The Power of Rest

On the seventh day he rested from all his work. Genesis 2:2

The Bible tells us God does not slumber or sleep. If He does not grow weary or slumber, what does it mean that He rested?  It means that He ceased from His work. He deliberately stopped and set aside the work of creation.  He chose to establish the seventh day as a holy day, a day of Sabbath rest.  The word Sabbath means intermission or repose from labor. The Sabbath was a covenant sign of God’s lordship over creation. The Israelites were instructed to observe a Sabbath rest, thereby identifying themselves as God’s redeemed people. 

God wanted His people to be set apart and be different than the rest of the world by ceasing from work one day a week. When we take a break from activity it gives us time to reflect on the goodness of God and trust Him for our provision. It also allows us to mentally and physically recoup from our work.

Thank you Father for you know what is best for us. Thank you Father for establishing a pattern of rest for us.

He is our Teacher

Mary turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic,

 “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

John 20:16

            Mary used a Galilean term of respect toward Jesus which meant “Master.” She humbly respected Jesus as her master and teacher. What a beautiful place to be, looking to Jesus as his student, recognizing that He had the words of life. Who is your master teacher? Often we get distracted and try to forge our way on our own, forgetting our master and teacher lovingly instructs those who have ears to hear.

            As a follower of Christ, we learn from Him. We learn from His word and we learn from His example as we study both in scripture. As His disciples or students we follow in His footsteps. My fellow student, are you hungry to learn from Him? Do you look to Him for instruction and guidance each day? He is not just a man we learn about in church; He is our teacher, our master, our instructor for life.

Making A Positive Difference in Texas

Although the epic winter storm in Texas is gone, the damage it left in its wake continues. Families displaced, homes and apartments destroyed – there are many people who suffered a great deal of loss.

Here are a few links to several groups I respect and trust who are doing the hard work to help families here in Texas. These “boots on the ground” organizations are making a tangible difference in the lives of families devastated by the recent winter storm.

Operation Care: https://operationcareinternational.org/

Texas Baptist Men: https://www.tbmtx.org/

Buckner International: https://www.buckner.org/blog/hope-after-winter-storm-uri

Samaritans Purse: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/

Each of these organizations offer hope to those who are trying  to sort through the damage of the storm. Please reach out to them if you need help. These organizations also offer opportunities to volunteer and give. Each of us must prayerfully consider ways we can help.

I want to encourage you to reach out personally to those you know who may have experienced loss during the storm. Simply checking in with family, friends and neighbors can make a positive difference to someone in need. We can’t do everything, but we can do something. Let’s each take one step to serve, care, pray and give.

One specific ministry that could use your help right now is Exodus Ministries in Dallas. This ministry offers transition housing for women and their families. Our Engage Parenting program has the privilege of leading parenting classes for them. We recently found out that they experienced a tremendous amount of damage and loss at their residential apartment complex. Please consider prayerfully giving to help them in this time of need.  Click here:  www.exodusministries.org

You are a Beautiful Creation

God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.” Genesis 1:3

What power, what authority! God spoke and it happened.  It’s nearly impossible to comprehend that from nothing came something. Every molecule in creation fell in line at the sound of His voice. He spoke and there was light. He spoke and there was a great expanse between the waters. He spoke and dry ground appeared. He spoke and there was the sun, moon and stars. He spoke and there were birds and fish and animals.

Everything came into being by Him and for Him. He is before all things and by Him all things exist. Creation was not simply a random event. God deliberately orchestrated it. He is both the composer and conductor of the great symphony of life, written in His divine wisdom and carried out by His voice. His voice is immeasurably powerful in creation, and yet lovingly gentle as He speaks to our hearts.

God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.” Genesis 1:27

After God created all the birds and fish and every kind of animal according to their own kind, there was still one creature He had in mind. This one would be different from the others. This creature would bear the image of God. Obviously humans are not created exactly like God, for an image is simply a reflection, not an exact replica of the model. We reflect certain characteristics about God which separate us from plants, animals, birds and fish. What are those characteristics? We demonstrate His nature in our ability to reason, in our creativity and imagination and in our speech. His character is reflected in our capacity to love, forgive, show patience and kindness toward one another. Just as He is an eternal being, He has given us an eternal soul which will carry on when our bodies have long since decayed.

There is dignity and worth in every human, because each human is created in God’s image. Let us recognize the value of every life including our own, for we reflect the image of our Creator.

This is an excerpt from Pursing God in the Quiet Places. Available for $5 this month!

Three Positive Questions to Ask Ourselves in 2021

Typically, as a new year begins, I take time to reflect on my goals from the past year and consider my plan for the future. This year is different. 2020 made it quite clear that we can make our plans, but they may not turn out as expected. So how do we make the best of the coming year? How do we walk in a positive direction, even though our world has been turned upside down?

As I take time this month to pray, ponder and prepare for the year ahead, I am narrowing my focus to three simple questions:

  • What life-lessons did I learn from 2020?
  • What would I like to accomplish (while remaining flexible) in 2021?
  • How can I serve others in a more loving and meaningful way this year?

Despite the challenges, this past year has been a time of learning and growth for each of us. For me personally, I developed a greater appreciation for the relationships in my life. I learned to adapt and create new ways of serving others through our Engage Outreach. I enjoyed a slower pace and clearer calendar. Most importantly, I have grown to value time alone in prayer, seeking God’s direction and guidance.

Take some time in the coming weeks to reflect on the three questions above and consider the positive steps you want to take as you move into the new year. Maintain a growth mindset as you think about all the ways  2020 made you stronger and more resilient. And as always, I encourage you to keep a daily gratitude journal and prayerfully ask God to give you a new focus for 2021.

There’s More To Be Done in 2021!