He Promises, You Can Rest

Photo By Kevin Tran

Rest.  It’s something that some people have no problem with. Then, there’s me.  My brain tends to be super active all the time. I typically have a lot of energy, but then comes a 50,60, 70 hour work week.  My reserves are drained. My emotions are spent. My spirit not particularly charged. All of a sudden sickness hits, and I am forced to stay home from work for three days.   I have never taken three days off from work. I am almost depressed as I am home recovering from sickness, not to mention that I feel really bad. I am just so tired. So tired.  

“You’ve been really busy. You need to rest.”  People at church say this to me when they see me sick. More than one person.  Multiple friends out of the kindness of their heart try to give me a cough drop, and want to pray for me.  I allow them to pray for me. However, I am almost embarrassed that I am coughing so much. I really wish I hadn’t come to church at all because I feel just so exhausted to my core.   No amount of coffee really helps much.

I am forced to slow down my body, go to bed earlier than usual every night for a couple of weeks.  However, slowing down my mind, well that’s another thing all together. My mind keeps circulating through the questions like, “Why am I so sick? Why haven’t I kicked this yet? What is wrong with me?”   The answer is – I am just tired. I’ve been running too hard for weeks without much balance. I kept some commitments that I should have let go. I am just exhausted.

Have you been there?? It’s no wonder that the Apostle Paul talks a lot about rest.   In fact, in Hebrews 4  he talks about the promise of God’s rest.

1Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. a 3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

“So I declared on oath in my anger,

‘They shall never enter my rest.’?” b

And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.” c 5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”   Hebrews 4 NIV 

Let’s break down what he is really saying here.  In verse 2 he says that some had the gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them, but the message they heard was of no value to them.  They didn’t put faith in Jesus Christ. However, those who believe in Jesus Christ do “enter that rest”.

Jesus finished the work for us.  When we choose to believe in that finished work, then the spirit of Jesus living on the inside of us equals rest!   Salvation equals rest from trying to earn acceptance from God. We can’t rest and still be striving for God’s love.   We can’t rest and still be trying to do enough good to win God’s approval. If we are, then we truly aren’t enjoying the rest that has already been granted to us through Jesus Christ.  

Paul goes on to talk about how God rested on the seventh day Himself, permanently. 

“And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.”  

Having a day each week to recharge and rest is definitely important, but let’s remember that God is sitting on His throne.  This Scripture says that He has been resting from His work of creating the world, since the second He finished it!!  At least, that’s how I look at it.   He created the world and then His creation missed out on enjoying the Garden and walking and talking with Him like He desired.  They did their own thing.   For hundred of years His creation did this.   So then He says, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”   However, God re-nigged on this oath later on by sending Jesus as the one to finish the work that we should have had to do in order to earn the right to rest.

It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience.  Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.  Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.    Hebrews 4:6-10 NIV

God again set a certain day for rest when He sent Jesus to create a new oath of rest for us- TODAY!   Is God saying He wants all of us to stop physically working and sit on our butts all day?!  No. I believe He is saying that every day you can stay in a state of rest in our souls – our mind, our will, and our emotions.   We can rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ.  We can rest in the fact that He done it all for us.  We can lay down all worries and cares.

I love what Matthew Henry says in his commentary on Hebrews 4. 

“We, who have believed, do enter into rest, v. 3. We enter into a blessed union with Christ, and into a communion with God through Christ; in this state we actually enjoy many sweet communications of pardon of sin, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace and earnests of glory, resting from the servitude of sin, and reposing ourselves in God till we are prepared to rest with him in heaven.” (Biblehub.com)

So essentially when there is lack of peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, we are not enjoying that rest that should come from our union with Jesus.    Oh, but when we who have received Jesus, make an effort to stay in that state in our souls, it truly delights our Father God.

28“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11 NIV

In this last week when a friend asked to pray for me because I was still coughing when we were in a group setting,  I said, “At this point, I’ve had enough people lay hands on me and pray for me. I believe it’s a walk of faith right now in terms of my healing.  I believe there’s spiritual and soulish roots that are contributing to it, that I am getting free from. I’m getting better.” And it’s true.

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.  Hebrews 4 NIV

The Word is dividing those areas in my soul that doesn’t want to rest and wants to strive, fret, and worry about anything and everything.   I’ve been asking the Holy Spirit to reveal any patterns of thinking and lies I’ve been believing about myself and God that have opened the door to these negative emotions and sickness in my body.    I’ve journaled them, I have confessed them, and I have released them to be covered in the blood of Christ Jesus that has paid the price for my peace and joy.

I’ve rested my body, but I’ve entered back into true rest by going into undistracted times with Jesus, the Lover of my Soul.  His Word is restoring my soul into a place of peace and trust about all things in my life. The only “work” is laying down fear, failures, frustration, anxiety, and stress, and giving it to Him.  Hours go by and I realize that I am in a state of bliss with Jesus. That’s right, a state of bliss. Joy and adoration. Peace and stillness.

And my strength is returning.  My physical symptoms are diminishing.  God is faithful.

When I go back to work after vacation, I know that I can continue to stay in this place of rest, even when I am working.  That’s right. It’s true. 

We can stay seated in our souls.

We can stay in constant communion with Jesus.   

He is rest.  

If you are in a state like I’ve been in, my prayer for you is that you heed the voice of Jesus calling you to focus your whole attention on Him.  He alone can restore your soul into a place of rest.   

 

These Man’s Eyes Don’t Lie

I don’t define myself by my failures.

I don’t define myself by my successes.

I don’t define myself by my outer beauty.

I don’t define myself by my clothes.

I don’t define myself by my stuff.

I don’t define myself by my income.

I don’t define myself by my social status.

I don’t define myself by my job.

I don’t define myself by the words that others use to describe me.

I define myself by who He says I am.   All else can and will fade away.

I heard the gentle voice of the Lord in middle of the night when I was having trouble going to sleep.    I was thinking about some comments that were made by friends about me at my birthday party.    As kind as their words were, they are not what defines me.

For years I fell into the comparison trap.  I felt as if I wasn’t really where I was supposed to be in my life because I didn’t have a husband or a family of my own.  Many a friend and family member have I watched get married and have a family.   This is not my story.  God has had a different plan for me.  It’s different than what I would have chosen for myself years ago, but yet I am satisfied with right where I am.

It has taken me awhile to get to this place of satisfaction and completion.   At times I have come into what I thought was satisfaction, but then quickly fell back into the comparison trap. A few months ago, I had a breakthrough in this area.  The breakthrough came out of utter and total despair about the state of being alone.   Yes, no kidding.  Isn’t that when breakthrough comes?!  It often comes when we are the bottom emotionally and have no where else to look but up.   It comes with the cry, “Only You alone, Lord can pull me out of this despair and loneliness.”

And all of this to say, I haven’t always been in this state.  It’s been an up and down journey. However, this time, I believe that so much has changed in my pattern of thinking about myself, that it will be hard to go back to that lowly emotional state.

Let me tell you how and why a revelation of His love for me has pulled me out of that pit.

It’s become a season of love where I have begun to sit with Him for much longer periods of time and just BE WITH HIM.   Not just be in the Word or be in prayer for others, but BE WITH HIM and allow Him to just BE the GREAT I AM to me.   Sit still in His presence and fill up on His love for me.  This is new to me.  I’m used to worship and praise.  I’m used to interceding in prayer for others, and praying in the Spirit.   But just sitting and being still, and bringing nothing but my gaze is not something I’ve done much in my life, and I’ve been a Christian since I was a child.  I’ve walked with Him for many years, but the depth of the relationship has become sweeter and deeper and more full of joy now.  In a more real way than ever before.

I’m so in love with the One who made me and redeemed me and counsels me.   What matters most of all is how He looks at me.   I want to behold Him and become like the One I behold.

Jesus loves me so much that He gave up His life for me.   In his eyes I see who I truly am.  My heart is has become intertwined with His unfailing love and that’s why I am only defined by who He says I am. When I keep my gaze on Him, I remain in the place of satisfaction and completion no matter what I am lacking in terms of my natural life.

There’s no possible way I could explain this in human terms. This is nothing like a relationship on this earth with a human being. There’s no possible way to relate it to a relationship between two human beings. The reason why is because human beings have a sinful nature. Yes, we’ve been redeemed. However, we have a sinful nature, but when you behold yourself in the eyes of Jesus, you are beholding the perfection that is in His eyes. His love is beaming with no condemnation or guile. His love is selfless and kind, and it’s not fragile. It’s not even dependent upon our love for Him.

That’s why you have to define yourself by who He says you are.  Do you understand? Do you understand that He knows the beginning from the end of your life?  Do you understand that He has always known the number of hairs on your head? Do you understand that He is the light of your path? Do you understand that He knit you together in your mother’s womb and fashioned you for a specific purpose that only you can fulfill?  This purpose can only be found by staying close to His heart, by listening to his voice, and looking into His eyes.

I am so grateful for the love of Jesus. Grateful is not even the right word for it. I am satisfied in Him.  These man’s eyes never lie.

 

*Please read Eric Gilmour’s book School of His Presence.  Attending His conference and reading this book has encouraged me to bring my relationship with Jesus to a deeper level than ever before.

 

 

 

Grace In the Midst of Foolishness!

1 Samuel 25 recounts the story of Nabal, Abigail, and David.   This story happened after Samuel died, and before David was crowned King.   I couldn’t help but practically weep over the grace that Abigail walked in as I read this story today, and how it propelled her to protect the destiny of the King David of Israel, and the entire nation of Israel’s destiny.   Hold on to your seats for this one!

Nabal was a rich businessman with three thousand sheep and a thousand goats.  Super rich.  He is also immediately described as being harsh and evil.   While he was shearing his sheep in Carmel, David was in the wilderness and heard about Nabal shearing his sheep.   He told his men to go up to Nabal and give him a peaceful greeting and tell him that his men have been near by him and haven’t messed with him, stolen anything, or insulted him in anyway.  David told them to tell him basically that they were in good spirits and kind of wanted to party and feast with him, and did he want to do it.  I mean, after all, he was a very wealthy man. At this point, David probably thought that Nabal knew who David was!?  (David was the best friend of King’s Saul’s son Jonathan, and worked for King Saul.)  Maybe that’s why David thought he would give it a shot.

It was actually an honor that he was requesting to feast with Nabal.   However, when David’s men came to Nabal with the request, Nabal sneered at him and basically assumed that David’s men were just off doing their own thing apart from their master David. It seems like he accuses them of goofing off on their own.   Then, he goes on to imply that David means nothing to him, and he wasn’t going to be generous to a stranger.

David was very angry, so he took up his sword and about four hundred of his men, and went towards Nabal’s place, ready to probably just attack Nabal’s house and/or take some stuff that they needed.

And then comes Abigail, Nabal’s wife.   She quickly has her servants get a bunch of food and wine and carry it out to them on donkeys. She didn’t even tell her husband Nabal what she was doing.   David was armed and pretty pissed when she met him on the path in the hidden part of the mountain.

Can you imagine being Abigail?  Meeting a pretty angry warrior of a man with four hundred men ready to attack your household, and running out to meet him before he makes it to you.   Talk about a fearless woman of grace wisdom! She was certainly protecting her entire household from bloodshed, (no doubt there were entire families that were servants in her household), and covering her foolish husband’s butt.

She kneels before David and says that he shouldn’t blame Nabal, but her!    She tells David not to pay attention to her foolish husband’s unkind and haughty words.   She tells him that the gift that she is giving is him is because he is fighting the battles of the Lord.  She knew this!  She obviously was very aware of what calling and anointing was upon David. She even blessed him with an amazing statement.

28”Please forgive the transgression of your maidservant; for the LORD will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the LORD, and evil will not be found in you all your days. 29“Should anyone rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, then the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundleof the living with the LORD your God; but the lives of your enemies He will sling out as from the hollow of a sling. 30“And when the LORD does for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and appoints you ruler overIsrael, 31this will not cause grief or a troubled heart to my lord,both by having shed blood without cause and by my lord having avenged himself. When the LORD deals well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.”

Abigail knew he was going to be ruler over Israel.  How did she know?  Maybe this was just an insight from the Lord.  Maybe she was prophetic?!  She also gave David a bit of a correction by saying that David was not going to avenge himself, and therefore the Lord’s protection would be upon him.

David wasn’t really in the right frame of mind either.  There is no mention of David being told by God that he should go and attack Nabal.  So, essentially Abigail was also protecting David’s calling and anointing, even before he was crowned King.  I mean, Abigail pronounces this great blessing upon him.  It’s like she see in the spirit what is to come.  She moves so swiftly without a moment’s hesitation.   God used her to protect the destiny of the King of Israel, thus protecting the destiny of the people of Israel.

Who knows what would have happened if she had just been sitting at her house, being super annoyed by her husband’s foolishness and evil ways and became bitter and consumed by greed.  Many a wealthy woman has allowed wealth to corrupt her spiritual senses.  Not Abigail.  She was in the middle of a probably very bad marriage, with a man who was only out for himself and not serving the Lord.  Who knows if Nabal had always been like this. He could have once been a devout man of God who allowed the wealth to corrupt him.    She was not corrupted!  She didn’t allow the wealth to corrupt her.   She doesn’t appear to be in any bitterness, though she does state that Nabal is evil.  Another option for her would have been to just run when she heard the news about David and his men coming for her house with the sword.   Then, her evil husband would have died, and she would have been rid of him that way!  But nope!  Sh protected everyone!

I want to walk in this kind of grace.  Grace in the midst of other people’s stupidity and foolishness.  Covering others, when they don’t deserve it.  Protecting the destiny of others, even when my own reputation is possibly at risk.   Honoring others that I am in relationship with, even when they are selfish and mean.

The Holy Spirit must instruct us on how to honor others and operate in grace, when it’s so very difficult.  This powerful story is so relevant to me as a woman who wants to be used by God in whatever way He desires.  You never know when God is wanting to use you in the midst of other people’s foolishness. Get bitter, or get better!

More to come  on the rest of Abigail’s story. It turns out better than she could have possibly imagined!

If You Want the Cat, Don’t Call the Dog

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 (NASB)

I am at home overcoming a cold today. Notice, I did not say “I have a cold” because I do not wish to possess it. It is not mine. It does not lay claim on me. I speak from a position of victory, not defeat. If I want the cat, I will not call the dog! Metaphorically speaking, this means, speak what you want, instead of clinging to what you don’t want to keep.

“who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness— by whose stripes you were healed.”     1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV)

This doesn’t mean that I have to lie! I might say, “I am overcoming some pretty intense cold symptoms, but I know that the healing power of Jesus Christ is working in my body.”

There are some phrases that I have removed from my vocabulary.

“I don’t know what I am going to do.”
“I don’t know how I am going to do it.”

This is what the Word says as to how we should look at circumstances in which we FEEL like our brain doesn’t know what to do.

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”   John 16:14 (NASB)

“You are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do.” Exodus 4:15 (NASB)

So, our spirit knows what to do. The Spirit of Truth who resides on the inside, knows what do.

This is my new language:

“I know The Holy Spirit will show me how to do this, even though I feel overwhelmed.”

Is it easy to change your language?! Nope. If you’ve been saying things like this your whole life, it takes time!

Stop staying, “I think I’m catching a cold.”
Do you want to?! Don’t call the dog, if you want the cat!

Stop saying, “I have asthma.” Or “I have diabetes.” Or “I have allergies.” Or “I have migraines.” Or “I don’t sleep well.” Or “my allergies are really bad today” or “my acne is so very bad” or “my —-itis is awful.”

Change it to: “I’ve been battling asthma pretty badly, but I know I’m healed by the stripes of Jesus.” “I’ve been battling allergies pretty badly, but I know I’m healed.” “I’ve been battling migraines, but I know the healing power of God is working in me.” “The acne on my face is getting so much better in Jesus’ Name.” “I believe I am receiving the full manifestation of my healing from…….., and the same power that raise Jesus Christ from the dead IS quickening my mortal body!”

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
Romans 8:11  (NKJV)

Will this make a difference?! Yes, yes, yes! All the difference in the world! I’ve lived this! I am believing God for healing from certain physical ailments, and I am seeing a major difference in my body!

I don’t care if the doctor has given you the worst report ever, watch what comes out of your mouth. Speak from a position of victory, and not defeat!