Jesus had been performing miracle after miracle. He had been teaching crowds, defending himself against the Pharisees, and now recently, his cousin, John the Baptist had been beheaded. And everywhere He went, he had the disciples in tow, teaching them everything He possible could for the time after He would return to heaven and the gospel message would be placed into their hands to spread throughout the world. They stood by observing, soaking everything in and miracle after miracle, they were left in speechless awe. Some of them probably wished they could do some of the miracle Jesus had done. And then, in Mark 6, Jesus sends them out to the villages nearby to do just that. It was time to put what they had been learning into action.
Then, the story changes scenes as Mark inserts the interlude story of John the Baptist being beheaded. In the gospel of Matthew, we find that this incident is connected to Jesus deciding to get away for a while for some rest. We all need rest from time to time, even when we are busy doing the Lord’s work and serving Him through ministry. Since God created us, he knows more than anyone else that our bodies need adequate rest. And because Jesus, the Son of God, came to dwell among us in a flesh and blood body, he experienced being tired. In John 4:6, we find Jesus worn out from His journey and sat beside the well where he would encounter the Woman at the Well. Without rest, we are not fully able to accomplish the tasks he has called us to do. When we become so tired that we don’t know how we can keep going, Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
The Greek word for “come” is deute and means to “come hither” or “follow.” Jesus calls us to himself and to follow His example. He calls us to experience Him in an up-close-and-personal kind of way. He longs to bring us into close proximity and into an intimate fellowship with himself. He wants us to take whatever circumstance we are in and He says, “Give them to Me.” He longs for us to give Him every burden and problem in total surrender and dependence on Him. As we learn to trust him, we are then able to find peace and rest. In 2 Chronicles 20:17, God tells his people to “position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. He is with you.”
Sometimes we get so caught up in hurrying from one to-do item to another that we barely have time to breathe. We end up heavy-laden with burdens and become weary. The Greek word for “weary” is kopiao and means “to labor, toil, expand great effort in hard and disagreeable work,” “to grow weary, tired; labor to the point of exhaustion.” Doesn’t this sound like us? But instead of taking time to rest, we just grab some caffeine or one of those very unhealthy energy drinks and just keep going. The result shows in both our physical health and emotional health. What we really need, is rest.
“Rest” is the Greek word anapauo which means “to refresh, rest up,” or “to cease from labor.” God created our need for rest…a pause from life…for our own good. A pause to cease from the hustle and noise of life so we are able to:
- Seek His will and determine our steps
- spend time with God so we are able to listen to Him
- avoid burnout
- to keep serving Him in whatever capacity we have been called
At times, we allow ourselves to get so caught up in life and say “yes” to too many things (sometimes, even ministry areas in the church) until we become burned out. But when we take a pause and seek His will, He will give us insights and let us know His will so that we don’t overextend ourselves to the point of becoming exhausted. We can protect ourselves from being involved in too much if we take the pause to determine His will. However, even when we are following His will, we become weary and need to take a pause. It then becomes a time of re-evaluation and we need to eliminate unnecessary things from our lives so that we have the energy and time to do what He has called us to do.
Sometimes, as we do the will of God, Satan fights against it and we feel as if we are rowing a boat upstream without a paddle. Taking a pause to spend time with God and pray over the task we’ve been given will send the angel armies our way. Daniel is an example of this. In Daniel, chapter 9, he is praying for the Lord to hear him. Verses 20-23, Daniel pleads to God and in his weariness, Gabriel comes to him. Daniel wrote in these verses, “While I was speaking, praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my petition before Yahweh my God concerning the holy mountain of my God- while I was praying, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the first vision, came to me in my extreme weariness.” Then in Chapter 10, verses 12-13, Daniel receives another visit. In these verses we read, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel,” he said to me, “for from the first day that you purposed to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your prayers were heard. I have come because of your prayers. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia opposed me for twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me after I had been left there with the kings of Persia.” God had heard Daniel’s prayers and sent his messenger to Daniel, but the prince of the kingdom of Persia stood in the way opposing the messenger. Daniel was completely unaware of the spiritual warfare his prayers were stirring up. Yet Daniel continued to pause and seek God until the messenger arrived.
Another reason to pause and rest is so we are able to listen to the voice of God. 1 Kings 19:12 is the only verse in the Bible that talks about God speaking in a whisper. Because we have the Spirit of God dwelling within us, the way God speaks to us today is the soft whispers across our heart as we are reading His Word or as the Holy Spirit recalls a verse of scripture to our minds. Sometimes it comes to us as our pastor is preaching or in a conversation with a friend. These soft, quiet impressions are easy to get loss in the loud bustle of everyday life. If we want to hear the voice of God, we need to quiet ourselves and listen with expectation. He longs to speak to us. But we have to ask ourselves, do we really want to hear His answer? Too often our prayer lives become a one-sided conversation where we tell God what we want Him to do in our lives then jump up and go on about our day. There are things God would love to say to us, but we have to quit talking long enough for Him to get a word in. If you feel as if God never speaks to you, then perhaps it’s time to take a pause and rest in His presence….quietly before him and give Him a chance to speak as we sit silently and listen expectantly.
Taking a pause also gives us the change to re-charge. Just as your car runs out of gas, so do our bodies run out of energy. We reach a point where we feel that we have nothing left to give and yet people are still demanding more from us. In Matthew 14:23, Jesus found the need to have some alone time. “After dismissing the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone.” Did you notice what he did on the mountain, he prayed. Our help and our strength to keep keeping on comes from God. In Psalm 121:2, the psalmist wrote, “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” In Psalm 28:7, he wrote, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song.” If you feel as if you energy tank is running on low, when was the last time you had some meaningful time along with God?
While we also need to take time to get plenty of physical rest each night, we cannot neglect the rest our souls need if we are going to be spiritually healthy. So as we take today to honor the labor of our hands, let’s also take time to rest, recharge so that our labors tomorrow hold new energy, ready to continue in the tasks that God has called us to…whether it’s a ministry related job, real estate, medical, education or any other field where work.
In Mark 6, Jesus recognized the disciples’ need for rest, and He recognizes ours as well. It is under these circumstances that He invited His disciples to…
- come with him
- by themselves
- to a quiet place
- and get some rest.
Sometimes getting the rest you need requires you to get away. Maybe you need to get physically away from all the distractions and just rest. Sometimes the rest we need is spiritual and we need to get away with Jesus. Either way, remember that our Savior knows when we need rest and in those moments He invites us to get away with Him. He wants to lead you away from the crowds and the busyness of life to just bask in the His presence. To lean on Him. To draw from His strength. To be renewed and refreshed. What will it take for you to actually get away with Him for the rest you need?
Have you ever taken a vacation and when you get back you feel as if you need a vacation from your vacation? Sometimes our vacation are so jammed backed with activities that we come back more exhausted than before we left. When Jesus invited the disciples to come by themselves, it was a time for the ministry team to relax and recover. Mark 6 tells us that the disciples had been in such high demand in the villages where they went that they hadn’t even had time to eat. Whether you serve in a ministry of some sort, are a stay-at-home-mom, a corporate executive, or a day laborer, we can become so busy that we don’t take time to stop an eat or see to the basic needs of life. Jesus invited his ministry team to take some time just for themselves – where they were not in demand, where they were not healing or preaching or casting out demons. Jesus wanted to invest in them relationally. He was also teaching them the importance of rest so they could keep on serving.
Not only did Jesus invite them to come with him to get away be themselves, but he also wanted them to find a quiet place. Have you ever noticed how uncomfortable it can be when everything is quiet? If we are with others, the silence often feels awkward. Some of us even need the hum of a fan just to go to sleep. Whenever I travel and stay in hotels, the hardest part of getting to sleep is how quiet the room is. The truth is, we simply are not used to quiet. However, Jesus challenges you to find it. It is in the quiet where we can here Jesus say, “Be still and know that I am God.” He wants us to just be still and rest. He knows the demands that have been placed on us. He knows the ministry He has called us to. He knows the problems you are struggling with. He knows. And He’s inviting you to come away with Him and rest.
#comeaway #restforawhile #bestill
Don’t forget to learn this week’s memory verse:
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Meditate and apply:
Will you commit to praying with us in 2020 that God will revive His people, renew our faith, and redeem our land? We feel such an urgency and desperation for revival. If God is moving your heart for revival, write your revival prayer in the comments along with your state or country.
#heartofstone #heartofflesh #revivalinAmerica #revivalin2020 #WCM
This week’s featured design is taken from our memory verse – Ezekiel 36:26.
You’ll find the design in tees for men, women, kids, mugs, bags, and other products. The design is also available in white print or black. Check them out in the Spreadshirt shop.
Thank you for helping us grow!
#heartofstone #heartofflesh #WCM #teespring #spreadshop
BOOKING NOW! Be a host site for the NEW God, Love & Marshmallow Wars Book Tour & Couples Conference:
This event helps couples understand why the daily activities found in the book will equip them to build a stronger marriage and the book provides them with 365 intentional activities to take what they learn at the event and apply it on a daily basis. Through the event, couples will discover the Biblical “why” behind the categories of activities found in the book and the “how” these activities are important to building a stronger marriage. Focus points of the event includes :
- How memorizing scripture together and studying God’s Word together as they study, meditate and apply scriptures related to marriage and life issues will help them develop marriages that honor God.
- Why utilizing fun conversation starters that spark meaningful conversations will keep interest alive as they continually learn new things about each other.
- Why keeping romance alive is essential to intimacy and connectivity.
- How making memories and working together builds relationship investment bonds and how these investment bonds can become the knots that keeps them together through the tough times.
- How they can understand what they are or are not contributing to the marriage as well as how they might be contributing to problems or potential problems within the relationship through the use of targeted, intentional personal reflections
- Why it is important that couples never stop dating and how group dates with Christian friends can be both an encouragement and accountability to their own relationship.
During the event, couples will be given an activity from each focus point to do together, making this event an interactive, fun, and engaging event with practical, hands-on learning. Unlike other couple events that are over when the event ends, couples who attend the GLMW event will be able to apply what they learn when utilizing the book on a daily basis for a year. Since the book is not dated, couples are able to reuse the activities year after year to continue being intentional in strengthening their relationship with each other and with God as they strive to live out God’s design for marriage every day.
Learn more about hosting this event at your church or conference site by clicking here.
About the book: The GLMW book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
#GLMW #couplesevent #GLMWbook #intentionalmarriage #Godlymarriage
Looking for a keynote speaker for your next ministry event? Julia is now booking for 2019 and 2020 Christian events for women’s and couples’ ministries for both small and large events.
Book with us now.
Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants. Today, Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities, regardless of size.
Or call us at 904.524.8073
#JuliaBruce #speaker #keynote #author
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|Living By The Book, Book & Workbook
By Moody Publishers
How would you describe your personal Bible study? Mundane or motivational? Lackluster or lively? Redundant or reviving? In their bestselling book and workbook, Howard and Bill Hendricks offer a practical 3-step process that will help you master simple yet effective inductive methods of observation, interpretation, and application that will make all the difference in your time with God’s Word!Please note that the workbook contained in this set is intended to be used with the book Living by the Book, not the DVD Study.
|Living By the Book 7-Part Condensed Series DVD
By Howard G. Hendricks / Giftedness Center
Join Howard G. Hendricks live as he shows you how to understand and apply God’s Word for yourself. Millions around the world have been captivated by this brilliant teacher’s highly energetic style, friendly manner, unforgettable illustrations, and laugh-out-loud humor. In these series of 25-minutes sessions, Dr. Hendricks will walk you step-by-step through his signature model for self-study: Observation, Interpretation, Application. Your experience in Scripture will never be the same. And your life will be transformed as you begin Living by the Book!
|Living By the Book 20-Part Extended Series
By Howard G. Hendricks / Giftedness Center
Join Howard G. Hendricks live as he shows you how to understand and apply God’s Word for yourself. Millions around the world have been captivated by this brilliant teacher’s highly energetic style, friendly manner, unforgettable illustrations, and laugh-out-loud humor.
In these series of 25-minutes sessions, Dr. Hendricks will walk you step-by-step through his signature model for self-study: Observation, Interpretation, Application. Your experience in Scripture will never be the same.
|Names of Jesus Boxed Mug
By Faithfully Yours
Ceramic bistro mug with the wonderful names of Jesus in vibrant color detail. A fantastic gift for anyone to celebrate their faith. 10 ounce capacity; microwave and dishwasher safe. Packaged in beautiful matching gift box.
|Coffee and Jesus Jumbo Mug
By Glory Haus
Upscale jumbo mug with scripted sentiment
|I Love That You’re My Mom, Mug with Bow
By Lighthouse Christian Products
Gifty mug with handtied grosgrain bow as the finishing touch, and a sweet and simple sentiment in black script on white.Ceramic bistro mug holds 12 ounces; heart shaped I love you tag. I love that you’re my mom with Scripture quote from Ephesians 1:16. Pink ribbon.
12 ounce size; safe for mw/dw. Boxed
|Heart Stone, 1 Peter 5:7
By Lighthouse Christian Products
Heart stone with the natural rustic feel of cement, for shelf, desk, or table display
|A Heart of Flesh
By Grace Patterson / Xulon Press
|Jesus Calling for Easter
By Sarah Young / Thomas Nelson
Exquisite photography alongside the heartwarming, meaningful devotions you’ve come to expect from Young make this a stunning keepsake for family and friends or an inspirational gift to yourself! Fifty themed selections for Lent and Easter with accompanying Scriptures keep the focus on the deep significance of this most blessed time of the year. Features include a padded hardcover binding, color printing throughout, a presentation page, and a ribbon bookmark.
|Leave it all… Prayer Journal
By B&H Books
Prayer journal with elastic band closure
|Last Supper Tabletop Figure
By Roman, Inc.
Tabletop figurine of the Last Supper created by Joseph Studio in fine detail, portraying Christ and his disciples all gathered around the table.Freestanding figurine is 11.25′ long x 4.5″ tall; realistic facial and garment detail. Crafted of resin with smooth finish; stone pattern rectangular base. Renaissance Collection.
|The Case for Easter
By Lee Strobel / Zondervan
Priced to give away, this “investigation” into Christ’s death answers three crucial questions seekers ask: Was Jesus’ death a sham? Was his tomb really empty? Was he seen alive after his death on the cross? Strobel’s award-winning skills as a legal journalist will persuade even the most hard-boiled skeptics to reconsider Jesus’ death and resurrection. 95 pages, softcover from Zondervan.
|He Chose the Nails: What God Did to Win Your Heart
By Max Lucado / Thomas Nelson
Max Lucado invites you to examine the cross, contemplate its purpose, and celebrate its significance in He Chose the Nails. Go ahead and linger on the hill of Calvary and see just how much God did to win your heart. Paperback.
|He Chose the Nails, Study Guide
By Max Lucado / Thomas Nelson
Every gift from God reveals his love, but no gift reveals his love more than the gifts of the cross. Have we taken time to open these? As we do, we find that Jesus did it all just for us. The He Chose Study Guide includes video discussion questions, Bible exploration, personal study and reflection materials for in-between sessions, and an additional session for churches and small groups using this study as part of Lent.
Note: Designed for use with the Because of Bethlehem/He Chose the Nails: A DVD Study (SKU: 687849) which is packaged together. It has two DVDS, one for each study.
|24 Hours That Changed the World, DVD with on-line Leader’s Guide
By Abingdon Press
One of the most innovative teaching pastors in the country, Adam Hamilton unpacks Jesus’ last days on earth and how they turn upside down the conventional ideas about good and evil, justice and history, life and death. Filmed on location in the Holy Land, it portrays the Last Supper to Christ’s victory over the grave.Segments include:
|The Risen Christ: LifeGuide Bible Studies, Jesus’ Final Words on Earth
By Bill Weimer / IVP Connect
Jesus, while dying on the cross, uttered several statements that are often called “The Last Words of Jesus,” but his words on the cross were not the last words he uttered while on earth. After his resurrection, he spoke many words of encouragement to his disciples and followers. His conversations with these men and women truly are Jesus’ last words.
In this eight-session LifeGuide Bible study, The Risen Christ, you will meet the risen Jesus Christ and hear his words. Each of the 8 sessions focuses on a specific dialogue and passage of Scripture from the books of John and Acts. Discussion Questions follow the teaching and a “Now or Later” section helps you integrate the teachings into your personal life. Leader’s Notes included.
|40 Days Living the Jesus Creed
By Scot McKnight / Paraclete Press
This bestselling 40-day devotional, based on The Jesus Creed (Jesus’ double commandment to love God and to love others), now comes with a Lenten study in the back of the book. Author Scot McKnight recites it throughout the day every day and challenges you to do the same. You may find that, if you do, you will learn to love God more creatively and passionately, and find new ways to love those around you.
|Hard to Dance with the Devil on Your Back: A Lenten Study for Adults
By Ray Buckley / Abingdon Press
Known for his stories, poetry, and art, Buckley—interim director of the Center for Native American Spirituality and Christian Study—delineates the crescendo of events leading to the crucifixion so that all can learn how to cope with the stresses and strains of a crumbling world where light is dying out. 64 pages, softcover. Abingdon.
|Jesus the King, Study Guide
By Timothy Keller / Zondervan
This powerful 9-session study from author Tim Keller focuses on the meaning and significance of Jesus’ life, based on the gospel of Mark. Is he the promised Messiah? Keller highlights the cosmic, historical, and personal dimensions of the story, encouraging everybody to re-examine their relationship with God.
|Our Family Will Love Wall Plaque
By Lighthouse Christian Products
Rustic look wall plaque 16.5″ x 8.5″; distressed finish Family Scriptures. Our family will… live and accept one another, pray for one another, tell the truth to each other, be kind to one another, bring joy to each other, serve one another, be patient with each other, comfort one another, forgive one another, be generous with each other, honor each other. In a variety of artful typography styles, with Scripture references under each; mounted paper on laser cut MDF wood product. Faux distressed finish.
By Julia M. Bruce / WestBow Press