Menu Close

Rest // Praise & Shine

Often I find it hard to rest, feeling like there are always things to be done. Even on vacation, I find myself filling every spare minute with activity. Can you relate? Overworking ourselves by working too hard, too much, or too long can have negative physical and mental effects. Even the creator of our universe took time to rest. Who are we to think we can do more than God?

God values rest so much he made it a commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day to set it apart as holy.” Exodus 20:8. The Sabbath for the Jewish people is an observance and abstinence from work that lasts from Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown. It extends to your whole family, workers, and even animals. God even commanded the land to rest in the seventh year. Exodus 23:11.

In preparation for the Sabbath, Jewish people will do all their shopping chores and cooking before sundown on Friday. This way, they don’t even need to cook on the Sabbath!

A day of rest allows time to recover, reduce stress and build deeper relationships with our loved ones. I’m not suggesting that you follow Jewish law; however, clearly, God intended us to rest and reflect at least one day a week. It doesn’t even need to be Saturday or Sunday.

Many of us have a couple of days off from work each week. It could be as simple as setting aside a day off to rest and spend time with family. Plan ahead, pre-cook your meals, and let the dishes go for a day. I promise they will be there the next day! Turn off your phone and the TV and spend quality time with your loved ones. Play games, read a book, tell stories, and spend time with the Lord in prayer. We will feel refreshed and renewed for the week ahead.

God knew what he was doing. He didn’t need to rest. He was setting the example of how we should spend our Sabbath. Set apart a day for rest and honor the Lord.

Faith Like a Child // Praise & Shine

As a father, it is incredibly encouraging to see my children’s faith grow. Sometimes I even wonder if my faith is lacking in comparison their own. If we learn from our children and embrace these qualities in our lives, have faith like a child, we will learn and grow, and will see the kingdom of heaven rise again in our lives.

Rejection // Praise & Shine

Rejection can hurt deeply; however, one rejection is not a projection of future failures. We shouldn’t ignore the pain of rejection, but we also can’t allow rejection to be a permanent hindrance. We must choose to move past our source of rejection without allowing it to shout us down.

That rejection has already stolen enough from your present, don’t let it affect your future too. 

No, that book proposal wasn’t a good fit for that publisher. But that doesn’t mean you can’t write. You don’t have to go with that publisher, or any publisher, to be an effective writer. 

No, that friend didn’t stay in your life. But that doesn’t mean that you aren’t loved or capable of meaningful relationships. 

No, you didn’t get that job opportunity. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be other interested companies. 

God always has our best interests in mind. Failure, rejection, and unanswered prayers simply mean God has bigger, better plans in store. 

So replace those negative thoughts that are hindering you. Replace them with praise for God, who loves you, provides, and will deliver you. 

Perseverance // Praise & Shine

The life of a sea turtle is a fascinating journey. The female will spend close to 30 years at sea before returning to the beaches where her life began. With her powerful flippers, she excavates an egg chamber in the sand, depositing a clutch of approximately 100 eggs, and then covers the pit with sand before returning to the sea. 

The eggs are alone and face many risks. The nest may be flooded by the tides causing heavy mortality. Eggs face the possibility of being crushed or consumed when predators raid the nest. 

After at least seven weeks, the hatchlings emerge from their nest. Each hatchling is less than 2 inches long and only weighs about one ounce. As soon as they emerge, the hatchlings make their way to the ocean. The journey is long and treacherous. Until they are in the water, hatchlings are at a high risk of being eaten by predators. Once the hatchlings reach the sea, they begin a journey that will lead them across the entire Atlantic Ocean. 

There may come a time in our lives when things look bleak with a lack of progress. Before we emerge, we may feel stuck under the sands of our circumstances, like we can’t do anything. Everything may seem dark. Maybe we have already faced many trials, just like the hatchlings before they emerged. But we must persevere. We can’t stop there. We must stay hopeful in those times because once we emerge our path will become clear. 

In the Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell, there comes a time when we reach our lowest point. We can go no further as the person we used to be. It is at this point that we are forced to change. To become greater than our past self and to emerge stronger and new. 

When the hatchlings emerge, their direction and purpose is clear. When we are faithful in the process, we must believe we are moving towards a definite goal, even though sometimes we are unable to see movement or direction. God has a wonderful future for us. “For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. All we must do is be faithful in His process and believe that God’s promises will be fulfilled in His time. 

“…consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” James 1:2-3

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12