Why God Commands Us to Rest – And Why We Need to Listen!

Why God commands us to rest - and why we need to listen

Our world puts so much pressure on us to work harder, faster and squeeze more in to our already overloaded lives. Many of us are feeling more and more exhausted. Many of us are looking for an alternative lifestyle. Many of us are seeking ways of having lives which reflect more of a balance between busyness and rest.

Do you feel the world breathing heavily nowadays? Do you hear the sound of panting? Do you hear that exhausted gasp of a world which is permanently out of breath?

Many people face exhaustion as a perpetual state of existence. Our quality of life suffers as a result.

We have less time for people – how many friends have you got on your list that you have been meaning to get in touch with for ages?

Our marriages suffer – we spend less quality time together, our sex lives are impaired by our constant exhaustion and many couples are feeling the strain.

Our health can suffer as we push ourselves harder and harder.

And the world gasps on, because it feels like the controls on the treadmill have been overridden. We can’t find the deceleration buttons anymore.

And yet there is a way of slowing down. Our lives were never designed to be lived flat out. The Creator of our world designed the perfect rhythm to live by – a perfect balance of busyness and rest.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Jesus – Matthew 11:28, The Message

But what does this look like in practice?

How can we manage to make this work in our 21st century workaholic culture?

How can we get back to the simplicity of rest when the world keeps going on and on and on…?

Well, Keri Wyatt Kent in her book Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity gives us some key ways of getting our lives more in balance and to live taking God’s command to rest more seriously.

She uses her experiences as a journalist and retreat leader to give us insights into how she has managed to put the brakes on, slow down and what simple boundaries and practices she has engaged to help her to do this.

This is not a book based on lofty theory. It is peppered with real life stories of how different people, reflecting a variety of contexts and pressures, manage to live in Sabbath Simplicity. How they manage to rest despite their careers, despite their young family, despite the reality of their lives. She even addresses the issue of how if only one person in the family wants to honour the Sabbath and how this can be integrated with the rest of the family’s lifestyles.

She is thoughtful about how our Sabbath living becomes a practice. Not some legalistic list of rules, but a philosophy to live by which takes on a different shape for different people. She invites us to look at six aspects of Sabbath – resting, reconnecting, revising, pausing, playing, and praying.

“offers the antidote or cure for the symptoms of our hurried adrenaline-overloaded, task-oriented culture.”

Her call to Sabbath living is a welcome invitation – isn’t full of more to-do’s or an overload of guilt for ways in which we are failing. She simply takes us by the hand and leads us on a journey to reflect on our lifestyles and make simple steps which will provide the space to rest and reconnect with God and our loved ones on a regular basis.

To listen to that simple command of God and live that fullness of life that He promised us – a life of quality not quantity.

Shared this post with Simply Helping Him, We are THAT FamilyRaising Homemakers, Rachel WojnarowskiRaising ArrowsA Wise Woman Builds Her HomeJenni Mullinix, Christian Mommy Blogger, Simply Helping Him, Womanhood with Purpose and Deep Roots at Home.

Inductive Bible Study – Observation Part 2

Inductive Bible Study - Observation

 

Many of us struggle to study the Bible ourselves. We stick with safe bits that are easy to understand and avoid the harder passages or books too daunted to delve into them on our own.

Inductive Bible Study is a great method of studying the Bible for yourself – you don’t need books written by professors of theology or a great bible study teacher taking you through each verse. It equips you to understand and interpret the Bible, to hear God speak, and to grow through knowing how He wants us to live.

Last week, in Inductive Bible Study – Observation Part 1, we explored the technique of marking key words and how, by marking our Bibles with simple colours and symbols, we notice key themes, repeated phrases and make our Bibles more easily searchable.

In this post we are going to look at the key details we need to observe each time we read a passage and by asking simple questions each time we unlock the meaning of what the Bible is saying to us.

1. The questions to ask

Every time we read the Bible we need to develop the habit of asking questions about the text. These questions give us a thorough understanding of what we are reading and ensure that we are then able to accurately interpret the passage.

The questions we need to ask are –

Who – Who is speaking. Who is the writer speaking to? Who is the passage about? Who are the main characters?

What – What is the passage about? What do we learn from what happens in the passage? What is the passage telling us to do?

When – When do the events in the passage happen? Are there past or future events referred to?

Where – Where did the events happen? In the case of the epistles, where is the letter being written from? Where is the letter being sent to?

Why – What are the reasons for what happens? Why is something said or mentioned? And why is it being said to this person, or group of people? Why does it happen in this place or time?

How – How are the things going to take place? How is a point illustrated?

We will not always find answers to every question as there are so many different types of literature in the Bible. However, in Inductive Bible Study we approach every passage asking these questions to delve deeper and understand the passage thoroughly.

After you have marked your passage as we outlined in our previous post, I suggest that you use a notebook and jot down the details you discover by answering these questions. Usually marking the text gives us a much clearer view of the passage to then approach these questions.

 2. Number lists

Either in your notebook or in your Bible itself, the next step is to number any lists which occur in the text. For example, let’s look at a verse from Ephesians 1 –

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. Ephesians 1:18

Paul is praying the following things for the Ephesians –

1. That the eyes of their heart may be enlightened

2. That they may know what is the hope of God’s calling

3. That they may know what the riches of the glory of God’s inheritance is in the saints

4. That they may know what is the surpassing greatness of God’s power is to those who believe

Immediately we have broken down a complicated verse into its individual points to understand exactly what Paul is praying here. Then we are able to look at each prayer request separately and reflect on what this means to us.

3. Summarise the theme of the passage

A good practice is to write the main theme of the passage down in a short sentence.

In the The New Inductive Study Bible, which I recommend using if you want to do Inductive Bible Study regularly, there are no pre-written headings in the Bible text, but there are gaps at the start of each chapter which enables us to write our own heading, summarising the main theme of that chapter.

There are also charts at the end of each book of the Bible to insert each title next to the chapter number, so you have a simple chart summarising the structure of the whole book. In these charts you are also able to add other details such as the author of the book, the date when it was written and what are the main key words of the book.

Observation in Inductive Bible Study helps us to gain such a well-rounded thorough understanding of a Bible passage through small easy to follow steps. This gives us a great foundation to move on to the next two parts of the Inductive Bible Study method – Interpretation and Application.

If you are interested in Inductive Bible Study I would highly recommend the Inductive Study Bible – it contains a great guide at the beginning, all the charts and helps you need to follow this study method and extra wide margins for making notes next to the Bible text itself.

Shared this post with The Modest Mom Blog

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