Work My stacks are calling me. My cluttered closet is screaming, so I shut the door and look in the other direction. We want to totally finish the cabin. Wayne’s here to work and I’m here to hear. Study. Pray. Get ready for upcoming meetings. But the wood pile screams about picture frames and rustic […]
It was a dark foggy, moonless night in the mountains. The headlight beams of his Jeep bounced and jiggled as the tired traveler headed toward his log home. As soon as Jim topped the hill, he spotted a small rabbit in the extremities of his headlights as it shot across the road. Jim slowed his vehicle to be sure that he didn’t hit the rabbit.
The bunny crossed at a blurring speed, reached the edge of the road, then leaped high into the air to cross the ditch that twisted and turned parallel to the road. But in the instant it took the rabbit to leap and while the rabbit was still mid-air, an owl swooped down and snatched the rabbit away in his talons. Not a pretty picture if you like rabbits.
What is that makes a rabbit or a squirrel, for that matter, want to dart across the road just in front of your car? It’s a mystery to me, but it has happened more times than I can count. You’re driving along, minding your own business, when an adorable little creature darts out of nowhere, directly into your path. It makes me ask the proverbial question, “Why did the rabbit cross the road?” And Wayne answers, “Because he was chicken, silly!”
But look at this picture for a minute. The rabbit was safe beside the road. The grass was tall. The night was foggy. He was safe– until he moved. He was safe until he crossed the road. What drove him from his safe place to the owl’s dinner plate? The bright headlights must have frightened the small creature and drove him from his feeding place to a dinner plate. Fear drove the rabbit from a safe place into a dangerous place.
And what about you? Have you ever allowed fear or panic or stress to drive you from a safe place into a dangerous place. Panic will do that to you. Panic will make you do crazy things…crazy things. It will catapult you from a safe place into a disastrous place!
I’m not advocating moving into a fetal position or into a cowardice hiding place. That’s living in fear. If you’re living in fear, you’re already living in a disastrous place. And you need to take steps to get free from the fear that imprisons you.
God has a shelter for you. I’m not talking about a hide-a-way where the enemy cannot find you. His shelter is not a place of inactivity or immobility. It’s a place of strength, faith and confidence. It’s a bold place. A grace place. His shelter–His house–a place to live–God’s presence.
Psalms 91 describes it for us. Psalms 91:1 NLT Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 This I declare of the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. 3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from the fatal plague. 4 He will shield you with his wings. He will shelter you with his feathers. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. 5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor fear the dangers of the day, 6 nor dread the plague that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. 7Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. 8 But you will see it with your eyes; you will see how the wicked are punished. 9 If you make the LORD your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter,
Did you see the description in verse 1; “rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” This rest goes beyond reclining or resting in the shade of a tree. It reflects a state of emotional rest and confidence. Stepping out because you trust Him.
It’s like a son following close in his father’s shadow. When Jason, my son was little, he would play in his dad’s shadow. The shadow was so big, his tiny steps could hardly keep up and stay inside the shadow. In order to stay in his dad’s shadow he had to stay with his dad. No rabbit trails. No running off. No stopping to play in the mud. He had to stay with his dad.
Walking in His shadow is restful, but you are confident in Him. It is living, breathing, and walking in His strength. Luke 17:28 KJV “For in him we live, and move, and have our being ;” It is leaning into Him. Learning from Him, listening to Him.
Exodus 14:10 describes a scene where the people of God start to panic. Now panic will make you do crazy things…crazy things. After spectacular miracles and amazing favoritism sent by the hand of God, the Jewish people stood on the banks of the Red Sea. No bridge. No boat. Not even a detour was possible, because they watched as Pharaoh’s army marched closer and closer. NLT “As Pharaoh and his army approached, the people of Israel could see them in the distance, marching toward them. The people began to panic, and they cried out to the LORD for help” They cried out to God, but it you follow the next verse, their cries seem to be more panic filled complaints, because next they turned on Moses to vent their frustration and fear. Moses encouraged them with faith filled words. God had a plan.
And He still does. But finding the plan means embracing Him. Living and walking close enough to Him that you can hear His voice and follow where He is leading. Psalms 37:7 NLT “Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.”
Don’t let fear drive you from your safe place. Build your faith and confidence about who He is by feeding your Spirit. Let me repeat the instructions from Psalms 37:
- Be Still
- Don’t Worry
- Don’t Fret
What do you picture when you think of rest? Do you see yourself chillin’ in front of the televison? Sleeping in? Playing video games? To my friend Pete Hohmann, it is kayaking, serious, mile after mile of kayaking! Way too much work for me! Of course if I could do it Keira’s way, as seen […]
Are you ready for vacation yet? School is almost out, so our thoughts are turned toward getting away. Getting outta town. Getting some rest. But often our vacations turn into marathons of endurance. My vacations turn into a list of must see and must do. I come home to rest. I vacation to go, go go! […]
The hurry up, do more, be more, have more attitude leaves too many of us stretched and stressed. We need more than another Time Management book; we need rest-good rest-refreshing rest. Exodus 33:14 “And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” God wants us to enjoy rest. God planned […]
Finally, I got my summer clothes out of the attic and into the dresser drawers only to realize summer is almost over. Where has the summer gone? School supplies wait on shelves for the get-back-to-school rush! That is the bell that says summer recess is over, get back to work! But summer is supposed to be the time for a resting vacation. Maybe your va-cation was a sta-cation that turned into a work-cation. What happened to the rest part?
By the way what is rest? It really looks different to each of us. Rest for my friend Pete is kayaking, which sounds like way too much work me! To me rest is a hammock, assuming I can get into the thing without landing on the ground a dozen times; a big hammock, swaying gently under a shade tree, in a quiet place, beside a stream, birds serenading me, complete with a great book and a tall glass of iced lemonade. Other favorite of mine are: quiet walks through canopied trails and along the seashore; or plopped in a chair on the porch watching sunsets in the mountains; or laughing with my grandchildren. In this mad-dash world that we live in today, it is difficult to find genuine rest. Have you discovered a place of rest?
Rest was God’s idea. Let’s take a look.
1. He established and commanded (not suggested) a day to rest.. (Exodus 20:11)
2. He provides a physical system for rest; sleep.
3. We can believe God for sweet sleep. Proverbs 3:24 KJV
4. We can sleep in peace so our emotions can rest. Psalm 4:8 KJV
5. God established a place of rest that can only be entered by faith and the obedience enabled by faith. (Hebrews 4:1-6) We walk by faith, live by faith and rest because we have faith. Faith in a God that never sleeps, never leaves us and watches over us tenderly.
6. Biblical refreshing…While all these points are vital and viable; there are numerous resources accessible to help you rest better. But often biblical refreshing is overlooked in our quest to rest.
In our quest to rest, we need to be careful that we do not miss the rest that is available in God’s presence. Acts 3:19 (KJV) “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out , when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” It is a place, just as real as your favorite physical location.
I’ve seen children, youth and adults experience that rest in corporate worship; scattered around the room, as they knelt, many laying their faces on the floor resting in the sweet peace of God’s presence.
I’ve moved into a quiet place of rest, in my private worship.
It’s not automatic! That place of refreshing that God has for us can be missed. Isaiah 28:12 “To whom He said, “This is the rest with which you may cause the weary to rest,” And, “This is the refreshing”; Yet they would not hear.”
Need a vacation? Hurry! Summer is almost over, but before you go, unpack your worries, leave them in God’s hands, and rest.
Matthew 11:28 KJV Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden , and I will give you rest.