“The Lord God has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He wakens morning by morning, He wakens My ear to hear as the learned.” Isaiah 50:4
Do you feel like when you take time out to rest, you feel like you’re wasting time? Your mind rushes. You may feel a bit of guilt mixed with a little hesitation?
Everyone needs take a break to enjoy the simplicity of life. With so much to do in your daily schedule, taking time out can cause anxiety in itself. You may feel restless: tempted to reach for the cell phone to follow up on a project, text a friend or check your email.
In today’s complex lifestyle, it is very easy to get caught up in constant motion. Even if you decide to unwind, you find your mind wondering, thinking, planning, solving and even worrying about your next task or responsibility.
The pleasure of rest is lacking or even non-existent in today’s society. Most people do not even acknowledge Sundays as a day of rest anymore. It’s just one more day to squeeze some type of activity or work into their schedule, whether it’s shopping, cleaning, fixing or some other project that needs to get done. Much like a foreign language, you simply do not understand the importance when your battery needs to be recharged. The whole concept is unimaginable, unrealistic or unthinkable.
You may be juggling a long commute to work, looking for a job, taking care of kids, cooking, cleaning, washing clothes and buying groceries. The list goes on and on. The challenge is not in the doing, but in the delegating. You must learn to free up some time for yourself. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary.
Your body will speak to you when you need to rest, but we must also listen to the signs and act accordingly. The pressure and demands of life can cause severe health issues down the road, if you are not diligent in learning how to treat yourself with care.
When you take a break from the complexities of life, you gain productivity. You’re refreshed with a sense of energy and clarity. Simplicity is bliss. You may gain a new perspective, get a new idea and even solve a problem.
You may feel like you’re missing out on something at first, but actually you’re taking back your life and regaining control and order. When you are rested, you perform better. You are also less irritated and handle problems with a clear head.
I’m reminded of the Bible story of Mary and Martha. One woman, Martha, worked hard for Jesus while he visited their home. While the other, Mary, rested at his feet and listened to him teach. Martha got upset that her sister offered no help. However, Jesus acknowledged Mary who rested. “Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
Taking a break is not lazy or a bad thing, as long as there’s balance in your life. Spend time alone. Get enough sleep at night. Meditate. Watch the birds or clouds. Sit in silence. Do nothing (not even think). It’s a challenge, I’m sure; but it will definitely recharge your spirit, especially if you make it a daily or weekly habit.
“And on the seventh day God ended His work which he made and he rested on the seventh day from all his work he has made.” Gen 2:2
When you read the Word of God, a seed of hope is immediately planted in your heart. You should feed your spirit daily with words of encouragement and hope. Much like watering a plant, it will become dry and withered, if not watered on a regular basis.
However, you must guard your heart against discouragement, fear, doubt and other negative emotions that can instantly rob you of the Word and strip your spirit. Mark 4:14-20
When you constantly look at the world’s problems or your own, you may feel a sense of hopelessness. There are many things in life that can discourage you and plant a sense of fear or doubt in your mind. When you continue to focus on the wrong things, it will begin to grow bigger and stronger like a brush fire.
Guarding your mind is essential to fighting off defeating thoughts.
“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things that are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things that are pure, whatsoever things that are lovely, whatsoever things that are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Phil 4:8
Girt Your Loins with Truth
When you stand on the Word of God, you stand in the truth of the character of God and His power. It releases you from every bondage of sin. You can be released from addictions, sickness, fear, anxiety, doubts and worries. You allow God to carry all of your burdens. However, you will not attain this source of freedom unless you have complete trust in Him in which you can only receive by knowing (spiritual discernment) and understanding (spiritual wisdom).
Walk With the Breastplate of Righteousness
We are made in God’s image. Although we are not perfect, we have been made righteous through Him. When you know the Word of God and it’s planted in your heart, you do not have the desire to sin. You want to please the Lord. You shine His light in dark places. You walk as salt in the earth.
It’s through the anointing power of the Holy Spirit who teaches you all things. The Lord renews your Spirit. Your hands are made clean and you are made whole through His grace and mercy. All sin is washed away. He does not remember a trace of your past history. Forgiveness is the greatest gift, but His love is unsurmountable.
Rest in the Gospel of Peace
It’s hard to walk in peace with conflict and everyday chaos all around you. The stresses of daily routines and busy schedules can take a toll on anyone.
When you meditate on the Word of God, it brings order to your day. It aligns your daily tasks, weekly plans and long-ranged goals in complete alignment with the Lord’s plans and purpose for your life. You also have the ability to walk with a sense of peace and do not focus so much on the daily challenges and obstacles that get in your way. You receive a peace that surpasses all understanding. Phil 4:7
Put on the Helmet of Salvation
You have a special covering when you receive Christ as your Lord and Savior that the world does not have. It’s like having an invisible shield of protection through the Blood of Jesus Christ. It guards you from harm and danger.
However, certain problems and circumstances are allowed to enter into your life to mold and shape you for His purpose. Unfortunately, no one is exempt from heartaches, but those walking with Christ has an ability to fight off evil plots and schemes that the devil sends your way.
“And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” Phil 3:9-10
Pick up Your Shield of Faith
When Peter walked on the water, he kept his eyes on Jesus. When he started to look around at the stormy waves, he began to sink. He lost his faith. Much like Peter’s experience, you may lose your faith when you continue to look at your circumstances or world conditions.
Speak Boldly With the Sword of the Spirit
The Word of God is life. It provides strength and vitality to a weary soul. When you speak the Word of God on a consistent basis, it breaks every stronghold in your life. Consistency is key. Believing is mandatory.
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things freely given to us of God.” I Corth 2:12
“But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for it is foolishness to him; neither can he know them; because they are spiritually discerned.” I Corth 2:14
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God that you will be able to withstand the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Esph 6:10-13
“I am the way, the truth and the life, nobody can get to heaven but through me.” John 14:6
The divinity of the Lord is holy, pure and righteous. He is omnipotent and all-knowing. We will never be able to grasp the full knowledge and understanding of his love and power. However, we can receive His love and power by His spirit through faith.
Jesus was sent into the world to save the world not to condemn it, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:17-21
You cannot work yourself into heaven. If that was the case, Jesus would not have been nailed to the cross. His death would of meant nothing if we just had to be good and do well (with the possibility to still go to heaven). Eternity is not a gamble. It should not be left to chance or luck.
Jesus carried the weight of sin and He is the intersection between God and man. It is the T-junction between holiness and sin. Jesus came to stand in the gap to pay the debts of sin. He joined us together to reconcile us with the Lord.
Through His sacrifice, commitment and divine purpose to bear the burden for our sins, we receive the gift of salvation and eternal life. The infinite life that we receive by faith is an exact replica of the power of the resurrection: Dead to sin through transformation of the Holy Spirit.
You must first accept Him as your Lord and Savior and repent for your sins. You will no longer want to please your flesh, but instead please God. You will gain wisdom, discernment, spiritual consciousness and awareness which is sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
The power of the Holy Spirit brings deliverance and real transformation in your life. If you’ve never experienced this before, you will need to develop trust, obedience, patience and endurance. You will be molded and shaped through experiences. It’s not an overnight process. It happens gradually. It happens by the gentle touch of the Spirit of God.
Do not let shame, guilt, embarrassment or condemnation stand in the way of your choice. Do not let people influence your decision. You are ultimately responsible for your salvation. Your friends, family and associates will not be there when you leave this world. You came into the world by yourself (with the help of your mother) and you will leave by yourself, so their opinions do not matter. When you experience a tug in your heart you should follow through in obedience.
“Do not quench the Holy Spirit.” I Thess 5:19
Jesus was the only man who was perfect. He suffered pain, humiliation, isolation, temptation persecution and murder. He was innocent and blameless, yet He was accused and convicted. We will never be perfect, but we have dominion and authority and can walk just as Jesus did.
When you look to the cross, it demonstrates strength, endurance, courage and victory. When you are aware of the power of Christ, nothing will be impossible to overcome. Luke 1:37, Mark 10:27
“I can do all things in Christ which strengthens me.” Phil 4:13
Those same characteristics are within you. “And God said, “Let us make man in our image; after our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:26-27
You must pick up your own cross in this life. Matt 16:24 No one can escape this process; no matter who you are.
Whatever is dead in your life, ask for the power of the Lord to breathe upon your life to resurrect all that is lifeless.
The word of God is life to your bones. The word of God is spiritual food to keep you nourished and spiritually strong. It’s the meat and substance to uplift and empower you.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34.8
“For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.” I Thess 5:9-10
“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” Matt 12:25
As we eagerly wait for Spring to arrive and leave the harsh, bitter Winter behind, our minds are focused on warmer weather, budding flowers and spending time outside. We welcome fresh renewal by purging the old items we no longer want, cleaning our homes and reorganizing our spaces.
The foundation of our living space should be a peaceful dwelling place. I usually refer to home as “My sanctuary.” It’s a place where you should be comfortable and it should provide an escape from the outside world.
Sadly enough, some people do not have a steady foundation. Their homes are built on disrespect, lack of trust, abuse or neglect. Instead of the home being a place of refuge, it’s a place of war consisting of conflicts, stress and strife.
When your spirit (also known as your “temple” or “house”) is out of order, it mirrors your personal space. The confusion often felt on the inside manifests itself in the physical realm.
When your space is clean, organized and quiet, you have the opportunity to think better and even have more peace. You will also have harmony, balance in your home, and increase in productivity.
The same way we clean a house; we should clean our spirit daily. We need to give up: Sin, temptation, lust, jealousy, gossip and bad language. We also need to let go of the past, purge negative thinking and release pain, guilt or shame. We should forgive others, accept what we cannot change and begin to move forward with faith and hope. If there’s anything that is blocking us from getting closer to the Lord, we need to relinquish and surrender to be set free. When we welcome Christ into the midst of our house, the atmosphere will change (internally and externally). “Thou will show me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11
“All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaks against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. Either make the tree good, and his fruit is good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matt 12:31-34
“When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walks through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, I will return into my house from which I came out; and when he is come, he finds it empty, swept and garnished. Then goes he and takes with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.” Matt 12: 43-45
“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord; till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” Hosea 10:12-13
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit; and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Heb 4:12
“Therefore whosoever hears this sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house (spirit) upon a rock; And when the rain descended, and the floods came; and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. (The Word of God). And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and does them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell and great was the fall of it.” Matt 7: 24-27
Photo Credit: http://www.pbjstories.com
“Blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord and whose hope is in the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:7
As we entered into 2014, we also entered into one of the coldest weather conditions in U.S. history. Meteorologist explained this strange weather patterns as, “The Polar Vortex.”
It’s a very thought-provoking term, “Vortex” which is defined as a “Whirlwind” which includes a second definition meaning, “A condition that you can’t get out of.”
Have you ever been in a situation or circumstance that you just don’t know how to escape? It’s like you’re wrapped in a spider’s web of confusion, fear, despair, isolation, discouragement, hopelessness, depression, frustration, pain or worry. You don’t have the answers and the future looks bleak. You have tried to consult friends, family possibly even professionals with no resolve.
It’s very hard to trust the Lord when you’re life has flipped upside down and turned inside out. It’s even harder if don’t know God, his promises or His character. “That I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection” Philippians 3:10
Your life may have exploded and you’re left to pick up the pieces. When facing challenges, it’s hard to focus on the positive or have an optimistic attitude. I’m not going to lie but it’s a struggle we all face. The only difference is those who have experienced the Lord and those who have not. People tend to believe in coincidences, luck or happenstance without acknowledging the spiritual forces at work in their lives. We are living in very dangerous times in which it will require the power of God to overcome problems, situations and circumstances.
You may not feel like God is listening to your prayers but God is working behind the scenes. You may not understand why it is taking so long for your prayers to be answered but God is not under our time table or calendar. He is working things out according to His will and plan for your life. You were designed for a special purpose. The Lord wants a relationship with you not just sudden request when things go wrong in your life. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
The Lord allows certain things to happen in our lives to prepare us and shape us for His purpose. Of course, not all of the things we experience is God’s will, but He will turn things around for our good. We must develop faith and patience in prayer and our daily lives. “That you be not slothful, but f followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” Heb 6:12, 15
Back to the “Polar Vortex,” The snowstorms has caused major disasters, increased depression, stress, isolation, and unfortunately roadside deaths.
All activity was frozen for a period of time. People were either stuck in their homes or on the roads. Somehow, I feel God was slowing us down to do absolutely nothing so He could get our attention! We were stuck, isolated and frustrated! But, we still did not pay attention. It was time to yield and cease all activity. However, we continued to go about our business and let the weather stress us out.
Once we release the stress of dealing with cold, miserable weather and other things that we can’t control, we will free ourselves of things that we simply can’t change. By coming to this acceptance, we enter into peace. In the process, seasons change and flowers bloom. It’s through this process, we gradually come through whatever storm we may be dealing with in life. Unfortunately, the whole process may be postponed, delayed or slowed down. Although it may be an inconvenience or uncomfortable situation, we will get through it and obtain victory in the end.