It’s funny how some days time can just seem to vanish. One minute you’re well ahead of schedule and then suddenly the time is gone – as if into a vortex or you’ve entered a parallel universe where you’re late!
Time – it’s such a precious commodity. A limited to 24 hours a day commodity! Life coaches and experts have many tips on how to make the most of your time. To be more efficient at work, at home. To make every minute count!
But it’s true, there are moments in our day for our taking. Across our days we have small slices of time – maybe just 5 minutes here or there where we can take a breather, grab a coffee even! These are moments too where we can turn our hearts towards God, to pause and be aware of His presence in our lives. It’s how we keep the conversation going with God long after our quiet time is over.
“In order to know God, we must often think of Him; and when we come to love Him, we shall then also think of Him often, for our heart will be with our treasure.” (Brother Lawrence)
“There is no sweeter manner of living in the world than continuous communion with God.” (Brother Lawrence)
“I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until the day of His return.” (2 Timothy 1:12)
Heavenly Father, I release to you the burdens that I have been carrying, burdens that You never intended for me to carry. I cast all my cares upon You-all my worries, all my fears.
Father, calm my restless spirit, quiet my anxious heart, still my troubling thoughts with the assurance that You are in control. I let go of my grip upon the things I have been hanging onto, with opened hands I come to You.
I thank You for Your promise to sustain me, preserve me, and guard all that I have entrusted to Your keeping. Protect my heart and mind with Your peace, the peace that passes all understanding. Father, may Your will be done in my life, in Your time, and in Your way.
(By Roy Lessin, DaySpring co-founder and writer)
Sacrifice. Praise. Two words that seem mutually exclusive. Two words that don’t belong together. Praise is like the woohoo of your day, an overflow of happy. It’s exuberant, joyful. Sacrifice – well that is something that comes at a cost. It’s pain, grief, hurt. Surely sacrifice and praise don’t belong together? Yet we find in Hebrews just that. Praise and Sacrifice interwoven together
“Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.” (Hebews 13:15)
The sacrifice of praise says that even during the difficult times I will choose to believe in the goodness of God. It says that during the hard seasons I will still exalt His name. As we turn our despair, our pain into praise of the One who sacrificed it all for us it becomes the most beautiful sacrifice.
Our praise is to be continual. It means our praise is a lifestyle that exists regardless of our feelings or our circumstances or how our day is shaping out. Our praise becomes a powerful declaration of magnifying God over our lives. It is not about being thankful for all things, but in all things being able to be thankful. It means that our praise of God is not shaken by our circumstances.
There are two keys to sustaining this level of praise. “For here we do not have a permanent city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” It is keep the perspective of Heaven while on earth. The second is that we are able to do this through Jesus.
“You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (Psalm 118:28-29)
The roads were busy. Road works seemingly everywhere. Everything just felt busy. People driving to work, to appointments, to coffee, to wherever. My to do list felt as long as the traffic queued in front of me. The city was alive, on the go, and yes busy.
Yet in a central suburb is an oasis, a different world. A park, a farm. Where new lambs had been born and daffodils were tilting their faces to the sun. Where people gathered and lingered over coffee, or went for a stroll or just simply sat in the sun. In amongst the busyness it was a place of serenity, of peace. A space away from the noise and urgency of the city that lay outside its stone walls.
Life is busy. There’s always something to be done, an email to be sent, someone to call, an appointment to make, chores to be done. But in amongst this busyness we all need a stone wall behind which there is a space to rest, to recharge. That counter balance to our work where we turn aside from our agendas and pressures. That place and time of quiet retreat to recenter our soul, to refresh our spirit.
That rest. That Sabbath.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
It all began a couple of weeks ago. Leaving my parents’ house one evening I glimpsed up and saw the beginnings of a sunset. I decided that on reaching home I’d take the opportunity to pause and watch it. Unfortunately by the time I arrived home the sunset had faded into dusk. A few days later on farewelling friends at the door I once again saw the beginnings of a sunset. All I had to do was go inside and step out onto our balcony to enjoy the view. But once inside I was distracted and missed my chance. It appears with a sunset you have to seize the moment!
During our days we have moments when an encounter with God awaits. But we need to press in then and there. They’re fleeting opportunities to turn aside and be aware of His presence in our day. It’s the song on the radio that stirs our spirit, the line in a book the speaks to our soul, it’s the prompting to listen in to what a friend is sharing, or to simply pause and exhale during our busy day. It is the inclining of our ear to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit.
For all of us, each day holds the promise of many God encounters. And like how we have to take the time to look up to see the sun’s rays paint the sky glorious hues of pink and red, our soul too needs to lean into these moments with God.
I’m yet to see my sunset. But while away on holiday, up early on a cold winter morning feeding my littlest chap, I had the opportunity to sit and savour the sunrise over a crystal sea.
Fighting a migraine for several days and I was left exhausted. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I commented to my husband that it’s at these times that my mind is not kind to me. Thoughts of failure, guilt, discouragement seem to assail me and I have little energy to fight them away. I am vulnerable, tears come readily. Feeling like myself again seems elusive.
But then I remembered the words from the oh so well known Psalm 23 – “He restores my soul.”
“He restores my soul.” The literal translation is that God causes my life to return. To restore is to replenish, to return to its original state. Restoring my soul means that God gives the enjoyment of life back to me. My troubled, exhausted and wearied spirit is refreshed and filled with new joy. My mind is restored to its equilibrium. My soul can be and is restored by God.
How? The key lies in the first part of the verse – “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters…”
Ah soul – find rest and peace with God. He’s in control and finds us the still waters, the green pastures.