Enter His Rest

How do I enter His rest when it seems I am always on duty, always vigilant to avoid messes or cleaning them up, perpetually making meals, washing dishes, doing laundry and heading to appointments? Where is the Sabbath when you have health challenges? Or a child with special needs? Or a young adult child with a mental illness? Or an aging parent? When can I rest if there is always something else on my list of things that must be done?

How do I maintain the peace of Christ when the circumstances of my life are a roller coaster? Life has no off switch and in spite of what the commercial says, no “EASY” button. It turns out it is not just me. My unmarried friend, who is a sociology professor, experiences the same things: deadlines, doctors’ appointment and even dishes!

Chapters 3 and 4 in the book of Hebrews link unrest with unbelief. Unbelief says I must always do more. Faith says this is enough for now. I complete the most urgent thing and pause to remind myself, “It is well with my soul.” Isaiah 30:15 admonishes Israel, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you were not willing.”

As often as I am able, I soak up quiet moments of refreshing that come from the Lord. It may be an unexpected few minutes in the calm before the storm or it may be a planned escape for a few hours. As hectic as my life is, I can’t be overcome by events because I don’t want God’s appraisal of me to be, “She was unwilling,” but that “She drew near to me and found rest for her soul.”rest


One of my favorite Bible stories occurs in 1 Samuel 5:2-4. The Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant and placed it in their temple alongside their god, Dagon. I devised a children’s song to the tune of “Farmer in the Dell” to describe the outcome of this ill-fated plan.

Dagon fell on his face
Dagon fell on his face
An idol cannot stand with God
Dagon fell on his face

His head and hands broke off
His head and hands broke off
An idol cannot see or save
His head and hands broke off

Only God can save
Only God can save
So call upon the Lord, our rock
Only God can save

1 Peter 1:14-5 instructs us, “Do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, be holy in all your conduct.” Like those foolish pagans who put the Ark of the Covenant right next to Dagon, we put our modern day idols alongside the one and only true God. We try to maintain a few of our old habits, pleasures, or ways of thinking in order to enjoy a little of both the world and the holy. Our hearts are divided between wanting to serve humbly like Jesus and desiring just a little bit of recognition or appreciation. Instead of being content, we want another degree or home improvement. Instead of God’s approval, we seek approval through social media. If our confidence is in any help or plan apart from the Him, it will crumble. All gods will topple before our Lord!

P.S. Unfortunately, when the Philistines had to choose who to serve, they sent to Ark of the Covenant away and remained comfortable with Dagon.

Here is Katie’s and my rendition of Dagon 🙂dagon


Get a Clue Bag!

My childhood summers were spent devouring Nancy Drew mysteries while Mike read Encyclopedia Brown. Perhaps that is why we sometimes tease the kids by asking them, “What’s in your clue bag?” We suggested that as they go through life, they should remain attentive to pick up various “clues” about living. Then, when they need a clue, they search the bag for an appropriate response to a situation or for a clue to avoid saying or doing things that are inappropriate. For example, send a thank you note after receiving a gift and don’t put foil in the microwave.

Problems arise if you neglect to pick up clues along your journey or if your clue bag has a hole in it. As we were walking in a park with a popular fishing spot, we saw a plastic wrapper discarded on the ground. Mike picked it up to throw it away only to find it was an unopened package of lures. Next we encountered hooks, bobs, and weights strewn across the path. We found the man who had lost them because unbeknownst to him, his bag had a hole.

God’s word is filled with clues on how to live. Don’t neglect to fill up your clue bag, but also mend your holes by assembling with one another in fellowship and seeking wisdom from those who have clues to share.

Challenge: Make a list of clues you find in Proverbs or one of the New Testament letters.

Grace Shoes

I had been studying Romans and took a break for a walk. Since my usual shoes were not visible, I grabbed another pair I had not worn for a while. They felt heavy and restricting. It made me think about the difference of trying to live under the law contrasted by living in the grace of Jesus. The law’s purpose was to show us our sin and lead us to Christ, but it was burdensome. The next day I wore a much lighter and more flexible pair of shoes which reminded me of grace. Somehow the same walk that was tiresome while I was wearing the “law” shoes was easy in the “grace” shoes.

Romans 7:6 But now we have been released from the Law having died to that by which we were bound so that we serve in the newness of the Spirit and not the oldness of the letter