slave no more

So He brought His people out with joy, His chosen ones with singing.
Psalm 105:43 ESV

When we are in the bottom of the pit, we cannot yet see the joy which awaits ahead.

The slave within us cannot hope for the freedom it feels is beyond its grasp.

He knows.

God’s Word is full of the overflow of His heart for His people:
freedom
love
blessing
hope
future
mercy
grace
and yes, even joy.

If you have been a slave for longer than you can recollect, the concept of joy can be a startling one to accept.

Freedom can take some getting used to, not because you don’t see it. but because you haven’t yet accepted it is yours.

The Israelites spent 40 years of wandering around in the desert, when the route God had had for them was only months long. Because they couldn’t escape their mindset of slavery.

Slavery brings along depression, whining, complaining and rebellion when it lingers & takes hold.

Unless you believe all of you is set free, including your mind, you may return to the bonds God has set you free from.

For the battle is won on two fronts:
by His actions, and our acceptance.

God has completely set us free through the one time action of Jesus dying on the cross.

The legal bonds of slavery have been obliterated for all eternity.

Hallelujah!

The mental bond to slavery is the one which we need to break, through our acceptance of His act of freedom- regardless of whether we can see or not.

It was finished – His action.
It is finished – our acceptance.

When we agree with His freedom, and align ourselves to show our acceptance…we remove the last tether to the chains God has already broken off of us.

When that happens, we go out with joy, knowing we are His beloved, singing Him the songs of love welling up within us, filling the expanse where freedom now reigns.

The battle is ultimately won through Jesus, but conquered in each of us when we accept the truth…

He is the freedom we seek,
we are the vessels He longs to remake & restore.

It’s our choice whether we allow Him to finish the freedom for which He paid the ultimate price.

Our minds need to choose His freedom, agree with our Maker, and allow the fullness of all He has for us to fall upon us.

When we are overflowing with love, we long to be with the one we adore.  We long to serve them, because they show us their care & devotion in all they do as well.

We are no longer slaves.

He has served us first with the offering of freedom, hope & a future, and awaits for us to take and eat, sip from the cup, and begin to live free.

If the slave mentality is lingering because you have severed that last tie, the one trying to lure you back in….

Begin to pray.
Worship Him.
Call on His Name.
Proclaim the truth, in Jesus you are no longer a slave.
Speak out your true identity, free one in Christ. Chosen, Beloved.
Cut the cord of the lie tying you to the former things which are no more in His Kingdom.
You are His.
Sing out your thanks as you soak in His Words of hope, truth, love.
Shout your freedom from the rooftops at full lung capacity.
Go and walk in joy as He leads you out, once and for all, into the Promised Land in His Presence.

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all access pass

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image via Remade Ministries

Over and over, I fail.
His love for me remains,
constant, solid, dependable.

Unlike me.

I am nowhere near perfect, inside or out, but I am no longer where I was when He found me.

One thing has changed me for eternity: His love.

And His love is a constant flowing moving living force. It isn’t passive. It is actively seeking out those wanting to be soaked in His Presence, changed by & for His glory.

God never turns away those upon whom Jesus has bestowed His mark, for His love grants us an all access pass to His courts, a freely given gift to enter His Presence, this King over all, at any time.

At any time, you & I have access to the Father.

At any time, you & I have access to Jesus.

At any time, you & I have access to Holy Spirit.

At any time means just that…

Today, take the all access pass you’ve been gifted, and join me as together we use it.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving in your heart.

Sing a new psalm of praise as you remember all He has done for you.

Bring the offering of your sin & past, to leave at the altar & exchange for peace & a future.

Be filled with His living water, coated in the oil of gladness, received with living bread.

The weather outside may be drab or dreary, your soul may be tattered or weary, the path ahead fearful or leery.

Your all access pass brings you straight in to the Holy of Holies, into the arms of the One who calls you Beloved, and longs for you even more than you desire to draw close to Him!

Don’t let your pass stay in your back pocket, only to be used in emergencies.

You will never overuse it, ever.

Any time, any place, for any reason, you have all access to God!

when mothering hurts

I have not always had the relationship I enjoy now with my mom.  We have both had to work hard at forgiving one another & leaving the past behind to enjoy our current relationship. She is  a treasure i continue to enjoy getting to know better. 🙂

Nor has being a mother always been smooth sailing.  But my kids are the two biggest blessings God has bestowed upon me, and i am way more delighted with them than I am frustrated by the day to day messes they can leave around.

I can get how Mother’s Day stirs up lots of emotions within us:

For many,  joy over their relationship with their mothers, which has been filled with enough blessings to outweigh the growing pains & hard times.

 Joy at becoming a mom.

Others, grief over the early or sudden loss of their mothers, your soft place to land when things got rough or your sounding board when things were tough.

Grief over the unwise choices your children have made, as they have broken your heart by leaving or running away from home right into dangerous, unwise or unknown situations.

Or grief because you are not yet a mom. You have been struggling to have a child of your own.
You may have been blocked from formally adopting the child you adore.  
Your heart aches for what you desire.

Some experience loss because they were abandoned or rejected by their mothers, and intensely feel the lack of that relationship within.

The other side of loss is anger, over abusive or neglectful mothering.

And for those who desperately want to be mothered, no matter why, an intense longing for that hole within to be filled with a mom.  
Or the deep longing for your child to come home.
Or you long for the child you lost, the one who came before their time, or left before living a full life.

All these emotions can swirl around this holiday, making it one of the most emotionally intense holidays of the year.

I have experienced most of the above at one time or another.
I get it.

But more importantly, so does God.

He sees all the ways earthly mothering has broken, battered or abandoned those of you hurt by your mothers.

He knows the grief and devastation of your losses and your longings.

He wants to touch that painful emotion within.

I believe the father waiting for his son in the parable of the Prodigal Son also represents the full heart of God.  That kind of love also includes the heart of mothers.

If God designed man and woman to both be in His image, than both fathers and mothers reflect His heart.

He too longs for your child to come home.

He grieves with you when your mother is suddenly taken from you.

He sees the cries you try to hide at night as you wail in your pillow for the child you lost, or the children you’ve been told will not be coming.

He tears up when you stand at your mother’s grave, and a wave of grief shakes you to your core.

He is there with you.

Just as a mother might be….with her arm around you, even though you may be too dazed to know she is beside you.  Waiting for you to call, and share about your day.

I believe God gives those of us who are His ‘spiritual’ mothers, because He knows that so many of us are rocked by our childhoods, and need a wise discerning mother to step in and mother us where we need it.

I have been very blessed by one such mother, who has since moved on to worship & adore Her Lord face to face.  God caused her to step in at a time when I needed such a mom, with her loving wisdom and redirecting me to Him. I am now pleased to say I have such a relationship with my earthly mother, because He has helped us restore it.

Mother’s Day to me is an earthly celebration, if you don’t know God. Its only one day a year to thank your mom for what she does for you.

Mother’s Day in God’s eyes? An opportunity for every mother, whether by birth, adoption or spiritually, to appreciate the gift of the children He has placed in your care.  The ability to show God’s heart for His kids, every day.

If you are so blessed with a mom you adore, honor her.  Take her out for a meal, if not on Mother’s Day than on your birthday, the day God made her your mom.

Take flowers to her grave, play her favorite movie, sing her favorite song, wear her color.

However she needs to know you appreciate the blessing she is to you when she is alive, and for you to honor her memory in your heart.

And after Mother’s Day is over?

Then honor your mother every day by thanking God for her.

If you struggle with your relationship with your mom, please visit Bonnie Gray‘s excellent blog post on how to find healing from your hurt:

http://www.faithbarista.com/2015/05/toxic-mom-7-ways-to-find-healing/

If you struggle with being the best mother you can to your children, or are waiting to become a mom, ask God to help you become that mother you desire to be.   He will give you the patience you need to stay calm in the terrible twos, the strength to endure the sleepless nights of teething, illness and out past curfew, the wisdom to raise that headstrong child, and the ability to look back and laugh at some of your fumbles.

The best thing you can do as a mother? Know God. And point your kids to Him.

May your children arise to call you blessed. Proverbs 31:28a

proverbs31-30

 

 

let it flow

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Five years ago, I hit a bit of a harder patch than ever before. Injuries, illnesses & secrets revealed combined in an attempt to soak me dry to the bone.

Without God, the enemy would have succeeded in fully leaching the life out of me.

As it is, God held me even closer, spoke to me more clearly, and poured life into me, each & every day.

He keeps doing so with each new today.

The hardest part for me each year seemed to always hit around my birthday.

And quite frankly, without God, my kids & my best friends, there wouldn’t have been anything worth celebrating.

My hubby, post two major surgeries without full resolution of all his problems, got some good news this week. They may know what is causing his last plaguing symptom.

I ended up with an unexpected tax bill this month, which slapped me silly for a few hours before I could hear God whisper, “I got this. I told you breakthrough is coming.”

Hubby got one of his best tax refunds back within 6 days of filing. Which more than covered my bill, the two main needs we have needing repair, and knocking off 1/4 of our debt.

Numbers don’t mean that much to me. Relationship is more important, and always will be.

But the weight I was still carrying over our finances was quite a load, and God told me this week its His to carry, so hand it over & stop taking it back. He set me free.

So far this past 48 hours, God has been knocking my socks off with an outpour of blessing I have not been expecting, but am so grateful for.

My hubby, daughter & son all amped up and blew me away with their gifts of love, and time.

My besties rocked me again with blessings wrapped in laughter & care. They have kept me close through the rocky days, and loved me as I needed to be loved all the way. My chicks, my heart sister gifts God knew I would need in my life? Abundant blessings, each one.

My coworkers sang me happy birthday, and threw me an apple themed party (apple crumble, apple coffee cake, sour apple can’t & apple danish!).

My parents are taking us all out to dinner tonight, and have been so supportive to us all over this past long haul that tears well up from thinking about their love shown in action.

What I have learned, and celebrate today?

I have always had blessings growing around me, because of His handiwork.

He has been the giver and keeper of my life.

He is the Water I need to drink in every day, to keep life flowing in my spirit.

He is the Word I crave daily, to fill me up and direct me how to life & get to know Him more.

The garden of my life will never run dry when I choose to ask the Gardener to keep pouring Himself into it. The pruning, uprooting and straightening out that occurs under the Gardener’s hand may be painful, the pests attack may try to permanently damage, but I celebrate the Life Giver has me.

Not just my back.
He’s fully got me.

And so, even when the bad days try to gray out all the Son, I can still water my garden, with His love, grace and mercy, and hope for the new day’s blessings to come, as He has planned for me!

Every day, not just our birthdays or anniversaries are worth celebrating! So pull out your nice dishes, fave tea cup, recipe you save for a special occasion.

Jesus has you.

Worth celebrating every moment of every day!

Don’t forget to allow Him to water your garden daily. Keep your eyes on the new growth each season. Let Him bring to life a new you as you sink deeper into Him.

Freedom is Calling

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One of my favorite moments in human history occurs in Luke 4:15-21:

(Jesus was teaching in their synagogues, & everyone praised him. )

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,to set the oppressed free,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Wow! God came down in human form, sat in the synagogue he was used to teaching in, & revealed to His people that He had come, to bring His favor & freedom for all.

Heaven intersected earth and declared His intention of loving & freeing His children.

Jesus was anointed for such a time as that to announce it is now such a time as this!

Freedom is calling out…
*speaking good news to the poor
*healing those who hurt
*freeing all captives
*pardoning all prisoners
*proclaiming the year of God’s grace
*celebrating God’s win over the enemy
*caring & comforting the mourners, giving them living bouquets, messages of joy, praising hearts, a new name: Oaks of Righteousness, whom He planted to show His glory on display!
*a rebuilding is on the horizon, a new city will arise. You will bring in outsiders & immigrants to work along side you, but you will be My Ministers. The bounty of nations will be your feast, they will show you their favor.
*a double dose of inheritance will be yours for all your troubles
*your joy will go on forever

My question for you today is simple. Do you believe it?

Jesus lived this out every day when He followed where His Father & the Spirit led Him to go. He spoke His words, revealed His heart, healed His beloved, fed His people, love on display.

Do you believe He wants to do this for you? In the here and now?

I believe God chose this scripture for a particular reason. It was a comforting verse for the Jews, and one they dreamed of their coming Messiah fulfilling.

And He has, just not in the form they all could recognize.

If the Jesus & God you believe in couldn’t possibly mean all this verse contains? You either are looking through broken glasses, or have forgotten who it is you are following.

This Easter, take a closer look at Jesus. See how He lived, breathed, healed, spoke, prayed, taught, loved, cried, cared for the lowly, fed the flock, comforted those grieving, raised the dead, followed the heavy path to the cross.

The whole Word of God came to life when Jesus walked among us, and announced He was here.

Our Risen Jesus is still with us, and this Word of blessing is still His intention for His children.

He wants His people free.

Renewed, rebuilt, full of joy.

Our part is two fold.

1. To believe He is who He says He is, and wants to show us such grace & blessing.

2. To come to Him, and tell Him we believe.

The rest is up to Him. Our freedom is based upon His actions, not ours beyond drawing close and listening for His direction. He is more than capable of doing ALL we need for our full freedom release!

His list of blessings and hope and love and grace and mercy for each of us?

Mind blowing with His intention for our complete restoration!

Freedom is calling…
Do you believe,
will you come?

The full version of Isaiah 61:1-7 in the Message version is posted below. Some time reading familiar words in a different way helps us to capture nuances we might otherwise miss. I try to read passages in 2-3 versions so I can get a good handle on the overall story before digging in for the nuggets they hold for me now!

Announce Freedom to All Captives

The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners.

God sent me to announce the year of his grace—a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—and to comfort all who mourn, to care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom,  a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness” planted by God to display his glory.

They’ll rebuild the old ruins,raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They’ll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new. You’ll hire outsiders to herd your flocks
 and foreigners to work your fields,

But you’ll have the title “Priests of God,” honored as ministers of our God. You’ll feast on the bounty of nations, you’ll bask in their glory.

Because you got a double dose of trouble and more than your share of contempt, your inheritance in the land will be doubled and your joy go on forever.

beaten not defeated

I’m pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I’m blessed beyond the curse for His promise will endure
for His joy’s gonna be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for the night, joy comes in the morning!

Darrell Evans, Trading my Sorrows

When I fail or slide the slippery slope into sin, I have a habit of wallowing in it.

It ain’t pretty.

It isn’t necessary.

Freedom awaits!

God reminds me He is more than enough to meet ALL of me:

He is my Saviour
all my sins are made white as snow when I approach the cross, each and every one.

He is my Freedom
because of the cross, and who He is, God can break any chain that may bind me, and set me free into wholeness and wide open spaces of grace!

He is my Provider
all my needs are met in Him.

He is my Healer
in every way, He can heal me- physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually

He is my Protector
He is my safety, my shield, who keeps me safe & protects me

He is my Song
He sings over us! Like a lullaby, reassuring us He is near.

He is my Source
as my Maker, I can bring all things to Him, as He knows all things!

He is the Giver of Gifts
all our gifts, talents & blessings come from His hand

He is my Peace
He calms the raging torrents within me in the battles

He is Present, God with us
God is always here.
There with us.
Waiting for us.

This is just a few examples of how despite hard times and circumstances, God’s got our back & is helping us make a way through the storms in our lives.

I am never defeated when I run to God in the skirmishes.

I may be pressed for His fragrance to be more easily released afterwards, but not destroyed by the enemy’s attack.

I may be persecuted because of the One who will never abandon me; my constant, rock solid, for me God.

I am blessed beyond the curse as I am His, and He is mine. His Presence brings blessings that far outweigh any hardship the enemy tries to curse me with.

His promise will endure, forever.
God never changes, and what He has promised comes to pass. What He has spoken comes to life. What He whispers to us sinks into our souls and grows new hope within.

My Joy will arrive. He rides a white horse, and has written my name on His love pierced hands, and He will come for His people in a triumph which leaves me breathless with anticipation.

His Spirit stirs the joy within me every morning that I am not alone, and this God who loves me so wants to be known by me, and to pour out His devotion for me 24/7, 365, and into infinity & beyond!

May you too jump into the Word, and find the names of who God is. May He reveal to you His heart as you do, and draw you closer than you could ever imagine as you invest in seeking Him first.

If like me, you have a hard time seeking freedom, would you consider the book “Stronghold” by Beth Kinder of Remade Ministries?
It is designed to move you out of the enemy’s shackles and into His stronghold of freedom, love and becoming whole. God is already using it to set people free, and it doesn’t launch until March 13th!
Please visit www.strongholdthebook.com to learn more download the first chapter for free,and pick up some scripture cards & screensavers!

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Sunday Psalm: Sing a New Psalm

For the past 112 of 114 days I have been have a quiet time reading a psalm a day. I have discovered three main things along the journey:

1. God is found in all situations, from each breath we take every day to the running of nations. He reigns over all. He is righteous, living, majestic, creative and fascinatingly amazing to see through the psalmist’s words.

2. We can pour out anything we are feeling before God. Our hopes, dreams, hurts, anger, joys, failures, and everything in between that a person could want, need or desire.

3. God included people with all our quirks and frailties not only as part of His story, but used us to tell the story of how He interacts with us.

The Psalms is part of a collection that was recorded over centuries as a series of snap shots of God and His people.Selfies, as you will, that we took with God in each picture. And God initiated in each writer what He wanted them to write.

Fast forward to 2015.

Those of us who follow God, still feel that deep longing to create, to express how amazing He is. How much He loves us. How He has created all things. How He draws close to those of us He calls His own, and longs for those who haven’t yet come home.

And this love wants to be heard.
Through all of our gifts and talents.

As a result, I decided to write my own psalm every Sunday.
Starting today!
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Sing a New Psalm

Morning crashed through the clouds above; announcing the new dawn.
The birds chirping welcome as they flit between branch to nest in the strong oak trees where they make their home.
The fresh aroma of spices & tea rising beside the bread coming out of the oven.
I head into the quiet place
to meet with You, Lord.
Thankful for the glimpses
of Your touch in nature
visible outside my window.
Grateful for the roof over my head,
the food in my belly,
the laughter of my family.
Thankful for the grace
I sense all around me.
Evidence of Your handiwork
in my heart, mind, spirit & soul.
You wrap loving arms around me
when I feel low,
lift my head to capture my gaze
to remind me who I am to You.
Adored, Your precious purchase.
Beloved, daughter of the King.
Chosen, handiwork extraordinaire.
Daughter, in whom You delight.
Everything I have,
I owe to
Your hands.
All of that would be enough,
but You still offer more!
God with me,
You walk beside me.
You wrap Your arms around me,
drawing me close into Your embrace.
You are my refuge when the storms come.
Your Presence fills me with joy whenever I approach.
Always welcome,
always wanted.
My heart burst to share the good news- we never ever
have to be, or feel, alone.
Its is time to raise my voice
and sing this new psalm of praise
to You tonight.

come away

Its time to come away, My love.

Just you and I.

We need time together.

You need rest, restoration, and a fresh infusion of my love to remember who you are.

I need to see you.

I miss you.

Why do I want to spend time with you?

If only you could grasp how lovely you are to Me.

I adore you.

I have plans laid out ahead for you, plans to bless you and renew your hope.

We have a future together that begins now, as we hang out.

I gave My all, My best, My Son for us to be able to reconnect, and for you to know just how much I love you.

I am all in.

My love for you is not dependent upon what you do, but who you are to me.

My precious child.
The one I adore.
The one I long for.

Come away, My love.

Let Me refresh you beside still waters.

Let Me nourish you with Living Water & the Word.

Let Me whisper words of love, hope, truth and blessing into your spirit.

Let Me hold you as you press into Me on the hard days, through the difficult times.

Let Me free you from the snares and tangles of the enemy.

Let Me pour My love, grace, mercy into you until they well up and overflow out of you.

Let me in.

I will always be here for you.

For eternity.

Come away with Me, My love….

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be

It is time to be.

Leave the doing for a while, and like Mary, the disciples and the crowds of His day, come and sit a while at Jesus’ feet.

All are welcome to come.

But as you come, you will be changed.

You cannot sit with pure love, grace and compassion without it bringing out that which is within you.

You will be-come.

Be.

There is a dream, a Hope, a seed, a flame waiting within to break out and be.

Come.

There is a place just for you, waiting for you take your place, and come.

Become.

Be what you were meant to be when you come into His presence.

When His presence permeates you from the inside out, and releases His creative life within.

Be with Him.
Come to Him.
Become His.

I resist the pull to just be.
I prefer to buzz around at tines, keeping busy.

But I know, oh how I know deep deep down in my very soul, God is always patiently, lovingly, devotedly waiting for me.

To come sit at His feet.
To rest in the quiet open space He has waiting for me.
To listen as He whispers His words of Love.
Hope.
Encouragement.
Direction.

And I become more
Trusting
Faith filled
Peaceful
Hopeful
Joyful
Grateful
In His presence.

Stop doing.
Its time to be.
He is ready and waiting for you
To come.

The becoming awaits.
What you will become depends on whether you will heed His call to come and be.
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find rest

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Rest is unfound in the midst of busyness.

Busyness for many people means spending a great deal of time working, for someone else’s business.

If our best is poured out on business each day in the midst of our busyness, what’s left at the end of the day?

How do you get refueled to do it a over again tomorrow?

How can you make time for the business you are neglecting in the busyness- caring for yourself.

There is really only one person, from before you were born until the moment you leave this earth, who has your best interest at heart, and who cares for you beyond your comprehension.

And when we look to see what God’s Word says about busyness, we find words that stir up longing for quiet places, open fields, rest, laying down of our burdens, hope in the midst of our struggle….lavished with abundant love, mercy, grace.

Words that usher in peace.

Come to Me, He calls, this Lover of our souls.

I will give you rest.

You can experience rest in the middle of a crazy chaotic situation.

I distinctly remember a nasty word spoken to me, deliberately delivered like a spear to my heart.  I could nearly breathe from the pain.

I left the situation, went into the hall, slid to the floor and cried.

Still grieving over two recent losses, this extra dramatic blow from the enemy to my soul could have put a wedge between family members, and might have had God not intervened.

As I tried to catch my breathe and sob simultaneously, I happened to look up, and a sweet older woman who looked a great deal like one of my loved one came up to me, caught my eye and told me everything would be all right.

Which is exactly what I needed to hear, from the image of someone I loved, in that exact moment.

An overwhelming sense of peace, an awareness that God was not surprised and He would use this incident for good & His glory fell over me, and I felt inexplicably completely at rest.

The battle was still waging on, but I found rest in leaving the cares in God’s care & timing.

Rest is found when we trade our ruffled feathers in for the covering of peace He has waiting for each of us.

My daughter likes to refer to things she misplaces as being unfound. Just waiting to be found by one who is looking for it.

Our rest, our inner peace, deep down in our soul becomes unfound with extensive busyness and business.

And the opposite is true as well….

Our rest, our inner peace, deep down in our soul becomes found with extensive rest and being who He designed us to me.

Once you have tasted true rest, your soul will never be satisfied with substitutions.