Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Tree of Life: Moving from a Place of Rest

Missio Lux set aside the first week of January as a time of prayer dedication for the New Year 2011. We wrote a prayer booklet for each day and gathered every morning from 6 to 8 (those who could make it) culminating in a Concert of Prayer Saturday morning where we all gathered to dedicate the year to Jesus.

It was interesting to see what happened each time that we gathered together. We would often begin with some words of praise, but very quickly the room became almost silent as we experienced the peace of the Lord’s presence.

Tuesday night Healing Prayer gathered and when we went into prayer, the same thing happened. Some verbal praises and then a calm descended on us where we all sat in the presence and peace that the Lord gave to us. When we began to process it at the end, almost every single person had received a direction about REST from the Lord.

Saturday was much the same. It is clear that 2011 is to be a year of learning to “Move from a place of Rest.”

I have been reading Exodus this week and when I came to Exodus 14:13-14, I knew once again that I was to pay close attention to Moses’ instruction to the Israelites: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

This morning I read in the book, Blessing Your Spirit Day 4 which starts with the exact same passage and continues to state, “Your Father intends for you to rest at peace in Him as He takes care of your enemies. I bless you with an unafraid heart that will lead you to the place of peace where God will fight for you and you will not have to fight. You will stand or move forward doing the things God has called you to do, and He will fight your battles” (page 10).

The theme of rest, even in the midst of the battles of life, continues to come forward to us. I know that we all love the concept of resting while the Lord does the work, but we need to ask the question, “How do we practically walk this out in the 21st century when life demands on us are so high?”

I am still processing it so I don’t claim to have all the answers but these are my thoughts so far.

In creation, the Lord ordered the day to begin at evening. God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day (Gen 1:3-5).

So, it seems that God set us up to work from rest. Our day begins with sleep. It ends with work. This is the exact opposite of how we live. We start our day with work, and end with rest.

The opposite ways are a priority clash to the Lord, I believe. I think it takes place in the differences of life approaches through the Greek system of life versus the Hebrew system that the Lord developed.

The Greek system teaches us that our success depends on our activity, or work. The Hebrew system acknowledges that the Lord is the One to bring the success; that He is actively working to bring about his full purposes.

Job 33 tells us “God speaks again and again…in dreams, in visions of the night when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in bed.” We need to become more aware of how God works in us, even while we are in a deep sleep.

Secondly, it is when we nurture our inner life and spend intentional time with Jesus that we find that our day has a sense of rest surrounding it because we spent it first with the one that breathes life into us. Taking time to be present with the One who Created us and knows our needs brings us life and rest; no matter what takes place around us.

Another thought that I have surrounds the posture of how we live. Do we have the mindset that “It all depends on me…..if I don’t__________, then we won’t __________.” Fill in the blanks: if I don’t work 14 hours a day, then I will lose my job. If I don’t make sure that my kids have their homework done, then they won’t succeed in school. If I don’t exercise every day, then my body will fall apart.

What is your area where you are filling in the blanks? Last fall I was planting tulips in our back yard. The soil is very rocky and as I pulled out one rock after another, I asked the Lord to “show me the rocks in my life.” The next rock I pulled out was 20 times bigger than any other rock. I thought, What is it?” It took a couple of days to understand my rock.

It was the mindset regarding Missio Lux. I sensed the Lord saying that “I had misplaced responsibility. It isn’t my job to make Missio Lux succeed, it was his responsibility and the more that I acknowledged that, the more we would move forward.”

This was so freeing. I am now able to say to the Lord, "What is your solution to this challenge?” and put it in his hands. Of course, I am not there all the way, it takes a long time to break a mindset and habits, but I continue to make progress. I am actually enjoying doing less and stepping back and watching the Lord do far more than I could ever imagine.

Another area where we can move in a place of rest is in our identity. Who are we? We are beloved children of the King! As we live more and more from the reality of our true standing in the family of God, we are able to recognize the great resources at our fingertips! We have the name of Jesus as our authority, the power of the Holy Spirit as our empowerment, and the invitation to pray for Heaven to come to earth in the Lord’s Prayer.

Jesus told us that we are to pray for the “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” If Jesus commands us to pray this; he intends to answer. We can pray for anything that we know heaven carries to be released to our challenges on earth: health, forgiveness and reconciliation, unity and peace, abundant provision, continual presence of the Lord, light and freedom. The list goes on as we are invited to partner with the King to see heaven come to earth through our prayers.

2011: Moving from a Place of Rest:

As we realize that our day starts with rest and ends with work

As we practice intentional time spent with the One who Created us which brings us life and rest

As we live in a posture of recognizing that the Lord is the One who will make things happen

As we stand in our identity as beloved children of the King where we are invited to bring heaven to earth in partnership with him!

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