Green Pastures and Still Waters

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Rest

Psalm 23:1-3a – “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul…”

As I write, I am sitting beside a vast ocean, and the only sound I hear is the calming waves as they crash and lap against the sandy shore. It’s so peaceful here, and as I enjoy this time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I am reminded of the value of rest. It’s not something that I engage in nearly enough, but the Word alludes to its importance several times. God rested on the seventh day in the Creation story (Genesis 2). David speaks of how God lovingly leads him beside still waters…makes him lie down in green pastures to rest and restore (Psalm 23), and even Jesus regularly sought to separate Himself from the crowd to rest, recharge, and reconnect with God (Matthew 13, Mark 1, Mark 3, Luke 5, Luke 6). It’s easy to get so caught up and overwhelmed by the daily demands and responsibilities of our lives that we forget to take a moment to breathe, to regroup, to turn off our brains and recharge our batteries. It’s a vital component of self-love and self-care that enables us to store up the vital spiritual nutrients we need (joy, peace, love, etc.) to go about the business of our lives.

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Life can get a little crazy sometimes, but it’s the moments “by the still waters,” those “walks along green pastures,” that give us the lift we need to face the crazy head on and bring peace and serenity to the soul.

I’m feeling just that right now as I listen to the waves crash and set my eyes upon the vastness of the sea. I feel God’s presence and am in awe of the beauty of this little piece of heaven he has created on earth.

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The Balance Challenge!

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BALANCE

Psalm 23:2-3a – “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.”

Genesis 2:2-3 – “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.  And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

Reflections: Life can get pretty hectic sometimes, and the myriad distractions of this world can keep us from properly caring for ourselves and the people around us. When we live each day moving from “to do” to “to do,” not taking a moment to rest and refresh, the stress of the day can wear on us, making us less productive, less efficient, and in many cases, less healthy (physically, emotionally, and spiritually). When we fail to take the time for self-care, our minds, bodies, and Spirits can suffer, along with our relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and most importantly, God.

The Bible speaks often about the importance of quiet, peace, and rest. Even God rested on the seventh day, and Mark shares that Jesus told the disciples to “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest awhile” (Mark 6:31). It is in these quiet places, those spaces where we let go of distractions and welcome peace and stillness, that God is most likely to meet us and give us the rest and renewal that we so desperately need.

If you (like me) are guilty of neglecting your body and soul’s need for rest, join me today in The Balance Challenge! I challenge you to make a list of things that refresh and renew you—things that bring you joy, make you smile, or give you peace—and commit to engage in two things from that list EVERY DAY. You’ll be surprised how much more centered you feel and how better prepared you are to face the day ahead. You’ll also find that it slowly becomes easier to hear the Voice of God in the midst of all the chaos and noise that life can sometimes bring. Give it a try, and let me know how it goes! 🙂

“Do not let your to-do list (written or mental) become an idol directing your life.” ~Sarah Young, “Jesus Calling”

Also Read:

Luke 5:16 – “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.”

Shine Your Light!

Release the Burdens!

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REST

Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you ill find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Reflections: This passage always makes me smile. It speaks of such love and care and concern for us, as God’s children. I picture Jesus with open arms, beckoning me to Him, offering me relief for my troubled soul…

Life can be so hard sometimes, as we try to juggle this responsibility and that crisis and that issue over there…If you’re like me, your tendency is to try to carry the load all on your own, until you become buried under the innumerable burdens you’ve taken on. Exhausted and overwhelmed, you find yourself tackling each item on your plate in turn, but in truth, not doing any if it with excellence. But why? Why do we insist on carrying these impossible loads on our own when we have a God who offers to take it all for us, asking only that we take His peace and REST in exchange? That’s a pretty sweet deal! So, why do we hesitate to take Him up on it? Our habit of doing it all ourselves gets in the way of letting even God take the weight of our load.

The Bible is clear that we must all do our part—in our households and in the church. We all have a role to fulfill within the Body of Christ, and we all know that if we don’t work, we don’t eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). But the Word also speaks time and again about the value of REST, peace, and, most importantly, balance. (This is a truth that I still battle with at times.)

If you are struggling with your juggling act today, try taking Jesus up on His offer. Leave your burdens with Him, and take a moment to experience His REST. You will be better prepared to face the day, week, month, year ahead with a peaceful heart and a rested soul.

Shine your light!

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