Friday, November 18, 2022

Rhythm of Rest


Pastor Ben Stuart:

"We have to war for a rhythm of rest, and here again, Jesus helps us because Jesus developed that kind of rhythm in his earthly ministry.

Jesus had three years to change the world, and yet in that, he never neglected a rhythm of moving into the city for intensity of ministry and then out into the wilderness to cultivate intimacy with his Father. And if he wasn’t too busy for that rhythm, you aren’t either. You see it in places like Mark—the gospel of Mark—where he has a long day of ministry, where he’s casting out an unclean spirit in the synagogue, where he is healing Peter’s sick mother-in-law, and the whole city comes to him and asks for healing (see Mark 1:21–34).

He heals late into the night, and yet as dawn breaks the next day, Mark says in Mark 1:35, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (ESV). And as his ministry went on, Luke tells us in Luke 5, it says, “But now, even more, the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed from their infirmities. But he would withdraw to the desolate places and pray” (verses 15–16 ESV).

That Jesus developed that rhythm—into the city of intensity and ministry and out into the wilderness to cultivate intimacy—we are meant to do the same thing. And I want to encourage you to develop that rhythm in your life. The best fight against deception and temptation is to cultivate devotion.

Now, to do that, I would encourage you to think in two categories: consistency and creativity. Consistency and creativity. You need a consistent rhythm of cultivating intimacy with the Lord. I would encourage you to have a daily rhythm of loading your mind with thoughts of God because thoughts are the fuel of the furnace of our affections. And as I load my mind with thoughts of God, it builds up a fire of my affections for God, and that drives the engines of my actions to pursue the glory of God in the world.

So, we cultivate intimacy with God with consistency, but we also do it with creativity. Find different ways to enjoy God through enjoying all that he’s made. And that’s where this can get really fun..."

Friday.  I woke up.

Today's my late day at work.  On Fridays, we get to go in 30 minutes later.  Time to brew a cup of my keto coffee and sit quietly a little bit longer.

A little longer to see God, listen to Ben, and contemplate things more (probably more than I should).

As my coffee brewed, I said, "God, maybe you just want us to REST; take some time to go back to our own corners and refocus on you.  Aw heck, I don't even know anymore.  I'm just grasping at straws now."

Fast forward to sitting at my bedroom desk and cueing up Ben.  REST.  Finding a rhythm of war and rest.  Finding time to step out of the world and into intimacy of God.

That's what I lacked with my Partner.  Intimacy.  Not the physical kind - but the emotional and spiritual kind.

He had no idea who I was deep inside.  All he saw was a person that appeared mean and selfish.  He didn't know about the crippling anxiety I possess at times when faced with deadlines, pressure, and going into unknown situations full of strangers - people I'd never met before.  Combine all those things to an introvert and shy person and you get the perfect equation for anxiety.  The perfect recipe for falling into a dark hole in your own mind of an, "I can't do people today" mindset.

To quote a coworker, who also fights this battle, "It's crippling, and people that don't have anxiety don't know what it's like for us."

Crippling.  Good word that I never thought of and have now adopted.  Crippling.

We face these same battles as Christians.  We must wage the war (i.e., work and ministry) with rest (i.e., intimacy with God).  So maybe I needed rest after all.  A time to dig deeper and get back to the Cross.

Time to think and feel and (most importantly) LISTEN.

If we are constantly going and never stop, we will never hear.  I need to hear right now.  A broken heart and person, needs the tools and help to fix what is broken, be repaired, and go back into the ring to continue fighting.

I can't make my Partner ask me questions about what is wrong.  I can't make them extend a hand to say, "I'm coming; hang on.  I've got you, and I won't leave you through the situation you are afraid of." I can't make them unsee anxiety and fear as selfishness and a mean spirit.  All I can do is continue to seek intimacy with God and let God fix what is broken so I can get back out there again.

There are seasons in life we go through.  Togetherness.  Brokenness.  Celebrations and losses.  At this point in life, as we get older, we have gone through so much.  We have grown up, left home, and created new homes.  Had children, lost children.  Had Parents, lost parents.  We understand birth and death.  We understand the circle of life, so to speak.

Grief and sadness will eventually be replaced by healing and joy at some point.  It's how God made us.  But the war of daily living and the pain it sometimes causes are hard.  We have to live through them.  Whether God brings reconciliation and forgiveness or healing and new life is up to Him and the path He wants us on.

Thank you Pastor Ben for another day of confirming what God was speaking while my morning coffee was brewing.  I have fought the good fight.  I have lived life.  I am listening.  I am seeking REST and intimacy - fellowship with the Father.  

Jesus, help me each day to lay those day's feelings at the foot of the Cross.  As you have taught me to do and as I have taught my own children to do as well.  Help me, as the day goes on - as the minutes turn into hours and the hours into daylight and again into evening to celebrate the people around me - the family I love and the unbelievable calvary of girlfriends that circle me each minute to ask and uplift and give wisdom.  Help me to form new relationships and realize I have to let the old one go until it is restored.  I have removed the "wood" from my own eyes and laid it down.  That's all I can do, and I will accept that Jesus.  Thank you for this season of intimacy with you.  I am thankful you came to Earth as a sacrifice for me and all of humanity.  I accept the gift you gave us on Calvary all those years ago.  You live in my heart and give me a new life.  May I, in turn, give that love away to others.  May I realize I am a sinner with flaws and faults and You are here to help me grow and learn each day, and that I can't get to Heaven on my own works.  It is only through the salvation of the the Cross and your sacrifice that I can gain Glory one day.  Today, I seek intimacy.  I seek You.  Help me to watch over my own children and be there when they need a hand extended or wisdom granted.  Help me to help the students I cross paths with each day.  Help me help them - through either works or words.  Help me heal and learn and please, Jesus, use my anxiety and pitfalls to serve those in my circle that struggle with the same personality traits - I love you Jesus.  I seek to sit at your feet today.  Thank you for life.  Thank you for my children and my brother.  Thank you for the gifts you give freely.  Thank you for each of my girlfriends and what they bring.  May I be cognizant of each of them individually and what they do for me and what they need from me.  May I be aware of their hurts and how I can serve them when needed.  I love you Jesus.  Thank you. - Amen

That prayer reminded me of the saying, "I wouldn't take nothin' for my journey now."  And that reminded me of Vestal.  God bless her soul.  She's singing for Jesus now, but I sure do miss that handkerchief...take it away Vestal:

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