The Benefits of Rest

Take a break. RelaxAnd on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.Gen. 2:2-3 (NKJV)

“Rest? Relax? Who has time for that?” Honestly that is what I often say to myself. I recently took a vacation with family but it wasn’t much of a rest. I had planned that on that time away from my job I would do other stuff – finish a course and write a few posts along with go on a shopping spree (yes, I’ll say more on that in a future post). As much as I knew I needed the rest, my vacation had much activity. Although I enjoyed spending time with my daughter and my sisters, at times during that “vacation” I was concerned that I did not do the things I had planned to do. My vacation wasn’t really a rest at all.

On my return, I found it hard to get back into the routine of work, blogging, writing and other projects I had started. I did what I had to do but eliminated a lot from my schedule – especially writing – including posting anything to my blog (sorry about that but it was necessary). During that time I read a lot more, prayed and asked a lot of questions about my future plans and got some much needed rest. Now I am slowly getting back to blogging, writing and developing online course.

Biblically, rest means to repose, to desist from exertion, to cease, to celebrate, to keep (Sabbath), to leave, to put away (down), (make to) rest, to be still. Rest is such a necessary part of our lives. Often times we think that have to keep going but there is a reason God introduced rest (Gen. 2:2-3). If God rested after His work of creation, then it must be important to rest. Knowing that this eternal God rested after His work of creation and blessed the day of rest, then you and me (who are mortal) should follow God and incorporate rest into our lifestyles.

I don’t know about you. But I can sometimes get caught up with the things that have to be done and lose track of time and the need to rest. Yet, this great God though He has given me a purpose and all the resources I need to accomplish it, expects me (in the time I have) to rest. God does not want me to be worn out or burnt out but to function at my best while carrying out His purposes.

Recently I read a book about the importance of taking personal retreats which as a timely reminder for me about the need to incorporate rest into my life. There are benefits to be gained when we make resting a necessary part of our lives. When you rest, relax, sleep, you…

  1. Rejuvenates the body. When you sleep at night and you arise in the morning you feel refreshed and energized for the day ahead. A few stretches and up and out and you’re ready to go for the day!
  2. Boost your creativity. Whenever I have to write on a particular topic and I find it hard to put my thoughts together, I take a few hours or days away from it and then start again. In other words, I rest my mind from that topic and when I return to it I have a fresh new outlook and I am able to write freely.
  3. Brings clarity. When life gets a bit much and your mind is bombarded with questions and you’re wondering what the next steps you should be taking. Consider a rest, a personal retreat and you’d be amazed at how getting away with help to bring clarity and direction to your life.
  4. Have peace of mind. Rest also involves stepping back mentally from the negativity that comes from all directions. It involves letting go of your problems – not worry – and instead giving them to go. This is where you need to be still (body, soul and spirit) and let God do His work on your behalf. This kind of rest can be the most challenging. It involves prayer and feeding the mind with the word of God and good thoughts (Phil. 4:8). It’s a rest from the negative mental, emotional and even physical act of worry to a place of peace and faith in God.
  5. Improve your overall health. To name of few, you experience improve memory, maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress levels and keeps the heart healthy.

How can we rest in this productivity driven world?

  1. Have a day of rest.  Take one day of the week to rest from you regular activities. Yes, go to church, spend more time in the Word of God, have quality time with the family, do an activity that you don’t normally do, put in a few extra hours of sleep. Recently, I started taking this more seriously and between Saturday 6pm and Sunday 6pm I limit my activity to church, family time, bible study and rest and avoid internet activity, writing or any of the normal activities of the week. The rest is quite refreshing.
  2. Take a daily fifteen minute break and do nothing but relax. Hmmm. Not impossible. Carve out that time in your calendar and eliminate the distractions of cell phones, internet and find a quiet place to rest. I’ve done it and need to start doing so again. It does boost your energy levels and stimulates the mind.
  3. Have a personal retreat. Sometimes you need to get alone with God and no one else. Choose a place and time and let your family know you’re off on a personal sabbatical. Take a book to read, spend time in prayer to connect with God more. Even consider journaling your thoughts and prayers. Retreats are not only times of rest but of refreshing for your body, soul and spirit. You will gain a clearer perspective on your goals and what the Lord wants you to do with more certainty.
  4. Rest mentally. Take a break from the news. Stop worrying about today’s issues and tomorrow problems (Matt. 6:34). A good mental break involves meditating on the word of God, speaking and confessing His word concerning you, thinking positively, and being thankful (Phil. 4: 6-7)
  5. Do something different outside of your normal routine. Yes, you can take a Sabbath day or a personal retreat but this kind of rest involves activity outside of work that you love to do. Do you have a hobby? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but never had to time? What about going to the beach and basking in the sun (providing you live a place with this kind of climate)? Maybe you could take a road trip with your family. That would be a nice break from the norm, wouldn’t it?

The important message here is that rest is necessary. In this hustle bustle world that can be hard to do at times. Everything and everyone seems to be calling out for your attention. But you have to strike a balance between work and rest. There will always be a demand by someone in your sphere of influence for you and your time. If however, you don’t take care of yourself and become worn out, you won’t be able to help your loved ones and others.

Consider today how you can incorporate rest into your routine.

What do you do to relax and enjoy resting without worrying out the to-do list?

7 Ways to Receive Your BreakThrough Part II

This is the short version of a message I shared at church. Be blessed!

BreakThrough

BreakThrough

Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?”

And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.”

So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim.  And they left their images there, and David and his men carried them away.

Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” And David did so, as the Lord commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.                          2 Samuel 5:17-2

4. Be willing to wrestle with God all night.       —Gen. 32:22-32

Jacob wrestled with God all night to receive his breakthrough. For him it wasn’t about money; he was wealthy. He needed a transformation in his life. His breakthrough was about getting a blessing that would change him from the inside out.  Jacob held unto God all night until He blessed him. And God blessed Him and changed him from being known as a trickster or swindler (someone who couldn’t be trusted) to being a prince with God.

What life transformation do you need? Are there areas in your life that remain stagnant or become worse? Do you have character issues or a reputation that stains you wherever you go? Are you willing to stay up all night seeking the Lord to receive your breakthrough? To wrestle with God is to passionately pursue Him and have an encounter with Him that changes your life and perspective. Maybe seeking God in the night season when there are no distractions and you can fully focus on Him is the answer to your breakthrough. Don’t let go until God blesses you.

5. Your heart must hold onto the promise. Speak God’s word over your life not matter how bad it looks.         —Joshua 1:8

Abraham believed God for his breakthrough – to have a son and become the father of many nations. In Gen. 12:1-3, the Lord gave Abraham (then Abram) promise that he would be the father of many nations. Years passed and in Gen. 15:1-6, Abraham confronts God about the promise because the only heir in his house was his servant’s child and Sarah wasn’t pregnant yet. God assured him of the promise, made a covenant with him and changed his name from Abram to Abraham (father of many nations). God also gave him a visual – the stars – to help him understand the vastness of the promise. Then Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness. When Abraham is about to sacrifice his only son (Gen. 22), God reiterates His promise with two visuals – the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore. All those years, can you imagine, Abraham had to hold that promise but God gave him the tools to do it: his new name along with the visual of the stars and sand. In everyday conversation he was being reminded of the promise every time someone called his name. He was being reminded of the promise when he felt the sand under his feet and gazed at the stars at night.

To get the breakthrough you have to hold unto the promise (the word God gave to you). You have to hold to the Word – meditate on it day and night and live it out in your life (Joshua 1:8). You have to keep speaking in faith what God promised you (Heb. 4:14) – be it healing, deliverance, or another promise He has for you. Jesus’ ministry to you is to bring to past the word you speak concerning yourself that is according to the will of God. Therefore be careful what you say – not only in the prayer closet but in your daily conversation. You must hold fast (keep speaking) that confession until your breakthrough happens.

6. Examine your heart (rather ask the Holy Spirit to examine you) and ask for forgiveness where you have fallen.       —Psalm 51

Nothing severs our relationship with God like sin. Sin not only brings a barrier between you and God but it stops the blessing (Deut. 28:15-68). David is an excellent example for us. He wasn’t a perfect man, yet God calls him a man after His own heart. I believe one of the reasons he says this of David is because he was quick to repent whenever he faltered (2 Sam. 12:1-15).

Today, though we are under a better covenant than David was we too sin at times. However, God is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you (give you the ability to overcome the temptation) from all unrighteousness (1 <st1:bcv_smarttag>John 1:9). Don’t let sin come between you and the wonderful relationship you have with God. Be quick to forgive and be quick to ask for forgiveness. It is needed to continue in right relationship with God and to experience your breakthrough.

7. Don’t just call on Jesus but believe that you will see the glory of God.          —John 11:1-44

Mary & Martha called on Jesus for their breakthrough; they wanted their brother to be well again. However, as scripture points out Jesus delayed his visit for a few days and by the time he reached there Lazarus was dead. But His intention was still to restore Lazarus though dead. He encourages Martha – at her objection to have the stone removed from the tomb opening – to believe and she will see the glory of God (vs.40).

Often times we accept our sickness or problems quickly and are ready to give up. But your sickness or problem is not meant to end you but to honour God and promote His glory. (vs.4). How? When God gives you your breakthrough you will by all means praise Him and tell others what He has done for you. Ask God to show His glory in your life. Why His glory? Because the God of the breakthrough can make the impossible become possible and real to you. He can destroy the works of the enemy and bring you the breakthrough you need.

8. Step outside the norm or the status quo. Ignore what others may say.          —Mark 10:46-52

Bartimaeus needed a breakthrough – he wanted what he never had before – the ability to see. He was known for who he was – a blind man begging on the road side. Vision is something we take for granted but for him not being able to see meant living below standard and having to beg at the wayside in order to live. No vision was darkness over him – no work, begging all the time, being out in the scorching sun, being snubbed and ridiculed. Bartimaeus wanted more and saw the opportunity when he heard that Jesus was passing by. He was not willing to let this moment pass him by. He yelled out to Jesus until he got his attention. He ignored the naysayers and kept shouting until Jesus took notice of him. Then Jesus asked Bartimaeus … “What do you want me to do for you?”

Is there something in your life that you’ve never had before? Have you thought about how your life and those around you would be better if you could have your breakthrough? Maybe you need a clearer vision your purpose and help to get you started on that road but it’s hard to see or conceptualize and you need God’s direction. Hmm… What do you want Jesus to do for you? What breakthrough do you need from Jesus today? What is it that will get you on the path that God has ordained for you?

What are you willing to do for your breakthrough?

Will you pray and weep until your voice isn’t even heard or wrestle all night with God (pleading in desperation) to get your blessing. Maybe you need to mix your prayer with regular fasting, or make a vow to the Lord in advance of the breakthrough. For you, it may be as simple as asking God for direction or strategy or it may require boldness and faith doing to do what you’ve never done before.

Whatever the need, we all need a breakthrough – our countries, our churches, our families, and ourselves. Let’s pray to get the breakthrough coming….

Don’t forget to share with others to encourage them in the Lord.

7 Ways to Receive Your BreakThrough Part I

This is the short version of a message I shared at church. Be blessed!

BreakThrough

BreakThrough

Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?”

And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.”

So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim.  And they left their images there, and David and his men carried them away.

Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” And David did so, as the Lord commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.                          2 Samuel 5:17-25

What is a breakthrough?

David described his victory over the Philistines like the powerful force experienced when water breaks over the banks of a river or like a tsunami that washes away everything in its way. In honour of the Lord he renames what was once called the house of the giant (Valley of Rephaim) to the Lord Who breaks through (Baal Perazim). Where the enemy (the Philistines) thought they were strongest because they had their baals (gods) with them, God proved even stronger!

Today you don’t fight the physical war against people but a spiritual one against the enemy of our souls. We fight against the attacks of the enemy – sin, sickness, failure, lack or poverty, defeat or oppression of any kind. These problems are like the enemy’s floods that are meant to carry you away or to destroy you (Is 59:19). However, when God is the Lord of your breakthrough for you, He advances over and above the enemy’s flood. The Lord pushes back the enemy’s flood of trouble, sickness, lack, and all negativity with the flood of His blessing, goodness, love, favour and every good thing you need in life.

** God wants to give you a breakthrough in those areas of your life that the enemy appears to be the strongest.

Do you need a breakthrough?

  • Is there a need that is long overdue?
  • Have you been waiting on the Lord for a long time and nothing seems to be happening? Do you need God’s hand on your life?
  • Are you pregnant with a vision, dream or desire that seems to mock you?
  • What is your need? To be healed, to have a house of your own, to be relieved of the burden of financial debt, to have a positive income stream to help provide for your family, to see family members come to the Lord…?

Whatever the need, the Lord your God, is the Lord of Your breakthrough. The Word shows us what others have done to receive their breakthrough from God. Let’s see what you can do to receive for your breakthrough?

1. Ask the Lord what to do. Be prepared to seek the Lord.         —2 Sam. 5:17-20

David needed to fight and win the battle against the Philistines who had come after him. So David (as he often did) asked God what to do before going out to battle. He realised that he was in a better position whenever he consulted God. He not only asked what to do but he did as God directed. God gave him strategy on how best to defeat his enemies.

For you to receive your breakthrough you need to ask God and then step out in faith and in obedience to do as God said. God is the Master Strategist and has the upper-hand over the enemy, follow His leading and you will be victorious and rejoice.

2. Make a vow or commitment to do something for the Lord. —1 Sam. 1:1-20

Hannah desperately wanted a child. Being taunted by her rival about her barrenness didn’t make it easy to bear. Hannah poured her heart out to God. She wept her prayer and made a vow to the Lord to give back when she received her breakthrough. She offered to God the thing she wanted the most – a child. What a commitment!

What about you? Don’t be reserved. If you have to cry, then cry but let God know your burden and express your desire to Him (vs.10). If you are as determined as Hannah was about receiving her breakthrough, maybe you too need to make a commitment to the Lord. Is there an area in which you’ve been meaning to serve but haven’t yet? Is there something you will sacrificially vow to give to the Lord? I’ve seen friends vow their first pay check to the Lord when they needed an income stream and God blessed them. What can you vow? Make a vow to the Lord and when you receive your breakthrough be sure to follow through.

3. If you want to get something you never had, you have to do something you’ve never done before and fast your prayer.         —Esther 4:13-17

Esther fasted and prayed to save her life and those of the Jews. She did something she never did before – she risked her life for the sake of her people by going before the king uninvited. However, before she took that risk, she and her people prepared themselves – they fasted and prayed to God for three days. Why? She knew only God could touch the heart of the king and give her favour with him.

Do you need to take some risk? Do you need to mix your prayers with fasting? As Jesus said there are some situations that would need prayer and fasting to bring deliverance, to be resolved or for breakthrough to come. Examine your life and the circumstances you are experiencing? Have you tried different ways to deal with your problems but they still prevail? Consider spending time in prayer and fasting. Even a commitment to skip a meal for a season would help bring light to your situation.

Next week, I will share the second part of this message.

Don’t forget to share with others to encourage them in the Lord.

Sickness or Health – Which Do You Prefer?

Now at the setting of the sun [indicating the end of the Sabbath], all those who had any [who were] sick with various diseases brought them to Him, and He laid His hands upon every one of them and cured them.                                                                                                                                               —Luke 4:40 (AMP)

I have been experiencing the challenges of sickness especially that of a loved one. As I go through the process of nursing back to health, I have developed a hatred for sickness. Though that may sound harsh it’s a good hatred. Also, during this challenge I have been digging into the scriptures and praying the Word as it relates to healing. Indeed God wants us to be in good health just as much as He wants us to have a strong relationship with us. He too does not like sickness just like He doesn’t like sin but loves the sinner.

I heard someone said that we like to own our sickness. Oftentimes in the body of Christ, we are very accepting of sickness. We like to attach ourselves to the sickness, “I have diabetes.”, “My back is killing me.”, “I have this or I have that.” We tend to take ownership of sickness rather than hate it and banish it from our bodies by the authority we have in Jesus’ name.

Sometimes we even bring sickness upon ourselves. We may have bad eating habits. We may not exercise regularly or fail to practice good self-care. At times we even call sickness upon ourselves because we believe will have the same sickness another relative had and died from. Others willingly accept sickness as a part of life and always expect it. Yet some have the extreme thought that they will always be sick and therefore baby their sickness. But Jesus didn’t accept it. He fought against it. He healed many while He was on this earth. Many were and still are healed through the power of Christ’s resurrection.

Then why should we like or even entertain sickness. Sickness is not of God and carries many ill-effects in our lives. It in no way honours or glorifies God. Sickness:

  1. Makes our bodies weak and tired
  2. Reduces or brings our productivity to a halt. We are limited in how much we can do for ourselves or others
  3. Causes us to depend on others. Although the help is appreciated, any sick person longs to be able to help themselves
  4. Brings down the human spirit. Sick people feel weary in spirit and at times unwilling to keep going
  5. Has a negative impact on our finances in two ways – the inability to earn income and the increase expense due to medical care
  6. Disrupts or kills your dreams and goals. It is a potential destiny killer
  7. Limits our ability to serve God in whatever capacity we normally do

However there is much to be gained by having good health and this is what God desires for us. The prize of good health:

  1. Is strength in body, soul and spirit
  2. Frees us to do what we need to and want to. There is high productivity
  3. Gives us the opportunity to do good works for others
  4. Allows us to enjoy life to the full
  5. Impacts our finances positively because it is not decayed by reduced income or medical expenses
  6. Liberated to fulfill our God-given goals and destiny
  7. Brings glory to God because we are able to do good works that cause you and others to praise Him

Friends, which do you think is better? I vote for good health and with that long life. Just like Jesus does. So whether or not you or a loved one is sick, pray daily for good health. Meditate on scriptures that remind you what God’s heart is concerning your health:

  1. Jesus has already borne or sicknesses, weaknesses and distresses and carried our sorrows and pains, so why should be now. —Is. 53:4-5 (AMP) & 1 Pet. 2:24 (AMP)
  2. God can restore health and life to your body. —Rom. 8:11 (AMP)
  3. God willingly and freely give us all things including good health. —Rom. 8:32 (AMP)
  4. God sends His word to heal and deliver us. —Ps. 107:19 (NKJV)
  5. Speak the Word: “No disease, no sickness shall come near my dwelling.” Therefore, if not near your home then certainly not in your body. —Ps. 91:9-13 (GW)
  6. God’s desire is for us to prosper and be in good health and be in right standing with Him. —3 John 1:2 (AMP)
  7. If we are sick, Jesus wants to make us well. —Matt. 4:23-24; Matt. 8:5-7; Mk. 10:49-52; Jn 5:5-9; Acts 10:38 (NKJV)
  8. God wants to satisfy you with long life. —Ps. 91:16 (GW)
  9. He is the Lord our Healer. —Ex. 15:26 (NKJV)
  10. There is no limit to what God can do. He can heal any sickness. —Ps. 103:2-3 (NKJV)
  11. Since God is able to raise man from death (Luke 7:12-15, NKJV), He is well able to renew your youthful strength and perform a creative miracle in your body.—Ps. 103:5 (AMP)

May we all experience the kingdom of God in our lives and may good health and long life be ours. God bless you.

5 Life Areas to Review with Your Finances

As the old saying goes, “Time flies”. Six months of the year 2012 is almost gone! My last post focused on the importance of living on purpose and what are some of the things you can do to live intentionally to achieve your goals. One way we can keep on track is by doing quarterly reviews. Occasionally we have to access where you are compared to where you want to be and determine or revise your plan of action to get there.

Every quarter I like to take a look at my finances to see how I am progressing. I realize that as a child of God I am accountable to Him for all the resources He has placed in my care, including money. God requires us to be good managers of everything He has blessed us with.

Usually we tend to look at our finances in a bubble without taking into account the other areas of our lives. Sometimes we approach reviewing our finances and life goals with apprehension because we feel we haven’t measured up with our expectations. However, an honest assessment of our progress will not only reveal areas for improvement but will clarify our accomplishments and victories. We need to approach this time with openness and gratitude.

Over the next week, as your take time to review your life goals consider the financial side to each of them. Sometimes we tend to make plans without making the link to our finances and may later realize that we don’t have the financial backing needed to help us accomplish our goals.

So, consider these questions when you review your life goals:

Spiritual Growth

  • Are you faithful in tithing and giving?
  • Is there a retreat or conference you want to attend this year?

More important for Christians is to plan giving. You may be the one God wants to use to help another – include a little extra into your budget for giving. Be open to the leading of the Spirit of God in this area. Also consider how you can grow spiritually and account for this in your plan.

Career & Business

  • Are you satisfied with your current career or the growth of your business?
  • Do you need to study more in your field or start a new career?
  • Are you making enough income or do you need to increase revenue?

Career and business development requires a cash outflow.  However, how much will depend on the type of career or business that you are pursuing. It is important to weight all your benefits and options before moving ahead. The key is making sure this aspect is accounted for in your finances.

Physical / Health

  • Do you exercise regularly three or more times a week?
  • When was your last physical done?
  • Do you give yourself enough personal time and care?

Keeping fit means either cost of recurring gym fees or exercise equipment if you workout at home. On the other hand, the cost may be minimal because you have a few exercise videos to help you out.

I have a friend who often says that the grocery bill cheaper than a hospital bill. How true! The price you pay for being healthy is a lot less than the price of being sick. Keep healthy has financial benefits.

Family & Relationships

  • How would you rate your relationship with your family?
  • Do you spend time developing your connection to them?
  • What are some of the best ways to connect with my family?

Spending time with your family does not have to be costly. A family night with games and snacks is great for bonding. A regular time prayer will not cost anything but afford you many spiritual blessings. Society tries to convince us that we need expensive electronics and extensive vacations to have family time. I aim for simple yet effective ways to keep my family strong. Ask the Lord what’s best for your family.

Personal Development

  • Do you read as your personal growth plan?
  • Are you taking courses to increase your knowledge outside your career aspirations?

I am a reader of mainly non-fiction material usually on finances, success, and leadership and of course, Christian living. I factor books into my budget. E-books have proved to be more cost-effective but I occasionally I like to have to feel of a printed book in my hand. Apart from that, I also consider seminars or courses which will cost more than books.

I have not exhausted all the core life areas but hope you find this a helpful start. If you can see some level of success or growth – applaud yourself and keep moving forward. If you find that there are some areas where you are not progressing as you would like – don’t beat yourself up. Find out what’s lacking and why, ask God for direction and then make a plan and start with small steps to success.

For your benefit, I challenge you take some time to review your goals including your finances and align them. You may be surprised by what you have accomplished so far.

Share with us what you have accomplished to date since the start of 2012.