Entering Into God’s Rest

I came to Christ in college and I felt compelled to be busy for the Lord. I served through the Baptist Student Union in revivals and community outreaches, witnessed on my college campus and served in my local church through the College and Career group.

After my marriage, my foremost ministry was to my husband and children. I was described by church members as a casually spotless homemaker, and I provided them with healthy, home cooked meals from scratch. When my children reached kindergarten age, I volunteered in local schools as a teacher’s helper.

In the churches my husband pastored, I helped to lead worship with my guitar, I mentored younger women one-on-one, and I volunteered in the community at the weekly soup kitchen and seasonal food drives.

Since I had extra time once my children went to school, I volunteered in the church office, conducted women’s ministry meetings, taught children’s Sunday school and eventually directed the children’s Sunday school.

I taught crochet classes at a local yarn shop and led my boss to faith in Christ. I did inreach to members and outreach to visitors in the church setting and helped in my husband’s ministry as much as he would allow.

Then, we moved into a travel trailer and our little family accompanied my husband around the eastern USA as he went from church to church as he felt led. My children did puppet shows; and I led singing with my guitar for the children’s ministries, sang specials in the church meetings and shared encouraging word pictures as the Lord gave them to me.

I home schooled my children and continued to cook from scratch in our little trailer home. When we settled in a permanent location again, God provided a job for me at a local alternative school to teach social studies and math.

I also volunteered to teach art classes, since that was not supported by the school budget. I had a few student to our home for supper every week so they could experience the love of a Christian family. A time or two, we even housed a student who was homeless or from a violent home. I continued this frenzy of service well into my 40s.

Am I telling you all of this to brag? No, but to confess my faults.

I did much of this in the flesh and was not led by the Spirit of God in many of my activities. I am sure I was walking in God’s will at various moments of all of this effort; but I was often out of His will too.

I certainly was not ministering from the place of God’s rest, but from my own human effort and understanding. I did not consult God in order to allow Him to direct my paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). I just ran around doing good.

It was only in my late 40s that I really realized the importance of functioning from God’s rest (Lamentations 3:25-26). In my 50s, God taught me that prayer is as vital as service; and in my 60s, I started to write more, which is where God was anointing my time.

I learned to say “No” when asked to serve in a ministry where God was not calling me. As a codependent perfectionist, this was painful to do; but as I reaped the blessings of God’s continual presence in all that I did do, it did not take me long to learn that to obey is much better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22).

Father God, I am so glad that people are learning this lesson at a younger age now than ever before (Psalm 40:6). We are coveting Your presence and anointing in our life rather than sacrifice and service to which You are not calling us (Hebrews 10:6). You would much rather that we spend our time loving You with all of our heart, strength and understanding, and our neighbor as our self before we get caught up in the business of life and church work (Mark 12:33; Psalm 51:16).

You want us to listen to Your Spirit and to function in Your will for our life (Ephesians 2:10; Ecclesiastes 5:1; Proverbs 21:3), because our perfect sacrifice to You is humility, mercy and obedience as we consult You for Your will for our life rather than for us to sacrifice in areas where You are not calling us. – Hosea 6:6; Jeremiah 7:23; Isaiah 1:11; Psalm 51:17

Thought for the Day:
God created us as a Body and if we all function in the ministries to which He calls us, the church will be perfectly fitted for service to Him, to one another and to our community. – Ecclesiastes 5:1

Lightening Our Load

There are times when circumstances overwhelm us. Our life is riddled with disease, broken relationships and material losses. Negative emotions fill the void left behind by these severe issues. They cause us to withdraw, to lose hope and to feel weary and uninspired. We cannot seem to lift our head up off the pillow.

There are thousands of people in your sphere of influence, who all feel the same way that you do. They are looking for someone like you who will understand the place that they are in and to reach out to them and pray for them. You can take tiny steps at first. Go to your small group and share your experience. You may find others there who can relate to your experiences.

As you feel better, you can learn a new hobby. You will meet new people in the classes you take, which are potential new friends. Some of them will encourage you, and you will encourage others. You can join the YMCA or a fitness club and lose weight. That will enhance your self-image and physical well-being. Volunteer at your church by serving in a ministry or helping in the office or the nursery.

Play a game on the computer to improve your mental concentration and to bring some joy into your life. Get interested in your neighbors and lighten their load in some way. Giving your time and attention to others will also ease your burden and give you less time for Satan to drench you with self-pity. Follow your passion and get involved, so you can put down your heavy burdened, and feel less lonely.

Father God, help us to turn to You in our time of need. You provide these trials to draw us closer to You. Remind us that being busy is helpful, but spending time with You is even more appealing. We grow in our intimacy and love for You and we receive direction from Your Spirit. Remind us to allow You to use us to lighten the burden from someone else’s shoulders (Galatians 6:2).

Thought for the Day:
As we help others to deal with their issues, we will help our self at the same time.