your embrace. Light of the world forever REIGN.”

Opening Blind Eyes; Seeing Glory

How would you describe light to someone who has always been blind? It’s bright, for sure, but how do you describe the idea of sight? The idea of color?

Did you ever think that maybe these nearly impossible-to-describe phenomenons, were there to helps us understand what we can’t see? The spiritual things. The glory of God?

Did you ever think that maybe the glory of God, can be seen? In a color, in a cloud, in a light? ‎1 Kings 8:10&11 says “When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled his temple.” It was a visible sign of God, his glory manifested physically.

Isaiah 43:8 says this: Lead out those who have eyes but are blind,
who have ears but are deaf.

We have eyes, but we aren’t seeing. The Bible says that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. We can touch it, we can bring it, if we open our eyes we can see it.

Have you ever seen glory? Look through Heaven’s eyes.

Midnight thoughts & questions.

Pause.

“But Jesus was sleeping”. . . Matthew 8:24.

An interesting part about Jesus, especially his humanity, he slept at odd times. In Matthew 8, Jesus has cast out demons, called people to follow him, and healed a paralyzed man as well as a leper. Then he and his disciples get in a boat. And a storm is brewing. Huge gusts of wind, gallons of water sweeping over into the boat. . . “But Jesus was sleeping.”

This startles me. He was asleep? In a time like this? I’m sure his disciples were thinking the same thing. Really Jesus? You’re going to sleep? But I think when Jesus got tired, he slept. It sounds obvious, but I think we oftentimes work like it’s the only thing that matters. We wear ourselves out. I know I have a tendency to do this.

God invented the weekend–the Sabbath. He created the world in 6 days and on the 7th day, he just rested.

Jesus took breaks. Just when he would be doing the coolest things, healing, preaching, teaching parables, he’d just stop; it seems so sudden. He would go off alone to pray.

Sometimes I spend so much time trying to do things for God, and talk about God, and think about scripture I forget to just be with God and talk to God and read scripture.

So instead of over-speculating all these thoughts, and trying to write something just-so, I believe I will go pray.

Happy Sabbath.