(I'd like to apologize beforehand for a lengthy post! The material was just so rich I could not bear to shorten it.)
After coming off a whirlwind of 2011, my goal for 2012 is to 'gear down' in this Martha-esque world and make a determined, intentional resolution to take time every day and sit at the feet of Jesus and earnestly seek His face as Mary did. In a world of 'to do' lists, and feelings of satisfaction with every check mark of completion making me feel productive, my main purpose of twenty twelve is nurture the relationship I have with my Father. Nothing else matters. Everything else will fall into place.
I have been reading a very small but powerful book entitled 'Towards a Powerful Inner Life' by Graham Cooke. (A big 'thank you' to my friend, Jacque, for this gift!)
I should have read it all in one sitting but have been savoring over each page for several weeks now. The material is so rich I can only take it in small doses; I need time to process what's just been read and savor every word. My intentions are to read it even a second time (or 3rd or 4th, however many it takes!) just to ensure that I soak it all in so as not to miss anything.
Yes...It is that good!
Over the last few weeks, Todd & I have felt God speaking to us about 'rest.' Not just physical rest, but He's been speaking to us about the busyness of our life and to intentionally make time for Him. It is easy to have our own agenda and then ask God to bless it. It is scriptural, however, to 'seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.' (Matt. 6:33)
We must seek God FIRST, and fit our busy schedules around Him rather than fit Him around our busy schedules.
The excerpt that I just read from this book 'Powerful Inner Life' reflects this sentiment:
There will always be something that will prevent us from resting. It doesn't matter what is occurring around us or within us; we are acceptable in Christ. So rest.
Matthew 11:28-30: 'Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For MY yoke is easy and MY burden is light.'
A yoke is a harness which fits over the shoulders. It connects you to the one walking alongside and enables you to move in unison. Jesus has promised us that if we walk with Him we can bear our burdens in a completely different manner. What would the freedom to rest really bring us in our busy lives?
Sometimes peace is restored by the simple act of pushing away worry, fear, anxiety, panic, and unbelief. Try it. Get tough on the causes of unrest within yourself. The writer of Hebrews calls it laboring to enter that rest (Hebrews 4:8-11). We have to work at being at peace!
God says to 'Be still and know that I am God.' (Psalm 46:10) With every year that passes, my desire to do this magnifies.
May the year 2012 be a time that my family & I can grow more spiritually mature and boldly take a stand for Christ; may we seek and find wisdom beyond our years; may we water others with God's revelations so that we ourselves can be watered (oh, how I love to be watered!); and may we boast solely on the unconditional love of our Lord & Savior, for if we should boast in anything, may we boast in the Lord. May the year of 2012 be a year of reaching the lost and entertaining angels unaware.
I'd like to leave you with Cooke's meditation on resting in God:
A meeting: in the secret place
Come and join me
I'm drawing you into a quiet place of introspection
Come away from the noise into the place of stillness.
No beloved, I'm not talking of externals
I'm not speaking of a physical place that you need to reach.
There is a safe place within you
A quiet place. Where stillness reigns.
I'm asking you to retreat from the soul
Your Martha of many distractions
Legitimate, powerful, necessary, but ultimately unhelpful....
compared to what I want to give you.
Step back into your spirit
Through the inner fortress of your heart
Away from the world and the busyness of your soul.
Meet the Mary that is in your spirit man
And come to sit at My feet.
I'm here, in the secret place of your spirit,
All you need is here by Me.
Provision, peace and a rest for your soul
Come and sit quietly by Me.
I am the pool of water by your feet
I am the manna falling
I am the raven feeding you
The tree of life that gives you shade
I am the gentle breeze that kisses your brow
I am the eagle's cry, watching over you from above
I am the velvet paws of the lion padding protectively around your camp.
Step back, far back into your spirit
Practice being still, learn the way of peace.
I will deal with the issues
Remove the spots and blemishes
Refine your heart.
I will empty you of all that you don't need and never wanted
I will purge and purify your heart.
I will imprison Eros and release Agape within you.
All self-obsession, ambition, preservation will die in you
I will empty you of all that grieves Me and frustrates you
And fill the vacuum with worship.
Out of that pace of internal rest
Will come a new creation
Owning nothing yet possessing all things.
A servant will merge with the son
A warrior will grow out of the child
Action will flow out of rest
In the secret place of your spirit.
The enemy cannot find you
The vagaries of life, leave you untouched
Impurities will be drawn away from your heart
In the quiet strength of My presence.
The aching, the longing in your heart
Will be overshadowed by all My desire for you.
You shall be fully known
And you will know.
I am going to make a determined purpose, every day, to meet the Mary in my soul who sits at the feet of Jesus in complete surrender!
- Identify your current unrest or lack of peace. What are you not seeing about God's power or faithfulness?
- Does your lack of peace arise out of a wrong perception?
- What needs to change so that peace may remain?