Meditating on Scripture

Recently, I have been adding a time to meditate on Scripture into my weekly routine. This has been a very refreshing practice. Although I regularly read the Bible, taking time to really think about and meditate on a specific passage of Scripture has been encouraging.  I am amazed each time at how God’s Word speaks to my heart and is applicable in my life that day.

God’s word says in Romans 12:2  “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

We renew our minds by the Word of God. God’s Word is truth. Our culture is bombarding us with all kinds of ideas and thoughts, but God’s Word is the Truth that matters most. Taking time to soak in God’s Word will help us know His will and know the right way to think.

Hebrews 4:12 says: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Meditating on Scripture has helped me to realize even more how alive God’s Word is. It does apply to my every day life. God does have something to say to my current struggles. His Word comes in like a sword and cuts away the lies and the thoughts that are not His Truth.

 

Scripture Meditation Formats

While there are many ways to study and meditate on Scripture, there are two different formats for Scripture meditation that I have recently found helpful. The more basic one asks these questions while studying a specific chosen passage:

1.What word or phrase in today’s reading speaks to your heart?

2. How does today’s reading directly relate to your life right now?

3. How is God calling you to respond to what you’ve read today?

4. Write out your own additional thoughts/meditations

 

A similar form of Scripture meditation is called Lectio Divina which is Latin for Spiritual Reading. I have taken the following format out of a book called Seeking God Together by Alice Fryling.

  1. Start with a minute or two of silence. Breathe deeply and acknowledge your willingness to let go of your own agenda and listen to the Spirit of God speaking through the Word.
  2. Read the verses. Read the verses again. Read the verses out loud. Be still and quiet again.
  3. Think about what the verses say. Try to hear the passage as though you’re hearing it for the first time. Notice what word, phrase or idea stands out to you. Stay with that word or idea in your mind, thinking about what it means.
  4. Dialogue with God about the word phrase or idea. Tell God how you respond to it – what feelings you have about it. Pour out your heart to God as you talk about how this word or idea might apply to something in your life right now.
  5. Wait quietly again before God. Listen to whatever God is saying to you around the word, phrase or idea. Notice if God seems to be inviting you to embrace a truth or experience a change.
  6. Conclude your time by noticing if there is anything you need to do in order to respond to the Word in your daily life.

My hope is that you would be encouraged to take time this week to meditate on God’s Word and that you will also be blessed and transformed by His Truth!

Is there another format for Scripture meditation that you have found helpful? Do you include meditating on God’s Word as part of your weekly/daily routine?

Jessica

 

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Hindrances To Finding Rest Part 3 – There Is Just Too Much To Do!

I wonder if one of the main hindrances for taking time for rest could be that we have a never ending to do list. Seriously, there is just too much to do, so how can I be okay with stopping to rest?  I can see the struggle in my own heart to put aside all my to do lists for a day of rest, but I don’t want my lists to dictate my life or keep me from resting. Are you a slave to your to do list?

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In Exodus, we read about the Israelite people being slaves in Egypt, but God rescued them and brought them into a life of freedom.

Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.  Deuteronomy 5:15

Having a day of rest was a reminder to the Israelite’s that they were no longer slaves, they could stop and rest one day a week. It was a reminder that God was their provider.

Each day in the wilderness God provided food for the Israelites, and he had them gather extra the day before the Sabbath so that they didn’t have to work by gathering food on the Sabbath. God not only provided food, but he made it easy to obey his command to not work on one day, but to rest instead.

To refuse Sabbath is in effect to spurn the gift of freedom. It is to resume willingly what we once cried out for God to deliver us from… Slaves don’t rest. Slaves can’t rest. Slaves, by definition, have no freedom to rest. Rest, it turns out, is a condition of liberty. God calls us to live in the freedom that he won for us with his own outstretched arm. Sabbath is a refusal to go back to Egypt.”

The rest of God–the rest God gladly gives so that we might discover that part of God we’re missing– is not a reward for finishing. It’s not a bonus for work well done. It’s sheer gift. It is a stop-work in the midst of work that’s never complete, never polished. Sabbath is not the break we’re allotted at the tail end of completing all our tasks and chores, the fulfillment of all our obligations. It’s the rest we take smack-dab in the middle of them, without apology, without guilt, and for no better reason than God told us we could.”

Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God

There will always be things to do, but we have a choice. Do we stop and be refreshed regularly and live like we are free? Or do we live like we are slaves, only following a to do list that we must get done?

I enjoy making lists and checking off what I have accomplished. But on my day of rest I do not need to accomplish anything specific. A to do list can be helpful, but I do not want it to become my slave driver, demanding that I keep going and never take a break. Instead I want to choose to receive the gift of rest each week that God is freely offering to me.

Check out this to do list battle cry by Diana Kerr. One of my favorite lines from this battle cry is: “I will find rest at the foot of the cross and at the sight of the empty grave, in the God who took my burden on himself and gifted me rest—including rest from to-do lists—as a sacred gift.”

Do you allow your to do list to dictate your life? If so, I want to challenge you to set aside that list of tasks for one half or full day, and rest instead. I would love to hear how that changes things for you!

What/who are the taskmasters in your life that you allow to keep you from regularly resting? What will it take for you to stop listening to them and live like a free child of God?

Jessica

Hindrances to Finding Rest Part 2 – I Don’t Know Where to Start.

When it comes to resting, sometimes its difficult to know how to implement a time of rest each week. Does it seem overwhelming to you? If so, I am hopeful that this post will help you move towards taking care of your soul by stopping to rest each week.

Take a little time today to write down activities that are restful for you, are unrelated to your work, which bring enjoyment and help you to relax.

Some ideas that may be restful (I’m sure there are others more specific to you)

  • Take a bubble bath
  • Read a book for fun
  • Get away from your house and go somewhere you have been wanting to go
  • Go to a coffee shop and spend time by yourself or with friends
  • Cooking or baking
  • Make a craft
  • Paint or draw
  • Hand lettering
  • Get a manicure
  • Talk to a friend
  • Play games with family or friends
  • Go hiking
  • Go fishing
  • Gardening
  • Take pictures
  • Play a sport
  • Listening to music
  • Spending time with God

What are ways that you connect with God? Write down a few of your favorites. Here are some ideas:

  • Journaling your thoughts or prayers
  • Interacting with God while participating in your restful activities
  • Getting someplace quiet and talking out loud to God
  • Reading the Bible, or listening to it on your Bible app or cd
  • Listening to a sermon and praying about how God wants you to apply the message
  • Listening to worship music
  • Singing
  • Playing an intrument
  • Reading a Christian book that challenges or teaches you
  • Writing your own song or poem
  • Painting or drawing
  • Meditating on Scripture
  • Taking time to just listen to God
  • Make a gratitude list
  • Reflect on your week, and how God may have been speaking to you
  • Get in nature and think about your Creator
  • Go through a Bible study
  1. Choose a few of the restful ideas you came up with (or choose from the list above) as well as a few ways you want to try to connect with God. Ask God to guide you.
  2. Choose a day this week that you can have a few hours, a half day, or a whole day to intentionally rest. Start with a few hours if a half day or whole day is overwhelming to you. Start small and build up to a day if possible. Put it in your planner/calendar! Go ahead and schedule rest time each week for the next month. If you just block out a few hours, then just choose one restful activity and one way to connect with Jesus so that you have time for both.
  3. After you have tried your ideas for rest and connection with God for a few weeks, evaluate and see if those specific activities you have been practicing have truly been restful or helped you to connect with God. Implement different ones at that point in time to try out if you would like.

My hope is that if you are feeling stuck with how to start having a day of Sabbath rest that these ideas will encourage you that starting is not too overwhelming or difficult. I would love to hear what is restful for you, and if you are starting to implement rest into your week. I am so excited for you to experience God’s goodness through Sabbath rest!

What is your favorite way to connect with Jesus?  What is one way that you have chosen to intentionally rest this week?

Jessica

By Still Waters

I’ve been reading (for the second time) a book called A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller. I highly recommend this book, as it has given me greater insights into Psalm 23, a chapter of Psalms that I love.

“The Lord is my Shepherd (to feed, to guide, and to shield me), I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still and quiet waters. He refreshes and restores my soul…” (Psalm 23:1-3a, AMP)

I named my blog, By Still Waters because I love the picture of the Shepherd leading His sheep to still waters, it represents refreshment and contentment to me. When you are hot and tired water is very refreshing. When I am feeling dry spiritually, I know that by coming to Jesus who is the living water, my soul will be quenched. He is my soul’s satisfaction. Part of Sabbath rest is being intentional to come to Jesus and be refreshed by Him, the living Word, the living water.

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In the book mentioned above, Phillip Keller talks about how the Shepherd is the one who knows where the good water is to lead his sheep to, and how often the Shepherd has to work hard to make new watering spots for His sheep. Jesus, my Shepherd did the work for me to be satisfied spiritually in Him.

“When sheep are thirsty they become restless and set out in search of water to satisfy their thirst. If not led to the good water supplies of clean, pure water, they will often end up drinking from the polluted pot holes where thy pick up such internal parasites as nematodes, liver flukes or other disease germs.

And in precisely the same manner Christ, our Good Shepherd, made it clear that thirsty souls of men and women can only be fully satisfied when their capacity and thirst for spiritual life is fully quenched by drawing on Himself.”   -Phillip Keller, A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” -Jesus (Matthew 5:6)

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” – Jesus (John 7:37)

Jesus says in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

He desires for us to follow His voice as our Shepherd to the place of true soul rest that can only be found in Him. We know true rest by knowing Jesus as our Savior, recognizing our sin and our need for God, surrendering our lives to follow him, and becoming his sheep. He is the only way to have a relationship with God. He is the only way to experience true and abundant life. He is the only way to know true rest in this life and for eternity.

Phillip Keller wrote about how much it pleased him to see his sheep satisfied from eating grass filled with dewdrops in the early morning. He went on to say that the good Shepherd “loves to see me contented, quiet, at rest, and relaxed. He delights to know my soul and spirit have been refreshed and satisfied.” I love that Jesus delights in us being satisfied by meeting with Him.

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The challenge for myself is simply to prioritize that which my soul needs most, daily drinking from the well of living water and eating the spiritual food of God’s Word. When I’m feeling dry spiritually, it is usually because I’m not prioritizing time with Jesus. I can’t just wait until Sunday to get filled up by a good sermon or fellowship with other believers, although both are good and vital for my growth. I must pursue my relationship with Jesus throughout the week. There is so much grace, thankfully! Different seasons of life create challenges for having extended times of connecting with Jesus (like when you have a newborn). It will look different in each season, but having a heart that keeps pursuing Jesus (however that looks in this season) will help you stay refreshed.

Even as believers, we can still struggle to run to Jesus for our satisfaction. We often get distracted, going to other things instead of Jesus, but nothing else will ever truly satisfy our souls. Our restlessness will only be satisfied in Him.

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13

Oh that I would remember where my source of living water is, and not run to the things that don’t satisfy. I don’t want to be the sheep who gets distracted and drinks from dirty water. Instead I want to remember there is clean, satisfying water always available to drink.

How will you prioritize making space for Jesus today? What are the things that distract you from making this time happen?

Have you found soul satisfaction in Jesus? What are the broken cisterns that you find yourself drinking out of?

Jessica

Enjoying the Beauty of God’s Creation

This past week we had the gift of getting to see one of our dream destinations: Yellowstone National Park. 🙂 It truly was a gift from God! The beauty and variety of His creation in the park was amazing. There is a lot to see in Yellowstone so we ended up driving a lot to get to all the sites. There was a small chunk of time when Ian and Ivy were both napping in the car, so I took that time to sit next to one of the boiling bubbling lakes and just ENJOYED the beauty God made for us. That was my favorite moment in Yellowstone. 🙂 I wanted to simply share some of our pictures with you today. Isn’t God kind to give us such incredible beauty to enjoy!

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“How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all, the earth is full of your creatures.” Psalm 104:24

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Old Faithful

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It is wonderful how much variety there is in God’s creation, we had never seen geysers, boiling pots of sulfur, bison or elk before. On this trip we took through America, we saw so many different landscapes. I am amazed at how creative God is.

God’s creation is meant to point us back to the Creator Himself so that we will worship Him. A few good questions to ask as you look at the beauty around you in nature are:

What does this part of creation tell me about God? How does it turn my heart to worship Him?

The mountains I saw remind me of the majesty of God, and my smallness compared to Him. I am also encouraged by His kindness in making so much beauty for my eyes to see. I feel close to God when I am surrounded by the beauty of His creation, and I’m so thankful that He gave me the chance to explore this amazing part of America in Yellowstone National Park!

Jessica

Reflection Can Lead to Joy!

Having a day of Sabbath rest does not mean you sit and do nothing. Instead its important to learn what activities are restful for you, as well as what would turn your heart towards resting in God. Maybe choose a few things to practice for a month and then evaluate whether those were restful activities for you.

One practice I decided to try out is having a time of reflection during my day of rest. I have done this most weeks and it has been very encouraging.

During reflection I write down the things that I think God has brought up to me during the week, conversations that stood out, questions people asked, something I learned during Bible study or my personal quiet time with God.

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Taking time to reflect as part of my Sabbath rest has been incredibly valuable for my relationship with God and for my growth in becoming more like Christ.

When I stop and reflect I can see clearly that God is moving in my life, and that He is speaking to me! Reflecting and processing these things with God in prayer has been a source of joy and has caused me to be so thankful. Taking some time to reflect each week has helped to me to see how lovingly involved God is in the details of my life.

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Both of the above pictures are of movement, I chose them because I can see God’s movement in my life through times of reflection.

If you are interested in spending time in reflection each week, here are a few questions to get you started:

What have I seen God doing in my life or in the lives of others around me this week?

What is God saying to me or teaching me about Him through:

  • My personal or group Bible study
  • a sermon I listened to
  • a book or article I read
  • my circumstances
  • conversations I had this week
  • my personal time spent with God
  • things that have been pressing on my heart or mind
  • something I saw
  • an answer to prayer
  • things I am thankful for

Pray and invite the Holy Spirit into your reflection time. After you write out the things that come to your mind, take some time to pray or journal and process the things that stood out in your week. Thank God for the things He has been doing or speaking to you about. It can also be helpful to tell a close friend something God has taught you this week. For the following week, pay attention and take notes or journal things that come up in your week that you would like to reflect on later during your time of rest.

Do you already include reflection as a part of your Sabbath? If so, how has it been an encouragement or helped you grow closer to God?

Last week during reflection, I wrote down something encouraging a woman from my Bible study had said to me. It was a simple statement, but as I sat and thought about it, God spoke deeper into the topic our conversation had been about. He opened my eyes to an area in my life (friendships) that I had been feeling sorry for myself about and showed me that I am not embracing fully the life He is giving me now. This led to a time of thankfulness and then to a realization of many good things he has given me. God was turning my eyes away from what I thought I lacked and helping me to see how much I have to be thankful for. This has caused me to be more content in the area of friendships in this season of my life.

I shared this story just as an example of how having the time of reflection gave space for God to speak directly into an area of my heart that needed to change in order for me to be more content and thankful. Stopping to see what God is doing or saying has been like inviting Him over and just sitting and listening to what He has to say.

What is one restful or encouraging practice you would like to try for the next month during your Sabbath? I would love to hear what you plan to try or what has already been  a regular part of your day of rest!

Jessica

Trusting God’s Sovereignty In My Life.

When things happen outside of my plans, and what I thought was best for my life…I have two choices. I can either get really frustrated, angry that my plans are not working out…or I can choose to trust that God’s purpose is best for me and that He ultimately is in control.

Do I resist God’s purposes or do I trust that He is in control and accept what He may bring into my life?

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

I remember a time when our plans to go overseas were delayed. At the time it was frustrating and humbling, but later on I could see more clearly purposes that God had for us through that “delay”. It helps me to look back and remember God’s trustworthiness.

More recently, we headed to California for my husband to rack up hang gliding hours. We thought that in a months time, he would be able to get lots of flying time in. After three days of hang gliding, he had a rough landing and badly twisted his right shoulder muscle. So there went our plan of getting lots of hang gliding hours this month in CA! At first I was thinking, “Why God? What is going on here?” Then God gently reminded us through others that His purposes for this time in CA are obviously different than ours. And Gods keeps reminding me to trust Him, regardless of my circumstances.

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God’s purposes for our time in CA are not the purposes I had in mind. But I can trust that somehow they are the best for us and that He will use them to grow us closer to Him and bring Him glory. Already I can see glimpses of the good He is bringing through Ian not being able to hang glide right now. The two biggest things are: 1.We have both been able to have more time to spend with God and to do things we love to do. 2. We have been able to have so much good time together as a family. What a gift both of these things have been to us!

“Purposefulness requires paying attention, and paying attention means–almost by definition–that we make room for surprise. We become hospitable to interruption. I doubt we can notice for long without this hospitality. And to sustain it we need theological touchstones for it–a conviction in our bones that God is Lord of our days and years, and that his purposes and his presence often come disguised as detours, messes, defeats.”

“Acknowledge that every moment you receive is God’s sheer gift. Resolve never to turn it into a possession. What you receive as a gift you must be willing to impart as a gift. Invite God to direct your paths, to lead you in the way everlasting; be open to holy interruption, divine appointment…Surrender to his purpose with gladness. Vow not to resist or resent it.”

Mark Buchanan, The Rest Of God

As I process these paragraphs, I think of how often when God interrupts my plans, to work His plan in my life instead, I do see them as detours. I am often disappointed or frustrated.

Delay in going overseas, leaving a life overseas for something totally different, waiting longer that I had hoped for a baby, living in America already so much longer than I expected…all these things were not what I would have planned. Thankfully, God is bigger and His ways are higher than mine. I can trust Him. He has a good track record of taking care of His kids. When I look back I can see more clearly He had good purposes in the things I would have viewed as delays, detours, or even as failures.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

I am thankful for the opportunity through this blog, to process these things with you! I’m learning through all the different circumstances of my life to trust God. He’s got this, He’s got me!

Is there anything happening in your life that seems like an interruption to your plans? Are you choosing to trust God and accept His purposes or are you resisting God and what He has for you through these circumstances? I’ve been in both places, believe me.

I can have less stress and be more at rest when I am actually trusting that God is Sovereign, that He is good, and that He is loving.  Even in pain, frustration or disappointment when things don’t go as I had hoped or planned, God is still trustworthy. I can still choose to trust Him.

Jessica

Are You Working Out Your Thankful Muscles?

Being thankful for the gifts that God gives me each day helps me to keep a positive attitude and gives me a better perspective. I need to be reminded of all the good things I do have so I don’t waste time focusing on what I don’t have.

Thankfulness is key in living a contented life.

Awhile back I read the book, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Ann’s book really helped me to look more closely and see the many gifts that God gives me each day, the big gifts but even more so the small gifts that we don’t always notice.

A good practice is to write out each day things that you are thankful for. Also it is a good thing to do on your day of Sabbath rest, to look over your past week and make a gratitude list. I enjoy taking pictures, so sometimes I will actually be able to capture some of the things I am thankful for on camera. I would like to share with you this week some of the recent gifts God has given me.

1. A Beautiful sunset

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2. Beauty growing in the desert.

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3. My family. I couldn’t have asked for a better man to share my life with. And my daughter is such a fun girl. Each of the moments of silliness and laughter with her are a special gift!

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4. God’s protection over my family. In the past week, my daughter fell and busted her lip, and my husband Ian twisted his arm hang gliding so its been crazy week in that area. Yet its not too hard to see God’s hand of protection on them both even through injuries.

5. Provision – a “good Samaritan” hang glider pilot who took Ian to the hospital and helped him get checked into a hotel, since I wasn’t able to get there right away.

6. So much beauty in creation- birds singing, fruit trees to pick from, lizards.

7. Cheap and fresh avocados!

8. All of my muscles working without me even having to think about it! Since Ian pulled/twisted his shoulder muscles and is unable to currently use them like he normally would, its made me think how wonderful it is to have all of my muscles working properly.

9. That Jesus who was completely innocent died so the guilty (me!) could go free is so crazy. I am thankful that He keeps reminding me of this truth. I deserve nothing, my works cannot bring about my salvation. But because of Jesus I can receive this incredible gift of salvation!

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10. How much Ivy loves animals, and getting to see her excitement over them. She thought this was a kitty 🙂

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It is not hard to find things to be thankful for, especially when it becomes something you practice on a regular basis. The Bible is constantly reminding us to give thanks to God!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “ Rejoice always,  pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 118:29  “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

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

Colossians 2:6-7   “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

I am hopeful that as I recognize the good gifts that God has given me and thank Him for these things that I will develop a heart of thankfulness. Its good to stretch and grow my thankful muscles. 🙂

What are you thankful for this week? Do you look each day for the gifts God is giving you?

Jessica

Be still and know that He is God.

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10a) I have read this verse many times and God has often used these words to quiet my heart. I recently listened to a sermon by Pastor Brad Bigney, on the entire chapter of Psalm 46. I was so encouraged by the depth that this verse has in its context.
Watch below:

To see a larger view of this sermon or to watch other sermons by Brad Bigney please click here.

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.c]”>[c]

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shieldsd]”>[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

 

Some points from the sermon:

What will keep you from living in fear in the world?

  • Why can we still have joy and courage? Because God is with us in our trouble! (verse 1) We will not fear because God is with us.
  • When the things fall apart that we think are stable – even then we do not need to fear. (Verses 2-3) Verse 10 is in the context of upheaval and confusion.
  • You can have joy in the midst of political confusion and chaos, even when the nations are in an uproar. God’s kingdom is here and will not fall. (Verses 4-6)
  • Gladness (Verse 4) BECAUSE He is not outside of my trouble, He’s in it with me! (In the Hebrew gladness means emotion that erupts with extreme happiness that needs to be expressed)
  • The command in Verse 8 is to come and see the works of the Lord. Take another look at who is really in charge of history. We do this by reading the Bible. God has been working throughout history and He is the one in charge. You will be discouraged if you only look at the details of what is going on in the world but fail to be aware of God and His sovereignty.
  • Be still means to cease striving. To know expresses intimacy/closeness with God not simply information about Him. (Verse 10)

These are just a few of the notes I took. I would encourage you to watch the video of Pastor Brad’s sermon to understand verse 10 in more detail. It was good to take another look into a very familiar verse and it helped me to understand this scripture more fully. I love how God keeps teaching us and how there is so much depth to His Word.

What challenged you in this sermon? Do you see verse 10 in a different way than before?

Two things that were challenging to me: 

  1. The reminder that God has been sovereign over all of history, and that no one in a high position is there unless God allows it. Pastor Brad gives some scriptural examples of how God used evil kings to bring about His plans. It was a challenge to me to keep looking through the whole Bible (Old and New Testament) and remind myself of God being in control throughout history and that He is just as much in control now.
  2. Thinking about the meaning of be still and know: to cease striving and know God closely. Wow! This is such a good picture of what having a day of Sabbath rest can be about. Just thinking of this verse in the context of chaos, things changing outside of my control and difficult situations. Choosing to stop and know God now in the middle of the hard is the challenge God is bringing here. This verse is so powerful and meaningful in its context!

 

Jessica

Hindrances to finding rest – Your job as a mom never stops.

I know life is crazy with little ones. I have a 20 month old daughter who is so cute, she loves to play and runs around getting into things constantly. 🙂 This season of trying to pursue rest looks SO different than before I had her. I know rest is still possible, it just takes more effort to plan for it. Just so you know, I need rest even more now and it is worth fighting for!

jessica-phone-141

My busy little bee.

Ideas for having a day of rest with littles:

  • Give yourself the day off of daily chores such as laundry or house cleaning – Try to get the major cleaning tasks done the day before so the house isn’t screaming at you when you are trying to rest
  • Make a few bigger meals the days before and then on your rest day you can have leftovers, make simple meals or plan to go out to eat. You do not need to wear yourself out making a big meal.
  • Do something that is enjoyable/restful that you wouldn’t normally during your kids nap time. Maybe read a book for fun, take a bubble bath, paint your nails, listen to your favorite music, etc.
  • If they are willing, plan ahead for your spouse to watch your kids for an hour or two, and spend some quality time with Jesus. This might mean leaving the house and going somewhere quiet or peaceful. Spend some time reflecting, meditating , praying or worshiping. Just be with Jesus!
  • Bring your kids into the restfulness! Listen to music, make a craft together, read books with them or play together outside as a family. Take this day to set aside all other distractions and really focus on your kids and listen to them.
  • Have this day be a internet free day. If the internet and technology are a distraction for you that keeps you from being restful then by all means turn it off! You will not miss anything that important, and if turning it off for a time helps you reconnect with your family and with Jesus please do!

These are just suggestions, some things may be helpful to try while others will not. I’m hopeful that these will help you jump over the obstacle of finding rest as a parent of little kids.

What has helped me so far:

  • My husband being willing to watch my daughter so I can have an extended break (an hour or two by myself). This tends to be on the weekend, and I try to talk to him ahead of time and see what can work for him. (Its good to communicate a starting/ending time so we are on the same page.)
  • Using nap time wisely by being intentional to do something restful during that time has been good.
  • Going out to eat or having leftovers keeps me from being stressed about food on that day.

If you are a mom and trying to find times of rest…I would love to hear from you about what has worked for you in this season!

As a mom, what specific hindrances to rest have you faced? Have you found ways to overcome those obstacles?

Jessica

*Here is a blog post by Janet at powerofmoms.com that has some additional ideas about finding rest as a mom.