Finding Spiritual Renewal through Resting and Retreating
When we allow Jesus to pastor us, according to Psalm 23, one of the first things He does is makes us lie down, leading us into green pastures and beside still waters to help restore our souls. He makes us feel secure in His personal provision and care. There is a real inner rest that comes with being right with God, so He leads us into that, too. Then, He calms our fears with an assurance of His closeness. He gives us rest from our enemies, rest that permits us to comfortably eat a meal in their presence. He also anoints our heads with oil, which to me, involves soothing away the little irritants and every source of distraction that so often robs us of rest. All of this is real pastoral care. The question we should ask ourselves upon reading the psalm is, Do I allow the Lord to pastor me this way?
Few concepts have added as much life to my life as the idea of taking a Sabbath, which I discovered during my first year as a pastor. To this day, I am grateful to the Lord of the Sabbath, who led me into this revelation. I don’t think I would have found it otherwise, in part because I hadn’t come across the concept in any of the books I was reading at the time and I hadn’t met a pastor who was practicing it. Sure, some pastors took days off as needed, and others practiced a Sabbath’s rest in a legalistic way, but it would be a long time before I met anyone who actually observed a Sabbath in a wholesome and balanced way.
This study guide was intended to inspire us all to come aside to seek the Lord so that He can pastor us again and again. After encountering Him, we can more effectively manage the stress that so easily besets us. Learning to stop to rest and reflect is the primary way God, as our Pastor, restores our souls. I trust this study guide will change you in your pursuit of Him and your labor to enter His rest.
It would be a good companion study to do alongside my book “Welcome to the Wilderness”. This 8.5 X 11 book is beautifully printed and is about is over a 105 pages in length.
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