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The World Needs More Sleep

mary jesus sleepsRejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is [near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:4-7]

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A comment to a recent post discussing spiritual warfare brought up the topic of sleep. There are times that the enemy seems able to mess with our ability to fall asleep, the content of our dreams or nightmares, our ability to stay in peaceful restful sleep, and the like. I was struck with the vivid reminder of how true all of that is, and how important is our ability to rest, renew, and refresh in peaceful sleep.

So this is a quick “How-To” post regarding peace and sleep. As per usual, while there are scriptural anchors to this, along with some traditional theology, this is not “authoritative” “finger-pointing” “take notes now, ’cause you gotta do it THIS way” stuff. This is just “here’s some stuff I’ve learned along the journey and if it helps you, use it… if it doesn’t fit, throw it away” stuff.

Background Info:

  • Jesus is/was Son of Man, Son of God… both
  • We, in His image, have physical and spiritual nature
  • We, in His image, have will and creativity… imagination, ability to form and direct the mind in configurations we design
  • We, in His image, are subject to “spiritual input of others” whether of darkness or of Light, and we can choose how to respond
  • God is Our Father, Our Mother, Our Parent… neither abusive, nor neglectful
  • NO ONE and NOTHING is more loving, powerful, and/or protective of us… than Our Father
  • Sabbath is not only a command, but a blessing, a time for “trusting God with the care of ourselves and our stuff” without our own effort or help
  • God is Light and in Him is no darkess
  • Darkness cannot bear Light

OK, I could write an entire post (and often have), and more (and sometimes have) on EACH of those bullets… but not here, not now. If any one (or more) of them need more words from me… leave a comment or send an email.

The enemy can, at times, intrude on our thoughts and minds to prompt anxiety, stress, and restlessness. God, on the other hand, brings peace, trust, joy.

Before bed, take a few moments to prepare:

  • “Count blessings” – Childish as it sounds, “enter His gates with thanksgiving” is real, true, and grown-up. You are preparing to “sleep like Samuel” in the Holy of Holies of the Temple that is you, your own life. Begin, simply with a heart of gratitude (“gratitude is foundational”, a friend of mine says… True ‘dat.)
  • Leave worries outside the gate – Don’t deny or repress, just acknowledge all the stuff on the To Do list, pat them on the head, wish them a good night’s sleep, and resolve to see them tomorrow. For right now, you all need rest. They will manage without you for this time.
  • Wash up to change clothes – We all accumulate “road dust” through our days. Without making any big deal of it, take some time to reflect and acknowledge those moments of the day where conscience prompts that “this could have been handled better”, and resolve to improve. No archaeology here… no deep digging… just the thanks for what was done well, acknowledgement that not all was done perfectly, and resolution to do better… in our role of “clear vessel” for Him in our days.
  • Put on Your Night Robes – Draw onto your clean washed self, the fullness of your Private Interior Robes of the righteousness of Christ. He clothes you in His power, love, grace, and righteousness. Such clothing is embued with the very aroma of His grace and care. NOTHING can damage these, or pass their protection.
  • Enter the Holy of Holies, and settle in for the night.
  • Let Daddy tell you a bedtime story. Go to the Gospels, let the Spirit select a scene. Read it over, close your eyes. Use your sacred imagination to “apply the senses” to the scene. Envision it utterly, including sights, sounds, smells, textures, flavors… Then put yourself into the scene, AS A SMALL CHILD, hanging on to Jesus’ robes, or hand. When He sits down, climb into His lap and listen to Him speak.
  • Let the Spirit do whatever the Spirit chooses, and let Jesus rock you to sleep in His arms, there by the fire after supper. (Btw, He often sings or hums.)

No mother bear ever so guarded her cubs, as He guards a child in His arms.

Over time, with practice, this becomes ever more fun. He not only guards His children with peace, but He starts taking them places in their dreams and sleep. And THERE, they can do extraordinary things together.

When threatened with violence by human authorities that were astonished by His lack of fear, He responded, “…do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” [Matthew 26:53]

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“Well!” one could say, “If we can do all this… Why isn’t EVERY night like this?! If THIS is what God intends in sleep, why hasn’t it ever happened to me before NOW??!!”

Um, it kinda depends on where we choose to sleep, dunnit? I myself, used to sleep in the scrub… at the mercy of every passing weasel and wolf. Then I figured out that I had my own “fortifications” available, and I used that. My own mansion, prayer closet, chamber. I knew I could hedge and post angels, and I did that for a long time.

Why didn’t I sleep in His arms? Um, ’cause nobody told me it was OK. Sounds dumb, I know… the Bible screams it at us constantly, but frankly… I thought it would be too “bold”, too “forward”, too “irreverent”. But then, one day I paid some serious attention to Samuel as a child in 1 Samuel 3, and found myself thinking/praying, “Wow, how neat would it be to have slept in the Holy of Holies with the Ark?”

God challenged me to try it. We actually LIVE in the presence of the Ark. The Ark dwells within us. The Holy Spirit within us occupies the Mercy Seat.

So… things have never been quite the same.

As to “night terrors” I shall say only this. The Immediate Presence of God is Light… no darkness. Darkness cannot enter that space. Evil, sin, cannot enter that space (just ask Nadab and Abihu). WE can enter that space because of the cleansing we have undergone in Jesus.

Use Superpowers… will, co-creation… following the prompts of Holy Spirit… and try an evening sleeping there.

Let me know how that goes…

Grace to thee — The Little Monk

P.S. This may help…

 

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The Journey – Standing Still

Desert Caravan“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 of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the 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.” [Exodus 20:8-11]

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All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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 11:27-29]

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This is an unusual post, Gentle Reader. I welcome you to this journey, this caravan, as we take this special time this year… this Lenten Season… this 40 day period… and head into our own spiritual Jerusalem for our Passover sacrifice, our celebration of the Resurrection at Easter. We began last Wednesday, 5 days ago.

In my own life, the Lord had again placed me on notice that come Resurrection Day, He would again show me something new and spectacular that I have never seen, never known, of Him before. He has done this from time to time in the past. But there is always this “run up” to that awareness. The epiphany ALWAYS came after a time of preparation. But I did NOT always KNOW that. In some years, it just happened… I’d have this extraordinary, often quite painful, process of “spiritual housecleaning” and “preparation”… but WITHOUT knowing that the Lord had something special in His hands come Easter.

So this year, there are these two massive differences from years past.

One, that each day the Lord Himself has chosen simply to identify something in and of me, of my life, my spirit, that encumbers me. These encumbrances are “my stuff”… stuff I grasp as treasure in my hands, clutch as treasure to my heart, that are empty, meaningless, and that build a barrier between me and Our Lord. Even more amazing… He is NOT going to take these things away from me. He’s not going to love me less, think less of me, if I cling to the emptiness of “my stuff”. No. He is choosing to leave it to me, after He identifies the item, after He speaks Truth over the item… He is leaving it up to me to choose to cast it away… or not.

Two, the other big difference between this year and past years is… we are inviting others… any others… all others… to travel with us. This is a journey in company, a caravan of companions. This is quite new for me. This is rather transparent and vulnerable. Nothing inappropriate, of course. The invitation is out here, Gentle Reader, to enter in fully to this journey. Feel free to share anything you’d like about letting go “your stuff”, if you identify encumbrances.

So there is our context, Gentle Reader. Last Sunday, at least in my little section of the universe, here in the Buckle of the Bible Belt… God called a “Snow Day”. In this city of 100 churches… they ALL closed, because of dangerous driving conditions. Amazingly, that turned into an incredible day of worship, right here in my home. It was a simple day, a quiet day, music, internet contacts with other worshipers, prayer… all that… but the Lord came in a massive and incredible way with prayer response that just overwhelmed.

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Today, fellow travelers… do not strike camp and saddle up. I didn’t realize that, though probably I should have… but we’re not traveling today. Nope, as the day started, the Lord came striding out among the tents, calling out for everyone to hold fast.

He cheerfully gathered everyone around Him, had food brought to Him prepared at various hearths, blessed it, divided it up, and served us all breakfast. As we all sat together, we chatted, laughed, enjoyed one another’s company. I’ve never so relaxed.

As Jesus ate, He spoke. He spoke of the Father, the Father’s love, for Him, for us, for all. He spoke of His love, for the Father, for us, for all. He spoke of the Spirit of Love, from the Father, of Him, in us. It was amazing. It wasn’t like any “sermon” you’ve ever heard. It was wonderful. He spoke of us as His children, His brethren, His family, His friends. Wondrous…

As He closed, He invited us all to “lose something” today. He said He was going to ask us for something, and then He was going to give us something. That His gift was for us, whether we chose to lose what He called for or not. This was not a “deal”, and His gift was not conditional. Both matters were simply appropriate for today.

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The Lord said He wanted us to consider holding on to today in our hearts… remembering… replaying… reliving… how wonderful it was when we simply sat down, let Him feed us, rested, and enjoyed one another’s company. THIS, He said, was “Sabbath”. This was what it was always intended to be. That we were to stop, for just one day out of seven, and TRUST HIM to run, not only the Universe-at-Large, but also our own little corner of it.

What did He challenge us to give Him? To cast away from us, and drop along the trail today? Our “Control Key”, like the Remote Control we use to manage and micromanage all our circumstances and activities for every day. Our worries, our work, our stresses, our planning, all that. Just to take our hands off the control panel… at least for one day each week. He challenged us to Trust Him to manage that day, and just rest from all our work of the rest of the week.

That was what He asked me to drop today… not as a “big deal”… but just as a reasonable ongoing part of what He has made into a wondrous day to begin with. I have done that.

But then, without waiting for our responses or answers, He did this incredible thing. Just sitting there with us, all circled about… He said He wanted us to try something. For these moments, He wanted us just to sit, to feel the love present here, and behold Him. Just look upon Him, see Him, and Know Him as He sat there loving us.

Then He said, as we did that, as we quieted our hearts, minds, selves to simply see Him as He is, in all that love… we would come to see the Father Himself.

His closing words, as we began, were… “Be still, and know that I AM God…”

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We are still there, Gentle Reader. What a wondrous day this is.

 

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15 Minutes of Sabbath

Whether you interpret “Sabbath” as “Rest” or as “Worship”… I offer you a link to a 15 minute music recording that has just gobsmacked me with its impact. I have no words in me to share with you, Gentle Reader… but to offer this “Moment of Rest and Worship” to and for you…

May this bless you in His grace! — Little Monk

Fire by Night

28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11]

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2013 in Quiet Time, Uncategorized

 

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