RUSH IN TO REST

Deadlines, duties, chores. Meetings, commutes, conundrums. Worries, sufferings, heartaches. It all gets so tiring, doesn’t it? And surely, we’ve all been tired at some point. After hours, or days, or weeks, or months, or years, we feel the exhaustion. It starts to make us feel restless… uneasy, tense, anxious.

Some time ago, I found myself feeling this way. I felt emotionally worn out, my spiritual energy heavily depleted. Craving for rest, I kept coming back to Matthew 11:28-30. As I dived deeper into it, I found myself being drawn to verse 29. Here I found nuggets of wisdom on how to respond to Jesus’ invitation of rest.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

Take my yoke upon you…

Truly, Jesus knows how weak we can be when we lack rest. That’s why He offers us His yoke. According to the dictionary, a yoke is a wooden frame placed over the necks of two animals  attached to a plough or a cart that the animals pull. In farming, a weaker animal is usually yoked together with a stronger one to increase its strength. Some may view the yoke as something restrictive or even oppressive, but not this one. The yoke that Jesus offers liberates us from the stress and anxiety of unrest. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Another noteworthy thing to mention about yoke is the fact that its Latin word origin means ‘to join.’ So when Jesus tells us to take His yoke, it’s like He’s saying this: “Join me, walk with me, stick with me. Let me lead you, let my presence carry you through.” The question is, are we allowing Jesus to lead us?

3m sprungbrett / 3m diving board - spring board

… learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart

As we walk with Jesus, He also gives us the privilege to learn directly from His example. He teaches us that the antidote to our restlessness is gentleness and humility. It may sound illogical at first, but it does make sense when you look closer at it.

Have you ever been so tired you just want to lie down and not care about anything else? I have. I was tired from days of work and events and in this particular instance, I had no choice but to walk home from the office under the pouring rain. As soon as I got home, I went straight to bed without changing my clothes, washing my face, or brushing my teeth. Didn’t bother to check my phone or text my mom to let her know I got home safely. I was too irritated, too frustrated, and too tired for anything else to matter. Exhaustion has that effect on us, I guess. It has a way of getting us to a point of numbness—of no longer caring for anything or anyone other than ourselves.

Jesus knows about weariness. After healing hundreds and preaching to thousands of people, Jesus must have been tired. Aside from that, walking for miles under the hot desert sun must have exhausted Him. And yet, Jesus kept his cool. Is that even possible? How does learning about gentleness ease our lack of rest? Well, I checked the word gentleness and found that it is synonymous with tenderness. Hmmm, interesting thought. If weariness can make our hearts cold and numb, maybe that’s why Jesus encourages us to be gentle like Him—to have our hearts tender before God. In the midst of our tiredness, we can rely on God to comfort us and refresh our weary souls. Keeping our hearts tender also safeguards us from being unkind to others. It’s one of the side effects of weariness: it can make us cranky and irritable, we end up saying or doing unkind stuff to people.

How about being burdened? What does being humble have to do with it? Well, personally, I noticed that being burdened comes from taking in too much stuff that it leaves no more room from rest. I noticed this in my life during those times I felt heavy laden. I was saying yes to tasks and events I can no longer fit in my calendar. I was getting myself involved in problems I can no longer solve. I kept on taking them all in because I wanted to prove something, as though I am life’s only solution. I had a messianic complex, you might say. Aside from these, being burdened can also come from holding on to past offenses, hurts, and issues.

Whether its from overlapping schedules or hidden hurts, things become painstakingly burdensome when we choose to hold on to them. This is why Jesus asks us to be humble in heart. Humility reminds us that we have nothing to prove. It acknowledges that God is in control, and that He is sovereign over every burden. It reminds us that we can confidently let go, because God can take care of us.

So, how are you feeling today friend? Weary? Burdened?

Go ahead, take Jesus’ yoke and learn from Him. He’s waiting for you 💙

NEW SONGS FOR NEW SEASONS

Impeccable timing, I’d say, to have my set of playlists updated. I usually feature one new album per post, but I decided to make an exception this time. Why? Because there’s just so much of them, and I’m too excited not to post them all at once. So here you go guys and gals, six new releases to make your ears and souls exceedingly glad:

Campfire II: Simplicity | Rend Collective

A worship coachella-ish session around the campfire looks and sounds so much fun, I want to teleport myself there! Their exciting folk harmony is like a hearty meal your grandmother serves for weekend brunch: it fills you up and makes you feel alive. It’s a great album to take on your faith-boosting, promise-claiming season.

Overflow | Planetshakers

With most of its songs filled with upbeat sounds, this album is positively a pick-me-upper. Its youthful vibe also resonates the reminiscent excitement of a new believer. Hit the play button on this one to echo that uninhibited and earnest desire to be filled by His presence.

Speak Revival | Elevation Worship

The album title itself is a give away on what it’s all about. Its three tracks serve as a declaration of faith, renewal, and victory. It sets its lens on who God is, with every song hinged on His power and goodness to bring revival. So go on, put this album on repeat as you soak yourself in prayer.

Looking for a Savior | United Pursuit

Calming and soothing. Heartfelt and poetic. The way the music complements the lyrics in this album creates a sense of intimacy—between the one listening to the songs and the One the songs are about. Set this one ready by your bedside to cap off your night with thoughts fixed on Jesus.

Doxology | Every Nation Music

Don’t let the title intimidate you. The word doxology simply means an expression of praise to God. Indeed, this is what this album delivers: songs that give Him praise and exalt His glory. It makes a fine soundtrack as you go through your day whether at work or at home, setting an atmosphere of worship in all that you do.

Let There Be Light | Hillsong Worship

Anthems of faith in times of challenges are like sparks of light in places of darkness. And in this album, it gives exactly that. It speaks of Jesus, the light of the world, in lyrically beautiful songs fitted with stirring melodies. Have this album play on as you reflect on God’s word and immerse in His presence.

*The first five albums in this list are already available in iTunes and Spotify. Hillsong Worship’s ‘Let There Be Light’ is currently for pre-order (official release date is October 14). Click here to preview all the songs in their album.

*All six albums are now available on iTunes and Spotify. Enjoy! (Updated Oct.14, 2016)

PLAYLIST | Cup of Comfort

There are days when we just want to be still and cry out. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, sickness, failed exam, miscarriage, hope deferred… we can always find comfort in God. He is our hope and our strength, our very present help.

Here are a couple of songs that speak of comfort, hope and praise in the midst of trials.

Even When It Hurts (Praise Song) | Hillsong United

Taking inspiration from Habakkuk 3:17-18, the song expresses a raw and emotional point of view of someone going through deep pain. Yet in the midst of a seemingly lost fight and sapped strength, it raises up a song of praise. A great reminder for us that we can indeed praise Him no matter what.

Cecie’s Lullaby | Steffany Gretzinger

How about a lullaby for comfort? The song is like a fluffy blanket you just want to wrap all over yourself. It’s lyrically beautiful track with a soft, tender melody. Perfect for that quiet moment with God.

You Are For Me | Kari Jobe

The lyrics “I know that You will never forsake me in my weakness” will definitely get to you. The song is a comforting encouragement for us to remember who God is… in and out of trials, He is gracious, faithful, and true.

All I Need Is You | Jesus Culture

When you are hurt and can’t quite express yourself, simply call on Jesus’ name. Cry it out, sing it out, shout it. Because really, all we need is Him.

Yahweh | Hillsong Worship

In as much as suffering is real, a greater reality is above it. And that is the truth of who God is. So go on, call on His name… Yahweh, the Great I Am, the God of heaven and earth, the One who reigns forever.