The enemy of rest

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

Return to Your RestThe enemy of rest is not busyness alone. According to Hebrews 3:18-19, the prime enemy of rest is unbelief.

Typically, this unbelief surfaces when a situation we face triggers turmoil in our soul – and instead of acknowledging our feelings, desires and thoughts, and submitting them to God, we take matters into our own hands. We let our inner disquiet drive us.

Yet …

The absence of rest kills. It reduces our minds to mush. It opens our bodies to disease. It replaces vitality with stupor and a crazed, mechanical running to keep up.

In spite of all that constantly fights against it, may the Lord bless us with grace to return to our rest.

Adapted from Return to Your Rest: A Spirit-to-spirit Journey, © 2016 Deborah P. Brunt

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Live from a place of rest

From Return to Your Rest: A Spirit-to-spirit Journey.

Our Lord sees how very confused we are about rest and work; how backwards our understanding of life, both here and beyond the grave.

wine grapes - living from a place of rest

courtesy Pavel Jedlicka

Jesus did not die and rise again in order that we might kill ourselves with busyness and deep unrest in this world – and then sit uselessly on clouds forever after. He gave himself that we might begin to experience now what we’ll know in fullness later. He came to give each of us an abundantly fruitful, forever life, lived from a place of rest.

From Return to Your Rest: A Spirit-to-spirit Journey, © 2016 Deborah P Brunt

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Lord, you’ve short-changed me

From Return to Your Rest.

Reservoirs photo

© Verity Cridland

Ages ago, a shepherd-turned-king named David sang,

The Lord is my shepherd; I lack nothing. (Ps. 23:1)

Centuries later, Jesus echoed and enlarged on David’s words. He said:

I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. I am the Good Shepherd. (John 10:1011 MSG)

In other words: “I am the Lord your shepherd; you lack nothing. Quite the opposite, actually.”

Peter the apostle affirmed that it’s true:

By his divine power the Lord has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of the one who called us by his own honor and glory. (2 Peter 1:3 CEB)

Ages ago, the tribe of Joseph sang a very different song. I’ve sung this song on occasion – okay, on a lot of occasions. Maybe you have too. It goes something like this: “Lord, what you’ve given us isn’t enough.”

Joseph’s descendants were numerous, but no more numerous than some of the other Israelite tribes. Yet, when Joshua divided up the land of Canaan in the way God specified, Joseph’s clan complained that their allotment was too small. In reality, they despised the good land they’d been given because: (a) it had hills, where crops wouldn’t necessarily thrive; (b) it had lots of forests, which would take lots of work to clear, and (c) it had plains, where Canaanites with iron chariots lived.

Joshua told Joseph’s tribe (my paraphrase): “You lack nothing. The area that you can easily occupy may be small. But that should motivate you to rise up and work. And because you have strength and numbers, and because God himself has given you this land, you can clear it and possess it” (see Josh. 17:14-17).

Always, these three things create deep unrest:

  • a sense of lack,
  • the feeling that God hasn’t treated you fairly,
  • the fear of not having enough.

So, I ask you: What do you think you lack? In what areas do you fear not having enough? What has God done that makes you want to shout, “Not fair!”

With those things in mind, which song will you choose to sing? The song of Joseph’s clan? “The Lord has short-changed me. I don’t have what I need.”

Or, David’s refrain? “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need” (NLT).

Return to Your RestToday, I remind myself once again: When the Lord Who Shepherds is your keeper, protector, nurturer and provider, you lack nothing. You have all you need to be who he created you to be and to live out his purpose for your life.

As you rest in that truth, he shows you what you do have. He teaches you how to use it. He multiplies what may seem small. He empowers you to possess the abundance that Jesus gave everything to provide for you.

Adapted from Return to Your Rest, © 2016 Deborah P. Brunt

We need to see

Today, we white Christians whose church culture has sprung from the Bible Belt desperately need to re-examine our roots. We need to recognize the areas where we and our ancestors have agreed with injustice and unrighteousness. We need to expose the ways we continue to let something shallow and misleading rob us. We need to see where we have deadened our oak taproots to pursue kings of our own making.

Please, Father in heaven, give us eyes to see.

Quoted from We Confess! The Civil War, the South, and the Church, © 2011 Deborah P. Brunt

God who rides

Posts in the “God Who” Series

There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides across the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty. (Deut 33:26)

Jeshurun is a poetic name for Israel used four times in the Old Testament. It means “upright one,” and comes from the Hebrew yashar: pleasing, straight, approved, upright.

In the New Testament, God made the way for anyone to be an upright one in Christ. Be blessed to know him as the God who rides across the heavens to help you.

 Be blessed to know – and sing!

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him – his name is the Lord.

Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord, to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens, who thunders with mighty voice. (Ps. 68:4, 32-33)