Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Treasure Hunt Tuesday: Blankets of Rest

It’s another Treasure Hunt Tuesday, and I’m glad to have you reading along as we look for the treasures God keeps providing day by day. I’m loving how taking time to recount our blessings seems to make them multiply, and I hope this post will help you think of and share your own as well.

Here are a few treasures from this past week…

A Snow Day of Rest and Respite

Last week you may remember I was excited for a warm weekend to soak up the enjoyment of spending leisurely time outside, but all that seems like a distant memory now as this past weekend was filled with snow and cold instead of the cheerful sunshine.

But even though winter weather is not my favorite in the least, I’m grateful it still has brought many blessings. First of all, a blanket of snow really is beautiful, especially if you don’t have to be outside for long:

The white covering makes everything feel fresh and clean, even if only for a short while.

But beyond its external beauty, the snow day also brought a welcome respite from the typical posts we see on social media. I have loved catching glimpses of children beaming with laughter and delight in the snow, whether sledding, making snow angels, or posing proudly next to a snowman or inside a snow fort. And there were some pretty impressive snow creations made by adults, too! So I’m grateful for everyone who shared pictures to bring a little joy to the internet world like a warm blanket in the cold.

And an excuse to stay inside and rest was a pretty nice blessing also!

So many timely podcast episodes!

I promise I’ve tried to narrow these down, but it seems like every podcast I listened to this past week is worth sharing. Here are some top choices:

(The link above lets you listen and/or download the full transcript to read.)

Full disclosure-- I may have been in the middle of a frustrated rant in my mind when I heard Emily speak these words: “Dallas Willard says whenever we become angry it’s because we believe our kingdom has been invaded.”

Ouch. Maybe I need to work at this “taking off my crown” thing more than I thought.

But I loved these truths she shared from James Bryan Smith, and I need to repeat to myself often:

“I am one in whom Christ dwells and delights. I live in the strong and unshakeable kingdom of God. The kingdom is not in trouble and neither am I.”

What peace in knowing and remembering Who is really in charge.

This conversation covers a lot of current topics in the church, with much emphasis on the “culture war” in America and how we’re often looking at it all wrong. Ed’s encouragement is for Christians to “speak more as missionaries and less as guards of the culture” because “you can’t war at a people and reach a people at the same time.”

To me, the entire discussion felt like a little sanity in a world that often seems anything but sane, and it is refreshingly hopeful if we take it all in.

** That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs is starting off the New Year focusing on the next generation, and Annie’s conversations with Amy Byrd and Drew Hill that aired this past week were both fantastic. They fired up my passion for student ministry even more (if that is possible), and they have great insight for youth leaders, parents, or anyone who wants to better love and encourage a teenager in your life.

This is the first in what will be a series of seven messages on Sabbath at Bridgetown Church in Portland, Oregon. It caught my eye when John Mark Comer posted about it on Twitter, saying, “Sabbath is more than just a day (though, not less); it’s a way of being, a way of living in restful connection to the Father’s love all week long.”

I’ve shared before that Sabbath is something it seems God keeps pressing on my heart to practice more fully, so I definitely wanted to check out that message, and I’m glad I did. It’s so easy to get caught up in the desires and restlessness of our consumeristic culture, but John Mark exhorts us that “rest is a weapon” against the schemes of the enemy who tries to keep us stuck in busyness, hurry, striving, and discontent.

As St. Augustine wrote in his Confessions, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

Speaking of John Mark Comer…

Another quote of his showed up in my Facebook memories from a year ago. It could not have been more timely encouragement then, but it seems so fitting to remember and share now, too. He articulated this insight on Twitter:
“I’m starting to notice a pattern in Scripture and my own life…
God rarely gives a map for the future.
Instead, he gives an identity (this is who you are), and a next step (go do this).
The longer I follow Jesus, the more that’s enough.” 
- John Mark Comer

Looking back to a year ago, I had no idea where my next step would take me. But I am so grateful for how God has led me in His infinite grace.

And looking toward the future, I have no idea where the steps ahead will lead. But this I know: God is faithful. So I will keep following Him one step at a time. And as our minister Josh reminded us in his sermon on Sunday, God has an answer for our fears:

“I will be with you.” (See Exodus 3:12, Joshua 1:5, Judges 6:16, Matthew 28:20, and more.)

What peace and rest that promise brings even as we go wherever God leads us. Such a treasure!

I’d love for you to share some of the treasures you’ve been finding lately, too! Feel free to leave a comment or send me a message!

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