Monthly Archives: November 2018

In Pursuit of Rest

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Matthew 11:28-29

I have been so busy for the last three weeks or so; I’ve been truly “burning the candle at both ends” as the saying goes.  I have been working my regular full-time job as well as my seasonal part-time job, plus I have singlehandedly packed all my belongings and moved them into a new home, where I have also unpacked them and put them in their new places.  My part-time job is in retail, and that meant working literally all night Thanksgiving night and into Black Friday.  I then traveled to Georgia to visit with family and friends over the remainder of the Thanksgiving weekend.

Not surprisingly, when I finally sat down at my Mom’s house in Georgia and just took a few deep breaths, I realized that I was way beyond tired – I was flat out exhausted.  I went to see my beloved Georgia Bulldogs play, and although I had a great time and enjoyed it, that did not restore me. I actually slept for 14 straight hours one night and well over 12 hours another night while I was there, but even after that, I was still not feeling rested.  There was physical exhaustion to be sure, but the exhaustion went even beyond just that; I was exhausted on a soul level.  Have you ever been at that place?  It is a place of mental and emotional exhaustion as well as physical exhaustion that is just overwhelming.

I had a six-hour drive back from Georgia on Monday, and the Lord and I had a pretty good talk about my weariness during that trip.  He reminded me of His example in Genesis for us to take a Sabbath rest once a week; He also reminded me that this is something I have seriously neglected during this season of busy-ness.  Physical rest alone did not fully restore me, and it never would; I needed to go to Him for rest, for He is the source of real rest.  As David says in Psalm 62:1, Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. 

I felt like I should do a study of the word “rest” in Scripture, and I found something very interesting in Exodus 34:21, which says, “Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.”  Dang.  Even during the plowing and the harvest – and those times are busy! – we’re commanded to rest.  That’s how important rest is for us, as the Lord knew.

Here are a couple more reminders to myself about rest:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  Psalm 91:1

Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.  Psalm 116:7

I am now returning to my rest, for the Lord has been good to me.  I’m going to rest in Him and Him alone.  Won’t you rest in Him today also?


Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.  Psalm 100:4

You are probably familiar with the fruit of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).  Do you know what’s not in that list?  Thankfulness.  Isn’t that interesting?  God commands us to be thankful, and yet He doesn’t provide us with thankfulness.  Why is that?

Merriam-Webster defines being thankful as being “conscious of benefit received”.  If you’re not conscious of the fact that you’ve received a blessing, you’re not likely to be thankful for it, but if you’re aware of it, how thankful you become!  So thankfulness is a choice that we can make.  We can either choose to be thankful or we can choose to be entitled, meaning we believe that we deserve what we have received.

James 1:17 tells us that, “Every good and perfect gift is from above…”  I grew up in the Presbyterian faith where we sang the Doxology every Sunday.  The first line of the Doxology echoes James by saying, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”  What blessings do you have in your life?  You have the blessing of a God who loves you so much that He didn’t even spare His own Son in order to make a way for you to be with Him for eternity.  If you’ve received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have the blessing of the Holy Spirit who lives inside of you.  You may have blessings such as family, friends, food to eat, a place to live, a car to drive, good health, clothes to wear, water to drink, a job.  Many people don’t have those blessings, so if you have them, be thankful!  Give credit to God for providing those things for you and pray for those who don’t have those blessings yet in their lives.

Here in the U.S. we are preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving Day tomorrow.  I won’t get to be with my family or friends this year on Thanksgiving Day (although I’ll see some of my family and friends in Georgia later in the weekend).  I work a second job in a department store, so tomorrow I will have to be at work at 4:45 p.m. and I will work a 13 hour shift ending on Friday morning at 6.  Wow!  Lots of people would not be thankful for that, I guess, but I am.  I’m grateful that God gives me the ability to work two jobs, that He provides for me lavishly through them, and that He gives me everything I need to be able to work such a long shift.  I’m grateful for the customers who come in and brighten my day, and I pray that I can be a blessing to them in some small way as well.  I’m grateful for my co-workers who make it fun to go to work and my managers who support me.  I’m grateful to get to shine the love of Jesus to so many people as they are rushing around looking for great bargains on future Christmas gifts.  I’m grateful that God has given me another day to cultivate the “attitude of gratitude” in my own heart.  🙂

Friends, I’ll ask you again:  What blessings do you have in your life?  Have you given thanks for them today?  Please share some of your blessings in the comments below and let’s grow in our ability to praise Him for all the blessings He gives!

Forgiveness and Grace

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  Colossians 3:13

I’m not always quick to forgive.  In fact, more often than not, I’ve allowed unforgiveness to sit in my heart, much to my own detriment.  (I’m working on that.)  One notable exception was in response to an event that happened a few years ago.

Back at that time, my church family received news that was pretty nearly devastating to our hearts.  It came to light that two of the leaders of my church had had an inappropriate relationship with each other and they were being removed from their positions.  I will never forget the night that that announcement was made, because the Lord immediately whispered to my heart, “Forgive them, right NOW.”  Like a flash, I could see in my mind’s eye all the things that I had done that the Lord (and others) had forgiven me for, and I forgave them then and there, on the spot, no questions asked.  I’m so glad I did!  I’ve been free of the bitterness that comes from being unforgiving.  Even more importantly, I’ve been able to freely offer grace to these two leaders.

In spite of my quickness to forgive in that particular circumstance, I still struggle quite often to offer forgiveness when I’ve been hurt.  It seems easier and safer to build walls between myself and the one who hurt me than it is to remember all that I’ve been forgiven and to extend that same forgiveness to someone else.  How ridiculous to do this in spite of what I’ve learned about forgiveness!

Here are two important things I’ve learned about forgiveness:

  1. Forgiveness is ALWAYS given to someone who doesn’t deserve it.  Whatever was done to you has real consequences and has caused real pain and loss.  There’s nothing the other party can do to undo what was done or to make up for it.  Forgiving them doesn’t mean that what they did was okay – it simply means that you’re choosing to let Jesus pay the price for what was done instead of exacting payment from the offending party.
  2. Unforgiveness blocks the flow of God’s love through you to others.  Wow.  Did you hear that?  By extending grace to someone who has wronged you, you are allowing the love of the Holy Spirit to witness to someone else, and you can actually block that love by withholding forgiveness.  They don’t get to experience God’s grace and mercy by your holding what they’ve done over their heads.  Sometimes I’ve even had to offer forgiveness to myself for things that I have done so that I can live more fully in the love of my Father!

The Lord has been challenging me more and more to be quicker to forgive, and I’ve been the recipient of many opportunities to practice forgiveness.  I don’t know that I’ve gotten any better at it, just to be honest, but as I said, I’m working on it.  I do know that I’m more and more aware of the bitterness of heart that comes from unforgiveness.  That bitterness is ugly and gross and is ill-fitting on me as a child of God. I want to be someone who forgives quickly and completely, and who seeks forgiveness quickly from others.

These are some of the barriers that Jesus and I have been working on in these past weeks, as well as other challenges, and I would appreciate your prayers.  I would also love to pray for you if you struggle to offer forgiveness to anyone.  Please feel free to leave a comment below or to contact me through Twitter at @AdventuresInGr1 and I’ll gladly pray for you in this, too.  Thanks for reading and for being on this journey too!