You Are Free Week 4 — Free to Rest

My soul finds rest in God. — Psalm 62:1

Happy Easter, OBS friends! If you’re feeling a little tired from all the planning and preparation for celebrations, church volunteering, and family gatherings, this week’s study couldn’t come at a better time. If we’re honest, it can be difficult to stop and rest during the Easter season, but Jesus calls us to enjoy His presence and find rest in Him.

This week we’re in You Are Free week four, “Free to Rest.”

When I think of rest, I think of peace. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, what you own, who is with you (or not with you), what restaurants you enjoy, or how much money is in your pocket, if you don’t have peace… you don’t have true rest. And, the only way I know to have peace is to put full trust in Jesus.

I know it sounds like a cheesy Christian cliché, but “God is good all the time. And all the time God is good” is the truth. The truth that brings peace. The peace that brings rest.

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. — Psalm 29:11

For me, for so long, time with God felt so much about what I would bring to Him. Setting aside that time and checking that off my list… ~ Rebekah

This week for the study you will:

  1. Watch the video for Week 4 – either on DVD or right here on FaithGateway and take notes in the You Are Free Study Guide on pages 73-77: http://www.faithgateway.com/you-are-free-study-home/week-4-free-to-rest/
  2. If you’re meeting with a small group or in a church setting, go through the Group Discussion on pages 77-79.
  3. For your personal study this week, I encourage you to spend a little bit of time each day going through the Between Sessions Personal Study in the You Are Free Study Guide pages 81-88 and meditating on the Scriptures.
  4. Recommended (but optional) reading for this week: Read chapters 9-10 in You Are Free – the hardcover book, not study guide.
  5. Join us on Thursday, April 20th (optional) at 9 p.m. EST for a live chat to discuss this week’s study and enjoy and be encouraged by this community of believers.

Scriptures this Week

  • Psalm 62:1
  • 2 Corinthians 10:5
  • Hebrews 4:12
  • John 15:5
  • Matthew 11:28-30

And lastly for this week, I encourage you to get away for some extended time with Jesus. Just sit with Him. Close your eyes. Rest knowing He’s got you covered.

Rest… God Is Good

Jesus told me in that season, “Rebekah, stop performing for love. My love has always been there for you from the very beginning…” ~ Rebekah

Are you tired… — Matthew 11:28

A long time ago when I was at my lowest point, no one could say a comforting thing. No one. There was no peace to be found anywhere.

It was right at that time that Jesus showed me two Adirondack chairs and whispered in my ear, “Come sit beside Me.” I’ve never heard sweeter words.

Rest.

I’ve been engaged in “kitchen seminary” for almost five years now, and I think in all my Scripture searching, reading, note-taking, sermon-listening, studying, praying, and meditating, the dearest thing I’ve learned about Jesus is that He wants us. He wants me. He wants you. And He wants to bring us peace. Rest. Isn’t that a lovely truth?

God’s there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it. He does what’s best for those who fear Him — hears them call out, and saves them. — Psalm 145:18-19

The thing that I want most is peace. Is that true for you, too? Fundamentally, boil it all down, what we really want is shalom, right? The kind of wholeness that lacks no good thing and the satisfaction of being at complete peace.

A couple of weeks ago I came to the end of my ability to handle the sleeplessness that has dominated this particularly stressful season in my family life. So, once again, I sat with my Bible, notebooks, pen, notepad, and prayer journal in the middle of the night, and sought God… imagining myself sitting with Him in those Adirondack chairs.

I listened to a message podcast and scoured Old Testament gems Ezra, Haggai, and Nehemiah. Wow. Who knew? God spoke so clearly to my heart — Praise Me in the middle of the mess. Bless Me before the miracle. Thank Me even when your heart is exhausted. Ignore what looks hopeless and tell me about your gratitude. Before I rescue and save.

Right in the middle? Before?

I remember my granddaddy telling me that the opposite of faith is not doubt… it’s sight. So, how can I not receive God’s word to believe before He heals? Before He saves? Before He provides? Before He defends? How can we believers not hold to God is good all the time. All the time God is good.

How can we not love and trust Him even in the murkiest, most trying times? Isn’t that the proof of faith?

That led to three and a half more hours of seeking the Lord, feeling the pages of Scripture come to life. Finally, God asked me, “What are you going to do? Will you walk away from Me when you can’t see My goodness? When enemies hunt you, taunt you, and curse you? When rest is hard to find?” I sat for a long time with tears streaming down my face and answered along with Peter, “Where else would I go? You alone have the words of eternal life.”

I thanked Jesus for loving me, for staying by my side, for preparing a road I cannot yet see through the wilderness and streams in the desert (Isaiah 43:19). Praised Him for His faithfulness, His omniscience, and that He is in control. Thanked Him ahead of time for giving me rest.

And, with that, I slept!

Rest.

God’s there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it. He does what’s best for those who fear Him — hears them call out, and saves them. — Psalm 145:18-19

Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me. Bless His holy Name. — Psalm 103:1

My love has always been there for you from the very beginning… ~ Jesus

Prayer for the Week

Jesus, You are the Author of peace. The Creator of rest. Thank You that You care so dearly for us that You long to give us shalom — a peace that means utter wholeness in every way. We want to rest in You, God. Help us to let go of performing, and controlling, and trying to make things work out just so, and simply rest in You because You are good all the time. All the time You are good. We love You, Jesus! Amen.

* * *

Let’s Chat

1. This week let’s respond to our reading of John 15:5. What does it say to you about “rest” when Jesus talks about how He is the vine and we are the branches?

2. In your life, how hard is rest to come by? How can we pray for you to experience true Sabbath-like rest?

 

Laurie McClure

Laurie is a Jesus apprentice, a single mama of five (three homegrown, one Kentuckian, and one Ethiopian), a writer, beach lover, and is addicted to radical grace, Perrier, and yoga pants. Here at FaithGateway she is the editor, the leader of Faith.Full, our women's community, and curator of Devotionals Daily.

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