by Rev. Chris Smith
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters.” Psalm 23:2
In our busy, driven, work consumed society, the idea of rest may be thought of as overrated. For many of us, even when we say we are resting, our minds are still working – busily anticipating what we need to do next. Even those who are able to take time off to walk along sunny beaches, bask in the sun, feel warm, soft sand against the soles of their feet – even as they walk along the sea shore, their minds are still busy, wondering, some worrying, some anticipating.
I saw a wonderful cartoon in the news paper once – an on looker observed a family sitting on the beach, the mother, father and son were all lying in lounge chairs, sun glasses on, sipping a cool drink. The caption above the on-lookers head was, “wow, it must be nice to be so relaxed not a care in the world…” However, above the mother’s head was written, “Did I remember to pack the right outfit…” above the father’s head was written, “I’ve got tons of emails to answer when I get back to the office,” and above the son’s head was written, “I’ve got to get back to the hotel room and read my text messages!”
Body on vacation, but the mind still running, still worrying, still moving, not resting. Medical science supports that fact that rest is one of the critical elements in the healing process. Rest of body, rest of mind, rest of spirit. Jesus himself took time to rest, pray and renew his being. Yet we as Christians have not embraced the power and the importance of true rest.
Consider this anecdote written by an unknown author on satan’s tactics:
Satan called a worldwide convention of demons. In his opening address he said,
“We can’t keep Christians from going to church. We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth.
“We can’t even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their savior. Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken.
“So let them go to their churches; let them have their covered dish dinners, but steal their time, so they don’t have time to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.
“This is what I want you to do,” said the devil.
“Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!”
“How shall we do this?” his demons shouted.
“Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered….
“Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles.
“Keep them from spending time with their children.
“As their families fragment, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work!
“Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice.
“Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted.
“Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God’s creation. “Keep them busy, busy, busy!”
“And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences.
“Crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Jesus. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause.
It was quite a plan!
The demons went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busier and more rushed, going here and there. Having little time for their God or their families.
Having no time to tell others about the power of Jesus to change lives.
The question is…has the devil been successful in his schemes?
You be the judge.
Does “BUSY” mean: B-eing U-nder S-atan’s Y-oke?
Are we too busy to hear the voice of God? What are we busy doing? Some are busy at work. They work all day, bring their work home at night and think about their work as they sleep. When they awake in the morning, their first thought is work.
Some are busy in the church. Busy attending meetings. Busy performing ministry tasks. Busy on this committee and that committee – busy, busy, busy. But have they spent time feeding their spirit?
Some are busy in the mind. Busy worrying. Busy lamenting over the past. Busy trying to figure out who is doing what when and where. Busy putting themselves and or other people down. Busy trying to figure out what so and so meant when they said this or that, busy tending to other people’s business instead of minding their own busy, busy, busy!
But the psalmist declared that the Lord makes him lie down in green pastures. In other words, the Lord gives him rest. Now the wording of this will escape you if you just whiz through it. But think about it, the psalmist didn’t say, he “lets me” lie down. The Psalmist didn’t say, He “suggests” that I lie down. The Psalmist said, “He makes me lie down.”
Sometimes God has to make us lie down. How does He do it? Sometimes he’ll make us lie down through illness. There are some of us that won’t stop running until we have to. Some of us will be sick as a dog and will still push ourselves to keep going as if the world will stop spinning on it’s axis is we are not there. Understand, if you can’t be there, the beat will go! One day, you won’t be there and someone else will come along and carry on the work that has to be done.
Sometimes he makes us lie down through situations and circumstances. By that I mean, sometimes the Lord allows things to come into our lives that we can’t fix no matter how hard we try. There are some things that only God himself can handle. No matter how hard you try to work it out, scheme it out, negotiate it out, figure it out, there are some things that you won’t be able to fix, to change, to make better – you will have to turn it over to God and let Him work it out.
Sometimes he makes us lie down in the midst of the storm. Remember, Jesus was sleeping in the back of the boat when a storm arose and the disciples anxiously rushed to get him up and said, “Master the tempest is raging – carest thou not that we parish, how can’st thou lie asleep?” But Jesus understood something that the disciples did not – the winds and the waves obey His will – Sometimes the Lord will allow storms to enter and to rage in our lives and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. So He makes us lie down, look up to heaven, be still and know that He is God and wait for Him to say, “peace be still.”
Consider also that the Lord makes us to lie down in “green pastures.” Farmers know that in order for crops to grow, for pastures to be green, they have to be fertilized. Some of the best fertilizer is manure. Sometimes, we have to endure some “manure” so to speak in our lives, so that our pastures can blossom, grow and flourish.
The hard stuff, some negative stuff, some painful stuff, some disappointing stuff, some discouraging stuff, some stuff we of our own accord would never have anything to do with, every now and then God allows this kind of “stuff” to enter our lives. After we have struggled a while, after we’ve wrestled a while, like Jacob who wrestled with the angel all night long… after we’ve given it our all, the Lord makes us lie down and when we look around, the pasture is green.
For our pastures to be green, we have to endure some “stuff,” that makes us rich, and productive and a blessing to others. Sometimes God makes us lie down in the midst of some difficult, challenging, seemingly hopeless situations and turns it around and makes it flourish and blossom like a dessert producing a rose.
If you don’t have time to spend with your family you are too busy. If your children have to set an appointment to talk to you, then you are too busy. If you can’t sleep at night because your mind is so filled with the clutter and stuff of the day, of the past, of anticipatory fear of the future – then you are too busy. But if you will turn your soul over to the Lord, He will cause you to lie down, to rest in Him, to learn how to have peace in the midst of the storm.
God’s peace instructs your mind and your soul to know that He’s got everything under control even when it looks like chaos is dominating. God is calling you to rest in Him today. He is the Good Shepherd who cares for you, nurtures you, loved you so much that he gave his life for you. Won’t you allow Him to shepherd your soul and give you some rest?
Post a comment or send me an email at Shepastor1@hotmail.com
Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,