Seasons Greetings Pastor B’s Family!!!
I am so excited that God’s allowing me to do a Countdown to Christmas series with you all. I really tried to get that Countdown to Thanksgiving series done, but there really wasn’t the normal writing flow to that series. I was struggling to write because I was really writing from my flesh, and so rather than give you messages just to get them to you isn’t anything I’m interested in because what I have to say isn’t nearly as important as what God wants to speak. So, if the anointing isn’t there then I’d rather apologize to you for ending the series then apologize to God for writing without the anointing to do so.
Technically according to an actual Christmas Countdown there’s 4 weeks and just under 2 days left, but from my perspective there are 5 Sundays between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, it is with that in mind that I found what I hope and think will be the perfect Christmas Countdown series to get into: All Is Calm: Receiving Jesus’ Rest This Christmas.
So, I hope y’all will join me as we Countdown to Christmas through this series that you can follow along with me on You Version’s website. Once again you can do that by clicking right here: All Is Calm: Receiving Jesus’ Rest This Christmas.
- “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” – Exodus 20:8-11 (NKJV)
- “Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.” – Psalms 62:1-2 (NKJV)
- “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
- And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.” – Mark 6:31
I was searching for a Christmas Carol to accompany this message. I realized I was a dummy as I was entering “Christmas Carols about rest” into the Google search bar, and as “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” came up, my first thought of course was “duh”. Anyways, this is the best version of the song I could find, and surprisingly enough it was done the Trans Siberian Orchestra.
I recommend hitting play while you’re reading this message…
Why We Need Rest at Christmas
Seasons Greetings once again. No, I’m not one of those that believes it’s politically incorrect to say “Merry Christmas”, but since we’re still about 4 weeks out from Christmas my favorite greeting this time of year is Seasons Greetings. I don’t know why, but it works really well when you’re opening up a blog post.
Anyways, thank y’all for joining me as we make the 5 Sunday countdown between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s actually going to work out really well because the final Sunday before Christmas is the 23rd of December, and then as y’all know I usually take the last few days of the year to not really write unless God leads otherwise, and to seek the Lord for the coming year.
I am working on a few things that will kind of set us up for where I believe we’re going in the coming year. It’s a good day to be inside writing as a cold snap is making its way into Northwest Arkansas, it was another awesome Sunday at church this morning, and the worship music is flowing…and so let’s get into this message and see what God has to say about “Why We Need Rest at Christmas”.
Some of us prepare for Christmas at the first hint of cold weather, while others postpone the inevitable as long as possible.
But at some point we all get caught in a vortex of activity—most of it fun and festive but exhausting nonetheless, leaving our souls feeling both stuffed and empty. Often, it’s in the midst of this hubbub of holiday cheer that we quietly wonder, “Is this all there is?” The good news is that beyond the cookie platters, shopping lists, and decorating is the Son of God made man for us.
I don’t know about you, but I can find Christmas sort of exhausting time of the year. I mean soon the radio stations will start adding Christmas Carols into its rotation (if they haven’t already), the television stations will start adding some of the Christmas classics, there will be invites to parties and parties to plan and attend, there will be decisions made about where to travel and whose house the festivities will be at, and of course the shopping.
I have also noticed that there are generally three groups of people during this season as well. There’s those who are full of the joy of the season, those who are trying to get into the spirit of the season, and those who are worn out by the season.
It’s easy to get weary and burdened down by the holidays. It’s also the time of the year where the wounds of the recent loss of family members could be reopened. It’s good to have a moment like this to be reminded that even in the midst of the busyness of the holidays…Jesus wants us to come to Him with those burdens and our weariness.
The great invitation to exchange our burdens isn’t just for salvation, but it’s a continual open invitation ANY TIME we are burdened and heavy laden and weary to come to the One that desires to carry those burdens for us…in exchange for His peace and rest.
God knows we’re prone to frenetic activity. This is one of the reasons He built-in a day of rest for the Israelites every six days—that they might pause their doing and recognize the goodness of their God, their own desperate need for Him, and His gift of stillness.
No. I’m not going to make this a message about making sure you’re keeping the Sabbath Day, but it is a reminder that God is sitting down because just as He sat down when Creation was finished…He sat down once again when His work on the Cross was finished. The point being if God stopped to rest, and offered to take away all of our stresses in exchange for His peace and rest…there must be a reason He desires that we find this peace and rest.
For a practical reason, our bodies need to rest in order to recuperate. If we never take the chance to slow down and rest it wrecks havoc upon our bodies. It’s been proven that our bodies heal while we are sleeping or resting, and if you’ve ever had any medical condition at all the first thing they tell you to do is what!?! REST.
So…what’s the point and why all this emphasis on rest?
In practicing rest, we acknowledge God’s trustworthiness: even when we cease working, God continues to hold our world together.
The Bible is filled with Scripture that has God trying to invite us to “draw near to Him” and to “cast our cares upon Him” and to “come to Him if we are weary and heavy laden” because the more of those things we bring to Him it reveals to the Father the more we trust Him. I mean the statement above sounds an awful lot to me like a mix between Proverbs 3:5-6 and Hebrews 11:1 because when in all reality when we accept His invitation to rest that tells Him that we are ready to completely abandon ourselves to His care.
THAT is really what this Journey to the Inner Chamber is all about…learning how to abide in Christ, and one of the key indicators of someone who is abiding in Christ is they seem to always be at peace, are rarely exhausted, and that’s because they have found that place of “Personal Abandonment and Absolute Trust”.
The ultimate proof of faith is that peace that surpasses all understanding because if we’re at peace that means we’re resting in His Word. That’s also why people can do like James says and “count it all joy when we endure trials” because we understand that the trial isn’t mean to harm us…but to grow us.
I’ve shared with y’all several times that my goal is to get to a place where I truly live by my motto: Obey God and Trust Him with the results. I don’t want to write a nice message about Proverbs 3:5-6; I want to live it out because I have accepted His invitation in Matthew 11:28-30.
That is the faith that pleases God because we’re living from that place of personal abandonment and absolute trust in Him.
This year I invite you, as our Lord and Savior invited His disciples, to come away with Him and get some rest, to slow down and rediscover the wonder and joy of the Christmas season in the midst of your favorite holiday traditions.
But what does that look like?
One of the things that I don’t do often enough is get alone with Him. I mean if you think about it, and study the gospels you find that Jesus often left the multitudes of people following Him (and His disciples) to get alone with the Father.
So, the question that we really need to answer isn’t what accepting the invitation to rest looks like, but if Jesus needed to do that why do we think that we’ll get along fine without it?
I don’t know how that looks for you. It could be as simple as taking a long bath or shower or walk. It could literally mean that you need to completely clean out a closet so that you can get alone with God inside of it. It may mean going out in your car, going to your room, going to a park, but the point is we need (myself included) need to be intentional (like Jesus was) about getting away from the hustle and bustle and busyness and crowds and family and friends and co-works…and find ourselves in that one needful place doing that One Needful Thing.
It is vital to our lives as believers to learn to be intentional about sitting at the Lord’s feet, and that’s really what seeking after that rest looks like. Again, how that actually looks is different for everyone, but the importance of that cannot be overstated because Jesus took time to point out that Mary was doing the one needful thing.
So, as I wrap up this message let me just issue you a challenge and an encouragement at the same time…be intentional about slowing down and finding time to get alone with God during this Holiday season. I am going to set my alarm, and work at getting up earlier in the day whether I go to bed earlier or not…but that’s part of that intentionally seeking the Lord.
So, I have just one question: Who is going to do this with me?
Father I thank You for the opportunity to take a holiday.. and be enabled to have a complete break from the daily rounds and the many responsibilities and routines that govern our lives. It is such a joy to have this break and I pray that it will be a time of rest and refreshment where we are enabled to go quietly through the day without having to plan for the many ‘workaday’ things that have become the norm in our busy daily schedule. I pray that during this holiday we will enjoy both spiritual and physical renewal and find rejuvenating rest for our minds and spirits as well as enjoy relaxation and respite for our bodies as well. Thank You Father in Jesus name, Amen
Final Word from Pastor B
Well. There it is. The first message of our Countdown to Christmas series is complete, and now the challenge is to receive it and ask God to help us to apply what He’s spoke to us through this message, Amen!?!
If you have made it all the way to the end of this message, thank you for allowing me a few moments to speak into your lives, and thank you for taking the time to read this message.
If it’s been a blessing to you it would be a blessing to me if you would (1) take a moment to write me to let me know it blessed you, (2) share it with others who may find it to be a blessing, and (3) take a moment to visit https://www.paypal.me/christministnwa and consider making Pastor B’s Ministry the place you sow into over the holidays?
For those who partner with my ministry and commit to sending a minimum of $10 a month there will be a special gift sent to you. So, if you are able to partner with my ministry please make sure to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can get your mailing address.
Thank you in advance for your support whether you’re able to give monthly or a one time gift…ever dollar that comes in goes towards the ministry helps keep the ministry online. So, believe me when I tell you that I appreciate everyone that invests their money into this ministry because the more money that comes in for the money the less comes out of the money needed to operate our household. Pastor B Depends on God’s Provision through you.
I hope you’ll come back next week for message number 2 of our Countdown to Christmas series titled; “Remember God’s Goodness”. Until then, while you’re here take the time to check out some of the other messages that are here or go over to https://bryanjkizer.wordpress.com/, and check out what will soon be simply known as BryanKizer.com.
For now, it’s time to get this message proofread and published, and spend some time with my family before everyone goes about the work week. Thank you all so very much for your patience, prayers, and support. I truly love and appreciate y’all very much.
Blessings & Grace ~ Pastor B