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Time for a Beauty Break
How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
Psalm 104:24 NIV
We hurry, worry, and try to somehow hold it all together. The chaos of modern life leaves us dazed, and daily stress can shrivel our souls.
A simple remedy exists with the power to refresh us at our core. We can take a beauty break — a pause to relish God and marvel at His creation.
Beauty hints of another world, the world of order and peace where God, our intelligent designer, dwells. Beauty awakens our hearts to worship and connects us to the One who makes all things beautiful in His time.
Step outside for fifteen minutes to drink in creation's glory. You might see a butterfly take flight or let the sunset steal your breath away. You might stoop down to admire a pansy or watch a squirrel scamper up a tree. Sidestep your desk or that sink full of dishes to exhale and remember how our Father plants beauty everywhere.
Psalm 104 revels in creation's beauty and reminds us to praise its Maker. It concludes with these words in verse 33: "I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live" (NIV).
Short beauty breaks train our minds to behold and bask in God's presence. Let beauty become the maestro of your heart, leading you to nonstop adoration of the Creator.
I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.
George Washington Carver
All that is good, all that is true, all that is beautiful, all that is beneficent, be it great or small, be it perfect or fragmentary, natural as well as supernatural, moral as well as material, comes from God.
John Henry Newman
May the glory of the LORD continue forever! The LORD takes pleasure in all he has made! ... I will sing to the LORD as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath! ... Let all that I am praise the LORD.
Psalm 104:31, 33, 35 NLT
New Every Morning
His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22–23 NIV
I'm partial to late spring daybreaks. I experience them through a filter, as the encroaching rays tickle my eyelids. (I'm never sure — do I see through the membranes, or is there a not-quite-closed gap?) Contours begin to materialize, and the chirrups of birds provide a captivating backdrop.
"As each day comes to us refreshed and anew," enthuses Terri Guillemets, "so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world." It's wonderful to awake in gratitude, yes, but the dawn has nothing to do with my heart. In a more apt metaphor, the reemergence of the morning sun is God's gracious heart revitalizing His creation. Thankfulness is my appropriate response.
I chuckle to recall my granddaughter, pleased with some trifle, observing solemnly from her car seat behind me, "This is a great day for me." I have great days too; typically, they're mundane — the kind of day that starts out uneventfully but ends up being fulfilling and complete, the kind of day that precedes the kind of evening when my lips utter "thank You, God, for a good day" as my head hits the pillow.
Return to your rest, O my soul, for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
Psalm 116:7 NKJV
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 9:1 ESV
If there was ever a secret for unleashing God's powerful peace in a situation, it's developing a heart of true thanksgiving.
A sensible thanksgiving for mercies received is a mighty prayer in the Spirit of God. It prevails with Him unspeakably.
A Week of Primitive Living
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."
Mark 6:31 NIV
While my son looked forward to summer camp, I anticipated a week at a friend's cabin. After an exhausting year, the prospect of spending time with two sisters in Christ promised the perfect respite. I could hardly wait.
"Just as a heads up," my friend Anne warned me, "Rebecca's cabin doesn't have internet access or cell service. There's a landline for urgent calls."
For once, I didn't mind! Normally, I would take my laptop to work on a writing project. This time I left it at home. If I wrote, it would be in my journal with a pen. I expected to go through withdrawal. I didn't. Instead of spending the week fighting the pull of a screen, my friends and I took walks, sat on the deck, and enjoyed long talks and fits of laughter. We turned on the TV only to watch old movies at night. I went home rejuvenated.
Jesus knew when His disciples needed rest, and He knows when our best refreshment will come from trading technology for time with people and enjoying His creation.
Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength. ... It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.
My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away."
Song of Solomon 2:10 ESV
[God] cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence. ... We need silence to be able to touch souls.
As a child of God, how much more do we need times of complete solitude — times to deal with the spiritual realities of life and to be alone with God the Father. If there was ever anyone who could dispense with special times of solitude and fellowship, it was our Lord. Yet even He could not maintain His full strength and power for His work and His fellowship with the Father without His quiet time.
Lettie B. Cowman
The Source of All My Joy
Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God — the source of all my joy.
Psalm 43:3–4 NLT
Do you ever think about God as joyful? Too often, I think of God as a strict taskmaster who demands hard work and perfection. However, Psalm 43 reminds me that God is the "source of all my joy."
That means that God doesn't just dole out joy if there is some left over; He invented it. In fact, He's the only One in the universe who truly experiences joy in its fullness, because His joy is not tainted by sin. Therefore, if I want joy, the only place I'm going to find it is from its source.
Right before proclaiming God as the source of all joy, the psalmist writes about God's light and truth that guide us to His "holy mountain" where God lives, which is an invitation to be with Him. We get to hang out with God! Just thinking about that gives me incredible joy.
The joy of the LORD is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10 ESV
It is His joy that remains in us that makes our joy full.
A. B. Simpson
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.
1 Peter 1:8 NIV
His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.
PSALM 30:5 NASB
Seek to cultivate a buoyant, joyous sense of the crowded kindnesses of God in your daily life.
Time for Pie
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Proverbs 17:17 NIV
I've never been one to seek comfort in food, so it felt out of character for me when a friend and I started a routine of declaring it "time for pie" when one or both of us were having a rough week. Was it wrong to hop in the car and head to Nation's for coconut cream or chocolate or blueberry cheesecake when we needed a break from whatever happened to be driving us crazy, instead of running to God? Then I realized that, for us, it wasn't about the pie.
We weren't seeking comfort in the cream, chocolate, sugar, or free coffee refills. We were craving that connection that made life doable again. God had placed us in each other's lives at a time when we both needed support. Whenever He provided time for pie, it felt like His way of answering the true cry of my heart or my friend's — a need for a hug, for encouragement, to be heard, to escape the ordinary.
God knows when we need Him alone and when we need to be refreshed by a friend's presence. Something about those special moments makes trusting Him a little easier.
We are comforted. And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.
2 Corinthians 7:13 ESV
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
Proverbs 27:17 NLT
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one."
C. S. Lewis
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24 NIV
He is your friend who pushes you nearer to God.
The angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, "Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you."
1 Kings 19:7 NASB
I've experienced the defeat of victory enough times in my life to have developed a formula for recovery. Following an angel's plan has brought me to a refreshed, ready place to be affirmed by the still, small voice of God.
Elijah brought the people to a decision at the showdown on Mount Carmel. He prepared a sacrifice, rebuilt the altar of challenge, and poured out twelve buckets of water. Then, though tired and spent, he triumphantly declared victory according to the Lord's word.
The victory had stretched him to his limit, however, and Elijah soon held a pity party. Threats from an evil queen added to his exhaustion. A ministering angel came to his aid, providing nourishing refreshment till he returned to battle-ready status. Yet his response lacked zeal and obedience. He had to be admonished twice to get up, eat, and go.
Like Elijah, I've been called to ministry even when I needed comfort from battle fatigue. I've learned to rest and take nourishment, then get up and move. After one call of His voice, I'm on the go, ready, refreshed, and prepared for the next journey.
When I lose my perspective on life because I'm running on empty, I can soon lose my perspective on God Himself. I need to be still and feel His loving touch and hear Him say to me, "Go to sleep, rest awhile, the journey is too great for you."
I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground.
Isaiah 44:3 ESV
I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure. ... You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:8–9, 11 NIV
Stop and Listen
Speak, for your servant is listening.
1 Samuel 3:10 NIV
If we have learned anything from the widespread use of social media, it is that everyone has something to say. Where once we were reluctant to speak with strangers, now we have conversations with nearly anyone, and concerning the most delicate subjects — politics, faith, parenting, marriage.
After a while, it seems that everyone is talking but no one is listening.
I'm often guilty of that myself. It is so much simpler to give advice than to take it, and easier to talk than to listen. It's exhausting, always feeling the need to respond, the pressure to have something to say.
How refreshing it is to converse with God. There's no expectation to have an opinion, no need to respond with a comment. All you need do is listen.
Often, that takes a bit of time and practice. Even Samuel, referenced in our verse for today, needed three tries to recognize the voice of God among many others.
Don't be afraid to "waste" part of your day in silence, allowing the voice of God to penetrate the cacophony that surrounds you. You may need to switch off the notifications on your phone to receive the one most important message that will come your way today.
There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Revelation 3:20 NIV
God speaks to me, not through the thunder and the earthquake nor through the ocean and the stars, but through the Son of Man, and speaks in a language adapted to my imperfect sight and hearing.
William Lyon Phelps
Having your spiritual radar up in constant anticipation of His presence — even in the midst of the joyful chaos and regular rhythms of your everyday living — is paramount in hearing God, because sometimes the place and manner you find Him is the least spectacular you'd expect.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
1 Corinthians 13:4–5 NIT
While mailing documents to a client one week, I forgot some of the papers. Because of my mistake, we lost several days of progress. I told my client I'd pay for the mailing costs, but he replied, "No, we'll cover the costs — love keeps no record of wrongs."
He was quoting today's verse, which teaches us how to love genuinely — not in the counterfeit way of the world. It teaches us to forget about settling the score, to instead be lavish with grace.
True love doesn't keep track of everyday wrongs, like the papers I didn't send. Love doesn't begrudge how we acted in middle school. It doesn't dwell on words spoken during our low points, our worst moments. Love has long vision that sees beyond the biggest mistakes and lets good overshadow the bad.
When we do this, we love like our heavenly Father — the One who will "hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:19 NIV).
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.
Acts 3:19 NIV
A quarrel between friends, when made up, adds a new tie to friendship. Be who you are and be that well.
Francis de Sales
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32 ESV
Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.
I lay down my anger, unforgiveness, and stubborn ways that beg me to build walls when I sense hints of rejection. I lay all these things down with my broken boards and ask that Your holy fire consume them until they become weightless ashes. And as I walk away, my soul feels safe. Held. And truly free to finally be me.
A word spoken at the right time is like gold apples on a silver tray.
Proverbs 25:11 HCSB
Every autumn, our church holds a clothing drive. One year, many church members wanted to volunteer and donate clothes, but no one was available to chair the event. After praying, I knew God was leading me to direct it myself. I worried, though, that my effort would somehow fall short.
When the event began, so many of the volunteers were upbeat. "Look at all the clothes!" one woman said. Another said, "The turnout is fantastic." Rather than forgetting these remarks, I drank them in — knowing God was giving me the encouragement I needed. When criticisms were raised, I took them as helpful. Scripture says, "A person's wisdom yields patience; it is to one's glory to overlook an offense" (Proverbs 19:11 NIV).
Encouraging words are like a long, deep breath — they refresh us to the core. Instead of feeding the negativity that has become commonplace today, we can follow the Bible's advice to uplift others — with a touch, a smile, or a word. God will send the right people when we need the same.
Excerpted from "Refresh Your Soul"
Copyright © 2017 Worthy Inspired.
Excerpted by permission of Worthy Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Day 1: Time for a Beauty Break,
Day 2: New Every Morning,
Day 3: A Week of Primitive Living,
Day 4: The Source of All My Joy,
Day 5: Time for Pie,
Day 6: Motion Wellness,
Day 7: Stop and Listen,
Day 8: No Record,
Day 9: Gold Apples,
Day 10: Taking a Break,
Day 11: Inhaling the Wonders of His Grace,
Day 12: Life Support,
Day 13: Charging My Spiritual Batteries,
Day 14: Find Rest for Your Soul,
Day 15: Sensing His Presence,
Day 16: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow,
Day 17: Trusting Him in Our Wounded Places,
Day 18: Taking Time,
Day 19: The Rest of Repentance,
Day 20: Press Pause,
Day 21: Let Jesus Move Your Mountain,
Day 22: My Quiet Place,
Day 23: Grace in the Face of Failure,
Day 24: Have I Been Here Before?,
Day 25: God's Safe House,
Day 26: Seclusion Sentinels,
Day 27: For the Overwhelmed, Worried, and Discouraged,
Day 28: Perfect Peace,
Day 29: Lord, You Are ...,
Day 30: Unplug,
Day 31: Pausing to Receive His Delight,
Day 32: Royal Rest,
Day 33: Stop Taking Yourself So Seriously,
Day 34: High upon a Rock,
Day 35: My Soul Needs a Rest,
Day 36: The Best Place to Hide,
Day 37: The Full Breath of Restoration,
Day 38: Enjoying Restful Seasons,
Day 39: Pick Some Flowers,
Day 40: Sail-through Window,
Day 41: A Troubled Heart,
Day 42: The Burden of Stuff,
Day 43: Experiencing Peace in the Midst of Anxiety,
Day 44: Resting in His Arms,
Day 45: Breathe in the Middle of the Chaos,
Day 46: Lifting the Weight of Anxiety,
Day 47: Rest and Laziness Aren't Synonyms,
Day 48: Soul Care,
Day 49: The Overwhelming Life,
Day 50: Seasons of Life,
Day 51: Take Time to Celebrate,
Day 52: Delighting,
Day 53: Trusting in the Name of God,
Day 54: The Balm of Palms,
Day 55: Barefoot Blessing,
Day 56: Dwelling Place,
Day 57: Praising in Times of Stress,
Day 58: Listen to Music,
Day 59: The Encouragement of a Friend,
Day 60: Cabin Comfort,
Thank You to Our Contributors,