Friday, November 22, 2019

Ten Biblical Reasons for Rest and Relaxation: Part 2

How have you been doing in penciling in time for rest?  Did you do it? I hope so., if not, why not?

There’s something refreshing about turning off the electronics and simply enjoying what’s going on around us.  Stress seems to melt away, our senses are heightened and we literally become calmer (even without the assistance of pets!).

Last time we left off with Biblical reason #5 for partaking in a period of rest, so we’ll pick up from there.  If you haven’t read part one of this teaching series take a look at it here.

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The Law of Rest

We could favor an argument for taking time off of work, but there is a biblical reason why giving your body and mind a break really works in the process of healing or overall good health.  There are numerous methods and points on the wisdom of rest, however, in this series I’m briefly dealing with what I deem as ten of the most important reasons.

In past teachings (such as Life in God’s Garden), we focused on how favor for mankind was designed into the masterplan of God.  If we look even deeper, we can see how God’s health laws including rest were given to us in creation.

Genesis chapters 1-3 describes how God gave us rules for proper nutrition, exercise, enjoying the outdoors, trusting in Him and observing a time for the body to rest.  Learning from past mistakes, we don’t have to fail at this practice of obeying God as Adam and Eve did. 

Reason 6 – Rest Saves Relationships

“Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 
Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV)

If we haven’t a clue on how to take care of ourselves, how in the world can we possibly care for others as Christ does?  Loving others like ourselves is probably the last thing most of us want to do if we base it on how we treat ourselves. 

I’ve witnessed believers who look like they’ve been through the ringer and are never in a good mood.  Get away from me stinko!  

Their spirit, soul and body reek of things I don’t want near me!  There’s no way I want them to treat (or “love” as the Bible says) me the way they treat themselves.

What’s love got to do with it?

How are you loving others when you feel burned out, tired and need refueling?  If you’re anything like me, when I’m in need of rest I “may” over exaggerate things, get a little irritable, have an outburst or two, become critical minded … maybe … okay probably!

Rest produces soundness, clear thinking, proper attitudes and in general, a nicer person to be around.  Not to make light of the situation, but relationships become much more appealing when sanity is present!

We can love others (neighbors close and far) as Christ has loved us when doing whatever it takes to literally get some shut-eye and rest.

Reason 7 – Rest Restores Visibility

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
(Ephesians 2:10 NKJV)

When God created mankind, grace or favor was part of the creation package for living a blessed life. However, sin changed how favor was given to man from that point, changing how our “image” reflected His.

In order for us to carry out God’s original commands from the Garden of Eden given to Adam, a restoration of workmanship (purpose and design of man) had to be done.   This is where the cross of Jesus and redemption becomes significant for how Christians function in this world.

When a person accepts Jesus into their life believing He is the Only Begotten Son of God, who Redeems mankind of sin, they literally become new creations as in the beginning of creation.  Righteousness (a right standing with God) is restored. No longer are they lost beings, but visible to God as His sons and daughters through Christ qualifying them for active duty.

God’s grace activates Divine Favor for creating and doing things that will ultimately build His Kingdom by drawing people to Him.  This salvation favor makes us fit and ready to perform good works.

A well-rested person can handle more responsibilities, because they think more clearly and act instead of react to situations.  When we follow the rest command, we may look visibly rested to the world, but even more, the Lord sees how we followed His rules concerning rest. 

Rested people are more productive, or in the spiritual realm “fruitful” in their work and calling.  Seeing how obeying God comes foremost in living the life He ordained will cause a person to grow in His grace and favor every time!  You have to admit, it’s pretty hard not to see when someone has the favor of God activated in their life!  

King Solomon shared this wisdom from God in Proverbs for us to use as a guide for living a favored life.

“My child, never forget the things I have taught you. 
Store my commands in your heart.  If you do this,
you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying. 

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you.
Tie them around your neck as a reminder. 
Write them deep within your heart. 
The you will find favor with both God and people,
and you will earn a good reputation.” (Proverbs 3:1-4 NLT)

Forming a reputation happens whether we want it to or not, so why not form a good one that visibly shows the favor of God is working in your life?

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you
which path to take (in making wise decisions for your life).”
 (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT emphasis mine)

When we do as God commands (resting is just one of them) and seek His will, it shows that we trust His judgement even in times where we lack understanding.  A rested soul is more confident and likely to be bold in stepping out of their comfort zone in walking the path on the good works road, which will always get God’s attention and those around you as well.

“For we are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago (to be our way of life).” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT emphasis NRSV)

Reason 8 – Rest Leads to Worship

“Therefore, while the promise of entering His rest is still open,
let us take care that none of you should seem to have 
failed to reach it.” (Hebrews 4:1 NRSV)

There have been things that have happened in my life that brought me closer to the Lord.  At times it was out of desperation, but surprisingly many of those relationship moments were based on the magnificence of His Creative works.

I can remember years ago when I first began spending hours outside sitting on the top of our picnic table with my feet pressed firmly on the bench.  It was during my graduate studies that I found the scenic view so beautiful and calming, but it also took me to a place of worship that I had not known.

Every direction I looked the hand of God was visible and yet each setting was extremely different.  Corn fields, vast woods, open roads, and abandoned train tracks surrounded the four corners of our dwelling allowing us to experience the wonder of Creation through the hand of God and mankind.

Those daily quiet times caused my faith and relationship with the Lord to grow.  Entering into His rest allowed communication that gave me clarity and direction.

Leading worship in church became more meaningful and everything I saw became a lesson in teaching, preaching, writing or testimony of how awesome God is.  Allowing myself to rest under the open skies I marveled at His handiwork and praise flowed more freely from my lips.

Both the Old and New Testaments give us direction on the validity of rest, but many fail to see how it affects their relationship with God and His favor.  Failing to obey the commands of God will have consequences because of disobedience.

Believers in Christ and His eternal work on the cross, are able to enter into rest here on Earth as well as in Heaven.  We are given permission to cease or stop our labor from work as God did His and are to make the effort to do the same so we are not disobedient. (see Hebrews 4:9-11)

Taking time to rest is more than getting a break from work; it’s maintaining a special relationship with our Creator, Savior and God by worshiping Him with obedience.  In turn our bodies are refreshed, restored and healing can occur igniting more reasons to worship and serve an Awesome God. 

When we are privileged to enter a resting mode, we get to experience something God enjoyed. He graciously shared rest with us because He knows how the human body works and what it needs to be rejuvenated.

Giving us the command to rest was a means of love, goodness, kindness and yes, favor for His creation (that would be you and I).  Spiritual, emotional and physical rest will cause the way you worship God to change dramatically in your favor, because it’s something that pleases Him.

God’s Truth Overrides Anything

A medical and psychological study published in 2017 by the Harvard Business Review came to the conclusion that humans were designed for “periods of rest, silence, and deep thought” because it’s a process needed to restore the nervous system.  Although their facts may fall into place in some areas, the truth of God overrides anything man may discover.

Rest was built into the creation design as a pattern for us to follow.  God said to do it and that settles any questioning of the matter.

There is yet another thing we cannot overlook in the facilitating of proper rest on a regular basis.  Making sure to get proper sleep definitely encourages healing in the body, but unless we cast our cares on the Lord that “rest” isn’t sufficient to cover the mental aspect of anxiety, worry, stress, doubt and fear. 

We can be confident that in turning over our problems to Christ that He will gladly receive them, because He loves and cares for us.  Isn’t that a benefit of salvation – saving us from the results of sin that bring us down?

Job said it well in how he responded when his whole world was turned upside down in tragedy.

“You (Lord God) have granted me life and favor,
and Your care has preserved my spirit.” (Job 10:12 NKJV)

The Bible tells us that when we put our trust in God, our strength to handle situations is renewed.  We won’t get tired or fret even during adverse circumstances because our minds are fixed on Christ and His abilities to turn things around.

“But the people who trust (hope in; wait on) the LORD will become strong again.  They will rise up as an eagle in the sky (with wings like eagles);  they will run and not need rest (grow weary); 
they will walk and not become tired (faint).” (Isaiah 40:31 EXB)

During times of fellowship, focus on the Creator and not problems.  Learn to rest as in sitting quietly to hear from God, then to bed for sleep as an act of obedience, trust and faith knowing that your life has been granted God’s favor of protection.

“I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone,
O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8 NKJV)

“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will
lie down and your sleep will be sweet.” (Psalm 3:24 NKJV)

This Week’s Challenge:
Do’s and Don’ts of Bed Rest

There’s no denying that the busier we are the more our bodies crave quiet and rest.  This week’s challenge is to change the way we go about getting literal sleep so that our bodies can restore, refresh and renew itself naturally as God intended.

One thing that we really need to change is our thinking on the amount of sleep needed and the time to call it a night.  This is where we’ll set our focus on changing our ways in preparing for rest so that our bodies can do what they were designed to do in the first place. 

It’s back to the basics with some simple do’s and don’ts! 

1 - Don’t exercise at night, it stimulates the body and triggers the brain to get active.

2 - Don’t break out those late-night goodies.  Restrict eating and drinking in the evening, because the body will be busy processing and breaking down the food while you are trying to sleep. 

You may sleep, but the body will not have rested into that deep sleep stage (called NREM not REM stage) where the body does most of its restoration of damage that occurred during the day.  Although you may be sleeping your brain and inner systems are really active in fortifying immune systems, building tissues, cells, bone, muscle or healing something that may have happened during the course of your regular activities.

The body needs 8-12 hours of no food in order to rebuild, restore, rejuvenate and renew itself naturally.  Here’s where breaking the “fast” in the morning comes into play and getting those 6-9 hours of sleep really matter.

3 - Don’t get on the phone or social media to catch-up on what’s happening in everyone else’s life. This challenge is to restore our relationship with God, ourselves and others so that favor through obedience will be given.

4 - Don’t sleep with any lights on in the room including a night light.  Clock radios, phones or any type of “light noise” interferes with the brain being able to make serotonin for sleep and it increases the risk for diseases.

Serotonin is an internal clock and vital to the body as it stimulates the sleep/wake cycle.  It’s been referred to as the “happy” chemical because it is mainly responsible for the mental or psychological part of humans.

When it is active at the proper levels Serotonin helps correct depression, mood swings, appetite or digestive problems, memory loss, sexual functions and adds to overall mental wellness.  So, if you need a source of light for getting up at some point in the night, wear a face mask to cover your eyes when sleeping to block out any light.

1 - Do get in the habit of going to bed before midnight.  These hours are best for restoring the physical body and resetting the thinking pattern.

2 - Do refrain from deep conversations before going to bed.  Quarreling or talking through problems have to be silenced in prayer together.  We want the quiet process to encourage every “body” and soul in the house to rest.

Let’s start by really concentrating on practicing these 7 things.

1 – Shut down all media at least 3 hours before you go to bed. 
2 – Finish all eating including snack and drinking by 7 p.m.
3 – Turn off most of the lights in the house to set a tone of rest.
4 – Wash-up, brush teeth, etc. signals the brain to prepare for sleep.
5 – Find a place to sit, read or journal letting your body slow down.
6 – Pray and meditate on the blessings and favor of the day. 
7 – Give thanks with a grateful heart for what God has done for you.  It will lengthen the days of your life! Then go to sleep! 

Friends, there’s no other way to put it than to say, if we want to grow in God’s favor then we have to start obeying.  Let’s go back to the beginning and fashion our time of rest like Jesus did.

Okay I’m going to call it a day for this session.  I know you’re anticipating the final two reasons, but they will come in due time! (sorry … had to go there.)

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  
We are truly blessed to be able to call you our friends!

Until next time, give thanks for the favor of rest!

“I have blessed with favor a day for rest.”
- Jesus Christ

*Unless noted, the names in articles are changed to protect the individual(s) privacy.   
Note: When used, the words satan or devil are not capitalized deliberately, because we give him no place in our lives. 

Disclaimer: Article information is not meant to be used as treatment for mental or physical issues, but geared toward spiritual awareness.            

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