Several years ago, I was experiencing a season of hardships. The emotional pressure in my life had escalated – facing deadline upon deadline, bad medical news, grief over my father’s death, plus the daily stress of church leadership and family responsibilities. I sat in my doctor’s office in tears. All I wanted to do was escape, and drive to the beach to spend time with God. Only by talking to God, and having Him talk to me through the Word would salve this pain.

I knew that I would be okay if I could just get to the beach and let God’s love wash over me like the waves wash over the sand. So I drove home, told my husband I would be gone for a few hours, and I grabbed my Bible, journal, and a few devotional books. I rushed to the beach, anxious to spend time with God. I read, prayed, journaled, walked, listened – and read some more. Finally, both peace and a plan came.

Today, this is still my path to peace. The Psalmist agrees. “My soul finds rest in God alone!” Find a cozy place with God today, cuddle up with the Word, and let the peace of God wash over you. God’s peace is like the waves that wash over your toes planted in the sands, so faithful to come to shore, wave after wave, God’s peace will come to your heart, verse after verse, from His Word.

Pam Farrel is the bestselling author of 46 books including Discovering Hope in the Psalms, Becoming a Brave New Woman, and 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman. With her husband Bill, she runs Love-Wise and helps people with their most vital relationships, with God, in marriage and family, and friendships. Fin hope and help for your family at Living Love-Wise Community 

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I am a Bo Peep. Yes, I grew up on a Suffolk sheep farm–

Pam Farrel and 4 – H lamb

so Psalm 23 is very personal to this Shepherdess’ heart.

Let’s just glimpse at the first few verses:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
 he refreshes my soul.

One of the common heart cries of the human race is for greener pastures- a life better, brighter, quieter or calmer. God knows this is dream is on our hearts.

Lie Down in Green Pastures

When I read, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul,” that is exactly the experience of my upbringing.  I would often walk barefoot through the deep, lush, green grass of the pasture, as the sheep serenely grazed. I would take a blanket and a Bible, and lie down and spend quiet hours communing with God.

I might walk over to the creek, and sit on the simple wooden plank that created a bridge, and sit and rest quietly dipping my toes into the cool stream. This was my place of solace and restoration, far away from the chaos my alcoholic, raging, earthly father might be creating in our small farm house.  To this day, resting in an open meadow, or the sound of gently tinkling chimes, remind me of the restorative rest the Good Shepherd can create even in the midst of chaos.

Take a blanket and your bible and find a green pasture, a meadow, a park with a shady tree and

Green pasture quiet time with God

take a short oasis with the Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— (John 10:14)

Pam Farrel is the author of 45 books, and international speaker who will always be a country girl at heart.

Her most recent book is Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experieince

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Resting on the Sabbath

By Susan G Mathis

There was a good reason that God invented the Sabbath, and I think that’s doubly important for families. Our kids never stop. We often feel pushed to do, go, do. We’re always on the move. But we need to stop and take some time to honor the Sabbath as well as our body, mind, and spirit.

 

Rest your body.

Get your sleep. Take time to do—dare I say it?—nothing. Just sit. Just relax. Our culture is frantically pushing us to the point of craziness and so do the kids Busy is not the best.

Rest your mind.

I have a notebook beside my bed because my mind often doesn’t stop at night. A bill I need to pay. An appointment I need to schedule. As a writer I wake up and have an idea about a character, a plot point, a setting detail—whatever. Without it, I’ll ponder it and lose sleep. If I write it down, I can come back to it later.

Sometimes we need to rest our mind for a while and just stop and daydream. Stop checking Facebook. Stop watching TV. Just stop. Let our poor overworked brains rest.

Rest your spirit.

Ever watch children play with abandon? Their spirits are unencumbered and free to enjoy life. We should play too.

We get too serious, too determined, too competitive, too driven. Sometimes we just need to take some time to enjoy watching a bunny hop around our yard or take a walk and enjoy the beauty of nature or lie in the grass and play the cloud game. It reignites our creativity and energizes our spirit.

So how do I take a Sabbath rest? Hope these ideas might help you too.

  1. Besides going to church, I try to stay off my computer (unless, of course, I can skype with the grandchildren—then all bets are off!). I avoid social media, writing, or doing anything connected to work.
  2. I try to do something in nature—take a walk, sit in the yard, etc.
  3. I enjoy on a nice meal or just a special dessert.
  4. I spend some special time with my wonderful husband.
  5. Sometimes we spend time with friends.
  6. I often call someone that I haven’t talked to in awhile.
  7. I read or watch TV for pleasure not for research (i.e. work).
  8. I spend some time praying for the upcoming week.

Try it for a year and see how it transforms your life. I know you’ll be blessed.

 

Dear Lord, It’s too easy stay busy and miss your Sabbath rest. Help us to stop and experience your refreshing Sabbath. In Jesus name, Amen

 

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is the vice president of Christian Authors Network and the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and former Editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

 

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By Jackie M. Johnson

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Life is full of challenges. You want to lose weight but the pounds stick to you like super glue.

A friend needs a new job or is having marital problems. Your niece is wondering if she will ever get married. Our country is divided on political issues. And on it goes.

As believers, we are taught early to “trust in the Lord.” But what does that really mean and how do we do it?

Trust means letting God be God. Not freaking out when the bills pile up like snow in the Rocky Mountains. Not striving to make things happen on our own. Trust is releasing worry and surrendering stress. It’s letting go of the problem and believing that the One who loves us most will take care of our situation.

So when you submit a book proposal, you don’t keep calling your agent every few days to see how it’s going. Or, if you don’t have the money for rent or the mortgage, you don’t worry incessantly. You pray and take action, and trust God will provide instead of trying to control outcomes and letting the stress keep you awake at night.

As you pray, God acts. He may ask you to do something or he may direct you to wait and be still. Either way, you learn to lean, not on your own understanding of how things should be, but on the strong shoulders of Jesus Christ. He has the wisdom to know what to do, even when the next step seems unclear. He has the strength and power to make real and lasting changes. And, he acts out of ultimate love for his daughters and sons.

God will do what is best, in His way and in His timing. On that we can rely.

Trust in His goodness. Rest in His love.

Jackie M. Johnson is the author of the popular Power Prayers for Women, the helpful breakup recovery resource When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton Is Empty, and Praying with Power When Life Gets Tough. She also writes a blog for single and single again readers, Living Single, on Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk website. Connect with Jackie at www.jackiejohnsoncreative.com.

 

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Kern_web shot Jan writing to you from the warm, sunny foothills of the Sierras, hoping to offer some words of encouragement for your writing and marketing journey.

What did you think when you read the title? Do the words ‘rest’ and ‘productivity’ really work together for the writer and marketer? I have been determined to find out.

Recently, during a sermon, I found myself continuing an ongoing conversation with God. Life felt hectic. I was weary.

Read More →

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