A Deeper Understanding of “Resting in the Lord”

I had been reading Christian books and devotional blogs mentioning the oft-quoted phrase “rest in the Lord”, but it was just very recently that I had a real grasp of it. I mean, it is easy to say it but what does “rest in the Lord” really mean? After the truth has sunk in my soul, I realized that “resting in the Lord” could feel very risky and scary. These are the things involved: risk and fear. That’s because we had been taught to rely on visible things rather than on the invisible God. But to truly rest in the Lord is to spurn these, to let go of these in exchange of plunging oneself at the feet of God, trusting completely in His mercy.

I don’t know how deep or trying your reason to choose to rest in the Lord is, but as for me, I took inventory of the years that I “rested in the Lord”, and I came to realize that to truly rest in the Lord is to believe that He can help, save, and deliver in the MOST urgent need. It involves a REAL belief, so real you could almost touch and taste it. That kind of belief is the seat of trust.

Because you truly believe, then you can trust, and therefore, you can rest.

There is no true rest when there is a shadow of doubt in your belief of a true and living God, a breathing, seeing, moving, fast-acting God – an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God.

I had wrestled with death not just a few times, and I remember my beloved husband offering to bring me to the hospital or buy me an oxygen tank at least. It was truly scary but I had always chosen to rest in God instead during those fear-filled walks through the valley of the shadow of death. I believed that the commotion that would be brought about by calling an ambulance, transferring me into it, the nurses milling about, the panic, the anxiety-filled trip to the hospital and then the hustle and bustle of the emergency room would be more than enough to stop my breath altogether.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4, emphasis added)

So, I always chose to rest in God, keeping my body as still as I could as I trusted in Him to save me, to deliver me to the next breath and heartbeat and to the next, until He brings recovery. I would keep still as an electric fan blew hard on my face, thinking hard about the Lord Jesus. When things were better, I even sang praises in my mind. He is a VERY PRESENT HELP in times of great need.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

And though the flesh is weak and perishes, there is rest for the soul (Mat. 11:29). That is what resting in the Lord brings – rest for the soul.

When illness, suffering, difficulties, anguish, confusion, fear, weakness, worry overwhelm, I rest in His Word. His Word enlightens me, strengthens and comforts me. The Word is God (John 1:1).

To rest in God is His will for us. To be still in His presence and be confident in Him and His power are what He truly wants us to be. He has counselled us about this long time ago, that when we rest in Him, He will save and strengthen us (Is. 30:15). But the world had taught us to run elsewhere to get help. We had learned to rely on tangible things to quieten our souls and momentarily bring peace to our minds, not quite grasping the truth about God and what He is able to do. For with God all things are possible. (Mark 10:27)

Friend, are you looking for rest for your weary soul? Rest for your sick body or unquiet mind? The Lord Jesus is bidding you. He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mat. 10:28)

Photo courtesy of my friend Myriss Torres.
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How to Maintain Inner Peace

The morning of the day I planned to write this, a problem arose that would test exactly what I wanted to write about. This wasn’t the first time that it has happened – the testing before or after the writing. It is as if the real Author of all these Spirit-inspired written words are testing this writer if she could practice what she preaches, or walk in the way of what she writes about.

Early in the morning, my beloved husband learned that our company driver who was sent to the province with the delivery van was apprehended by the traffic police and without calling and informing his boss (my husband), he paid the police PhP2,000 just so, according to him, they wouldn’t impound the van and take his driver’s license. My husband at once got furious.

Why didn’t he call him about the problem and before he paid PhP2,000?
What exactly was the violation? Transporting a second-hand oven. (Huh?!)
Did he get a receipt for paying PhP2,000? No. It went straight to the hands of the enforcers. (What?!!!)
Did he get the names of the traffic enforcers who received the money? No, he did not.

My husband started to think that maybe the driver, who has been working for our company for eight long years, wasn’t telling the truth. He gave him PhP3,000 for gas and toll fees which was more than enough (the tank was more than half-full before the trip). Without going into much detail, he has reasons to think so. When he told me all about it, I myself was surprised. To be apprehended by traffic police for transporting a second-hand oven which sits inside a closed delivery van is very unusual. (We upgraded our kitchen and the old oven was going to a relative). And, being born-again Christians, it is our company policy never to give bribes for any reason at all.

The endless analyzing and discussing while temper is slowly brewing can sap one’s energy for sure. And I didn’t have my praise and prayer time yet! Which effectively brought to mind my topic for today. So, I told my husband this: “What has happened has happened and we can no longer undo it. If the driver is telling the truth, we have to accept it and move on (except of course, my husband has yet to discuss it again with the driver in person). If not, God knows it and He will be the one to do something about it. The thing is, there should be an end to all the angry talk and doubts.”

That is what I really wanted to write about today: Much of our problems are aggravated (if not triggered) by our incessant worrying, analyzing, judging, discussing, complaining, striving, and by often choosing the way of anger and dissatisfaction. This happens when we focus more our attention to the things around us – people, events, material – than focusing our eyes on God.

I remember the early days when the “new man” was a babe in Christ – fresh, yielding and with an undistracted, quiet spirit. We were on our way to a nearby province to attend a wedding where my husband and I were principal sponsors. We were traveling with a sister in Christ who was older than us, both in age and in years of serving the Lord. She and my husband were jovially talking about people and events, and now and then, joked and laughed at the stories they were sharing with each other. I sat quietly in my seat, not speaking a single word. I was revelling in the quiet of my spirit, soaking up in the peace that the Lord put in my heart. I would sometimes stroke the long strands of my hair while I looked out the window and gazed at the seemingly never-ending green fields and rolling hills in the horizon. Ah! What peace! What an invigorating feeling of fresh holiness! 

I have to be honest: I have lost much of that holy quiet and calm throughout the years as I wrestled with prolonged physical suffering and with the difficulties of trying to keep up with the daily grind, what with a body that easily gets weary and weak.

I grieve about losing much of that constant quiet glorying in the Lord, but I haven’t forgotten that day nor the feeling of basking in the Lord’s light, unmindful of the chaos in my surroundings, and I believe it is still possible. It is always possible.

Here are some ways to maintain inner peace:

  • Be mindful of the things we think about. Don’t let negative things play in our minds, endlessly and futilely wrestling with them.

Is there somebody in your life who hurts you with his or her rude or thoughtless behaviour? Don’t focus on it. It is not your problem. It has nothing to do with you. But you can pray for him or her.

  • Don’t weary yourself by endlessly thinking, analyzing, worrying, or discussing about things that you cannot change or have no power over.

Learn to accept the things that you cannot change. Hand all of them over to God. Let Him do the solving and fixing. He is a specialist in mending the broken, rearranging what has gone awry, and making all things work together for our good.

  • Fix your eyes on Jesus and stay under His light.

One day years ago, my husband walked into the room with the news that there was something wrong with the papers of one of our properties that we were planning to sell. I understood that I might not have transacted with the rightful owners when I bought it. When he left, my body at once reacted with the stress this news brought, but I raised my hands and prayed. I relinquished all control to God. I found peace also in releasing that material thing. Later in the day, my husband told me that there was just an error and everything was well.

Don’t let problems suck you up. But be sucked up in the Lord’s light. Under His light, we receive wisdom and the peace that comes with it. Away from His light, there are shadows and darkness and it would be easy to lose our way.

Additional reading: The Spirit Bids {Ways to Seek Holy Moments}

Giveaway Winners!

DaySpring “Blessed and Loved” mug with lid and Dayspring “Live, Love, Laugh” journal.

DaySpring mug with lid and journal: Bing Puzon

DaySpring journal (consolation prize): Marilyn Facton

Congratulations and thank you all for joining!

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My gratitude list – the gifts I received from the hand of the Lord:

  • My daughter Hannah lovingly offering to massage my aching legs; she did it well, inducing me to a sound slumber :).
  • Learning to photograph objects in motion
  • The peace that descends and covers my whole being after a heartfelt praise and worship.
  • The blessed celebration of my birthday: family, good food, love and laughter.
  • A nephew who helped me with all the preparations so that I was able to rest and relax.
  • Filled to overflowing for all the testimonies of God’s miracles that I heard in Church today during the 12th Victorious Mindanao Peace Mission Anniversary.
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My Continual Habitation

(Meditating on Psalm 71)

I love how the King James Version puts it: Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort. The Lord God is David’s strong habitation, and He is mine, too. And I’m not saying it just because the Bible says so, but because I have experienced first-hand how to continually resort to God. Yes, even in sleeping hours. When one is sick and suffering, God, indeed, becomes a continual habitation: every labored breath, every faint heartbeat, every ray of hope, every thought that’s actually a thought-prayer, every earnest song the soul sings – rests in the comfort and security of this sure habitation that surrounds, embraces even, one’s being.

A habitation is a place where one lives. Even though one may go to a journey, always, one would come back to where one dwells. But with my Father in heaven, I see it more than that. I see that wherever I go, though I may journey far and wide, He, my continual habitation, goes with me.

If we make God our strong habitation whereunto we resort continually [uninterruptedly – whatever we do, wherever we go], then we are actually never leaving the comfort of a home. He then is the roof that shelters us from the storm; the walls that shield us from the plague and protect us from violence and danger; and the ground on which we surely stand. For in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

Whatever season of life we are and even through our old age, He will be a shelter to us.

Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not… (Psalm 71:18)

Friends, believe in these promises, think about these things, let them be steeped in our hearts and minds, and we will find rest for our souls.

Amazing Grace

(Meditating on Psalm 69)

Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
Where there is no standing;
I have come into deep waters,
Where the floods overflow me. 
(Psalm 69:1-2)

One would open to the introduction page of my book Walking Along the Narrow Path and one would be greeted by this soul-piercing verse. This was exactly where I was, where the Lord had so mercifully fished me out.

The dusk gathered fast, once again threatening to steal what little strength, both mental and physical, I had left. I hadn’t known fear so real and powerful until the time that God had thought it good to end all my wallowing in the mire. Salvation comes in many different ways. Mine was knowing a kind of fear that could literally wipe out all sanity and physical strength.

Fear was a frequent visitor and when it came, panic enveloped and engulfed my whole being, choking the very life out of me. It was a debilitating, paralysing kind of fear. How could one escape such powerful grip? I didn’t know. My husband was beside me once and I told him, “Can you just lend me now some of your strength, just enough for me to be able to go through this moment? Can you just be my strength, for I’m losing it?”

But as for me, my prayer is to You,
O Lord, in the acceptable time;
O God, in the multitude of Your mercy,
Hear me in the truth of Your salvation. 
(Psalm 69:13)

Not long afterwards, I was laid at Jesus’ feet. His salvation, and the complete forgiveness, comfort and knowledge of the truth it brought, washed over me like an avalanche. And I have never been the same since.

He took my sins, every single one of them, in exchange for life. He took my fears in exchange for His peace. A kind of peace that passes all understanding. He took my pain in exchange for His love. He took my burden in exchange for His rest. He took my weakness in exchange for His strength. He took my shame in exchange for His beauty. He took my brokenness in exchange for His healing.

Amazing, abundant, unspeakable grace!

I will praise the name of God with a song,
And will magnify Him with thanksgiving. 
(Psalm 69:30)

For all He’s done, I will forever praise Him. Below is one of my favorite worship songs that I often sing to the Lord in my private worship time. I share it with you.

Glimpses of Glory

(Meditating on Psalm 66)

Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!
Sing out the honor of His name;
Make His praise glorious.

All the earth shall worship You
And sing praises to You;
They shall sing praises to Your name.” Selah (Psalm 1,2,4)

Psalm 66, as most psalms are, is a psalm of praise. These are stanzas upon stanzas of words of worship flowing freely from the psalmist’s heart to the Lord God Almighty.

Worship is a vital part of our life in the Lord. When we turned to God and received His salvation, our previously-dead spirits were quickened by His life-giving Spirit and we were regenerated. Born again. Born in the Spirit. Having a new life. Our spirits are now connected to the one true, living God, and we live to worship Him. We worship Him because it is what our quickened spirits long to do: to exalt Him with our songs and praises that come from hearts and souls overflowing with gratitude. We just can’t stop it. He is worthy of all our praise.

And we worship Him because our spirits need to drink from the wellspring of life. We need to be constantly filled by His life-giving Spirit. This is how we grow. This is where our real needs are met: peace and joy and healing! His Spirit is the oil that keeps our lights burning.

At the first line of the song, some of the kids in the Children’s Choir were at once filled by the Holy Spirit and they were caught up by its mighty power, shaking, crying, uttering words only the Spirit could know and understand. And they fell on their knees there on the riser, hands raised, tears streaming down their faces. At the chorus, most of them were caught up by the moving of the Spirit and the mighty sound it produced resounded throughout the stadium.

The chorus was sang over and over and over, yet, the powerful Presence lingered still. The kids were drenched with their tears and perspiration, but the Spirit of the Lord stayed for more minutes.

I have always thought that as much as God’s children are hungry for Him, God also longs for them. For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” (2 Cor. 6:16)

I have heard testimonies of worshipers how they had seen angels rejoicing and singing with the choirs as they lift up praise and worship. It is so faith-invigorating to hear and know that our dearest Father, our Savior and King, rejoices with us when we worship with all that is in us. For the joy of the LORD is our strength (Neh. 8:10).

Oh, bless our God, you peoples!
And make the voice of His praise to be heard. 
(Psalm 66:8)

(Photo no. 2, JMCIM worship service in Amoranto Stadium, courtesy of Bro. Ed Cortez)
Might be linking up with A Holy ExperienceBetter Mom MondaysDomestically DivineRaising HomemakersBrag on God FridayEncourage My HeartSpiritual SundaysState of the HeartTeach Me TuesdayTeaching What is GoodTitus 2sdaysWomen in the Word WednesdayWomen Living Well

The Spirit Bids {Ways to Seek Holy Moments}

(photo source)

I often find myself deafened by the noise of the world: the hustle and bustle of everyday activities, especially that of our household, the distracting loudness of the Internet, the monotony of the TV, AND, truth be told, even my own thoughts and voice! My thoughts are the loudest and the most active, I think, that they even intrude into my sleeping hours! And yes, I get deafened, too, by my own voice even if I’m using it to minister – to family and staff. Sometimes when I want to elucidate to the spouse, to a child, to a relative or to a staff, I find myself holding my tongue — “Oops!”, I’d say silently, “It’s better to keep quiet. Just.keep.still.and.hold.your.peace.” Because you see, I get tired even of my own voice and strivings!

And, oh, what bliss! Why? I believe because those who have received the Spirit of Christ would always gravitate towards a life similar to that of what the Lord Jesus had on earth. After a whole day of ministering to multitudes – teaching, preaching, healing, casting out demons – the Lord Jesus always resorted to a quiet place. And he spent those quiet moments communing with God. Though He zealously and untiringly ministered to all who were in need, His spirit craved quiet. There was not a day that He didn’t spend time in a deserted place, that is, somewhere He wouldn’t be in the least disturbed or distracted.

Since we have the Spirit of Christ, we, too, yearn for quiet, and would want to escape the loudness of this world every now and then. The Lord Jesus is still bidding us:

And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31)

It is in our stillness – when body, mind, and spirit are in complete rest, away from distractions and worries that create too much stress – that we will know God. It is in the quiet, when we cease to do any work and the mind relinquishes its active mode of scheming, planning, dreaming, AND worrying, that we will hear His voice and we will know His power, His comfort, His peace, His love. In rest we will KNOW Him more!

Be still, and know that I am God… (Psalm 46:10)

When we become still before God and focus ALL ourselves to Him, we enter into a holy place and spend a holy moment with Him. That is worship.

Some of the ways we seek holy moments with God:

  • Sing praises and worship alone in a room
  • Pray in a deserted place (in a room, in the garden, or on a hill if it is convenient)
  • Read the Bible meditatively and ponder on the verses (you may do it in a quiet room , deserted garden or park, beside a river or a lake)
  • Read a devotional (I recommend Jesus Calling and Streams in the Desert)
  • Rest while listening to praise and worship songs, audio Bible or audio devotionals
  • Sit still and contemplate on the goodness of God: relive His testimonies, His mercies that endure, and all His mighty works and wonders. Think about those times that He had answered our most earnest prayers, those moments that He had raised us up from sickness, and delivered us from our afflictions.

I have written many articles about worship. To read more about this subject, go here.

Into the Sanctuary

(Meditating on Psalm 59)

Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
Defend me from those who rise up against me.
Deliver me from the workers of iniquity,
And save me from bloodthirsty men. 
(Psalm 59: 1-2)

David had his huge share of enemies and oh, how he deplored them! But we have our own portion of enemies, too. Not that we make enemies, but somehow, in our walk with the Lord, there are people who come to our lives to attack us. Sadly, we have had our share of the enemy’s cruelty lately. Using people whom we’ve shown goodness, the enemy maligns us, scoffs at us. It is overly wearisome as it is painful.

And I wonder, how does one bear more of this? One may feel hurt, get sick and tired, or rage silently, but towards what? Or to whom? Sometimes, might it be towards the sovereign One who has control of all these? And a hurt and raging heart may think that there is no help from God, asking silently, “Is He for us or against us?”

And that is a painful thing to go through – to be so hurt and confused it’s just overwhelming! But where does a weary spirit turn and run to? Definitely not more of the world! For isn’t the world which brings all this pain?

One may feel like being so entangled with the world’s harshness that it seems it clings in one’s very skin, fraying the flesh and spirit. So how does one shake off the asp’s venom? I know none other but the Savior who loved me and died for me even when I was a sinner.

So, at dawn, when undisturbed silence finds our family and neighborhood in deep slumber, I rise, my body, heart and spirit all aching. I know there’s nobody in the whole wide world who could soothe all pain like a balm. I begin to sing, just singing and remembering God’s majesty and power, knowing that He deserves ALL praise, thanksgiving and honor, no matter what.

When we honor Him with all that is within us, He will honor us in return and receives our humble offering of praise. And so, as I sing this third song, a medley, What a friend we have in Jesus…/And I cherish the old rugged cross… His presence descends and tears trickle down. Warmth envelopes my head down to my toes and the trembling cells of this weary body find rest at last in His unfailing love. Ah, I give glory to God for I have always known His peace that passeth all understanding! And I know He will defend and protect us from those who try to do us harm.

But I will sing of Your power;
Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning;
For You have been my defense
And refuge in the day of my trouble.
17 To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises;
For God is my defense,
My God of mercy. (Psalm 59: 16-17)

Amen and Amen!

Linked to Spiritual Sundays, Sharing His Beauty, Titus 2sday, Domestically Divine, Encourage My Heart, State of the Heart, Women Living Well, Women in the Word Wednesday, Faith Filled Friday