September 2014 Newsletter

And I Will Give You Rest

In this issue:

And I Will Give You Rest

Iturned off the TV, got up from the couch, and made my way toward my bedroom, shutting off lights as I went. I was tired from the day and ready for a good night’s sleep. As I walked the final few steps to my room, I spoke out loud to God. “Lord,” I said, “it has been a great day!” My heart was full of joy. Contentment had settled over me like a drowsy blanket. But then, in that very moment, an odd realization came to mind. From a human perspective, the day had actually been pretty lousy! I had endured a mild migraine headache all day long. I had the headache from the moment I crawled out of bed until about 8:00 in the evening. I had gotten nothing done. I had slept on the couch for much of the day. Yet at the end of the day, as I was preparing for bed, my first thought was that it had been a great day.

I smiled when I realized what had happened. Over the past couple of months I’ve been sharing how God is helping me to understand that the presence of God is all that really matters. Being aware of his presence is becoming a natural part of my life. And now, even with a mild headache all day, I still felt it had been a great day because the presence of God had been evident throughout the day. It does make a difference!

For the past couple of months I have been writing about learning to wait on God and what it means to wait on God for direction. If you missed the articles, you can still read them online in the archives. (timothymark.com/archives) Many of you have responded that you find yourself in similar circumstances. It is a common issue many of us deal with.

To refresh your memory, Moses came to God in frustration seeking direction. But when God answered Moses, he did not give him any direction. Instead, he made him a promise. “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14, ESV). What we learned last month is that when we focus on the presence of God in our daily lives, it changes how we respond to a lack of direction. When you’re waiting for direction, where you are going is less important than who is going with you.

The second part of the promise is also important. God said, “…and I will give you rest.” For me, that is a big deal. Often I find myself worn down from the work of ministry. Navigating airports and rental car counters can be tiresome. When I am speaking at a conference, often there are more opportunities for ministry off the platform than on. By the end of a week of meetings, I am completely spent. Multiply this out by 25 years of living on the road and you can understand why the phrase “I will give you rest” means a lot to me!

The problem is I tend to feel guilty if I take any time off. It is just the way I am wired. I feel a strong sense of responsibility to all who give to financially support the ministry. It is also deeply rooted in the North American culture that highly elevates work and diminishes the value of rest. But sometimes I wonder if I am stiff-arming God when he offers me the gift of rest, when I refuse and say, “Sorry, not right now. There is too much that needs to be taken care of.”

Meanwhile, the idea of rest is woven throughout Scripture. Consider these truths:

God rested after he worked at creating the world: “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, ESV).

Rest was institutionalized in the Old Testament law: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you” (Deuteronomy 5:13-14, ESV).

In the New Testament, even Jesus had moments when he pulled away from the work of ministry to be alone and pray: “And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray” (Matthew 14:23, ESV).

Christ also told his followers to come to him, and he would give them rest. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, ESV).

In our need, we come to Christ. He is the one who gives us rest. Also, notice he did not say, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will help you to work more effectively.” Rest refers to ceasing from labor, not working more efficiently. Scripture clearly teaches there is a time and place to work hard. But there is also a time to rest. Both are important. Anytime I do either one and neglect the other, I put myself in a dangerous position.

It is also important to understand that God’s promise of rest is not a promise to be free from trial or pain. Moses did not have it easy after God promised to be with him and to give him rest. Leading the nation of Israel was a non-stop challenge. Instead, God walks with us through the trial. Then, when we are aware that he is with us, we receive the gift of rest in the midst of the trial. As we walk through the journey, he walks with us and gives us rest along the way.

It is possible you are like me and find it difficult to rest. Your work ethic may be so ingrained that you feel guilty if you pull away, even for a moment. If that is you, I have good news! God has given us many gifts, one of which is the gift of rest. He stands before you today with outstretched arms with this gift of rest in his hands. His outstretched arms are an invitation to come to him and rest. Will you receive it?

I’ve been pretty transparent through the years about how weary I sometimes become with the work of ministry. At this time, I am learning to accept God’s gift of rest along the way. I look for those moments in the busy days of ministry when he speaks to me in that still small voice and says, “Tim, come to me and rest.” In those moments, I’m learning to set the work of ministry aside and simple wallow in his presence for a moment. When I do, I find peace and rest in the awareness that he is near. I am reminded of the two promises he made to Moses and claim them for my own.

“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

At the end of the day, regardless of what has transpired, may you find yourself pulling up the covers and smiling as you drift off to sleep with a single thought on your mind. “Lord, it has been a great day!”

Till next month,

Free Downloads Page on the website

All of the resources we have available as a ministry are available for free downloads through the downloads section of the website. There are copies of several messages Tim has shared at conferences and special meetings, along with three different full length CDs you can download for free. Help yourself! And if you know of anyone who would be blessed by the resources, feel free to share the link with them. Click here to go to the Downloads page.

Connect with Timothy on Facebook

If you would like to keep up with what is going on in Timothy’s life and ministry, he would love to have you as a Facebook friend. This is also the primary means he uses for sharing prayer requests. So if you are interested in supporting the ministry through prayer, this would be a great option for you. Timothy will look forward to connecting with you there. Click here to go to the Facebook page directly.

Upcoming Ministry Events

Come hear Timothy live at one of these upcoming events and mention you heard about it through the newsletter. For details, click here to view Current Schedule.

  • September 5-7 – Stoney Lake, Michigan
  • September 13 -Dugspur, Virginia
  • September 14 -Dugspur, Virginia
  • October 10-13 – Frederick, Maryland
  • October 24-25 – New Durham, New Hampshire

Interested In Hosting a Timothy Mark Ministry Event for your Organization?

It is exciting to see all that God is doing in the ministry. We are now actively scheduling events for 2014 and 2015. God has blessed abundantly with multiple opportunities for ministry. If you are interested in hosting Timothy for a conference, concert, or preaching ministry event, please let us know as soon as possible so we can accommodate you. It would be a privilege. As always, all ministry events are booked on a simple love offering basis. If the church or organization is able to help with travel expenses, it is appreciated but never required. You can use the online booking request form through the link below. You may also call 941-445-3288 or email Timothy directly at timothy@timothymark.com. We’ll look forward to hearing from you.

Click here to go directly to the Booking Request Form.