Welcome to Restoration City’s Summer Sabbath.
Today is a huge gift to our church from God. He’s led us to lay down our schedules, lay down our commitments and simply sit at His feet and receive from Him. The goal of this time isn’t to complete a devotional. The goal of this time is to be with Jesus and to hear His voice. When this guide is helpful in that, use it. When it’s not, follow the Spirit’s leading in your life. Either way, I pray you encounter God in a really unique way today.
Our souls are a lot like boats. When you turn off the engine on a boat, it doesn’t stop moving immediately. It takes time to decelerate and come to a complete stop. My guess is your soul is still moving as you’re reading this. There are things on your mind. Maybe today isn’t going the way you had hoped. Maybe you’ve already fallen into sin today and you’re tempted to write the whole day off as a result.
Wherever you are now, take some time to decelerate. Shut your phone off. Sit silently for a few minutes. You don’t need to do anything, pray anything, think about anything or say anything. Let silence and stillness work into your soul. As you sit, things are probably going to pop into your mind – if they are things to do, jot them down in your notebook. You can come back to them later. For now, just write it down and forget it.
Silence and stillness were regular components of Jesus’ life here on Earth.
In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. Simon and his companions searched for Him; they found Him, and said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.”
– Mark 1:35-37
Jesus was a busy guy. People would hunt Him down while He was off praying – they needed things from Him, they had things for Him to do, He was in demand. But He also knew He needed time with His Father more than He needed to fulfill those demands. Jesus didn’t have time to rest. Jesus made time to rest. He woke up early, snuck away and spent time with the Father.
If Jesus needed that space, how much more do we?
Take a few minutes to pray and ask God for the grace to slow down. Ask Him to slow the boat of your life down so you can hear His voice today.
Rest cultivates gratitude.
When we neglect rest, one of the first casualties in our lives is gratitude. Thankfulness erodes and stress, worry, anxiety and fear start to creep in and fill the vacuum. All of the sudden, we’re more aware of what’s wrong with our lives than what’s right. Grumbling and complaining replace receiving and rejoicing.
As we rest, we recapture gratitude.
I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart;
I will tell of all Your wonders.
I will be glad and exult in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
– Psalm 9:1-2
King David wrote those words thousands of years ago. He was acutely aware of how much He had to be grateful for in His life. He had seen God do wonders. His joy in God was rooted in gratefulness to God.
When was the last time you reminded yourself of the wonders You have seen God work in your own life? Take some time and write out the ways God has blessed you in the last week, in the last month and over the last year. Think about answered prayers, new insights into the gospel, ways He’s molding your character, times He’s fought for you, unexpected blessings and little evidences of His grace and provision in your life.
If you have a notebook with you, start writing. Make a list. Be specific. Don’t rush through this.
Look back over that list and spend time praising God just like David did in Psalm 9. We’re not trying to forget the hard stuff but we are reminding ourselves of the grace we’ve received even in difficult seasons.
It’s only when we’re aware of just how good God has been to us that we can truly rest.
If the trail of our gratitude doesn’t lead us to the gospel, we’ve missed the most significant thing of all.
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
– Colossians 1:13-14
Our sins are forgiven. We’ve been purchased. King Jesus has given us life that will never end. We once walked in darkness but we now we are children of light.
Take a minute to read all of Colossians 1 in your Bible.
The words we just read aren’t some philosopher’s opinions. They are promises from God. We don’t want to just read His Word. We want to pray through how that Word speaks into the current circumstances of our lives. Here are some questions you might want to consider:
- Where are you in need of “knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding?” (Col. 1:9)
- Where are you currently struggling to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord”? (Col. 1:10) Confess specific sins to God and receive the forgiveness that is ours though the gospel.
- Verse 17 says all things are held together by Jesus. What are some specific places you need Him to be working in your life; places where you need help holding everything together?
- How conscious are you on a daily basis of “Christ in you, the hope of glory”? (Colossians 1:27) Are you living like this is true?
These questions are meant to prompt you as you meditate on Chapter 1 of Colossians. But don’t feel constrained by these questions – respond to the text however God is leading you.
We want to end where we started – back in Mark 1.
He said to them, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby,so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.”
– Mark 1:38
Don’t miss the significance of this. Jesus comes away from His time with His Father with a renewed sense of clarity about what God is calling Him to do in life. He doesn’t simply respond to the demands of the crowd. He doesn’t even go where people expected Him to go. He goes where His Father is sending Him and He does what His Father is telling Him to do.
Rest renews clarity on our mission.
In this last section, we want to spend time hearing from God and asking Him to speak vision into our lives. This isn’t so much about asking Him to bless our plans but much more about asking Him to fill us with passion for His plans.
This fall is going to be amazing for all of us. We’re going to have the privilege of seeing a church come to life. We’re going to celebrate baptisms as a community and, by God’s grace, see people transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. There’s so much ahead for us this fall.
What is God asking you to do? What’s His vision for you in this upcoming season?
Spend some time dreaming, thinking and praying about what these next few months could look like if you lived in the power of “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Feel free to linger with the Lord or jump into the rest of your day. Whatever you do, I hope it’s restful. I hope you enjoy it. I hope it fills your soul with life.