Walking along a narrow path in the tropical forest we often visit for a Sunday walk, under the radiant early-morning African sun, I notice a magnificent cactus and stop to take a closer look. The dark-green rubbery leaves are fat and oval and interspersed with large pointed thorns. In contrast to the feisty exterior, tender blooms emerge from the tips of some leaves. Shades of yellow and an intricate design make these lovely flowers dazzle. How like Jesus’ presence after a thorny stretch of life’s journey. Just like a flower appearing in the most unexpected circumstances, He reassures me of His love and care.1
When life feels like a tiny, windowless room whose four walls are closing in, you can create a window of escape. As you read and meditate on My Word, as you believe My promises and claim them as your own, you open a window to the spiritual realm where wonderful things await you. The warm sunshine of My love will melt away the tension.
How often do we finally reach a state of peaceful contentment and then wish we could hang out a sign that says, “Do not disturb”?
Of course we can’t prevent disturbances or stressful situations, but when they come, the Bible says God can give us peace inside. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”1 If we turn to Jesus, He will give us peace. If we are spending time talking with Him in prayer, reading His words, or even just thinking about Him, the Bible says the reward is peace.
Oh, how divinely sweet it is to come into the secret of His presence and abide in His pavilion!
—David Brainerd (1718–1747), missionary to the Native Americans
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.
Today was perfect!I t wasn’t a perfectly lazy day, or perfect in terms of accomplishments, or without problems. Still, it was so perfect from start to finish that I now feel compelled to retrace my steps and try to figure out what made it that way. Maybe I can make it happen again.
When you have so much to do, slowing things down and taking time to meditate, getting your mind off the work at hand and onto Jesus could be the last thing you feel like doing. Even if you try, you may find that “resting in Jesus” is often easier said than done. Yet He tells us, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. … Learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”1
The year had been full of events, deadlines, accomplishments. I was working hard teaching English in a private school, as well as tutoring from home. Simultaneously I was working on a diploma in Russian Philology and a Cambridge Proficiency Certificate in English. On top of this, I was leading Christian meetings at a university center and an English Speaking club. It was a full schedule and I loved it.
Food is one of the most basic needs of humanity, so it makes sense that food would make an early entrance in the account of God’s dealings with us. In Genesis, plants and trees are given for food: “Every seed-bearing plant … Every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”1
Christians who are interested in spiritual growth recognize that spending time taking in and absorbing God’s Word is of utmost importance. It is within the Bible that we learn about God’s love for humanity, Jesus’ message, and how to live in harmony with God and our fellow human beings.
When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, only one of the things He told them to ask for was a physical need—“Give us this day our daily bread.”1 All the rest of the prayer is praise to God or requests for spiritual gifts or blessings so that we can better please and serve Him. His including a request for material supply recognizes that we live in the natural world and that God wants to supply our physical needs. But it goes deeper than that.