Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Learning Peace

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:29 (NIV)


Rest for our souls.  

Doesn't that sound utterly delicious?  I'm so craving rest for my soul after a whole month of crashing  into the school year.  As a family we've been coercing teaching the kids to take on a bit more responsibility for getting ready for school, practicing piano, taking care of the house.  We've been trying (desperately, unsuccessfully) to train the dog out of his digging and into a reliable, consistent response to our "come" command.  We've been adapting to increased work demands for both the Mr. and myself.  And, just for fun, I've been painting the exterior of the house.

I am worn.  I am weary.  My heart doesn't feel so gentle or humble.  My soul feels rather ragged.

That is, until I tune in to God.  When I pause my day and look to my Lord for some eternal learning, I find rest.  Sweet, glorious rest.

Did you get a chance to do that today?  I hope and pray that is the case.

We all need that peace, that dose of the heavenly to restore our humanity.  But finding a piece of time—a shred, a mere morsel—for a good dose of God... that is so terribly difficult.

I've learned that I need frequent visual reminders that point me to God.  So I wedge Bible verses in my wallet.  I cram crumbs of Corinthians on the calendar.  I tape tidbits from Timothy near the toilet (yes, it's embarrassing where a fondness for alliteration will lead me...).

This is my quest to subdue all the noise and distraction of this earthly world with God's wisdom, word, and will.

Here is a morsel for you.  Print, post, and ponder.

And as we turn to God's word, we need to give ourselves permission to pause and let his peace wash over us.

Breathe.  Let's release the worries of distractions of this world before we enter the Bible.

Slowly.  A little bit at a time.  Studying one verse carefully can be more powerful than skimming a whole chapter.  Reread and let it soak in.  I  like to mull over words that resonate with me.  Sometimes I memorize bits that give me guidance for guidance and sustenance. 

We all know the saying: in one ear and out the other.  With reading it's in one eye and out the other.  To make it stick, let's revisit our good study habits from our youth.  That might mean writing or thinking or talking through what we've read.  Consider a) where God is in the passage, and b) where this passage fits into our daily lives.  What is the deeper message God has for you (yes, He's talking to you personally!) in this bit of the Bible?

This one is hardest for me.  For years I studied the Bible like a textbook and analyzed it academically.  But I missed a ton.  Then someone encouraged me to read the Bible like a love letter from God, an invitation into a relationship.  I was floored.  God wanted to talk to me about this stuff?  He wanted to help me through it and work on it together?  What a difference it makes to pray to God about what we read in the Bible!  When we pose questions, thank God for insights, pray about how to put his words into our lives—when we do these things something wondrous occurs.  The Living Word lives in us.  It takes root in our hearts and branches out through our actions.  It bears glorious fruit.

It seems only fitting—in this autumn season—to turn over a new leaf and harvest the fruit of your Living Word.  As we open our Bibles, let us open our minds and our hearts to your teaching and your everlasting peace.  Let us find rest for our weary souls in your word.

P.S.  Looking for more Bible verses?  Check out the well VERSEd page of this blog.  Feel free to add your favorites!

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