Revive Our Hearts Weekend Podcast

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True Rest

Episode notes:

These series make up today's Revive Our Hearts Weekend program:

"Lessons from the Life of Joshua (Part 3): Trusting God for the Promised Land"

"Refresh"

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Dannah Gresh: Sundays are a day of rest, but Shona Murray says that we too easily tie rules to our Sunday. I wonder why so many are confused by what the day is really about.

Shona Murray: It's not so much about don't do this, don't do that. It's about God is freeing you of responsibility to enjoy Him more.

Dannah: Today, learn how you can rest, both spiritually and physically.

Welcome to Revive Our Hearts Weekend, I’m Dannah Gresh.

Thanks for meeting me here today. I know for many women weekends in the fall mean soccer games, football practices, harvest festivals, and I don’t know what you have going on, but I know you’re just as busy as I am. So, thank you for taking time to sit with me for a bit.

You’ve got a lot going on, don’t you? Yeah, me too. It seems like we’ve got a never ending list to cross off and so many people wanting our time. Do you ever want to just quit? Crawl into bed and sleep off the demands? Yeah, I get it. But thankfully, we have a promise that Jesus shares in Matthew 11:28 and 29. He says,

Come to me, all 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.

Don’t you want to just sit and breathe those words in? Jesus promises to give us rest. Now, He doesn’t say "sleep," because yeah, I hear you. You’re feeling run down and exhausted and you want sleep. But friend, He wants to give you rest. And that rest might not always come in the form you think it should. 

Today, as we talk about true, biblical rest,  we’ll hear from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and David and Shona Murray.

A while back, Nancy was teaching on the book of Joshua. If you remember that part of the Old Testament, you'll recall that the Israelites were tired. They’d been wandering in the desert for many, many years. Their wandering would eventual lead them to the land He had promised them, a land flowing with milk and honey.  But in getting there, they came up against enemy after enemy. And for God's people, this journey probably seemed like it would never end. The people needed rest.

But Nancy says what they needed—and what you and I need—was more than just physical. She says there are actually two kinds of rest.

Nancy: What are the two kinds of rest? The first is a future rest. That’s our ultimate, eternal salvation. It’s heaven, eternity with the Lord, an ultimate future rest that we do not experience in its fullness today. But we have the promise, and we cannot enter God’s eternal spiritual rest, heaven, can have no hope of heaven, apart from faith in Christ.

The Scripture says we must cease from our own works. What does that mean?

  • Cease trying to be righteous on your own and realize that your righteousness will never be good enough to get you into heaven.
  • Cease from your own efforts and rest in what Christ has done for you on the cross through His death, burial, and resurrection. Rest in Christ and trust Him for your eternal salvation.

So what’s he saying? Don’t harden your heart. There are those who listen to Christian radio, there are those who listen to Revive Our Hearts, they’re religious, but they’re still trusting in their own righteousness to give them eternal rest. I’m saying it won’t work. Don’t harden your heart. Don’t fail to believe the good news, the gospel you have heard about salvation through Christ and Christ alone.

In order to enter into that eternal rest, you must cease from laboring to accomplish your own righteousness apart from Christ. You have to say, “I can’t do it. It’s not my work. It’s not what I can do. It’s what Christ has done for me that is my only hope of eternal salvation.”

So when should you believe? Today. Believe in Christ. If God is speaking to your heart, say, “Yes, Lord. I believe.” Cease your struggling, your striving to be this good religious person, and say, “My faith and my hope is in Christ and Christ alone.” To that person God promises His eternal rest.

Then there’s what I believe is a present rest that God also promises to us. It’s what we’ve talked about in this series as the abundant life, a life of freedom and fullness and fruitfulness in Christ. How do we enter into that rest? It’s not our ultimate rest, but it’s a rest God intends for us here, and I think this is what Canaan pictures in the Old Testament, the Promised Land.

There were still battles there. It was not a place free from battles, which is why I think it cannot just talk about heaven. I know some good commentators would disagree with me on this, but I line up with those commentators who say this speaks also that, perhaps of our eternal heavenly rest, but also of the present rest that we are able to enter into today.

How do we enter into that rest as children of God? The same way we enter into eternal rest in heaven. It’s through faith in Christ alone. It's not through our works, our effort, our striving, our righteousness. We experience the rest that God intends for us in our Christian life today by faith in Christ.

He’s not promising us a trouble-free existence here. We all know better than that. There are giants in the land. We have to face them. We have to deal with them. This is not our final rest. It is just a taste of the eternal rest to come, and what will keep us from experiencing that rest in our Christian lives today? Unbelief, disobedience, rebellion. 

Unbelief is no small matter. It can keep you from heaven, and it can keep you from experiencing the abundant life here on this earth as a child of God. The life of rest—and isn’t that what we all want? I don’t mean a life of napping, a life of sleeping, but I mean a life of heart rest, trust, security, confidence in the Lord, peace, the ability to sleep well at night, the ability to have a clear conscience, the ability to go in with courage and faith and face the giants. That life of rest is a life of faith, faith in Christ and Christ alone.

So if you’ve never placed your faith in Jesus Christ, be assured you will have no eternal rest with Him apart from saying, “Yes, Lord, I believe. I trust You for my salvation.” If you are a child of God, know that you will not experience rest here in this life, the peace, the abundance, the freedom, the fullness, the fruitfulness He wants to give you as long as you are striving in your own effort to be the person God wants you to be.

It grieves me to see how many women, Christian women today are living these lives of struggling and striving and wrestling. They’re not just fighting the battles God intended. They are living in unbelief, and therefore not able to experience the rest that is available to them, available to each of us in Christ.

Listen to the entire episode "Finding True Rest." This comes from the series, "Lessons from the Life of Joshua (Part 3): Trusting God for the Promised Land."

Dannah: Nancy’s been telling you where to find rest—not the kind the world gives, but the deep peace of knowing a God you can truly trust. That helpful discussion is part of a study on Joshua, who fought many battles and faced many challenges, but he also rested in God and hoped for the Promised Land.

That teaching was from the Revive Our Hearts series by Nancy titled, "Lessons from the Life of Joshua (Part 3): Trusting God for the Promised Land." 

I think we’re all familiar with the Ten Commandments, right? Do you remember the fourth one? We find it in Exodus chapter 20:8–11:

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 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, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

For many people, that Sabbath is Sunday, a day set aside as a day to give to the Lord; to have body, soul, and spirit refreshed; to rest. And Sundays look different than the other days of the week. It’s a day for church, dinner with the family, and maybe a very good nap.

According to pastor and author David Murray, there is no one who is an exception from this commandment: remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy. Nancy sat down with David and his wife, Shona, to talk about what keeping this commandment looks like. What is the reason we need a day of rest. Here’s Shona Murray. 

Shona Murray: The purpose being primarily spiritual is the overarching principle. Resting or ceasing (whichever you want to look at it) from the typical everyday buzz, be that your job, your run-around of friends, of running your sports, school stuff, whatever.

So, for us, I look forward to Sunday because it’s a day when house issues, when preparing to move, all that stuff, stops. On Sunday I have a legitimate reason where I can in good conscience say . . .

Nancy: “Stop packing!”

Shona: “Stop! I’m doing none of that.” I don’t have to do my laundry on Sunday. I don’t have to do any of these things. I’m free to just make sure we’re fed and watered, because the focus is on worshiping God that day. The focus is on spiritual nourishment, it’s on spiritual growth.

So, what that looks like as a family is: family devotions in the morning, then getting to church—on time—hearing God’s Word being preached and explained. What I often find is that, by the time the service is over, any distractions you had going into church have long gone, because you’re so taken up with the message and the worship. That’s a fuel for the rest of the day. 

Nancy: And the week!

Shona: And the week. We have Sunday dinner. We like to have our meat and vegetable and potatoes on Sunday, and the best dessert of the week. The kids enjoy that. All the kids are together—the whole family’s together.

Nancy: Some moms are going to say, “That doesn’t sound like a day off. That sounds like pressure!”

Shona: Pressure in one sense, but the food component is not important. The key thing is there is fellowship around the table as a family together. 

Nancy: . . being together. 

Shona: That is a day when we’ve got to be together as a family, so we don’t have the usual, “Mom, gotta go. I can’t have lunch today.” No. We’re here together.

But if I don’t feel well or I forgot to go to the grocery story, it’s not the end of the day. We just heat something up. It’s about fellowship, it’s togetherness as a family, and we try to focus our conversation on the spiritual: What are you reading in your Bible? What did you think about that point in the sermon? What did you get out of the sermon today? What did you learn in catechism class today or in Sunday school?”

That winds up. David and I like to catch up a little bit on the day, get a moment in the sun with our cup of tea. Then everyone goes off for a couple of hours in the afternoon. We encourage “on your own time” for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon.

I try to read a bit, and I’ll nap. My younger one will go for a nap. David will study away. My boys will listen to Christian songs, or they’ll read books, or go to church for an afternoon youth group. We gather together at 5:00 in the evening briefly, and then we go to church in the evening and finish the day with public worship as well.

I know that’s not the pattern for everybody. This is what we do, and it works for our family. We get the best spiritual benefit out of that. But I the main focus, if you’re confused about what Sunday really is about . . . It’s not so much about, “Don’t do this; don’t do that.” It’s about, “God is freeing you of responsibility to enjoy Him more today.”

Nancy: Wow, I love that!

Shona: Right. If you focus on that, then if the kids come, “Oh, Sunday, I can’t go and do this, and I can’t go and do that.”

[Parent:] “Hey, you know what? Today, you get to worship God! You get to meet your church friends. You get to remind yourself of what life is really all about.”

We get some of our best spiritual discussions as a family on Sunday. Again, it doesn’t have to be a big, long, intense interrogation of each child. It’s got to be light. It’s got to be engaging. 

Nancy: Life-giving!

Shona: Life-giving. It’s also a time when we encourage them to share what are the stresses they’ve had that week that they haven’t had the chance to off-load and share, so that we know. We want to know where our kids are spiritually.

We want to know what worries they have, anything we can help them with and guide them with. And we try to do the same with them: “Look, we’ve got this issue right now. We’re thinking about maybe . . . What do you guys think?” It's just a small picture of Heaven, I guess, the eternal rest.

Nancy: Yes.

Shona: It’s the one day in the week when . . . It’s hard enough for us as believers to stop. If any of our children, some of them do not yet know the Lord personally, you’re almost trying to slow them down so that they are thinking about eternity.

Dannah: I wanna jump in here. Shona says that their pattern of Sabbath rest isn’t for everyone. And they’ve developed it over the years. You might have something else that works for you.

But what David and Shona Murray are sharing with us is that our minds need stillness, and it’s in this stillness that our minds are allowed the extra space—space to be filled with God instead of the demands of our day; the to-do list, the sports on TV, the shopping . . . and our screens. Yes, I'm going to go there.

Bob and I try to practice screen-free Sundays. I say try, because we seem to always need to always push reset. But I have found that the weeks we do that, while it does create a stillness in my mind that I apparently need desperately, because my day feels so lovely and long and truly restful when I stay off my screens. I sit with my goats, or I ride my horses, or I try a recipe I've been wanting to bake. I sit in my rocker; I watch the birds at the feeder. It's things I'm more apt to do without a screen reminding me of my to-do list.

Turning my screens off is just my way of reminding my spirit that I did not create this world and it will go on spinning without me. I can trust God to take care of it.

Now, Bob and I aren't the only ones who understand this need to put our phones away. In taking with Nancy, David Murray has another couple of reasons that we need to turn off our phones on our day of rest.

David Murray: We need stillness. How do we create that stillness into which the knowledge of God comes? So, maybe check email once in the day, avoid social media. Do we need to know all the news of the day?

Well, as a pastor, I usually check the news headlines just before service in case there’s something I should pray about, but apart from that, I try to keep clear of it. Again, I don’t do this perfectly, but I know when it’s closer to the ideal, Sunday’s different. And that makes Monday to Saturday different as well.

Nancy: Okay, you all are clearly not “millennials,” but you have some teenagers. There’s a whole different mindset there with those who’ve grown up not knowing anything other than 24/7 being plugged in. Does this really matter—for any era, any generation?

And again, we’re not saying, “Here’s the list of do’s and don’ts,” but speak to a generation that is totally plugged in all the time (which all of us are, increasingly). What difference does it make whether we ever unplug or not?

David: Well, I’ll sum it up very briefly . . . it’s killing us. I can expand on that if you want. I love technology—I’m a technophile—I just love it! But, and it’s not just Christians saying this, it’s a very broad range of secular opinion, from a sociological viewpoint, educational viewpoint, health viewpoint. 

We're seeing, increasingly, the digital revolution is changing us in detrimental ways. It’s damaging us, and I think even out of self-interest—never mind spiritual interest at the moment—but even out of self-interest, I truly believe that the young people, the millennials, that are able to get their technology under control and develop a disciplined life in that area, the competitive advantage they are going to have, over the long haul, is going to make them soar career-wise in whatever field they are in, because our brains were not made for this. Our brains need rest; they need quiet; they need peace; they need down time.

It’s like a muscle. When it’s continually being stimulated and exercised, it’s being worn down and worn down and worn down. We’re only ten to fifteen years into the real digital era, and so it’s been a while until we realize just what it’s doing to us. But the science is in, and it’s really bad! On a physical, emotional, mental, relational viewpoint, it’s really bad, but on a spiritual viewpoint it is devastating. We will not know God properly, I don’t believe, until we get it under control.

Nancy: Shona, you talk about something called a “she hour,” and I think it’s something that plays into this, where there’s a coming apart to be still, to be present with the Lord. Explain that concept.

Shona: The “she hour,” essentially, is a period of time in the day when you are alone. I don’t include in that, specifically, your devotional time. So for me, for example, my devotional time is first thing in the morning before the kids are up.

Because once kids are up . . . For a lot of moms of young kids, unfortunately, the kids will get up before them, so that’s not going to happen for them. The “she hour” may, then, be a time when they can do their devotions or it might be later when dad’s home. But the “she hour” itself, is really . . .

Nancy: And for those who are missing, with the accent, we’re saying, “she hour.”

Shona: The “she hour” comes from the concept of “she shed.” There’s an article that David and I came across recently where this lady had literally built a shed in her yard. She would go every day for an hour so. She made it and painted it the way she wanted so that she felt calm and relaxed and the world shut out. She did whatever she wanted to do to relax in there. The key thing was that she was alone, undistracted.

We don’t need to build one of these, but we can have our own she shed. We can have a she shed in employment. You can use your lunch hour to get away from everybody else and just to be in quiet and silence.

You can do the same as a student—get away from your classes, your friends, your professors, just for some quiet in the day. Mums, especially with young children . . .

Nancy: . . . are going to say, “There’s no such thing!”

Shona: . . .are going to say, “I have no time for a she-shed! She shed . . . what’s that? She time . . . what’s that?” But I would say to you, you really need it, because you’re going to benefit from it, and your kids are going to benefit from it.

Children will do well if they learn to entertain themselves for one hour in the day—at least. You shouldn’t feel guilty about it. It’s actually self-preservation, and it’s injecting fuel into your relationship with your kids and helping them thrive, too.

What does it look like? Primarily, you’re alone—no distractions. If the kids are small . . . I used to have a bedroom gate on their bedroom. The kids play on the other side of that in their room. I might be in my bedroom next door. I can hear what’s going on, but they’re not getting over there, and I don’t need to go over there unless something terrible is happening.

So you can read—and I love reading—and read in an undistracted way. For some people they like to exercise. I’ve got a student friend who likes to make baskets and make things with wood and pieces of furniture. She also likes to go to a coffee shop and sit looking at the window, just hearing and watching life go by.

It can include listening to sermons, listening to good music—devotional music. It can involve anything that is, not necessarily spiritual, but is a God-given gift which is given to be enjoyed. It doesn’t have to be reading a Christian book. It can be reading something that you have a particular interest in like history or science. Or just a novel that’s actually—for myself—it’s got to have some relevance and be spiritually helpful. But only each individual knows best what helps them relax. The point is that you set the time aside and do it.

For some, it’s going and sitting with a friend in a coffee shop. For another friend it’s going and breaking sweat—exercising—she loves to do that.

Nancy: For me, it probably would be going over to the piano—which is sitting in my house and I never do—but that would be relaxing for me.

Shona: Playing the piano; it is relaxing. And for myself, often I find for me it’s literally sitting still outside on a warm day just listening to nature.

Nancy: Well, we don’t have so many of those warm days up north here, so we take advantage of them when we get them, right?

Shona: Exactly! I think just sometimes sitting and listening to quiet. The phone switched off, that is key. So messages . . .

Nancy: Scrolling through Facebook feed or Instagram, that’s not . . .

Shona: You can do it, but it’s not going to rest your mind. If you’re like me, you’ll find that suddenly you click on an email, and you think, Oh, I really should reply to that just now,” and before I know it, my she hour is gone because I’ve gotten on there. And I get a ping notification, a message from someone and, “Oh, I’d better do that now; I’ll forget.”

Off the phone goes. It works best if you switch your phone off for an hour. The world is not going to stop.

One of the things that is a challenge is realizing, “Really, the world will get on just fine for an hour without me.”

Nancy: And we will get along better if we’ve been without the world for an hour!

Shona: We will be refreshed, and we will hear God’s voice in the quiet. If we make that a habit every day . . . I’ve often found, doing something in quiet . . . Fly fishing is something I like to do. It’s so quiet. I love hearing the birds. I've found it’s so conducive to thinking of the Scripture, or remembering something from experience that was bad or whatever and, “See what God has done in my life?” It could be a great opportunity for reflection, if you’re doing something with your hands.

So, it’s endless. It really is what do you find is the most effective way to relax and unwind?

Listen to the entire episode, "The Value of Rest." This comes from the series, "Refresh."

Dannah: Friend, I don’t know about you, but as I listened to Nancy’s conversation with David and Shona Murray, I’m thinking I need a quiet walk, leaving my phone behind, to contemplate all that David and Shona shared. Did you hear their desire for us? For you and me to live undistracted lives for God, and in that one day of quiet rest, to get to know God on a deeper level. 

The Murrays share more in their conversation with Nancy, and if you’d like to listen to it, we have a link at our website. Go to ReviveOurHearts.com/weekend and click on today’s program, "True Rest." You’ll find everything you need right there. 

One way to rest your mind as we head into a busy holiday season is to meditate on the Word of God. That’s where we’ll find true rest. Revive Our Hearts wants to give you tools to do just that. We created a displayable 31-day Advent card set. Each daily card has a verse and quote from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. This card set is a companion to Nancy’s devotional, The First Songs of Christmas.

This Advent card set is yours this month with a gift of any amount. Please give your gift today. Go to ReviveOurHearts.com/weekend, or call 1–800–569–5959. Be sure to ask for the Advent card set and be reminded of His true rest during this season.

Do you know what brokenness is? If you’re a mom (and maybe even if you aren’t), you’ve had plenty of broken dishes at your house! But there is more to brokenness than a shattered plate. Find out about biblical brokenness, next week on Revive Our Hearts Weekend.

Thanks for listening today, and thanks to our team. Phil Krause finds his best days of rest are spent fishing or camping with the family—or both. Blake Bratton says it's all about reading a book. Rebekah Krause finds her Sabbath rest sitting around a fire having long conversations with her family. Justin Converse spends his Sabbaths taking long walks and playing games with his family. Michelle Hill loves her day of rest—a meal with a family from church and a long afternoon of stillness. Or, she confesses, at least she tries. And for Revive Our Hearts Weekend, I’m Dannah Gresh, and I'm headed to the birdfeeder to do a little bird watching right now.

Revive Our Hearts Weekend is calling you to experience true rest by finding freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.

About the Host

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.

About the Guest

David and Shona Murray

David and Shona Murray

David Murray (PhD, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) is professor of Old Testament and practical theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. He is also a counselor, a regular speaker at conferences, and the author of Exploring the Bible. David and his wife, Shona, attend Grand Rapids Free Reformed Church.

Shona Murray is a mother of five children and has homeschooled for fifteen years. She is a medical doctor and worked as a family practitioner in Scotland until she moved to the United States with her husband, David. She is the author of Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands.