Rest and Renew

Every once in awhile I need a rest day.

It’s one of those days where I do something that takes me out of the normal routine so I can recharge, renew, and refresh.

Recently I felt as though I needed to step away from everything and draw near to the Lord for His encouragement, comfort, and personal revival. So I knew it was time for a rest day. I began my day by living in God’s Word. I grabbed my Bible and studied the book of Haggai. I marked key words, wrote out observations, and slowed down to hear God speak.

Now not everyone is going to choose to live in Haggai as a source of encouragement, but God led me there. It’s only two chapters, so I decided to study it. This prophecy was designed to encourage God’s people to rebuild the temple. In the context, found in Ezra, I discovered that the people of God had allowed discouragement and fear to stop them in their tracks in ministry. So God reached out to this people.

I was so encouraged by the Person, Presence, and Power of the Lord. I saw how intimate God is with His people — He hears their prayers, complaints, shouts of faith, and even the times when they display a lack of trust in Him. He never lets them stay in the pit of despair without reaching out to them with words designed to move them into His plans and purposes. Oh I loved how He told the people to “Consider your ways” (Haggai 1:5,7). And when they responded to Him in obedience and showed reverence for Him, and continued the work of building the temple, God blessed them with His strength, presence, peace, and glory.

I am amazed how God has given us the gift of His Word to draw us near to Himself. He desires intimate communion with us. If we will live in His Word, study it and know it, we will know God better and find great delight in His presence and His very person. There is no One like the Lord. He is the best and dearest Friend you will ever have. And He is your Lord and Master, the One you serve and live for each and every day.

Following my time alone with the Lord, my rest day continued.

I grabbed my Nikon D800E, 80-400mm lens, and monopod, and drove to The Living Desert in Palm Desert, California — over 1,000 acres of desert ecosystem featuring a bighorn sheep enclosure and small animal exhibits. I practiced things I’ve learned from my Trey Ratcliff Arcanum mentor, Laurie Rubin, who is an award-winning wildlife photographer. After about an hour, I found my favorite place to compose images for the day — the Jaguar exhibit. There were two adult jaguars — Memo and Magia — they were resting on the upper rocks. Just as I thought there would be no photos to be had since they were facing away from my camera, Memo, the male jaguar, got up and turned to face me. It’s as though he and I were in silent conversation for about a half hour. I think this jaguar was taking his own day of rest — he was just so relaxed — sort of hanging out with me as I took more than a hundred photos of him in different poses. Oh I am amazed at God’s creation — look at those eyes and face. I decided to process this particular image in black and white — I feel like it somehow gives you a better sense of the atmosphere and experience.

Then, I just walked to one of the benches that looks out into the desert and talked with the Lord for awhile. I thought about all I learned from Him in the book of Haggai. I thanked Him for giving me such a special day of rest and renewal.

Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord.
Acts 3:19

That’s a promise you can count on. Sometimes we just need to step away and focus on Christ instead of circumstances, and look at the Savior instead of the seasons in our lives.

When God gave His people the task of rebuilding the temple, He told them through His prophet Haggai, “I am with you” (Haggai 1:13). And later, He again told His people to take courage because He was with them (Haggai 2:4).

Dear friend, no matter what responsibilities you have on your plate, you can be encouraged because the Lord is with you. And when you have the Lord, you have everything you need. He will strengthen you, bless you, and give you peace. He promises. Days of rest will encourage you with powerful truths about God’s presence and power.

So, if you find you are in need of a little encouragement today, take a day of rest, and draw near to your Lord. He is your greatest encourager. He loves you and is always with you.

God bless you dear friend, as you continue on in the great adventure of knowing Him.

♥ Blessings and Grace to You!


myPhotoWalk Technical

  • Title: Rest and Renew
  •   Request This Image > SmugMug Image Request
  • Description: A myPhotoWalk Renewal Day at The Living Desert in Palm Desert, California, USA.
  • Creator: Catherine Martin
  • Date Created: 11/14/14
  • Camera: Nikon D800E, 80-400.0 mm, Focal Length 230.0 mm, f/5.3, 1/800, ISO 500.
  • Photoshoot: Afternoon lighting for the myPhotoWalk photoshoot at The Living Desert in Palm Desert, CA, USA.
  • Post-Processing: Adobe Photoshop, Nik Software, onOne Software Perfect Photo Suite
  • Copyright ©2017 Catherine Martin — myPhotoWalk™ — Quiet Time Ministries. All Rights Reserved.
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