The Almighty Shadow of Rest

by Christina Rose

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, 
my God, in whom I trust.”                                                                                                                                          Psalm 91:1-2 NIV

We were happily married and joyfully expecting our first baby. We enjoyed a carefree life on San Francisco bay and never imagined anything could go wrong. I still remember the day a notice arrived from the lab showing abnormal test results. When my husband came home, I was too overcome by grief to speak and just handed him the notice. Further testing revealed that our baby was thriving, but I had to quit working, rest often, and notify my doctor with any problems.

There were many sleepless nights as I constantly prayed that our baby would survive and be healthy. In the early hours of dawn, I would head to my rocking chair by the fireplace and look out over the twinkling lights of San Francisco to the south. To the west was our lush green lawn and a view of the mountains. Deer would arrive in those early morning hours to feed on the grass before the sun came up. Their peaceful presence would calm me as I prayed. They had no worries, and I decided that neither should I.  I learned to rest and find peace in the shadow of the Almighty.  Months later, our beautiful little daughter arrived, perfectly healthy.

Now, many years later, sleepless nights have led to more rocking chair prayer in the early hours of dawn. My trip home to California was cancelled due to the pandemic of the corona virus. As I sit in the silent, dark hours, in Denver looking west towards my family in California, I choose to rest and trust in God’s perfect plan.

While this pandemic has seemingly paralyzed the world, it is instilling humility, compassion, and gratitude for many things we took for granted. This is a time of great harvest, as formerly self-reliant people are now turning to God for guidance. We will emerge from this global reset with a greater appreciation for our families, jobs, health, food, shelter, and most importantly, more trust in the God who has provided these things.

Not being able to see or hug our loved ones, especially in times of sickness and death, is something we have never known. But the silver lining is, once the crisis is over, we will embrace each other with greater love and affection. We will joyfully celebrate the simple pleasures that were temporarily taken away from us. We will have a greater appreciation for one another and all of life itself, realizing that each day is a gift from above.

As I watch the sunrise casting pink shadows over the snow-capped Rockies, I think of all the magnificent wildlife that is stirring in the mountains. I think of the vast beauty of the majestic mountains, lakes, streams and wildflowers that are starting to bloom. I think of my family on the California coast and pray that I will see them soon.  When we learn to rest in the shadow of the Almighty, we learn to find the peace that surpasses all understanding. We learn that while we may seem to be in the middle of a dark storm, it is merely a pause to reflect while God is birthing something new and wonderful.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

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The Almighty Shadow of Rest – encouragement from Christina Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

christina roseAbout the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership.  She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. A devoted mom of two daughters and great aunt to over 40 nieces and nephews, Christina loves spending time in nature and hosting gatherings for family and friends.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. Her marriage in shambles, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power that is available to us all, especially those who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: What have you been learning through the corona virus crisis?

Time for a Nap

by Terri Clark @TerriClarkTCM

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.                                                                                                                               Psalm 4:8 NIV 

I seldom ever take a nap during the day. It’s not that I’m opposed to naps, but I’m one of those perpetually fast-forward personalities that has a hard time slowing down long enough during the day to take one. But the other day, my late nights and early mornings caught up to me. I was so sleepy and sluggish; I couldn’t concentrate on anything and needed a power nap.

Setting the timer on my phone for 45 minutes, I curled up on my bed and started to drift off to sleep, but the room was so cold, I couldn’t relax. My husband keeps the thermostat set at “frigid” in our house. Remembering the quilt folded at the foot of the bed, I pulled it over myself. With the heavy warmth of that quilt wrapped around me, I instantly fell into a deep, restful sleep.

It feels good to have a fresh start; and grabbing a little rest is needed. When my timer went off, I woke up refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day.

We normally just think about rest in terms of our physical bodies, like when I ran out of steam in the middle of that day. But rest is essential for our soul and spirit as well. We tend to forget about our need for spiritual and emotional rest. It’s easy to become weary and worn out when our lives are filled with concerns and worries for our family or marriage, work issues, finances, health, or even ministry.

Hey, let’s face it, we live in a cold world, and as much as I needed the warm quilt to relax and rest in a cold room, we need a covering over our minds and hearts to relax and rest in the Lord. That’s where we find peace for our weariness.

God has provided a covering for us that is even better than my warm quilt. Look what it says in Psalm 91:4 NLT: “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” When our minds are filled with a million thoughts, when we are stressed out, when life seems out of control and when things aren’t going the way we want them to, it’s time to step away and rest under the soft downy feathers of God’s faithful promises.

Our situation may not change right away, but His peace that comes with His covering, allows us to relax and rest. After a time of refreshment with Him, we’ll have what we need to get on with the situation at hand.

So, how about you? Are you in need of a spiritual and emotional nap? Cover up under the warmth of God’s wing. He is there for you. Here are a few more verses to read while you rest.

  • Ruth 2:12 (BSB) “May the Lord repay your work, and may you receive a rich reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have taken refuge.”
  • Psalm 17:8 (NIV) “Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings.”
  • Psalm 18:30 (BSB) “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.”
  • Isaiah 51:16 (BSB) “I have put My words in your mouth, and covered you in the shadow of My hand, to establish the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’”
  • John 14:27 (NLT) “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don’t be troubled or afraid.”

May you wrap yourself in God’s peace and be able to rest in Him today.

TWEETABLE
Time for a Nap – encouragement on finding God’s peace from @TerriClarkTCM on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Terri ClarkAbout the author: Terri Clark works with women to prepare and equip them to receive God and the blessings He wants to produce in their lives. She began to answer God’s call on her life in 1994 and has since impacted women all over the world with His news of salvation, edification, and healing.

Her book, Fanning the Flame: Reigniting Your Faith in God, identifies and addresses the issues which most affect a believer’s spiritual flame: the busyness of life, Christian service, pride, and worldly temptations. Join her in this pilgrimage and reignite your spiritual lamp with a fresh, empowering faith–a faith that will stand through a time of testing.

Join the conversation:  What are some of your favorite verses that help you to rest?

Teach a Mom to List

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

Teach a man to fish, it’s all good. But teach a kid a card trick and be prepared to watch it nonstop for like 12 years.

Like, “Is this your card?”…until college.

Understand, you have to make time for that. It’s one of the reasons schedule-juggling is trickier with kids. I’m not a structured person by nature, so in those years of raising mine, to-do lists became my friends. And enemies.

On any given day, I made a gargantuan list, then had to quick-plan for a dozen things that weren’t on it. Weren’t on any list. Ever. Who can plan, for instance, for an away-from-home potty-training disaster you’re forced to clean up with three Wal-Mart receipts, last week’s church bulletin and a Kit Kat wrapper (give me a break).

Our time raising children is short. I can get philosophical about it, for sure. I’ve long said, when one door opens, another door opens. And then also a side door. All the doors. And they never close. Because you have kids.

I wonder how many months of my life I spent closing doors behind this or that kid running in or out. I had five babies in seven years. That means in a 12-year span I probably slept four hours. Total. Essentially, I traded sleep for door-closing. It’s a thought that makes me smile. And it makes me want a nap.

Ever feel like your soul needs a nap? Jesus knew you would. He said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” (Matthew 11:28-30, CSB).

Rest for our bodies? We do have to make time for that. But soul rest is at least as vital. Anytime we find ourselves feeling burned out, weary, burdened—heavy—it’s time to step back and listen to Jesus’ call to “Come to me.” It’s an open door. And to our delight, it stays open.

When you’re frantically sorting one to-do list from another (is this your card?), and when your mind feels cluttered and weighted down with challenges and stresses, remember your Savior’s reminder that He waits for you. He will be your respite, your comfort, your encouragement. All you have to do is come.

Come to Him in prayer. Come to Him in worship. Come to Him through His Word. Give Him the first-fruits of your time and you’ll find the perspective you’re looking for. So often all the urgent to-dos sort themselves out as we remember His call to come, to lay down a heavy, burdensome yoke we’ve placed on ourselves, and exchange our plan for the just-fits comfort of His will. Would you believe, even when an unexpected disaster thrusts itself upon your list, you can still smile. His easy yoke comes with grace, joy, peace—everything you need for a genuine “successful existence.”

Responding to His “come to me” should top my every list. Relief from my own exhausting yoke. Strength and renewal under His.

As for my other lists, however, I’m still fishing through those. Guess I’m a work in progress. The other day I went to the store without my list and was proud of myself when I only took twelve thousand laps around the grocery section looking for something that wasn’t even on it.

“I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord.   Ezekiel 34:17 NASB

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Teach a Mom to List – encouragement with a touch of humor from @RhondaRhea on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

rhonda rheaAbout the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLifeLeading HeartsThe Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novel, Turtles in the Road, co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea.

Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated: A Novel by [Rhea, Kaley, Rhea, Rhonda]

Rhonda and Kaley have just released a new novel, Off-Script and Over-Caffeinated. When the Heartcast Channel Movie division announces they’ll briefly be allowing submissions for new Christmas movies, Harlow finds herself paired with a reluctant co-star. Jack Bentley may be the biggest Heartcast Original Movie name in the business, but he is anything but formulaic.

Rhonda lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Join the conversation: What is weighing you down today?

God’s Chosen Ones

by Christina Rose

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”                                                            Colossians 3:12 ESV

A few years ago, I worked in downtown San Francisco. Many of my lunch hours were spent exploring the local historic churches. I would hop a cable car to the top of Nob Hill to Grace Cathedral to walk down the aisle in the light cast by the stained-glass windows as noon church bells rang. Beautiful Old St. Mary’s Cathedral in Chinatown offered noontime concerts by local members of the symphony. I would also often cross the street from my office to walk through the luxurious Palace Hotel lobby on my way to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.  

St. Patrick’s is a large, magnificent church. Its brilliant stained-glass windows showcase each of the patron saints of Ireland. Founded in 1851 to serve Irish immigrants, it today continues to serve a large immigrant population made up as several nationalities.

While all three churches had services at noon, St. Patrick’s by far had the largest attendance.

Each weekday at noon, hundreds of parishioners would fill the church, their heads bowed in prayer. Some would kneel at the large Jesus statue at the entrance and touch his feet as they whispered their prayers. Others would walk on their knees with hands in prayer, as they made their way to the altar.

One day, I saw a young man in laborer’s clothes march down the aisle and throw himself on the altar, crying out in a language I could not understand. I imagine he could have been a young father, praying for the provision of his family. On special holidays, there would be standing room only, with an overflow of devoted souls lined up outside the church.

Many, including myself, found great peace at these noontime services. Jesus said, ““Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29 ESV). Spending an hour in prayer and meditation on those visits to St. Patrick’s took my mind off of myself and my problems and moved my focus on to God and His bigger picture.

I would leave that place of worship with lightness of heart, knowing a powerful, compassionate God was in control. It put everything into the proper perspective.

Afterwards, I would return to my high-pressure corporate law office to the deadlines, trials, court appearances, and occasional tantrums. I was able to do my job calmly and keep my peace, knowing who is truly in charge of all things.

While some may associate meekness with weakness, it is actually power under control.  It is the ability to see yourself as a servant of God, rather than for other people, and truly will make your burden easy and your yoke light.  Following Jesus’ example as gentle and lowly in heart eases the pressure to perform. We rest in our confidence in Him.

As God’s Chosen One, He promises rest for all souls who seek Him.

TWEETABLE
God’s Chosen Ones – insight from Christina Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

christina roseAbout the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership.  She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. A devoted mom of two daughters and great aunt to over 40 nieces and nephews, Christina loves spending time in nature and hosting gatherings for family and friends.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. Her marriage in shambles, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power that is available to us all, especially those who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: What helps you the most in finding rest in God alone?

 

 

 

 

Waves of Mercy

by Melissa Heiland

Life can be overwhelming between family, ministry, health, and finances. The to-do list grows and free time seems non-existent. The pressure I sometimes feel is akin to being buried beneath a heavy weight–of unmet needs and expectations. Under that load, it’s easy to lose perspective.

That is when I like to head to the beach. It is a place of rest and relaxation for me, a place where I can once again gain perspective. At the beach, my mind clears as I breathe the ocean air and observe some of God’s greatest gifts revealed through His glorious creation.

He alone has spread out the heavens and marches on the waves of the sea. Job 9:8 NLT

Standing at the shore, I am reminded of the faithfulness and power of God. The ocean has a rhythm, much like my life. The tides come in, bringing times of loss and cleansing. Then they retreat, leaving in their wake times of peace and rest. Sometimes, I feel as if the waves will overpower me, and yet, I know the One who calms the sea. He promises to keep me safe when my eyes are fixed on Him.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! Psalm 139:17,18 NLT

The copious sand at the shore is a beautiful reminder of God’s abundant love. In the Psalms, the Lord tells us that His thoughts about us outnumber the grains of sand. Too many to count! When I am tempted to feel unloved and unseen, I need only fill my fist with sand and watch it sift through my fingers to remember how loved I am.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

And how I love the birds! As I watch them easily soar over the ocean, I am reminded, that with God, I too can soar above the stormy seas of my life. There is freedom in Jesus.

God has revealed Himself to us in His Word and in His creation. I’m so thankful for that. Sometimes, when the pace of life is fast and furious, we need to step away and be still, to let God speak to us and refresh our souls, giving us strength and peace to continue in the work He has called us to do.

TWEETABLE
Waves of Mercy – insight and encouragement from Melissa Heiland on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Melissa heilandAbout the author: Melissa Heiland is the Founder and President of Beautiful Feet International, a mission organization that plants pregnancy ministries around the world. She is an international speaker and author who is passionate about mommies, babies and sharing the Gospel. She has written devotionals for pregnant moms, new mothers and short-term mission teams, as well as a children’s book based on Psalm 139. She and her husband Ken have 6 children and 5 grandchildren.

Join the conversation: Where do you go to find perspective?

Only Cats Have Nine Lives

by Dena Dyer  @denajdyer

After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. Matthew 14:23 NASB

We are not superheroes, so why do we act like we are? Solitude replenishes and refreshes us. It’s a necessary, and often overlooked, facet of a grace-full life. My friends and I laugh about it, but it’s sad: none of us make time to be alone anymore. We’re too busy driving our kids to soccer practice, working outside the home, and helping with church activities. There’s simply no time for recreation or rest. And what’s even sadder—we often feel like we’re irreplaceable and indestructible.

I’ve decided I don’t want to postpone balance or rest any longer. I know what it does to my body and soul when I do.

I’ve begun to realize that only cats have nine lives. We have but one. And it is a super-myth that you can be a superwoman. In fact, you can do some of it, and have some of it done, but if you try to do it all, you’ll be done in.

And since you are only one person, take care of yourself! Maybe that will mean scheduling a sitter so you can have some time alone. Perhaps you can trade child care with a friend for a couple of hours a week—delicious hours in which you do something for yourself, and not for your kids or hubby. Or maybe you’ll decide to take up a new hobby and have your husband take over tending the home fires one night a week. Only you can decide what kind of solitude you need to replenish your mind and soul.

Jesus is our model in this (as in all things). He often went off by Himself to pray and be alone with God the Father. If the perfect Savior of the world needed time with His Heavenly Father, how much more do we need it?!

I like what Pearl S. Buck once said: “I love people. I love my family, my children. . .but inside myself is a place where I live all alone, and that’s where you renew your springs that never dry up.”

So my challenge to you is to say no to some less-important things once in a while, so that you can say yes to yourself. Periodically, let God fill your empty reservoir in the solace of solitude.

I think you’ll be super-glad you did.

This blog is excerpted from Dena’s book, Grace for the Race: Meditations for Busy Moms, which is available as an e-book from online retailers. 

TWEETABLE
Only Cats Have Nine Lives – encouragement & insight from @DenaJDyer on @AriseDailyDevo (Clic to Tweet)

dena headshotAbout the author: Dena Dyer is an award-winning author, speaker, and non-profit leader. She loves encouraging hurting, harried women with humor and hope. You can find her on Instagram or Facebook, or at her website.

Dena’s book, Wounded Women of the Bible, proves that God’s ntention to heal is His delight. Offering more than pat affirmations or vicarious shoulders to cry on, you will find the emotions and injuries that women of all ages have in common.

Join the conversation: How do you manage to sneak in time alone?

Resting in God Our Rock

by Jennifer Slattery @JenSlattery

“I love You, O Lord, my strength.” The Lord is my Rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.                                                                                                          Psalm 18:1-2 NASB

In 2006, my husband Steve stepped into an ugly power struggle that nearly cost him his job. Dishonest and unethical practices had trickled down from the top, infecting all the staff. As a result, when Steve continually made a right, hard choice, he was attacked and slandered by evil, power-hungry men.

The union representative in particular made it his mission to get Steve fired, which included sending a letter to the CEO telling him how “terrible” he was. Then, he printed and prominently displayed the slanderous letter at the shop.

With every attack against Steve, my anxiety climbed. What if the union representative succeeded and Steve’s company let him go? Where would he work? How would we pay our bills? What if we lost our home?

Our world felt out of control, our security only as sure as my husband’s next paycheck. But then we remembered our sure foundation, the immovable Rock upon which we stood.

Psalm says, “I love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer” (Psalm 18:1-2a NASB).

This was written by ancient Israel’s second king, a mighty warrior who’d single-handedly defeated a tyrannical giant. Yet, this warrior found strength not in himself and his military prowess, but instead in His sovereign, all-powerful God. No matter how strong or skilled in battle, apart from God he was vulnerable and insufficient. In the crags of God’s love, however, he was amply protected, untouchable.

Towering rocks or bluffs dotted the landscape of ancient Palestine, providing places of refuge, of protection, for all who scampered upon them. These elevated geological edifices were difficult to reach and offered shelter within their caverns. They were places of safety in times of danger.

Fortresses offered similar protection. The people built heavily-fortified cities high upon a cliff, where they could see enemies approach for miles. Then, they erected stone towers at the highest point in the city.

Can you sense the layers of protection revealed in the Psalm 18 passage? In Christ, we stand high upon an immovable rock of power and grace, further hidden within the clefts of His love. His strength is greater than anything or anyone that comes against us. We are triply protected within His steadfast embrace. He is our sure and constant deliverer, the rock beneath our feet, and the fortress surrounding us.

As attacks continued to barrage my husband and our family, we hid ourselves deeply in God. When anxiety arose, we reminded ourselves of where our true security lay, and all we knew to be true about Him. He was faithful, loving and attentive—unconquerable. He was our ever-present provider, the only One with the power to sustain us.

That year, He proved Himself to be all those things and more. I’m confident He’ll do the same for you. Whatever you’re facing, whatever is coming against you, rest in this: God’s got you. He’s standing beside you, within you, and is camped around you. He is your refuge, your rock, and your strong, fortified tower.

You don’t have to be strong or know all the answers—that secret that will somehow whisk you to safety—because in Christ, you’re already safe.

Let’s talk about this! When has God proven Himself to be your rock and your fortress? How might remembering this time help you when future problems hit?

If you’re facing a difficult, uncertain period, how might it help to shift your thoughts off your ever-changing circumstances and onto your immovable Savior?

TWEETABLE
Resting in God Our Rock – encouragement from @JenSlattery on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Jennifer Slattery Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Hometown Healing and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team love to help women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. Visit her online to find out more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s eventLogo image for Faith Over Fear

In her 12-part podcast series titled Faith Over Fear, she helps listeners battle many of the anxieties and fears that often assault us, sharing practical tools and timeless truths that, when applied, can help us live our Christ-won place of victory.

Rest First

by Michele McCarthy @MicheleRMcC

Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29 NASB

God’s call to rest isn’t crawling into bed with a good book (though who couldn’t use a day or two of that now and then)? It’s a much greater call—to live from the place of rest every day. It can take the form of relaxing tense, scrunched up shoulders, choosing to breathe easy in the slow lane of the store or freeway, or trusting Him to promote the call on our life as we keep our focus on our Father.

I have been learning that for me, rest is choosing to be still and listen for daily direction.

While attending a short ministry school, one of the staff members asked me if I wrote. Sure, I thought, grocery lists, to do lists, and the occasional prayer journal. I shrugged and told her, “I kind of write.”

“You should write about your journey to help other people,” she suggested. As outlandish as the suggestion was, and as insignificant as my story was, her words stirred my heart. So I began to write.

I completed my amateurish, boring, sad story of my journey within a few months (book writer skills not included). Pounding computer keys, I put on paper what I thought I was supposed to write. The End. Then I voiced, “God, I’ve written the story, it’s up to You now. I’ve no idea what to do next.”

God’s next beat anything I could have done on my own

I met Linda Evans Shepherd in California, both of us from different states. I misunderstood her to say she was a publisher, since she’d “published” several books (no snickering, I’m new at this). Because of her comment, I knew she’d know how to publish my book, right? So of course, I had to introduce myself. She graciously invited me to the AWSA conference the next month as a protégé.

Attending AWSA felt like I found home. These ladies loved books and loved the Lord even more. I began to wake up with children’s book ideas. The Lord led me to begin working with a writing coach. I felt Him nudging me to attend two different writers’ conferences. My appointments there encouraged me in my projects. I even met a publisher who expressed interest in my book.

All of this was the result of simply obeying what I believed the Lord had called me to do. He’s done the rest. Which brings me to my point.

Rest.

God calls all of us to enter into His rest. First is the rest of salvation: trusting in the work Jesus did on the cross to cover every one of our sins; accepting His gift of grace, understanding we are saved through no efforts of our own. “So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:9-10 NASB).

But there is a second kind of rest. We need never strive while following Him in obedience. As Greg Winfield wrote on faithmessenger.com: “Entering into God’s rest takes place after we have done the will of God in any given situation and are waiting to receive the promise.” We can rest in His power and in His wisdom, trusting that He will be faithful to complete what He has begun in us (Philippians 1:6).

Our work is to rest in Him.

TWEETABLE
Rest First – wisdom from @MicheleRMcC on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

michele mccarthyAbout the author: Michele McCarthy is married and a mom to two sons and Gigi to five adorable grandchildren. She is a Texas Christian University graduate with a degree in Education. She attended Lifestyle Christianity University in Watauga, Texas. Michele is a co-founder of LWT (Living Write Texas), a Christian writing group for women. She loves reading, painting, all things witty, and hot fudge sundaes.

Michele’s book Daddy and Me, is the story of the unconditional love of the Father. Every child is free to picture their own daddy and most importantly their heavenly Father; the Father who loves them perfectly, without reserve, no matter what, while gently holding each child in His hand.

Join the conversation: What does God’s rest mean to you?

Deep Sleep, Deep Faith

by Lori Stanley Roeleveld @LoriSRoeleveld

“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” Psalm 127:2 ESV

Nights come when we just can’t sleep, right? Like awake at three am playing spider solitaire and watching documentaries on the History channel not sleeping. It makes a person think. Usually about sleep.

Ever look up “sleep” in the Bible? There are a bunch of verses where “sleep” has nothing to do with the act of sleeping but rather directions with whom we should NOT sleep. Not the topic of this post. Then there are verses where sleep has to do with death, as in “we shall not all sleep”. Also not the topic of this post.

There are, however, actual verses about people sleeping – where people of the Bible lie down at night, close their eyes and rest. That’s what this post is about. Actual sleep. Because, if we lie awake and think about it, sleep was quite an act of faith in Biblical times.

Lying down to sleep could result in death and disaster.

While Samson slept, Delilah tipped off his enemies about his whole hair secret (He might have done well to pay attention to those verses about who we should NOT sleep with). While King Saul slept, his enemy crept close enough to kill him. A military leader named Sisera was lured to sleep by Jael, and she drove a tent peg through his head (again, should have checked the passages on acceptable bed partners!) And a young man in the New Testament fell asleep during a sermon – falling out of a window and needing to be revived by Paul (I think I’ve heard that sermon). Anyway, sleeping was risky business.

Men of faith, however, not only managed to sleep, but God was active in their lives as they slept.

When Adam awoke from deep sleep, God had fashioned a woman for him! It was while Abraham slept that God introduced Himself and gave him the orders to relocate to a prime piece of real estate by the sea. When Jacob slept, He dreamed of a stairway to heaven – thus blessing future generations (and Led Zeppelin). When Joseph, Mary’s betrothed, slept, God let Him know His girl had been true and gave Him the green light to trust her crazy story.

Even Jesus slept. As a dangerous storm raged around the boat carrying the men with whom He’d entrusted the gospel, He napped in the bow. Of course, He woke up, spoke up and ended the weather event before disaster – one of the coolest miracles recorded! But, my point is, that He was able to sleep in the midst of turmoil, high seas, and seasoned fisherman screaming like little girls!

You and I don’t have to worry about tent pegs or barbarian invasions while we sleep, but with all the pressures of our lives, sleep can feel like an act of indulgence.

We stay up late and rise early, trying to keep our lives afloat in very stormy seas, and we get irritated with God because He never seems to get uptight enough about the impending doom on our horizon. More times than not, Jesus says (I’m paraphrasing), Have faith and catch some Z’s. You don’t keep the world spinning, I do. That’s why I invented sleep, so you’d have a nightly reminder that there is a time to rest and let Me work.

Ultimately, sleep is an act of faith even now. Others should be saying about us: “Who are all those well-rested people? How do Christians have time to rest?”

Want to exercise your faith today? Go take a nap.

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Deep Sleep, Deep Faith – insight from @LoriSRoeleveld on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

lori Roeleveld Headshot 2015About the author: Lori Stanley Roeleveld is an author, speaker, and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored four encouraging, unsettling books. Her latest release is The Art of Hard Conversations: Biblical Tools for the Tough Talks that Matter. She speaks her mind at www.loriroeleveld.com.

Join the conversation: Do you ever struggle with sleep?

Enough Already

by Lori Stanley Roeleveld @LoriSRoeleveld

 “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places.” Leviticus 23:3 ESV

I live in a house where many of the shelves are up high. The rest of my family is tall. They put things away in places that don’t seem that high to them, but I feel like I’m always reaching. It’s tiring to always be reaching.

I feel like that in life, too.

Such pressure we put on ourselves, right? Have we taught our children enough? Have we loved our spouses enough? Is our house clean enough? Have we worked hard enough? Exercised enough? Eaten enough of the right foods? Been vigilant enough with our teens? Spent enough time with our parents and friends? Reached out enough to neighbors? Become informed enough? Healthy enough? Enough like Jesus?

It gets worse on our day of worship.

If my body bore a stamp for every sermon I heard, I would be covered with things like this. Pray more. Read the Bible more. Witness more. Submit more. Worship More. Give more. Reach out more. Reach out further away. Teach your kids. Teach others. Love your husband. Love your neighbor. Love your enemy. Love the person in the next pew. Serve more. Resist Satan more. Be more active at church. Be more active in the community. Be more active in the world. Trust more. Have more faith. Confess more. Forgive more. Be more joyful. Be more repentant. Study more. Share more. See more. Be more. Reaching always reaching.

Enough already!

This idea that we are never enough—that we must constantly do more, give more, be more – doesn’t come from God. Often, it comes from living in a consumerist society where MORE is the message of the media and the motto of every day. It also comes from within our own sinful, fearful hearts that place us at the center of our worlds and somehow believe that everything and everyone depends on us.

It also comes from others who have, themselves, fallen prey to this haunting drumbeat rhythm of “never enough, do more, do more, never enough, do more, do more.” When we do it to ourselves, we are likely to pass it on like a virus. And it comes from the evil one who wants to undermine the work of God within us.

God saw fit to insist that we labor only six days a week and spend one day “resting from our labors”. I believe it was His way of saying, “Enough. You’ve done enough for one week. You’re only human and it doesn’t all depend on you. Spend a day remembering who I am.”

We are to work and to do what the Lord puts before us six days a week, but I don’t believe He means for us to strive or fret or labor under the constant accusation that we are never enough. And, weekly, we are to rest from our labors – not just physically, but mentally as well. We are to worship, to rest, to laugh, and to enjoy the fruits of our labors. We are to say to God, to those around us, and into the mirror – “You’ve done enough. You are enough. Rest in love.”

If you’re tired of always reaching, remember it was God who reached out for us. Jesus is the arm of the Lord who is revealed to us and who knew our reach would be too short, so He reached down to bridge the gap.

Rest in those arms this week. Rest and know that He is enough.

TWEETABLE
Enough Already – inspiration from @LoriSRoeleveld on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

lori Roeleveld Headshot 2015About the author: Lori Stanley Roeleveld is an author, speaker, and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored four encouraging, unsettling books. She speaks her mind at www.loriroeleveld.com.

Lori’s latest release is The Art of Hard Conversations: Biblical Tools for the Tough Talks that Matter. The dialogues everyday Christians delay are often the very channels God wants to use to deepen relationships and transform lives. Through funny, vulnerable personal stories and sound biblical teaching, the principles here are guaranteed to increase the confidence and competence of Christians in discussing sensitive topics of every kind.

Join the conversation: What things can you put into place that will ensure you take time for rest?