“I Will Give You Rest”

 

“Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28

What does that mean? In our crazy world, with our busy messy lives, how can we rest? Most of us feel like at times we need more hours in the day.

Some of the definitions from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary for rest are: (noun) repose, sleep; a place for resting or lodging; peace of mind or spirit; something used for support or (verb) free of anxieties

Let’s consider some of these definitions.

  1. Repose, Sleep

We all know our physical bodies need rest. Article I read list some of the health risks of too little or poor sleep.

Weight gain/Obesity – people with poor sleep habits typically have a higher BMI (body mass index) than those who get 8 hours.

Diabetes – inadequate sleep influences the way the body processes glucose and can contribute to Type 2 Diabetes.

Heart Disease and Hypertension – insufficient sleep with people suffering from hypertension can cause elevated blood pressure, eventually increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Mood Disorders – Irritability and moodiness can be caused by a single sleepless night, and long term mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and mental distress have been connected to chronic sleep issues.

Performance and Public Safety – Poor job performance and accidents can sometimes be attributed to lack of sleep.

Life Expectancy – Studies show that sleeping five hours or less a night increased mortality risk by roughly 15 percent.

God created our bodies to renew and refresh themselves through sleep. Cells regenerate and brains sort out superfluous information stored over the day. If you have trouble falling to sleep, ask God for restful sleep.

Psalm 4:8 (AMP) says “In peace [and with a tranquil heart] I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety and confident trust.”

Psalm 127:2 says “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.”

Proverbs 3:24 promises “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.”

The Amplified Bible says in Proverbs 19:23 “The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.”

Sometimes, we need to take a break from whatever we are doing, especially when we are overwhelmed with activity and business.

In Mark 6: 31, Jesus told the disciples to come rest awhile. “And He said to them, ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.’”

The Greek word translated “rest” here is anapauð : (reflex.) to repose (lit. or fig. [be exempt], remain), by implication to refresh:-take ease, refresh, (give, take) rest. (Also the same word translated rest in Matt. 11:28) Jesus knew the disciples needed to take time refresh, take rest.

  1. Peace of mind or spirit; free of anxieties

God created us as a three part being just as He is – He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We live in a physical body, we have a soul (mind, will and emotions) and we are a spirit.

Not only does our physical body need rest, but also our mind and emotions. Sometimes the poor state of our physical body can affect our mental or emotional being, but we also need to rest, or refresh our mental state of being.

We all have a certain amount of stress, it’s called life. But prolonged stress can damage our body, even to the point of serious illness or death. God did not create us to carry excess stress.  And He has given us instructions and the tools how to handle it.

In 1 Peter 5:6, 7 tells us, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”  We do not need to spend time stressing over situations, needs, problems especially those things we have no control over. We do need to acknowledge we are unable control it, and then cast it all over on God. And if that means we have to do it over and over, then we do it over and over, repenting for taking it back.

A lady named Phyllis Ford said “Rest is displayed in our ability to yield to the presence of God, trusting that He is in control of our lives… We relinquish our ability to fix, manage, and control things.” Yield to God’s presence and trust He is in control. And trust Him that if there are things we can do or need to change, He will reveal it to us.

Zephaniah 3:17 says “The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

“He will quiet you with His love.” Just like a mother quiets her crying child with words of love and comfort, God will quiet our hearts no matter what is going on in our lives, even in the craziness sometimes if we only trust Him. God is in the midst of the worst circumstances and will quiet us with His love. He is the only one able to truly give us peace of mind.

Jesus said in verse 29 of Matt. 11, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” The interesting thing here, the Greek word translated rest here, is anapausls : (from anapauð,) but it means – intermission; by implication recreation; – rest. Jesus is inviting us to come take a break from things with Him. Come to Him, and we can take an intermission from worry, from stress, from sorrow.  When I was on Grand Jury, some days were so very hard and at times depressing. No matter how hard I tried, I could not “unsee” or “unhear” some of the horrific photographs I saw or the disturbing testimony I heard. If I went home and brooded over things, I usually would have trouble sleeping, thinking about what I’d seen and heard. But If I went home, took a walk and invited Jesus to come along with me, and talked to Him about it, the burden of it always lifted and I was able to put it out of my mind and sleep that night.

In the book of Acts Peter was thrown into prison, probably to be executed just as James his brother had been, what was his response? (Acts 12:5) He was asleep bound between 2 guards! Why? How? Because he’d cast the care of his life over on God.

So when a stressful situation is keeping you up at night, pray “Father, I cast the care of this (whatever it is) over on You because I know You care for me. Now I will lay down and sleep because You have promised to give your beloved sleep.”

Jesus said “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me… Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:1, 27)

  1. Something used for support or a place for resting or lodging

Now just as rest is important for our physical bodies and our souls, rest is essential for our spirits. When we are physically tired, when we are mentally or emotionally stressed and drained, our spiritual life suffers and we are ineffective for the Kingdom of God. But equally, when we’re not refreshed and growing spiritually, our bodies and souls suffer. Each part of our being is dependent on the other – when one part suffers, our entire being suffers.

What is it that is rest for us, that something we can use for support? Where do we go to find a place of resting?

The NKJV of Psalm 94:12-15 says, “Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law, that You may give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit is dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not cast off His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance. But judgment will return to righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it.”

Now listen to it from The Message: “How blessed the man you train, God, the woman you instruct in your Word, providing a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil, while a jail is being built for the wicked. God will never walk away from his people, never desert his precious people. Rest assured that justice is on its way and every good heart put right.”

“Providing a circle of quiet in the clamor of evil.” When we meditate on God’s Word, when we spend time alone with God, when we pray, God will provide a circle of quiet.

In John 16:33 Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Jesus is the One we can lean on for rest. In this life we will have problems, we will have conflicts, we will have family issues, we will have financial issues, we will have health issues. But Jesus says “In Me you can have peace.

Why is this important?

Today we are in a spiritual war as never before. There are things happening in the world, in our country, all around us, things that in the natural realm we have no control over. Satan is trying to destroy our nation, he wants to destroy our families, he wants to control our children.

But in the spirit realm, we have power because Jesus said, “I will give you the keys (authority) of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind [forbid, declare to be improper and unlawful] on earth will have [already] been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose [permit, declare lawful] on earth will have [already] been loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19 AMP)

The most important thing we can do for the Kingdom of God is pray. Pray Spirit led, Word based prayers. The last phrase of James 5:16 says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

But if we’re struggling in our own soul, if we’re worn out, how effective can we be?

Matthew 28:18a says “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore..”

We have been given the authority in Jesus’ Name, we have been commissioned by Jesus, to work for the Kingdom of God. But we have to be ready and be prepared before we can be effective in this Kingdom work. We have to be ready for battle when God calls us.

We have to be physically and mentally ready as well as spiritually prepared for do Kingdom warfare.

The Bible says of Jesus: “Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left [the house], and went out to a secluded place, and was praying there.” Mark 1:35 (AMP)

Jesus began His day, spending time with the Father, listening to what the Father said. If you’re not an early riser, ask the Father what time He’d like you to meet with Him and ask Him to help you to set your schedule accordingly. We have to fit our schedule into God’s plans, not expect God to fit His plans into our schedule. Spend time during the day just quietly sitting, listening for His voice. You can pray, or not; read your Bible or not; but just bask in His presence.

Listen to Jesus speaking in Matthew 11:27-30.

“Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. ‘The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I’m not keeping it to myself; I’m ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.

‘Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.’”

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Dee

 

A Strong Foundation of Faith

“For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness’ …Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.” Romans 4:3, 16 (NKJV)

Abraham, called the Father of Faith, shows us how to build a foundation of faith. It starts with hearing God. God spoke to Abram (Abraham as he was called later), Abram heard and obeyed.
“Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.” (Genesis 12:1-4)

God told Abraham to leave the place where he was and go to a place that He would show him. Years before God had lead Abram’s father, Terah, to leave Ur the land of the Chaldees (in modern day Iraq) to go to Canaan, but he only made it as far as Haran (Turkey) and settled there and there he died. God spoke to Abram and he heard and he obeyed.

The first thing we have to do if we’re to have a strong foundation of faith is to hear God and then obey. How do we hear God? By taking in His written word, by reading and meditating on what is given to us through the Scriptures. Once we have it in our hearts, then we have to be obedient to it. It’s not enough just to read it or hear it preached; we have to apply it by being obedient, doing what we hear God telling us to do.

“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.” (Hebrews 11:8, 9)

If we desire to live a life for God, we have to learn to be obedient to Him and be fully surrendered to His will. It requires faith to be fully surrendered to God. When we doubt, or lack faith in God and His Word, it hard to give up our plans and desires to surrender to His. It requires spending time in the Scriptures to come to the place where we can genuinely say “Not my will, but Yours be done.”
But when we know the Word, we can also know that God’s plans for our lives are far better than anything we can imagine. He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Seek Him with you whole heart, through His written word, and you will find Him. Dwell on that Word and your faith in it will grow. Then you will have a strong foundation of faith that can stand against any circumstance that life on this planet gives.
Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

What’s That Smell?

“God, create a pure heart in me. Give me a new spirit that is faithful to you.”  Psalm 51:10 (NIRV)Image

          A few days ago I noticed a slight odor in the refrigerator when I was getting my morning yogurt. I was getting ready to go to work so I noted to myself that I needed to clean out the refrigerator when I got home from work that day. By the time I got home, I was too tired and decided it could wait until the next day which was Saturday. Saturday morning I went to younger grandson’s baseball game, ran some errands on the way home and by the time I got home, I had other things on my mind and forgot about it. Since hubby was out of town, that evening I went out to dinner with a friend from work and didn’t open the fridge again until Sunday morning. Ugh! It was worse, but no time to do anything about it. Went to church that morning and since it was Mother’s Day I met my daughter and her family for a special lunch. By Monday I didn’t even have to open the door to smell the odor coming from the refrigerator. Good thing I’m off work this week, because there was no more putting it off. It had to be cleaned out now!  
             I emptied the contents of the fridge, checking expiration dates on every bottle and container. Finally I found the culprit – a plastic container of leftovers that had gotten pushed to the back and forgotten. As I was wiping down the inside walls and shelves of the fridge, God began speaking to me about how just as those rotten leftovers created a bad odor in the refrigerator and finally the kitchen, that is what unconfessed sin does in our lives.
           We go to church, pay our tithes and keep the Ten Commandments. Everything is good, right? Ok, what about that little white lie we told to get out of doing something we’d promised to do but really didn’t want to do? Cover it up and push to the back the fridge. What about that word muttered at the driver who cut who cut us off in traffic? Wrap it up and put it on the bottom shelf. There they’ll stay and grow mold. Any sin, even ones we consider small are an affront to our God because He is holy and He calls us to be holy. “For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44a (NKJV)
           John the Apostle writes in I John 1:8 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”    We all sin, even after we are born again we all say or do things we know are not what we’re supposed to do. And we fail to do things we know God has told us to do.  Even the Apostle Paul struggled with this. “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.” Romans 7:19
            So what is the answer? Paul continues on to tell us – Jesus. Jesus has made the way.  “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:24,25a
Then John continues his message in First John. “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” 1 John 2:1, 2
            We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)  All we have to do is confess and Jesus will cleanse us.
            Just as I not only had to clean the refrigerator interior with baking soda to eradicate the smell, I also had to throw out the leftover food that was causing the odor.  Jesus cleanses us of all unrighteousness the moment we confess, but we have to remove it from our lives. Stop doing whatever that sin was. If it’s a bad habit, ask the Holy Spirit to help you. He abides within you once you are born again and He is called to help us and to guide us. If you have unforgiveness towards someone who offended you, start praying for them. It’s hard to hold a grudge against someone you’re praying for!

Father, thank You for cleansing me of all unrighteousness. I pray that my life will be holy, a sweet aroma to You. In Jesus Name, Amen

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

 

New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)
Copyright © 1996, 1998 by Biblica

 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Through Jesus Christ I Have…

Image

“For while the Law was given through Moses, grace (unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing) and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17

A number of years ago I was challenged to read the New Testament looking for all the prepositional phrases referring to Jesus. I don’t know how many there are, I lost count but I know it’s in the hundreds. But the purpose of the assignment was not to count them, but to grow in my understanding of everything Jesus has done for us. I began reading and every time I came to a phrase referring to Jesus, I would circle the phrase and meditate on what the Scripture was saying to me. The result was I came away with a deeper understanding of who I am in Jesus Christ.

I encourage anyone wanting to grow spiritually to try the same process. Starting reading the New Testament actively looking for “in Jesus Christ”, “in Whom”, “by Jesus Christ”, “through Jesus Christ”, “through Whom”, “from Whom” and so on. As you find one, stop and meditate on what the verse is saying. Ask yourself how that applies to you and your life, what exactly has God done? Sometimes you need to consider the verse before and after it to fully understand the context of the verse.

To help you get started, here is a small list of verses. But these are but a small sample of what is waiting for you in your Bible.

John 1:17 – we have grace and truth through Jesus Christ
Romans 8:1 – we are free from condemnation
1 Corinthians 5:18 – we are reconciled to God through Christ Jesus
Philippians 1:11 – we are filled with the fruits of righteousness by Jesus Christ
Colossians 2:3 – wisdom and knowledge are in Christ Jesus
Romans 5:11 – we have eternal life through Jesus Christ

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

Amplified Bible (AMP)
Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

Resurrection Power

Resurrection Power.

Since I first wrote this blog, I have heard one of my pastors teach from Ephesians 1:18-20 more than once that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in believers through the power of the Holy Spirit.

“By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones), And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places]” Ephesians 1:18-20 (Amplified Bible)

Feeling powerless? Feeling low? Feeling defeated? Call on the Power that dwells within you by the Holy Spirit. If you’ve been born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, It is there.

Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dee

Getting Past Our Past

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (New King James Version)

“Me teach a Bible study? I can’t do that. I’m not worthy. Lord, You know my past. You know the sins I was involved in. I’m not suitable to lead a Bible study.”
“Daughter, did you repent and ask Me to forgive you? And did you turn away from those sins?”
“Well, yes. I did. And it no longer has a place in my life.”
“Do you believe I’ve forgiven you? Cleansed you?”
“Yes, You promised in Your Word that if I confessed my sin You would forgive me and cleanse me of all unrighteousness.”
“Do you believe you are now righteousness?”
“Uh, I’m not so sure about that. I don’t always feel righteous.”
“Daughter, do you know what I see when I look at you? I see the Blood of my Son Jesus. I see My righteousness which I have given you in place of your unrighteousness. I see you as worthy because I have made you worthy.”
“Yes, Father. I believe You have given me Your righteousness. Thank You Father for forgiving me not only of my past, but also for not believing Your righteousness has been given to me. Thank You Father for forgiving me, healing me, and giving me a new life in You. And I will do any task You ask me to do. Even leading a Bible study when I don’t feel worthy. Because I know in You I am worthy.”

Have you ever had a conversation like that? Knowing that God has called you to do something, yet not feeling like you’re worthy of the call?
Too many times as Christians we allow fear, doubt, or shame over our past keep us from fulfilling a call from God. We allow the enemy to come in and condemn us for things God has already forgiven and cleansed us of. When satan brings these thoughts, that is not the time to turn from God; that would be falling into satan’s trap to lure us back into sin. Rather that is the time when we need most to run to God, to go to the Word and meditate on the fact that we have been made the righteousness of God.

“God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 (New International Version)

Some may say, ‘but I was already a Christian when I sinned. I knew better but I did it anyway. How can I be the righteousness of God?’ The same way we’re saved to start with – by faith, believing the Word of God, by believing God can and will do what He said He would do.
1 John 2:1 was written to Christians. “My little children, I write you these things so that you may not violate God’s law and sin. But if anyone should sin, we have an Advocate (One Who will intercede for us) with the Father–[it is] Jesus Christ [the all] righteous [upright, just, Who conforms to the Father’s will in every purpose, thought, and action].” (The Amplified Bible) We have an Advocate – One who pleads our case before the Father and makes sure we’re forgiven.

God instructed me once to major on righteousness because when we become more aware and understand that we are the righteousness of God, sin begins to lose its hold on us. And the more we know of righteousness, the less it has control over us. We have to lose, give up, get rid of and deny its right that old religious idea “we’re just poor ol’ sinners saved by grace and can’t help ourselves but to sin”. As long as we hold on to that attitude, we’ll continue to be subject to sin.

It’s time to move on. Time to get past our past. The Apostle Paul said that he was forgetting his past – the position he’d attained as a devout Jew, his persecution of the Christians, all of it, and was moving on with Jesus toward the goal of being like Him. (See Philippians 3:13, 14)

We can’t change our past, neither the past before or since we received Jesus as Savior. But we can change our present. We can learn to walk in the righteousness Jesus has provided for us. We can grow into it. Like a child grows into a suit of clothes or a pair of shoes that are too big, we can grow into the image of Jesus Christ.

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

No Word, No Power

I’ve been out of sorts the past few days and just really not wanting to do anything. I haven’t been able to write anything, haven’t worked on my website or studied nutrition. Just blah. And now my back hurts and I don’t deal well with pain.

Finally this morning I understand, or I should say I acknowledged what the problem is. I already knew, just wasn’t willing to do anything about it. I’ve been too busy doing “other stuff” that I’ve not spent time reading and meditating on the Word.

It’s no wonder I’ve felt so powerless, I’m not feeding my spirit. If I have time to read my email, check Facebook, watch TV, I have time for the most important things – Time meditating on God’s Word. Yeah, God’s Word is my food. And today is going to be a good day.

“Then they cry to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivers them out of their distresses.
He sends forth His word and heals them and rescues them from the pit and destruction.
Oh, that men would praise [and confess to] the Lord for His goodness and loving-kindness and His wonderful works to the children of men!” Psalm 107:19-21