Daily Devotion – the need to rest

“The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want..”

Is this a command, or a result?

In our function driven cultures and mini cultures that constantly demand and expect things of us it is easy to read the beautiful shepherd’s psalm as yet another set of instructions. But to do this would truly undermine the intention of the psalmist.

Consider the next few lines,

He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul. He leads me on paths of righteousness for the sake of HIS name…”

The subject of the psalm is not David, it’s God! David is the direct object receiving the actions of an almighty Being whom he calls his Shepherd. A shepherd knows his sheep intimately. He feeds them, tends their illnesses, guides them the right way because they OFTEN want to go another.  In short, the image of God as shepherd implies a complete and total love I his part, and complete dependence on ours.  Now let’s go back to the opening line, “I shall not want” and ask the question again. Is this a command or a result?

The text clearly shows that the rest, peace and contentedness of the author comes NOT from his own effort, but are the direct result of one who looks to God as his or her Shepherd.  God has accepted responsibility for you and adopted you into his flock, his family. Of course the result of that is to simply say “I shall want for nothing.”

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Daily Devotion – Listening

A view of our lake on the JAARS campus in NC.

A view of our lake on the JAARS campus in NC.

“Spiritual listening is a contemplative undertaking and not a problem solving task.  It is essentially prayer…

“Spiritual listening as a contemplative discipline pushes us…to a level of listening beyond our own powers of analysis to the grace and the gift of divine life itself.

“To listen this way is to listen with heart and mind opened wide.  It invites us to be changed along with those to whom we listen.”

-Wendy Wright, Desert Listening

I’ve been meditating on this a lot this week. Motherhood is busy to say the least, not to mention family, work, etc. It is easy to feel that prayer is more of a hurried conversation than a refreshing experience of deep intimacy with our Creator.  But when we go out with friends or have a romantic evening with our spouse the last think we want be thinking about is time, and that is an essential part of true listening and prayer with God as well.  Let go of time, make time to leave the phone and the clocks and the schedules and find a place to listen to God.  There is a reason many people chose the desert, there is beauty but there is also emptiness.  No distractions, no time, just God.

A Saturday to Rest

Cozy chair, piles of God books (I meant to write good books but those two overlap nicely in this scenario), and coffee. Worship music, which in our home can mean a variety of things. Right now my three year old is in love with the works of Franz Schubert, and if not that he likes contemporary rock for which we’ll play instrumentals or artists whose lyrics we are ok with him singing. Lets see, there is sunlight, laughter, and most of all a strong desire to just completely surrender the thoughts and stresses of the week, which all of a sudden becomes a very easy thing to do on a Saturday morning.

When Samuel goes down for his quiet time I plan to pray and read for a while. I’ve been interceeding for a new ministry here in Charlotte, a ministry of the arts that I truly hope will plant amazing seeds for revival.  Check out the work of one of the artists I’m working with! The Craftsmans Daughter.  We’ll be gathering soon to present some of our work to each other. The mission is to encourage, educate and engage the community through the arts. I’m in the beginning stages of forming my own art to present; a combination of words, graphics and dance designed to communicate with an audience. To capture their attention and express truth beautifully.

The Sabbath is all about remembering, and I have spent a few years of my short life exploring, studying and trying out new things, seeking to understand Shalom. Finding shalom is a journey, and one that begins all over again when you add children to the mix :-). Our rest today will include scripture reading, a lesson on the fruit of the Spirit. And with the children both getting better (we’ve all been sick since we moved to North Carolina three weeks ago), I’m sure we’ll end up outside quite a bit, out in the Temple of Creation made for our pleasure and worship of the Creator.

Shalom shabbat!

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