When was the last time you had a good night sleep? One of the images that come to my mind when I think of peace, is sleep. Not a normal night sleep, but a truly peaceful night sleep. A night when I go to sleep, with no worries on my mind, no stress from the day, no to-do list for tomorrow. I rest my head on my pillow, and I can easily thank God for everything he has done that day and drift peacefully to sleep.
I have had nights like this, but these are not the normal night. This is always my goal of vacations. I like to truly rest, relax, and renew when I am on vacation. Usually once a year, I take time to be by myself so that I can truly do nothing and enjoy the peace and quiet of solitude. These are the times that I find I can obtain this kind of sleep.
Even as a child, I had a lot of nights where I was restless in my sleep. I have a very active and creative mind. All of that activity and creativity would come out in my dreams a lot. I would have many nights when I would wake up afraid of my dreams and be afraid to go back asleep. I'm sure you can all relate to this feeling. There is nothing worse than being afraid of your own mind.
When I woke in the middle of the night, my parents taught me to trust that God can protect me in this world, but also in my dreams. God can safeguard my mind. I'm not sure how old I was when they started to tell me this, but every time I would wake afraid, we would pray and seek God to protect me from dreams.
There were times when I thought my parents were just trying to get me back to bed so they could go to sleep, but as I reflect on it now, knowing what I know about God, I know it was more. I see they were actually praying for me to receive peace.
Our passage this morning says,
Today, as adults, it's like we think it's foolish to trust God to protect us to this level. It's ok to tell a child that God will protect them from their dreams, but we adult and look after ourselves. The truth is, there's nothing we can do to protect ourselves from our dreams. We can't actually control everything about our minds.
Remember, our key verse for this series is
It all comes down to trust. We must trust that God is not just powerful enough but that God loves us enough to look after our hearts and minds.
One of the biggest things that strip away our childhood is worry. We worry about tomorrow, we worry about work and school, we worry about what people think about us, we worry about money, the list goes on and on. If we are going to receive the Kingdom of God like a child, as Mark 10:15 tells us, then we must learn how to let God have control and cast our worries on him.
Read Philippians 4:6-9.
- Do you see a connection between worry and what we fix our thoughts upon?
- How can we keep our thoughts on positive things?
- What are some things you do to push worry out of your mind?
Read Isaiah 41:8-10.
- What do you picture when you think about God being with you?
- When was the last time you really felt his presence guiding you?
- Do you see God with you during difficult times?
- What is the most common way you experience God's presence?
- What’s one thing you will do this week as a result of something you learned from this message?
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