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Genesis 2:2-3 - And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

Rest is so important that God has woven it into the very fabric of creation.  Rest is part of the cycle of life. It is literally in the DNA of everything. We need to rest daily. We need a day of rest weekly, and God even designed the land to need to rest every seven years.

If we want to walk in personal peace and in sound emotional and mental health, then rest must become a regular part of our life cycle.  We were created by God to sleep a third of our lives away each day. He also commands that we stop from normal activity one day a week. God created summer for when things are in full bloom and winter for the land to rest. God created our lives and nature to have a rhythm of being active and then times for quiet and recovery. It is through this that God brings a necessary balance to our lives and to nature.

The Bible tells us that God blessed the day of rest and made it holy. To be made holy means to be sanctified or literally set apart as unique and special and dedicated for the purposes that God designed. The Hebrew word for rest is Sabat. It means to cease and desist from labor. God worked then He rested from all of His work. God put such a high value on rest that He made it part of the Ten Commandments.  While God has blessed our times and seasons of rest the world curses it as unproductive and intrusive. While we talk about vacations and down time few of us actually practice it.

We talk about how we can work 8-10 hours a day. Read at least 10 books a month. Spend time playing with our families. Exercise every morning, binge watch our favorite shows, keep up with the news, teach our children, cook healthy food every day, keep our house clean and updated and work at the local soup kitchen as we pay it forward.

The world does not praise rest it mocks it as unnecessary and people who flow with the rhythm that God created and commands us to follow are deemed lazy and unproductive.  God blesses and even commands us to work hard but He also desires us to rest and enjoy life.

Many people’s idea of a vacation is to fit a years’ worth of adventure into a single week. Most of us come back needing a vacation from our vacation. The truth is we have totally missed the point.  Others of us think that we can fit an entire years’ worth of rest into a one- or two-week vacation. Again, we have completely missed the point.

Even the most-high energy, type A personalities and young and physically fit need times to rest. As a matter of fact, if you fit into that category, you probably have a greater need for rest.

Isaiah 40:30-31 - Even youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, 31 But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired. Everyone gets tired, weary and loses strength, stamina and focus. The secret to keep going is to rest and wait on the Lord. This is how we gain new strength, renew our energy and refresh our spiritual anointing.

Rest is the secret to staying close to God and rising like an eagle.

Rest is the secret to being able to run and not grow tired and to walk and not grow faint.  We need to understand that rest is a pause. It is not quitting; it is not lazy it is necessary.

~ Someone made this important observation – “All Physical strength is spiritual in cause.”  All true rest starts inside of us. We have not truly rested until we have rested within.

How do you know that you need inner rest – that is actually pretty easy to gage.  All of us have gotten a full night’s sleep but have woken up having not feeling rested in the least.  Our minds and our emotions are still going, we are still thinking, we are still trying to work everything out.  Far too many of us shut down but don’t ever turn off.  Tiredness affects more than just our bodies. If that was all then a simple nap would solve all of our problems.

While a nap will fix many things. It is vital that we learn to rest in the Lord, Spiritually, emotionally and mentally.

Resting in God is a spiritual discipline much like prayer and fasting.  It is not meditation where you empty yourself of everything. You are already on empty. It is where you intentionally fill up Spiritually. It is where we put ourselves in a position to be filled new with all that the Holy Spirit offers.

A car isn’t tired because it ran out of gas, it needs a fill up. There is nothing wrong with the car except it needs an exchange of fuel from another tank into its tank.

When a car is on empty it sputters and spurts. Finally, is shuts down. Jesus said my yoke is easy and my burden is light. I am gentle and humble, learn from me and you will find rest for your souls.  When you can’t physically sleep because you are spiritual drained, exchange your emptiness and hurt for his healing and filling.

When you need inner peace, you don’t just need calm you need the Holy Spirit who is the comforter. He is our peace and the Spirit of peace.

We also need outward physical rest. People used to not be so hurried and hassled. This is a historically new thing in many ways.

Those who live by the new rules wear out, burn out and fizzle out.

I hear people say I would rather go out in flames than just burn out and fade away.  I have news for you those are not the only two options. You don’t have to go out at all.  This is utter foolishness.

Jeremiah 6:16 - This is what the Lord says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’

Many times, we are tired because we are so busy chasing the new.

The old Godly ways are not passe they are a place of rest. So many people respond like Israel did to God’s invitation of rest. – “No, we don’t want it”.  God says when you are at the cross roads and you have a choice stop and choose the old Godly ways. You can’t go wrong, and you will have peace inside and out instead of turmoil and chaos and confusion inside and out.

As we are getting ready to enter the new year, I want to challenge all of us to make sure we make rest, both Spiritually and Physically a part of our normal routines. As we do I believe that we will find ourselves accomplishing what God desires AND living a life of peace.

You are Dearly Loved- Have a very Merry Christmas
Pastor Marvin & Dawn

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