Friday, October 14, 2011

The Shelter of Rest

Note well the words of Jesus...Come to me and rest. Never, never did Christ send a heavy laden one to work; never, never did He send a hungry one, a weary one, a sick or sorrowing one, away on any service. For such the Bible only says, Come, come, come. ~Hudson Taylor

Last weekend Morgan and Camron visited while Shawn and Melanie sneaked away for their anniversary.  We had a big Sunday dinner, then the guys took over child care so Emily and I could finish up the kitchen cleaning.  The family room was strangely quiet, and when Emily and I investigated we found Pawpaw conked out with Morgan and Jonathon napping with Camron.  Both of them work hard during the week and evidently needed some Lay-z-boy rest.

So many times when we get tired physically we also experience spiritual fatigue. Charles Swindoll said, "In place of our exhaustion and spiritual fatigue, God will give us rest. All He asks is that we come to Him...that we spend a while thinking about Him, meditating on Him, talking to Him, listening in silence, occupying ourselves with Him - totally and thoroughly lost in the hiding place of His presence."

His presence -- the hiding place for the weary.  Spurgeon calls this rest a "pearl because it is so precious, so blessed a thing."

Sometimes the weariness comes from the daily struggle of living.  Young mothers, weary from a day of changing the baby's diapers, telling the three-year-old "no" for the upteenth time, homeschooling the six-year-old, washing clothes, preparing meals -- and that's just the tip of what her day holds.  This mother lays her head on the pillow at night, with barely the energy to say, "I'm tired."  Where is her rest?

Other times the weariness comes from the constant conflict -- first with her husband, then with the two teens living under her roof.  The phone rings and it's another accusatory call from a belligerent mother-in-law.  To top it off, there's the decorating for the fall festival. She can't even concentrate with the barrage of angry words echoing in her ears.  Where is her rest?

And then there's the woman who just became a widow.  In addition to the pain of losing her mate, she's trying to figure out insurance policies, find a job after being out of the market for years, and make decisions about keeping or selling her home.  Where is her rest?

Chronic pain, divorce, death of a child, loss of a house through a tornado -- people are dealing with heartache every day.  The economy brings more stress as layoffs and downsizing change the bottom figures for families. Her mind is tired, physically she can't put one foot in front of another, and spiritually feels far away from God.  Where is her rest?

God intends for us to find rest in Him.  How?  By coming.  That's it.  It's God's promise.  "Come...and I will."  We don't need to come with a fist full of cash.  We don't have to perform or speak with spiritual jargon.  We just come.  And in the coming, we show our belief in the God of rest.  We can echo with David, "Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him" (Psalm 62:5).

So come, bring your burdens of pain, of depression, of heartache, and leave them with Jesus.  Carrying the burdens drags us down, but come, leave them at the feet of Jesus -- those beautiful nail-scarred feet -- and there you will find rest.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

God Breathed Words

Write down these words.  Exodus 34:27  

Words.  Sometimes they tumble around and around in my head like socks in a dryer.  Other times it's as though the socks never make it to the dryer -- eaten alive by the washer before they become a possibility.   And then there are the times I find them in the drawer of my mind, mated and folded, ready to put on paper.

But rarely do they end up published like they emerge.  They need a metaphor here or a Scripture tucked in there for better clarity.  RB reads through the initial drafts with questions, "What did you mean here?" or "I think this word works better."

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When I became a Christian, God changed me, but there was plenty of maturing that followed.  Tidbits of ideas and personal interpretations from sermons I've heard through the years tumble around in my head.  Some of them are discarded by the Holy Spirit when they don't stand the Scripture test.  Others I find mated with God's approval, ready to accept in my heart and assimilate into daily living.  

This awareness helps me listen more closely to the whispers of my Heavenly Father.  "Why did you speak so sharply?"  "Why didn't you offer grace?"  And in my heart of honesty I find that I need those corrections, remembering God loves those He disciplines (Proverbs 3:12).

It is then, through Grace, that the manuscript of my life shines authentically.  Only then the God-breathed words I write become not my own, but His.  My words, devoid of my pride, change from my original intention into a  "Behold, I make all things new."  I look at my manuscript and wonder, Did I write this?  And I know the credit belongs to God.

* * * * *

From Old to New

I had an idea and went searching for an "old" that could become new.  At one thrift store I found the candlesticks and a pumpkin.  In another I found the second pumpkin.  Emily found the third one in Marion.  The paint I found on clearance at Walmart.  The Krazy Glue I found in RB's stash of glue -- Do all men love glue or are my daddy and RB the only ones with stashes? 

The steps are easy:
Ask husband to spray paint candle sticks.
Glue one to the bottom of each pumpkin.
Dry and fill.

In my writing, the credit goes to God.  In my crafting this project, the credit goes to Eighteen25.  Check out the blog of three sisters: Jamie, Jodie and Jen.  They are always crafting something fun that I want to craft-lift. 

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