Stay and Rest

Matthew 11: 28

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

Did you know you need rest for your body, your soul and your spirit? In the very next verse Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls,” (v. 29). Jesus understood that we get tired down in our souls. It is a weariness that is even more pervasive that physical fatigue. Mentally you are drained and emotionally spent. This kind of weariness, indeed, comes from being heavily laden. Worry, anxiety, stress, these are the contributors to being wrung out in your soul. Jesus’ remedy was for us to give all those things to him. He instructed us to take his yoke onto our shoulders. That does not sound restful, does it, but Jesus said that his yoke is light. His teachings will unburden you rather than adding to the seemingly endless worries of life.

Paul revealed that we can even get tired in our spirits. “I had no rest for my spirit, not finding Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I went on to Macedonia,” (2 Corinthians 2: 13). Who would have thought that your spirit could get overtaxed? Well, actually, I would. I remember when my dad was dying of cancer. There was a great and continuing need for prayer and for spiritual support. One day I just ran out of juice. Physically I was fine. Emotionally I was okay, but down in my spirit I felt like I did not have one prayer left. I felt like I had no more to give to anyone. A friend recognized that I was drained spiritually and advised me to get alone and pray so that I could reinvigorate my spirit. She was right and I have never forgotten that lesson. When you are giving out a lot from your spirit, you have to feed it with the Word and with personal prayer. After spending time with Yahweh, I felt renewed and could go back to supporting others.

Then, of course, we need rest for our bodies too. Paul wrote, “For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within,” (2 Corinthians 7: 5). He revealed that his flesh needed rest but there was none. We are familiar with this sort of fatigue, but we don’t always pause to give our bodies the rest they need.

Jesus used to slip away to the wilderness or to a mountain to rest and restore. The Sabbath was given to us by God explicitly for rest. We love to live life full throttle, but the scriptures teach us that our minds, spirits and bodies need rest, a time of rejuvenation. This Sabbath rest, which can happen any day, at any moment is designed as a time of communion with the Lord. He is our rest. He is the source of rejuvenation for all three parts of us. The most effective rest isn’t lying in the bed all day. The best rest is getting your full 8 hours of sleep and then arising gently and spending the day hearing the Father. The Word is manna for your spirit, but you may be surprised how effective it is for your soul.

You can have a bit of Sabbath every day and that is great and advisable. Sometimes you need several days’ worth of restoration. That is good too. Enjoy it. The deepest rest, though, comes from abiding in Jesus. As we abide in him, he fills us. That is the restorative piece that is most effective and nothing else will do. So, don’t just have that week vacation of rest. Don’t even limit yourself to daily Sabbath time. Have that time, absolutely, but also let us learn to abide in Jesus all day. He becomes our Sabbath every minute of the day. Stay in his presence and rest.

Renewed Strength

Isaiah 57: 10

You were tired out by the length of your road, yet you did not say, ‘It is hopeless.’ You found renewed strength, therefore you did not faint.”

Tuesday I sent you Galatians 6: 9 which reads, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Today there is good news for your tired body and mind. God will provide the strength you need to carry on. There is a reward for you if you do not faint and there is a way to maintain your faith and your strength to continue. The joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8: 10). You do not have to be wearied with your many labors. You needn’t feel weighed down or trod upon God is your righteous right hand. He is your strength.

The thing we need to understand about this idea is that the found new strength, that which prevents us from fainting even under a heavy load, is not a passive joy. Notice above that it says, “You found renewed strength.” Why did the hearer find the new strength? Because she looked for it. She sought it. Now we understand that God is our strength so in these times of weariness, we must seek the Lord, our God. You see, just because you are a Christian does not mean you will experience this renewed strength. That strength is found in communion with the Lord. Again, this is not a passive trait. We must actively pursue God. However, don’t let this resound in your head like another to do when you are already tired. The best way to find the Lord is to relax. “Be still and know I am God,” (Psalm 46: 10). It is in the exhalation that you find God. You’ve been holding your breath. Now breathe. Exhale and let go. Breathe in God, exhale out stress and worry.

It is like going to the doctor when you are sick. There is something you have to do and that is to call upon the one who can make you better. That is your part. God, then, restores you to full strength, but don’t lay in bed doing nothing and think you are going to miraculously be restored. You must seek the help you need, then He will provide. Be still but be vigilant. Quietly but determinedly seek God. Call upon Him for help. He is standing by.

Tired and Weary

Galatians 6: 9

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

It is easy to get tired; tired of trying, tired of standing in faith, just plain old weary. How long am I supposed to stand anyway? Do you ever feel that way? Sure. We all do, but the Lord tells us not to give up. Don’t lose heart. If we will but stand, God promises that we will reap.

Have you been believing God for something for a long time? Maybe it has even been many years that you have stood on a promise of God without seeing your answer. Well, don’t faint. Don’t lose heart. There is still a harvest awaiting you. All we need to do is figure out how to appropriate that which God has already approved.

Truth be told, we do faint. We get tired of believing, praying and confessing and we give in. We don’t mean to but the next thing you know, we have let that goal or dream slip away a little bit. Believe it or not, that is fainting. We have to learn to be people of stone, rocks to our God. People who cannot be moved, who don’t grow faint. People who are firm and resolute. You might need to write out a one sentence or even one phrase statement of faith that you speak at least once a day. Make a recording on your phone and listen to it while you drive to work. Stir yourself up. Listen to Christian teachers who will inspire you daily.

Become firm, strong, resolute. Determine to stand strong until you receive that which you desire. Be stubborn, tenacious. If you really believe God has made you a promise, then don’t back off of it. The trouble is, we don’t really believe. We play at Christianity rather than live it. We aren’t living and believing it right down to our core. Mentally we understand what the Word promises but in our hearts, we harbor resistance, reluctance and even doubt. What do you truly believe? And what do you honestly think God will do with a devout believer? If you imagine a person who is determined in their faith, what do you think their outcome will be? Do you think God will honor their belief but in your own heart know that you are not that person? Do you doubt your own faith and belief? Sometimes it is worth questioning.

We have something to say in this however. We get to choose who we will be. It is up to us. Shall we become faithful believers? Do we dare commit ourselves to a life of passionate Christian faith? What does that mean and how would it manifest in our lives? Let’s rally ourselves as the chosen people of the Almighty. Let us join our faith together for you are stronger and I am stronger when we join hands. What if we started using this daily devotional as a place to encourage one another.

The Word of the Day is formatted in such a way that you can add your own post to it. Others can add to yours and we can reach around the world, literally, with our faith – hand in hand, faith to faith. If you encourage someone else, perhaps you will be encouraged. Maybe you can keep someone else from growing weary and fainting. We are all trying to stand as individuals and we are failing. That is not the way the Father created us. We need to encourage and support each other. Let us join hands today. Stand up tall, stand up proud. Renew your dreams. Revive your waning beliefs and desires. Put those prayers back on the alter and pour the oil of anointing over them and use the anointing and faith of others to breathe life back into them. Come on believers! Believe with me! Arise mighty church of the living God! Arise and believe and in your believing, receive all the greatness of our God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Targeted

2 Samuel 17: 2

And I will come upon him while he is weary and exhausted and will terrify him so that all the people who are with him will flee. Then I will strike down the king alone.

What does this have to do with our present day existence, you may ask. I have found this to be an instructive verse for daily life.

Many of us live in cultures that are rushed and hectic. That can pose a problem. First, it is hard to hear the leading of God when hurried and stressed. God speaks to our inner quiet. He does not shout into the chaos. That is why He told us to be still and experience Him as God (Psalm 46: 10).

The other issue, of course, is that our chaotic lifestyle paints bull’s eye targets on our foreheads and hearts. I noticed many years ago that when I was tired, weary and exhausted I was susceptible to attacks. If you don’t think your enemy is looking for opportunities to bother you, you are deceived. The enemy is always looking for someone he can devour (1 Peter 5:8). So, don’t volunteer to be his chow. When you are exhausted, you look like prey. And, you probably actually are. Your defenses go down.

The answer, of course, is to take time to rest your spirit, especially. Take that quiet walk with Jesus and let him give you the refreshing waters that he offered the Samaritan woman. Let him rejuvenate you in body, mind and spirit. He can restore you but only you can set the appointment with him. If “busy” is a word you use often to describe yourself, then you need a check-up from the neck up, as a friend of mine says. Change your priorities. Say no to some events or even to some people. Let’s be honest, as uncomfortable as that can be, we have none the less, grown very adept at saying “No,” to Christ. It makes me wonder, sometimes, why we call ourselves Christians since he seems to be rather low on our priority list. If you will put him back in first position, he will guide you in setting your priorities and he will give you strength for the things you need to do.

Please hear this with your heart. If you are too busy to slow down and spend some time with Jesus in the resting and restoration of your soul, then you are too busy, period. Shall we go so far as to say that busyness is a sin? I know it is a problem in my life and one I have to battle constantly. Sometimes I need to just kick back. Other times I have to get up an hour earlier so that I have time for things that need doing.

Don’t weary yourself with much doing and don’t train your children to do the same thing. Your spirit, your soul and your body need rest. Go to a yoga class, spend time sitting in your garden or take a walk along the water and pray. Make it a priority to care for your triune self. Guard against busyness and overworking yourself. Word hard when you work but then take time to allow Jesus to restore you. It is really important that you do. Otherwise, you become a target.

Joy for Today

Nehemiah 8: 10               NIV

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

My YMCA has a scripture bowl in the entrance. As I leave, I like to grab a slip of paper from the bowl for a bit of inspiration. Yesterday, I dipped my hand in and came out with Nehemiah 8: 10. As I read it, I threw my hands in the air because I was really tired from my workout and I needed some strength. It blessed me.

Like all scripture, the initial impact was wonderful, but it kept ministering to me all day and all night. That is when I realized there are times when I have been bone weary right down in my Spirit and this verse is just what the doctor ordered for those times. You have had those times too. There are times when the smiles seem far away or superficial. Inside your gut you only find stress and anxiety. That is when you need the joy of the Lord.

As you get older it is easy to grow weary. You get tired of fighting the same old battles and the new shape of the world is wearisome. Some people don’t want to live a long time because they are just tired, sick and tired. That is when we absolutely need the joy of the Lord to give us strength and life. It must flow out from our spirits. How do you minister to yourself in those times? Where do you find the joy of the Lord?

Simply being thankful is a beginning. Remind yourself of all the good things the Lord has done for you but don’t stop there. That is yesterday’s oil. Truth be told. You need God right now, here in the present. In these times I have to put on praise music and let the joy build from within. The music reminds me of scriptures that bless my heart and puts Jesus’ face back in front of my eyes. My other keys are my daily devotions and reading my Bible but the biggest booster shot for me is praying in tongues. There is nothing quite as energizing for me as praying in the Spirit. Now if you are one of those really cool people, maybe you can sing in the Spirit. Talk about filling up the tank. That is a great way to go.

Usually when I find myself worn down, it is in part because my gaze has wandered from his face to the situation in the world around me. It doesn’t take long for the world to get you down. Just an instant, in fact. However, as we remain in the Father’s presence on a more continual basis, we build up joy and that joy resists the troubles of the world. It prevents us from being so impacted by those things. I need Jesus in my life daily. If I don’t spend time with him, the strength within me begins to wane. I need his anointing speaking into my life daily.

It is easy to get run down and overwhelmed. It is our responsibility to keep our tanks full and it only takes me a day or two of neglect to start running on fumes. How about you? The joy of the Lord will strengthen you, but you have to make deposits of his presence. It’s not thoughts of the Lord or even promises of the Lord which will give you strength in the day of need. It is his joy deep within you which comes from having spent time with him. Fill up your tank today for you are sure to need it tomorrow.

Invigorated

1 Samuel 30: 6

But David strengthened himself in the Lord.

Well, the work week is half-way through and some of us may be finding our energy lagging a bit. Perhaps there have been a few battles in the early part of the week. Certainly David fought battles and found himself weary. He knew how to restore himself though. He found his strength in the Lord.

I love this from Habakkuk, “The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds feet, and makes me walk on my high places” (Habakkuk 3: 19). A hind is a female deer, especially the red deer. They are known for being able to scale the high places, i.e. mountains. There is no rugged, jagged terrain they cannot surmount. If you have ever seen them scampering along a cliff you know how amazingly surefooted they are. Our Father has made us able to navigate the high places too. He also gives us the strength to attain the highest peaks.

The Lord God is our strength Habakkuk reminds us, but once we are fully convinced by Habakkuk, the key for us is found in David’s example. It is not sufficient knowing that the Lord, our God is our strength if we never avail ourselves of His gift. David turned “strength” into a verb. He “strengthened” himself in the Lord. That means David did something proactive in order to receive God’s strength. Receiving is an active process. I think about a wide receiver in football. He has a big job to do in order to receive a pass. Well, God has provided for us but unlike the manna, all these things are not going to rain down on us. We have to turn our attention to Yahweh and receive what He has made available. It does no good to have provision delivered to your front stoop if you never go out and get the boxes.

I pray you, receive God’s strength today. Receive His refreshing. Let Him fill you with all sustenance.

Tired, Weary and Aching

Isaiah 40:29

He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.

I am ministering to myself today, tonight actually. It is late in the evening and I owe you a Word of the Day in the morning. I am tired, weary even, my back hurts and I just do not have the strength in myself to produce a Word of the Day. What shall I do? Fortunately, as we all know, our Father gives strength to the weary. What may distinguish me from some people is that I know from experience that I can call upon Him in this time of need. I have had to rely on His strength before.

I hope you have the means to find strength, encouragement and the wisdom for every need. I use www.biblegateway.com to help me find verses to fit my need. I also have a link to Bible Gateway on my website so that you will always be able to find the help you need. Our Word of the Day is archived on our website. It is also searchable. You can find every time in the last ten or so years when I have written about a specific topic. We also have an “Ask Ivey” section on the website where you can write your question and I will answer you. To access any of these resources go to www.iveyministries.org.

Our Father will lead you to passages from His book, which will strengthen and encourage you. I sat down tonight with my computer and searched Bible Gateway for the two words which were most prominent in my mind: strength and weary. You see that Father gave me a perfect verse. He met me at my point of need and filled me. He will do this for you too.

If you are tired and do not feel up to the task ahead, keep re-reading today’s verse and let it minister strength to you.