Take time to rest this summer 

22.07.28 - Take time to rest
Before self-care became fashionable, God was telling us to rest. From the beginning of creation, as told by the Bible,  it says: "And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation." (Genesis 2:2-3). Later God tells his people: “Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant woman, and the alien, may be refreshed" (Exodus 23:12).  In fact, rest is a theme which is mentioned many times through the Bible. 

One of the most famous Psalms says "He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake" (Psalm 23:2-3).  It's a topic that Jesus refers to too. In Matthew, He says "“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11: 28). 

The Bible tells that God gives us  peace: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7).  You can read more Bible verses about rest here

So how can we rest and find God's peace? Here are our top three ways to rest: 

1. Sleep
Sleep is another topic mentioned often in the Bible. God made us to rest and sleep is one of the best ways we can do that. It refreshes our bodies and our minds. Lots of research shows the benefit of sleep too. So find yourself some time to take a nap. In 1 Kings 19, we read about the importance of a nap when we're feeling stressed. The prophet Elijah is just had his life threatened and the story tells us:  "Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he travelled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God."

Try to get at least eight hours sleep a night. If you struggle with sleeping there are lots of Bible verses which can help you relax and head off to the land of nod. You can find lots of good videos of people reading these verse on YouTube, so try listening to one of those when you want to drop off to sleep. Or make learning a memory verse your mission and you can recite a verse to yourself as your try to fall asleep. Psalm 4:8 is a good one to start with: "In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety".

2. Waste time with God
Find sometime to read the Bible, listen to some worship music (again you can find lots, in different styles to suit you on YouTube), write a list of all the things you are grateful to God for and try a new style of prayer and meditation. You can find some great resources on Prayer and new ways to draw closer to God here, from the Diocese of Rochester. And find out what Prayer is and how to do it here

3. Come to church
Joining a church service can be very restful as it's a chance to put everything else aside and focus on God. You can bring all your worries and concerns to God in prayer and then leave them there. Sing worship to God - or just listen as others sing. And hear a message from the Bible and what it means for you personally. There will also be people around that you can ask to pray with you or you can leave a prayer card on our board in the entrance hall. We have services at 9am and 10:30am every Sunday. 

Whatever you do this summer, make sure you take time to rest. Then create a habit of rest and continue it through each day and season. 

What is your favourite way to rest?

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