A Slower Pace

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work. —Exodus 20:9-10

When writer Bruce Feiler was diagnosed with bone cancer in his thigh, he couldn’t walk without some help for over a year. Learning to get around on crutches
caused him to appreciate a slower pace of life. Feiler said, “The idea of slowing down became the number one lesson I learned from my experience.”

After God’s people were liberated from Egypt, He gave them a commandment that would cause them to slow down and view Him and the world “in pause.” The fourth commandment introduced a dramatic contrast to the Israelites’ slavery under Pharaoh when they had no break in their daily work routine.

The commandment insisted that God’s people set aside one day a week to remember several important things: God’s work in creation (Gen. 2:2), their liberation from Egyptian bondage
(Deut. 5:12-15), their relationship with God (6:4-6), and their need for personal refreshment (Exod. 31:12-18). This was not to be a day of laziness, but one where God’s people acknowledged, worshiped, and rested in Him.

We too are called to slow down, to be refreshed physically, mentally, and emotionally, and to behold God in His good creation. by Marvin Williams

Lord, I need spiritual and physical rest. Help me
to deliberately take the time to spend with You.
Please remove any obstacle that keeps me from
having a more balanced rhythm to my life.

Living for God begins with resting in Him.

GOD IS ENOUGH

Promise me … not to awaken or excite my feelings of love until it is ready. SONG OF SONGS 2:7

When it comes to love: Be careful. Before you walk down the aisle, take a good long look around. Make sure this is God’s intended place for you. And, if you suspect it isn’t, get out. Don’t force what is wrong to be right … Be careful.

And, until love is stirred, let God’s love be enough for you. There are seasons when God allows us to feel the frailty of human love so we’ll appreciate the strength of his love. Didn’t he do this with David? Saul turned on him. Michal, his wife, betrayed him. Jonathan and Samuel were David’s friends, but they couldn’t follow him into the wilderness. Betrayal and circumstances left David alone. Alone with God. And, as David discovered, God was enough. David wrote these words in a desert: “Because your love is better than life, I will praise you … I will be content as if I had eaten the best foods” (Psalm 63:3,5).

from A LOVE WORTH GIVING

Boldness in Prayer

“In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” (Ephesians 3:12)

There is a wonderful exhortation and promise in Hebrews 4:15-16: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted [that is, ‘tested’] like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

We are not to come presumptuously or arrogantly to God in prayer, but we can come boldly! This is not by virtue of our own merits, of course, but because Christ Himself has opened the way for us. “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:19-22).

Because He has been fully tested yet free from sin, and because of the shed “blood of Jesus” and the opened veil “through his flesh,” if we come “by the faith of him,” we do have “access” to God’s “throne of grace” and can boldly present our petitions. These must, of course, be dependent upon His will, for “this is the confidence [same Greek word as ‘boldness’] that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And . . . we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

But, whether a particular request is granted or denied in accord with God’s greater wisdom, or whether the answer is delayed until God’s more propitious time, we can always “find grace to help in time of need.” He is our great high priest, our mediator, our advocate with the Father, our intercessor, and we can surely pray with “boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” HMM

I will lay thy stones with fair colors

“I will lay thy stones with fair colors.” (Isa. 54:11.)

THE stones from the wall said, “We come from the mountains far away, from the sides of the craggy hills. Fire and water have worked on us for ages, but made us only crags. Human hands have made us into a dwelling where the children of your immortal race are born, and suffer, and rejoice, and find rest and shelter, and learn the lessons set them by our Maker and yours. But we have passed through much to fit us for this. Gunpowder has rent our very heart; pickaxes have cleaved and broken us, it seemed to us often without design or meaning, as we lay misshapen stones in the quarry; but gradually we were cut into blocks, and some of us were chiseled with finer instruments to a sharper edge. But we are complete now, and are in our places, and are of service.

You are in the quarry still, and not complete, and therefore to you, as once to us, much is
inexplicable. But you are destined for a higher building, and one day you will be placed in it by hands not human, a living stone in a heavenly temple.

“In the still air the music lies unheard;
In the rough marble beauty hides unseen;
To make the music and the beauty needs
The master’s touch, the sculptor’s chisel keen.

“Great Master, touch us with Thy skillful hands;
Let not the music that is in us die!
Great Sculptor, hew and polish us; nor let,
Hidden and lost, thy form within us lie!”

Trust in Him at all times

“Trust in Him at all times.” Psalm 62:8

Faith is as much the rule of temporal as of spiritual life; we ought to have faith in God for our earthly affairs as well as for our heavenly business. It is only as we learn to trust in God for the supply of all our daily need that we shall live above the world. We are not to be idle, that would show we did not trust in God, who worketh hitherto, but in the devil, who is the father of idleness. We are not to be imprudent or rash; that were to trust chance, and not the living God, who is a God of economy and order. Acting in all prudence and uprightness, we are to rely simply and entirely upon the Lord at all times.

Let me commend to you a life of trust in God in temporal things. Trusting in God, you will not be compelled to mourn because you have used sinful means to grow rich. Serve God with integrity, and if you achieve no success, at least no sin will lie upon your conscience. Trusting God, you will not be guilty of self-contradiction. He who trusts in craft, sails this way today, and that way the next, like a vessel tossed about by the fickle wind; but he that trusteth in the Lord is like a vessel propelled by steam, she cuts through the waves, defies the wind, and makes one bright silvery straightforward track to her destined haven. Be you a man with living principles within; never bow to the varying customs of worldly wisdom. Walk in your path of integrity with steadfast steps, and show that you are invincibly strong in the strength which confidence in God alone can confer.

Thus you will be delivered from carking care, you will not be troubled with evil tidings, your heart will be fixed, trusting in the Lord. How pleasant to float along the stream of providence! There is no more blessed way of living than a life of dependence upon a covenant-keeping God. We have no care, for He careth for us; we have no troubles, because we cast our burdens upon the Lord.

Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory

“Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” Psalm 73:24

The Psalmist felt his need of divine guidance. He had just been discovering the foolishness of his own heart, and lest he should be constantly led astray by it, he resolved that God’s counsel should henceforth guide him. A sense of our own folly is a great step towards being wise, when it leads us to rely on the wisdom of the Lord. The blind man leans on his friend’s arm and reaches home in safety, and so would we give ourselves up implicitly to divine guidance, nothing doubting; assured that though we cannot see, it is always safe to trust the All-seeing God. “Thou shalt,” is a blessed expression of confidence. He was sure that the Lord would not decline the condescending task.

There is a word for thee, O believer; rest thou in it. Be assured that thy God will be thy counsellor and friend; He shall guide thee; He will direct all thy ways. In His written Word thou hast this assurance in part fulfilled, for holy Scripture is His counsel to thee. Happy are we to have God’s Word always to guide us! What were the mariner without his compass? And what were the Christian without the Bible? This is the unerring chart, the map in which every shoal is described, and all the channels from the quicksands of destruction to the haven of salvation mapped and marked by one who knows all the way. Blessed be Thou, O God, that we may trust Thee to guide us now, and guide us even to the end! After this guidance through life, the Psalmist anticipates a divine reception at last—”and afterward receive me to glory.”

What a thought for thee, believer! God Himself will receive thee to glory—thee! Wandering, erring, straying, yet He will bring thee safe at last to glory! This is thy portion; live on it this day, and if perplexities should surround thee, go in the strength of this text straight to the throne.