You may have been wondering where the Restore Monday Musings blog has been recently. At this point we are listening for HIs voice and are not certain of an exact scheduling for future blogs, but our heart is to write as the Lord leads us. Restore Ministries is on a deep journey into God’s Word this year seeking to become a people whose greatest desire is to set our gaze on Jesus as our One Thing, to dwell in HIs presence, and to honor Him as our Light and salvation by the way we live. To seek Jesus as your greatest delight, as your One Thing takes intentionality. It means going against the culture and choosing to behold Christ. David says in Psalm 27:4 that his greatest desire - the One Thing - is to behold the beauty of the Lord.
How does God reveal His beauty to us?
How do we set our gaze to behold it?
The Lord has impressed on me a phrase that I am carrying with me in these days -
We become what we behold.
I must set a rhythm in my life that brings order out of the chaos and shows me the way toward a simpler, more purposeful life. Simplicity can ultimately only come from fixing my eyes, my heart, and my mind on Christ. These are great goals for our lives, but how do we actually make them a reality?
I’ve been on that journey for over thirty years and I have found that I do best when I don’t lock myself into a formula of how I seek Jesus, but instead, intentionally make time and space for my soul to listen to Him to order my days. For me, it has looked different in the different seasons of my life. When my children were small I would try to get up early when the house was quiet and spend time in prayer and the Word. Some days it worked, some days it didn’t. I learned to give myself grace in those times, but realized that I couldn’t put my spiritual journey on hold until my girls were grown and life seemed less complex. The truth is that life is just complicated, regardless of the season in which I find myself . In those days as now, my family needs me, my job demands lots of energy and I want to display the heart of Christ in my everyday moments.
And so I began to set a daily rhythm of devotional time with Jesus, seeking to meet Him in the morning hours to gain His perspective, strength and wisdom for the day. It doesn’t always happen the way I would like and what that time has looked like does vary from time to time, even day to day.
One thing I know is that I have to be constantly reminded of the character of God when I face the struggles of my life. Last week I found myself sitting in the emergency room with my sister all night with our 90 year old mom who doesn’t know who she is or who I am. She had fallen yet again. I've lost track of all the falls and trips to the ER. In this fall she has busted her head open and is delusional and terrified of everything, including us. Convinced that we and the doctors and nurses were trying to kill her, I heard her cry out, "My God!" In this moment I need to know my God is enough. When my sister and I enter into our thirteenth year of trying to care for her in her Alzheimer’s disease, I need to know and trust in the character of God to sustain me. The only way I can trust in the goodness of God is if I have spent time in HIs presence and in His Word and learned to find my rest in Him.
After spending over 8 hours in the emergency room throughout the night last week, mom was released and amazingly is recovering. When I finally made it home and tried to sleep, my sweet husband knew what we needed most. He sent out the call for prayer, for mom, for us as caregivers and those prayers once again carried us.
When I woke, I was so grateful to see the calls and texts from friends covering us once again. Oh, how we need a community of believers to help us bear the load and come before the throne when we are too weak and burdened to do it alone.
Sometimes we do just need physical rest to survive the demands of our lives. When I got home from the hospital, I crawled into bed about 7am and slept till noon, grateful that I didn’t have to teach that day.
Above all though, through the years, I have discovered that I need to learn how to come before the Lord and enter into the rest of God. Being still in His presence and learning how to enter into that deep soul rest is a place I can depend on when life is just hard and difficult to understand. In that place I find peace and hope.
Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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.
This is a Scripture I have clung to throughout the years. It is true for you too, whatever pain or fear, or circumstance you face. Our God is always enough. Ultimately, we need the strength of His presence to face the days and the deep needs of our souls.
I’ve often been asked what devotional time looks like for me. I share this today, not to give you a formula, because you must find your own way of making Jesus your One Thing. It is really about the priority of our lives.
These days, I usually sit in my chair in the living room. It is where I come to meet with Jesus.
I most often begin with a cup of coffee or two and then move to tea. I have a kettle next to my chair. (I’m not a morning person!) I usually play worship music in the background, mostly instrumental.
I light a candle - a sign of seeking the light of God’s presence for my day, a signal for my family that I am meeting with Jesus. I love the scent and the light. It’s a routine, a habit that reminds me of the value of setting my gaze on the beauty of the Lord and my intention to seek Jesus as a part of the rhythm of my everyday life.
The scent lingers when I leave my chair to go about the routine of the day and I am reminded of the lessons He has taught me as I pass through the room. I carry His presence with me.
Because we become what we behold and our world, our families, our friends, our neighbors and strangers need to behold Christ in us.
As I am writing this I have music playing and an arrangement of Just as I am - I Come broken by Travis Cottrell plays on my Spotify. The Lord always has a sweet way of encouraging me with songs of worship. I had to stop and listen and make it my prayer. Perhaps the lyric is a picture of where are you are today. In HIs music He ministers to the longings of our hearts. I pray it will bless and minister to your spirit and encourage you in these days to come to the Father and make seeking and beholding Jesus a daily rhythm of your life.
I come broken to be mended
I come wounded to be healed
I come desperate to be rescued
I come empty to be filled
I come guilty to be pardoned
By the blood of Christ the Lamb
And I'm welcomed with open arms
Praise God, just as I am
Just as I am
Choosing to “come” just as you are with your wounds and brokenness and learning to rest in God's presence will take intention.
When you choose to make it the rhythm of your life you will find that He will sustain you through your days, even the hard ones. It ultimately comes down to what the priorities are in our lives and how we choose to spend our time.
I’ve never regretted the choice to come and seek Jesus as my greatest delight. Neither will you.
Here is the youtube link to the beautiful old hymn Just As I Am with the new chorus I Come Broken. I invite you to take a moment and listen.
This song and others that I use to encourage me in my own journey of faith can be found in my One Thing Spotify playlist under marykathryndrake. Here is the link if you would like to follow and listen. I also have a playlist of beautiful instrumental hymns if you prefer.
Grateful for time in His presence,
Resources: Photo Pinterest e685cba0943b96bb15760589cfa9e904.jpg
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Wow! Can you believe it is already September? I hope that you are enjoying a day of fun and rest this Labor Day before the full routine of fall sets in. I love fall! I love all things pumpkin, and the rich colors and cooler temperatures that honestly in the South we won't experience for quite awhile. I would imagine that some of you are excited about getting back into a routine and others are dreading the seemingly never ending list of things to do.
As I approach fall, my prayer is that I will choose to live out my days in a way that is life-giving to all that the Lord brings across my path. I want the beauty of the season to be reflected in my life. How do we do that?
How many times do you go up to someone and ask how they are doing and they’ll say, “I just feel stressed” or “I feel so overwhelmed.” Or maybe you are the one who feels overwhelmed by your multi-tasking life? Do we just buy into that chaotic life? Or is there a different way to live?
It can be hard to focus on what’s really important when it seems like everybody and everything wants a piece of you. As I get older I’m constantly amazed and wonder where the time goes. We are suddenly in another season, another year has passed.
It makes you want to make your days really count. Don’t you long to make a difference, or maybe to make your life look different?
I believe the Lord has some answers for us. There are truths for us in His Word that will help us navigate the sea of things, people, social media and beliefs that bombard our minds and crowd our lives. He understands the cry of our hearts to simplify our lives.
Seeking those answers has led Sherry and I to launch a study entitled “The One Thing.”
One of my favorite verses has always been Psalm 27:4
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.
This Psalm and other “one thing” Scriptures hold rich lessons that can help guide and equip us, but we have to choose to seek those answers and then we have to choose to walk them out in obedience in the way we live out our daily lives.
We live in the kingdom of God and we are part of that kingdom building that the Lord is doing within us and through us right now. How do we keep our eyes focused on Jesus and what really matters? How do we cultivate intimacy with Jesus? What are some practical ways to help us find our purpose, our rest and be a reflection of the love and beauty that only Christ can offer to such a desperate world.
This year we will focus on five “One Thing” Scriptures that address these questions -
If you can’t join us we will be sharing some of the lessons in our blog and possibly some podcasts throughout the year.
So here are the dates:
Friday, September 13
Friday, October 11
Friday, November 8
Restore Winter Gathering
But you need to register below so that we can prepare for you!
Last night I was reading The Pursuit of God by one of my favorite authors A.W. Tozer. He closes each chapter in the book with a beautiful, heartfelt prayer. My heart resonates with this one as we enter this new season.
“O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy Glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up my love, my fair one and come away. “ Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from the misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
May this be a year when we hunger and thirst for the Savior and then choose to rise up and follow Him because He is our ‘One Thing!”
Below is a video Sherry and I made that gives you a window into our hearts for The One Thing study. We hope you will take a little time to view it and choose to join us in two weeks!
Are you looking for some music to encourage and inspire you as you seek the One Thing?
I have put together a Spotify list for you! Enjoy!
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