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.
I recently read an article about how the sound of certain words can affect our emotions. Unsurprisingly, words like accept, bountiful, embrace, glow, humor, laugh, play left the subjects feeling positive. In the same way, hearing the name of a loved one can make us feel happy. Try it! Close your eyes and say the name of someone you love dearly. Didn’t that make you smile?
It was late in the season. The Heat led the series against the Lakers 2–1, with Game Four taking place this afternoon. I was busy. I was always busy, but today she had invited guests over for lunch, so busy had taken on a whole new dimension.
She had a lot of friends. Isn’t it funny how your younger sister seems to always have more playmates than you? I didn’t always care for her friends—but of course, one still wants to make a good impression. And a good impression takes a lot of work.
Shortly after Jesus healed “great multitudes” and fed 4,000 people from seven loaves and a few fish,1 He asked His disciples what people were saying about Him. They reported that some believed He was John the Baptist, others that He was Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the other prophets of old come back from the dead. These answers indicated that most people held Jesus in high regard and thought of Him as a great prophet, but they were still way short of the mark!
The beginning of a new year is such an interesting time. We often think back over our experiences of the past year as well as look ahead to what the new year will bring. It can be encouraging to see the challenges met, the victories won, the progress made, the commitments carried through, and the blessings we’ve had throughout the previous year. It’s also a time to assess areas where we had hoped we’d make headway but didn’t quite live up to our aspirations. Perhaps there’s something to learn from the hard times and difficulties—or even some outright failures—that we experienced.
I have a special gift for you—one that’s different from anything you’ve ever received from anyone else. It can’t be bought or sold in any store, but I give it freely to everyone I can. It will never get old, never break down or wear out, and you can never outgrow it. No one can take it from you, and it will last forever. You can take it with you wherever you go and enjoy it anytime, all the time. It never changes and will never cease to surprise and amaze you. You can share it all you want, and there will always be plenty to go around. In fact, the more you share it, the more you’ll have.