Sacred Rest (book review)

Medical doctor Saundra Dalton-Smith opens her book Sacred Rest with a telling line: “Let’s be honest; we are all just too busy. I am too busy to write this book, and you are probably too busy to read this book.” How true that is! We desperately need quality rest to recuperate from our busy lives, but we’ve fooled ourselves into thinking that rest is a waste of time.

Some people mistakenly think that sleep is rest. But, as Dr. Dalton-Smith quickly points out, that isn’t true. Sleep is required for our good health, but sleep is a natural by-product of rest. Rest isn’t just taking a nap; it goes so much deeper and wider than that.

A good portion of this book is built-around Dr. Dalton-Smith’s acrostic R-E-S-T. She says, “Let me share a little medical secret with you. The most underused, chemical-free, safe, effective, alternative medicine is spelled R-E-S-T: Recognize your risk, Evaluate your current position, Science and research, Today’s application.”

In Sacred Rest, you will learn not only what parts of our lives need rest, but also some highly practical ways to get that rest we so desperately need. This book is not written in medical terminology, but in easy-to-understand principles that anyone can grasp.

Dr. Dalton-Smith shares how she has followed her own prescription for rest, and the difference it has made in her life. Quite simply she says, “What I am promising is that as you begin to understand the role rest plays in your life you will do the following: replace the stress of intense living with the peace of intentional rest, and identify your rest deficit and discover which types of rest you need most.”

Please!—Make time in your busyness to read this book on rest so that you can learn how to be the most you can be without burning yourself out.

I am a Faith Words book reviewer.

The Wonder Of God’s Forgiveness

King David was intimately confident that God would hear his prayers. No matter what—even if David had sinned.

The prophet Nathan confronted David after David had committed adultery with another man’s wife, gotten her pregnant, and then had her husband killed to try to cover up their affair. David assumed he had gotten away with it, but God sent Nathan to tell David that He knew all about it.

David immediately went to prayer.

His prayer is instructive for us when we sin too. David’s appeal to God for forgiveness is based solely on God’s ability and willingness to forgive, not on any merits David brings.

In this prayer, David presents a tally sheet. On his side of the ledger, he lists my transgressions, my iniquity, my sin, my bloodguilt. He sums it up with, “Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight.

David also tallies up God’s side of the ledger: You are right, You are just, You are righteous.

We might be tricked into thinking that a Perfect Being like this wants nothing to do with a sinful creature like you and me. But this is completely wrong! David appeals to God’s unfailing love, and Your great compassion. He lists God’s desire to cleanse, wash, blot out sins, restore, and release from blood-guiltiness.

David said, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And immediately Nathan responded, “The Lord has taken away your sin.”

Sin is all on me! Restoration is all on God!

With this in mind, we learn that the mark of a maturing Christian is not one who never sins, but one who…

  1. …feels a broken heart because of their sin (see Psalm 51:10)
  2. …confesses my sin
  3. …confidently asks for His forgiveness
  4. …helps others who have sinned (v. 13)
  5. …continues to abide in Jesus (vv. 10-12)

God is quick to forgive. Are we equally as quick to ask for His forgiveness?

You can study more of the lessons from the prayers of David:

Saturday In The Psalms—God’s Voice Of Peace

Lord, You have been favorable … You have forgiven … You have covered all their sin. Selah (Psalm 85:1-2).

God’s favor, forgiveness, and covering of sin. Justice would say that God doesn’t have to do any of these things. The people sinned—they violated the holy law—and thus deserve death. But pause and consider this [that’s what Selah means]: God instead shows His favor, deliverance, and forgiveness. All His anger has been turned away!

How do we respond to this? The psalmist asks for restoration and revival. Revival comes when we turn back to God and turn away from our sin, and here we see God initiating revival … making revival possible.

Listen to God’s voice: He speaks peace, which allows us to experience revival. Jesus didn’t say, “Go and sin no more; I do not condemn you.” No! He said, “Neither do I condemn you, now go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

The removal of the wrath of condemnation makes the revival of the soul possible!

Once we hear God’s voice of peace, we can then know His…

  • … mercy
  • … truth
  • … righteousness
  • … goodness
  • … pathway
  • … freedom

God, You are so good! So loving, kind, merciful! Showing Your favor to all who will listen to Your words of peace!

9 Quotes From “Leadership Promises For Every Day”

leadership-promisesLeadership Promises For Every Day is a devotional book for leaders and aspiring leaders. A passage from the Bible is combined with a passage from one of John Maxwell’s outstanding books. It’s an excellent way to start your day! If you haven’t already, check out my review of this book here, and then enjoy a few quotes—

“How many leaders have ruined their lives and damaged the lives of others through immorality? Character has become a crucial issue today precisely because of the myriad of leaders in the political, business, and religious worlds who have fallen morally. No doubt they fall partly because the enemy has targeted leaders for attack. Leaders need to remember that they influence many others beyond themselves; they never fall in a vacuum. They also need to realize that replacing fallen leaders is a slow and difficult process.”

“Our goal among brothers should not be to punish or excommunicate, but to restore. Confrontation is a redemptive act of leadership.”

“Leaders need to respond to individuals based on their needs rather than their faults. … Good leaders do this well. They don’t lead out of a predetermined package of behaviors, but size up every situation and discern what must happen to reach the desired goal.”

“People rise or fall to meet our level of expectations for them. If you express skepticism and doubt in others, they’ll return your lack of confidence with mediocrity. But if you believe in them and expect them to do well, they’ll wear themselves out trying to do their best.”

“Leaders must constantly ask if their plans fit God’s revealed will for them and their organization. Then they must ask if their plans remain relevant to the needs of their mission, their values, their vision, and their long-range objectives. Finally, they need to ask if their plans fit the needs of their culture and time.”

“We need to remember that when people follow behind us, they can only go as far as we go. If our growth stops today, our ability to lead will stop along with it. Neither personality nor methodology can substitute for personal growth. We cannot model what we do not possess. Begin learning and growing today, and watch those around you begin to grow.”

“Servanthood is not about position or skill. It’s about attitude.” 

“People who blame others for their failures never overcome them. They simply move from problem to problem. To reach your potential, you must continually improve yourself, and you can’t do that if you don’t take responsibility for your actions and learn from your mistakes.”

“Laughter breeds resilience. Laughing is the quickest way to get up and get going again when you’ve been knocked down.”

I am always sharing great quotes from John Maxwell and others on Twitter and Tumblr. If you’re not following me there, please do so!

The Counselor Helps Renew & Restore

Straighten up2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us the Holy Spirit-inspired Word of God does four things. Each of these things is also part of the definition of what the Holy Spirit does as our Counselor: teach, reprove, correct, and train.

The word for correct in this verse is the only time this Greek word is used in the Bible. It is the word epanorthosis. The prefix ep- means upon, at, by, across; and the root word -northosis means:

Do you notice the “re” words in this definition? The Holy Spirit wants to come upon us and use His inspired Word to (a) restore us to an upright state, and (b) renew the life and character of Christ in us. This is part of the meaning of being baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Jesus lived on earth as a human being, and as such He did not use His God-ness. As a man Jesus could know God’s thoughts (see Matthew 11:25-26, where Jesus is speaking to God in obvious answer to what the Spirit had been speaking to His mind). Jesus also could know men’s thoughts (see Luke 6:6-9) because He was perfectly attuned to the Holy Spirit.

As Christians, this should be our normal life too.

When we discount our worthiness for The Counselor to restore and renew us—we begin to accept sub-normal as normal, and the normal become miraculous and only obtainable by a few “spiritual giants.”

The Father’s desire is for all of us to bear a strong, unmistakable family likeness to Jesus. Christ relied on The Counselor to tell Him God’s thoughts and men’s thoughts, so we must as well. If you would like to receive all that God has for you, ask Him to baptize you in the Holy Spirit. Then you, too, can enjoy the unbroken fellowship—the restoring and renewing—of The Counselor just as Jesus did.

I will be continuing our series on the Holy Spirit as The Counselor this Sunday, and I would love to have you join us!

Inconceivable

InconceivableThe “therefores” in Scripture always intrigue me. They are a signal that there is a natural conclusion to the words that just came before the therefore, so it’s important to look at both sides.

The prophet Hosea opens his book with these words: “…the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord” (Hosea 1:2). The picture is painted of God’s people acting like a wife that has not only abandoned her husband, but turned to prostitution as well. So the list of things that follow God’s therefore are what we might expect—

  • I will block your path
  • I will take away My grain
  • I will take back My wool
  • I will expose your lewdness
  • I will stop your celebrations
  • I will ruin your vineyards
  • I will punish you (Hosea 2:6-13)

Then here is what I find almost inconceivable: the very next word of the very next verse is therefore again, and God says things that, in my mind, are completely unexpected—

  • I will allure you and speak tenderly to you
  • I will restore our marriage
  • I will remove your stains
  • I will obliterate the past
  • I will betroth you to Me forever
  • I will answer your prayers
  • I will restore your crops
  • I will establish you forever
  • I will cancel your divorce
  • I will call you Mine (2:14-23)

This kind of love is mind-blowingly incomprehensible to me. It is so unexpected, so lavish, so overwhelming! This is absolutely the last thing I would have expected God to say, and yet His love is furious and relentless and boundless!

How could I ever slight such a love?!

Chambers & Murray Quotes

Reckless confidenceSeveral people asked me to share the two quotes I used in my message this morning. I am happy to do so!

“So many of us limit our praying because we are not reckless in our confidence in God. In the eyes of those who do not know God, it is madness to trust Him, but when we pray in the Holy Spirit we begin to realize the resources of God, that He is our perfect heavenly Father, and we are His children.” —Oswald Chambers

“The father so often feels himself too sinful to be a blessing to his child; thus the home becomes a path to destruction rather than to eternal life. But—blessed be God!—what sin destroyed, grace restores. … Let God’s Father-heart and His Father-love be your confidence. As you know and trust Him the assurance will grow that He is fitting you for making your home, in ever-increasing measure, the bright reflection of His own.” —Andrew Murray

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