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Today’s Truth

And He said unto them, ‘Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while.

Mark 6:31

Friend to Friend

I have learned many lessons from my husband about how to do ministry. Dan is a people person and views strangers as friends he simply hasn’t met yet. But his heart beats for the lost man who seems to be running from God with every ounce of energy he has. Dan’s passion gave birth to the Fireside Ministry.

Every Sunday night men from all walks of life gather in our driveway around a fire pit to share what God is doing in their lives as well as the struggles they are experiencing. They ask for help. They pray for each other. Fireside time is a holy time where God shows up and works in amazing ways.

One Sunday night I slipped into the garage to grab something out of the refrigerator we keep there. When I heard Dan talking about the spaces we have to create in our lives, I stopped and listened.

For months, I had been brutally examining my life. I was very busy doing good things, but were those things ordained by God or tasks simply assigned by my own need to be seen and heard? I was tired and discouraged – ready to give up.

I sat down on the garage steps and listened as a master teacher laid out a life-changing truth for me.

Dan said, “I give Scott a hard time about his fire-building technique. But there is a truth here for all of us about the spaces we need to have in our lives. Scott cannot stand to see space in a fire. The minute one of the logs burns through, Scott jumps up and replaces it with two logs … and the fire always struggles to keep burning. Here’s why. A fire has to have space to burn its brightest. There has to be room for air to get through and fan the flames. If there are no spaces, the fire will soon die out because it can’t breathe.”

“Mary, you need space in your life … for Me,” the Father whispered to my heart.

I immediately knew what I had to do. I had to lay down every commitment, every ministry, and every log in my life at the feet of Jesus. I was smothering the power of God because there were too many logs on my fire and no space for Him to fan the flames of His plans for me.

I’ve repeatedly tried to defy my God-given need for rest, thinking that I’m somehow above both the occurrence and consequences of exhaustion. Some urgent task will always call my name, as will that person whose life will absolutely disintegrate before my eyes if I don’t do something right now. My ego loves those deadly toxic strokes that are from the pit and smell like smoke.

Stress shouts, “Get busy! There is so much to do!” Stress applauds and dances with delight as I keep on “doing” instead of “being.”

Life is so daily and often filled with uncertainty, a reality that can make me very nervous. I want to know what the plan is and how that plan is going to be implemented. Details! I need details! Instead, God calls me to rest.

I don’t want to rest.

When I rest, I feel guilty. I have places to go, people to see, and important things to do. I hear the quiet whisper of the One who knows me best and loves me most, “Mary, it is time to rest.”

In Psalm 23:2 the psalmist writes, “He lets me rest.” Don’t let that gentle statement fool you. The Revised Standard Version of the Bible says it this way, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” I can personally testify to the fact that the word “makes” holds a world of possibilities in the hands of our creative God.

Throughout the years God has gently grabbed my attention with an illness that drove me to bed or a crisis that drove me to my knees. He is a persistent loving Father and well aware of just how much rest we need and when we need it.

We will rest – one way or another. The logs will come off and space will be created for our good and His glory. God’s love will see to it.

Let’s Pray

Father, forgive me for the arrogance that keeps me on the run, trying to prove my worth. Teach me how to rest in You, Lord. Help me learn how to say “no” to those things that keep me from sitting at Your feet. Give me a hunger and thirst for You that can only be satisfied by time alone with You. I love You, Lord.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Consider the following questions. Record your answers in your journal.

  • Why does it really mean to “be still before God”?
  • What “time thieves” do I need to eliminate from my schedule?
  • What long-term commitment do I need to make concerning rest?
  • What areas of my life are out of control and need to be submitted to God?

More from the Girlfriends

God has a plan for dealing with the stress in life by learning how to build in margins that allow us to rest. Need help? Check out Mary’s six-week Bible Study, God’s Answer to Stress.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

7 Responses to “Fireside Lessons”

  1. C.M.Orris says:

    WOW! Did I surely need that devotional today!
    Today was a day of total discouragement. So, now taking a breather, doesn’t seem so guilt ridden.
    Thank you and God bless.

  2. Cheryl H says:

    Double WOW! This was an anointed lesson without parallel for men and women alike. For everyone who tries to fill their lives with “busy” for whatever the drive or motivation, time with God is never wasted, and you “leave” feeling enriched and fulfilled. I remember a time when I just followed the Spirit’s leading and spent time away from “stuff” and just retreated (as a matter of fact it was at one of Mary’s retreats –). The things that went undone, I can testify, God covered them in His own unique and powerful way. Our Father in heaven is so amazing!

    This lesson is a life-changer. I praise God for the anointing over GIG.
    Cheryl

  3. Kathy M says:

    Many years ago I was taking on more and more responsibility at our church. One night I had a dream that I was standing in the kitchen and someone asked me how to run the commercial dishwashing machine. In my dream I replied, “I choose not to know.” I had the impression from the Lord that it was okay not to “be all and do all” . Shortly after that dream I was in the church kitchen and someone asked me how to run the dishwashing machine. I quickly got a person who knew how to show them. At one time I read the verse ” I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” it was a little different as it said. ” I can do everything – God asks me to do – through Christ who gives me strength.” I try to seek the Lord’s wisdom when asked to help and I have confidently learned it is okay to say, “No.”

  4. Tamara Skeen says:

    I needed this so much! Thank you Girlfriend (Mary)! I was pruning back a tomato plant yesterday. As I was cutting away pretty green branches so that the tomato’s could get light and ripen, God was speaking to my heart about how my life reflects this truth. Even though the tomato plant looks all green and leafy, those pretty and unproductive branches pull the energy from the parts of the plant that produce fruit. These branches also cover already grown fruit keeping them from the light so that the tomatoes can ripen. I’m in a major place of life recovery right now… I’ve fallen away and back to old behaviors in the past because I don’t make time for He who Is my strength and source of renewal… It’s so easy to fall into my own agenda and do lots of good things, but, if I’m not refreshed and full of what God has for me today, I run out before my day is half over.. Today I am looking for those unproductive branches and asking God for a pruning. Love the affirmation this devotion has brought me today. Thanks be to God for my GIG’S!

  5. Ladies, I have a tower garden and have had the same experience you have had. In fact, I am working on a devotion about it. Stay tuned!!!

  6. I like that analogy of the fire burning out. How often our spirits are weary from overdoing. I can’t begin to say how much rest I really need.I have overdone it a again, I need Him to fan that spark.

  7. S.A. says:

    A reminder, for Mary S.

    If you ever think your words are not touching countless hearts and souls, please be assured they are. Most of us don’t comment, but pray and contemplate the meaning the Lord puts in the devotional. Oftentimes putting into practice some of the wisdom we find here.

    Thank you for all you do, we appreciate you. And when you open your heart, we can feel ours beating as well.

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8