THE REST YOU NEED
August 27-28, 2016
Six ways to get rest for your soul:
I. DEPEND on your Shepherd
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”
Psalm 23:1 (NIV)
Action Plan: Write down one or two ways you compare yourself to others, whether it be a material item you want, a job someone else has, or even physical attributes. Take that piece of paper in your hand, lift it up to God and pray “Lord, take these wants away from my heart, I’m a sheep that depends on you for all my needs, I want for nothing.” If you feel comfortable doing so, share your list with your small group and ask for their prayer support.
II. TRUST God to refresh your soul
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.”
Psalm 23:2-3a (NIV)
Action Plan: This scripture tells us that God is good and that he gives us “green pastures” to rest in. Do you ever find yourself running through pastures rather than taking time to lie down and rest in them? God gives blessings to you out of his goodness and mercy. Write down 3 blessings that God has given you. How can you slow down and be refreshed by God’s generous gifts this week?
III. FOLLOW God’s path
“He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
Psalm 23:3b (NIV)
“The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16 (TLB)
Action Plan: Do you have the habit of reading God’s word every day? A daily devotional time? Do you find yourself struggling in certain areas of your life without knowing why? Following God’s path for you means spending time in the Bible and talking with him through prayer; talking to God about your questions and asking for guidance about decisions you need to make. Seek God sincerely and he will provide you with direction.
IV. REMEMBER God is with you
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Psalm 23:4 (NIV)
God comforts you through both protection and correction
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”
Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)
Action Plan: Write down one or two instances where you struggled in a difficult or dark situation. Did you try to ‘fix’ it yourself or did you reach out to God for help? God knows how much protection and correction you need for each situation you face. How fully have you accepted his love in these areas? Discuss these instances with your small group, share the struggles you may be facing, and accept their unconditional love and prayers.
V. APPRECIATE what God has given
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
Psalm 23:5 (NIV)
“The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”
1 Timothy 1:14 (NIV)
Action Plan: A daily challenge: Each morning and each evening, share with God and your family/friends what you are grateful for that God has given you. From the smallest item that you don’t think God cares about to the largest that you feel only God could have given you. Are you able to humbly accept that you are not responsible for what you have, but that God is? Discuss any struggles you may have with your small group.
VI. FOCUS on all & forever
“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Psalm 23:6 (NIV)
Action Plan: Practically, you have to live in the here and now (your daily life), however, your soul rests in the ‘all and forever’ (being with Christ in heaven for eternity). Your soul can rest today when you accept that, as you live practically, you can also focus on living with God for eternity. Write down one or two things that are bothering you today. Share with your small group how those irritations of daily life affect your focus on eternity with God. How might your day-to-day challenges pull your focus away from the reality of eternity with Jesus.