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Also, I want to alert you to a change. After today, when you receive a KeyTruths post, you’ll receive part of the post, with a link to click over and read the rest.

The reason for the change? Videos. I enjoy including pertinent music videos in some of my posts. Sometimes the video pretty much is the post. Other times, it supplements something I’ve written. To my dismay I’m finding: The embedded videos may or may not show up in the emailed blog posts. When absent, there’s no link, no indicator at all that you’re missing an important part of the message.

Most recently, there was a video in the post, “Sort of like frog gigging.” It’s the song, “Rest,” by Matthew West. I love it and want you to hear it. I’ve embedded other videos in pieces that will be published in upcoming weeks.

So, thank you again for inviting KeyTruths into your inbox. After today, one extra click will get you all of every post.

Sort of like frog gigging

From Return to Your Rest

© Chris Metcalf

The subject of rest fascinates Pharisees. Sort of like frog gigging fascinates boys.

As you may know, Pharisees are religious people who, by virtue of being so religious, set an example for everyone else. Pharisees are fascinated by any matter that God legislates, and the God of the Bible did indeed legislate rest.

In fact, he included it as #4 on his Top 10 To-do (and Not Do) List. He commanded a day of rest weekly and called it “Sabbath,” meaning, appropriately enough, “Stop!”

This legislation has both delighted and frustrated Religious Persons through the centuries. It delights them because it presents them with a rule.

As a recovering RP, I can attest: Rules weave a security blanket for the religious. Rules set boundaries for behavior. Knowing the boundaries, religious people can thus adjust their behavior and feel quite pleased with themselves, quite assured they make the grade.

Ah, but this rule also frustrates RPs, because it isn’t specific enough. God said, “You shall not do any work” on the Sabbath. Spotlighting this command, ancient religious people wondered, “What, exactly, qualifies a thing as work?”

Then, they set out to answer their own question. Over time, the answers accumulated. The specifics mounted up. Accordingly, the parameters for “rest” kept tightening. Jewish religious leaders could tell you, for example, the exact distance one could walk without “working.”

Thus comforted by tedious and heavy rules, religious people led the way in the increasingly laborious task of resting. Of course, even they couldn’t actually keep all their own rules. Highly self-disciplined, however, they did impose rigorous standards on their own behavior and made a great show of living up to those standards. Further, they looked with contempt on any people who weren’t religious enough to do the same.

But then a man came along who did not play by their rules. Normally, this would have been No Big Deal to the RPs, then called Pharisees. They would just have disdained the man, along with all the other sinners – except for two things: (1) People were following him. (2) He claimed to be God.

The Pharisees were sure his claim to be God couldn’t be true, because this man was definitely not religious. He did things on the Sabbath day that, according to their rules, fell most certainly under the category of Work. He made sick people well, for heaven’s sake. The fact that people followed the man bothered the Pharisees a lot. It terrified and infuriated them. When crowds of people they had dominated and looked down upon pursued a person who dismissed their rules, it threatened them to the core.

Such behavior could not be tolerated. Nor could the person so behaving.

Guys out “frog gigging” hunt with a pitchfork-shaped spear, typically at night. They spotlight a frog, then spear it. Sort of like religion kills Sabbath. Sort of like it tried to exterminate the Lord of the Sabbath.

Ah, but the religious persons who orchestrated Jesus’ crucifixion did not know: He is the resurrection and the life. What lives in him may be snuffed out and buried, yet it will still rise up.

Return to Your RestThere remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God. (Heb. 4:9)

The key to entering this rest is to learn from the Pharisees’ example – no, not follow it; learn from it. The only rules that create healthy boundaries are the rules God himself makes. Any rules we add become, not boundaries, but bonds.

To learn what it means to “Stop!” we must beware of any one-size-fits-all formula, or even a these-are-the-steps-I-must-take formula. The God who calls for rest tailor-makes the parameters and personally teaches us what they are.

Today where you live, religion still slaughters Sabbath by the very way it tries to keep it. But when people desperate for rest leave the comfort of religious exhaustion and stumble toward God himself, Sabbath remains – and the Lord of Real Rest revives them.

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“Sort of like frog gigging” is excerpted from Return to Your Rest: A Spirit-to-spirit Journey, © 2016 Deborah P. Brunt.

Light is breaking through

I saw the painting high on a back wall of a thrift store. Immediately drawn to it, I bought it for next to nothing, planning to hang it in the study where I write.

It’s a seascape, but an unusual one – and I could tell my husband did not see the appeal. “When you look at that picture, what does it say to you?” he asked.

I could understand the question. A sky of brick-red clouds hangs over foam-capped ochre waves that crash against mahogany rocks. To him, the scene may have seemed dangerous, tumultuous, bleak.

I can’t recall what I answered then. But today, looking across my study at that painting, I’m still drawn to it. And now, I can put into words what it tells me.

Breakthrough seascape

In that place where everything looks brown, murky and decidedly unsettled, there’s movement. There’s life. And the light is breaking through.

Return to your rest

In the most brutal and exhausting seasons of my life, I’ve learned: Jesus meant it when he said, “Come to me … and I will give you rest.”

From personal experience, I can testify:

No matter how completely God’s rest seems to have disappeared from your life, he still holds it out, and he makes the way for you to return.

Restful road

Today, I’m in awe. Since my declaration on May 1, “I choose light,” the Lord has made a way where there was none for me to finish the e-book manuscript that has refused to be finished for two-plus years.

It’s a triple joy. For the finishing signals new victory in resting, even as I continue to learn. And now, God willing, the book being birthed can help others who know they desperately need rest, but can’t for the life of them find it.

Return to Your RestReturn to Your Rest: A Spirit-to-spirit Journey

Sounds so simple. Seems utterly impossible. So how does it look to come to Jesus … and find rest?

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I choose light

Hi. I’m Deborah, and I have been so blind.

Blind to what was really going on in my family as I grew up.

Blind to the roles handed me early in life – roles that, in adulthood, I continued to play.

Blind to who I am, apart from those assigned roles.

Blind to whatever the people close to me profoundly denied.

Blind to the things their behavior revealed, when their words and actions did not match.

Blind to my own unmet need to be affirmed as a person – and how very unsafe, the places I tried to get that need met.

Blind to the many, and oh-so-predictable, ways I’ve let others pull my strings.

Blind to the false responsibility I’ve constantly carried.

Blind to the false guilt I’ve kept agreeing to take.

Blind to the difference between religious and godly.

Blind to anything going on behind a convincing Christian façade.

Ordained_sqAbout a decade ago, I began to see. It was marvelous, like a veil lifting, and such an astounding change that I didn’t realize how very much still needed to come into focus.

I didn’t know then how hard it would be to face each new revelation – or how many good Christian people would fight to keep me from it. I didn’t know how confusing it would become when people I loved and trusted hated my every movement toward the light.

I didn’t know how much my identity in Christ would be compromised as I tried to go forward with God – and also tried to please people who really mattered to me.

The more the Lord showed me, the more I found myself fighting against the FOG that author Susan Forward first described. A cloud of fear, obligation and guilt swirled just below the surface of my understanding, while a chorus of voices relentlessly shouted, “No! Don’t see that! Don’t go there! Change back!”

I’m Deborah, and I have been so stuck.

A decade has passed, while, time and again, I’ve taken a few steps forward and then, lost in the fog, fell down and back. Stuck is depressing. Stuck feels hopeless. It keeps you going in circles, while whispering, “There’s no way out.”

I got stuck because I wanted to follow God fully, and I wanted people to understand that’s what I was doing. Thankfully, some did. But some people, that I really, really, really wanted to get it, still do not.

It costs to say, “Though none go with me, I still will follow.” It costs more to do it. But now I realize: By getting stuck on that cost, thinking it too high, you set yourself up to lose everything.

  • You don’t please the people who desperately want you to stay blind and bound. And you do them no good, no good at all.
  • You forfeit living in the fullness of the identity Jesus died to give you. And you do not honor him.

Thank God for his grace. As I stumbled around, stuck in the fog – confused as to what was good and what was evil, what was true and what was not – my Lord knew I wanted to see. And he kept showing me what I needed to know to be free.

Embracing what he’s revealed has required a fight every inch of the way. The latest battle, the hardest and by far the most intense, has lasted more than two years. While God has worked to strip off blinders, I’ve tried to process the emotions; the anger and sorrow, the guilt of not seeing sooner, the shock of what I now know.

The people whose approval I’ve tried the hardest to gain still withhold it. The loss makes me sad, but now I see why validation from certain quarters has mattered so much to me. The lie I’d unwittingly embraced since infancy said: “If they disapprove, I don’t count. At all. I’m not even an actual person. Just a place for people to dump their trash.”

At last, I know in my inmost being what I would have told you I knew all along:

I’m created in the image of God and made new in the Lord Jesus. I’m accepted in the Beloved. I am fully me in him. No one’s disapproval cancels that, and the only person who can hinder my living it out is me.

The fog hasn’t completely dispelled. Sometimes, it still gets really thick. But now I recognize what it is and what in me opens the door for confusion to roll in. Now, I can cooperate with God the Spirit to blow the fog away.

Several situations in my life remain difficult and distressing. FYI: That’s an understatement. Repeatedly, God shows me not to lean on my own understanding as to what might help or hurt. He leads me to choose the light – and to say no to what would deter me from it. In this new forward movement, as I dare to go with God where fear, obligation and guilt forbid, I rediscover hope. Once again, I taste joy.  

No longer blind, no longer stuck, I’m embracing the light, and pursuing the God who gives it.

I’m Deborah, and I am choosing life.