True Rest

Hebrews 4:10 says, “For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” The Amplified says, “…has ceased from (the weariness and pain) of human labors…”

Verse 11 in the Amplified says, “Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter the rest (of God, to know and experience it for ourselves)…” Mental anguish resists rest and results in emotional fatigue. Don’t let your thoughts steal your true rest.

Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The Amplified adds overburdened. If a doctor prescribes total bed rest, it means to not be physically active.

There is another way to rest and that is through a correct mental attitude. We can be still physically, but our mind is churning with frantic activity.  Rest: releasing everything simply trusting.

True rest incorporates a still mind. Psalm 131:2 says, “Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” When an infant wants to be fed, they are not calm and quiet.

We need to learn to occupy our mind with peace. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” I may say that I trust the Lord. However, do I live it in my mind? Do my thoughts reflect that trust?

Releasing

Everything

Simply

Trusting

 

 

 

The Interim

The time before something is said to happen and before it happens is the interim-trial that purifies, refines, and develops our character. Here are two Bible individuals to think about.

Joseph was 17 when the Lord gave him two dreams. Both said that he would be a ruler over his brothers. That set up huge circumstances of opposition. Let me refresh your memory. He was sold as a slave. Yet in his slavery he prospered because the Lord was with him. Then he was falsely accused and throw into prison. Even in prison he prospered because the Lord was with him.

Psalm 105:16 says that God called for a famine. The famine did not arrive for seven years. Verse 17-18 says, “He sent a man before them–Joseph–who was sold as a slave. They hurt his feet with fetters, he was laid in irons.” All this took place in the interim. Verse 18 says, “Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him.”

Now let’s go to Abraham. At the age of 75 the Lord told him to get out of his country and journey to another. The Lord promised him a son. There was an interim of at least 25 years. Romans 4:19 says, “And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.”

The word, the interim, and the set time. Genesis 21:1-2 says, “And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.”

I love Luke 1:45. Each time I get a new Bible I write it in the front. It says, “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” There are other verses. Isaiah 55:11 – His word will never return to Him void. Jeremiah 1:12 – He watches over His word to perform it.

Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Job 42:2 says, “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.”

The interim is a trial that builds the character needed for the foundation of the promise. Neither Joseph nor Abraham were ready for the word of the Lord to be fulfilled in the moment He spoke it. Neither are we ready until the Lord has tested His word in us. The dross must be refined for the metal of our character to come through the fire proven and ready for His purpose to be fulfilled.

Prayer of Release

Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” We see a good example of this through Hannah. She demonstrated how  she emptied her heart.

1 Samuel 1:13 says, “Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard…” Verse 15 says that she poured out her soul. Verse 16 she says, “…I am a woman of sorrowful spirit…have poured out my soul before the Lord.” Verse 18 says, “…So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.” Her inner freedom is a testimony of her prayer of release.

To pour out something is to empty the contents. I’ve always been amazed at David’s action in 2 Samuel 23. Three of his mighty men risked their lives to bring him water from the well of Bethlehem. Verse 16 says, “Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord.”

The water was poured out. It was gone. I believe that is what David is saying in Psalm 62. We are to empty our hearts before the Lord. We bring everything that is troubling us to Him. We tell Him how our situation is affecting us, holding nothing back. He already knows, but He wants us to express it.

He is able to take care of us. We recognize afresh Who He is at all times. Our confidence is in Him and His ability. Part of our release is letting go of how we think the Lord should do something. We end our prayer of release with thanking Him for His power to accomplish what we cannot.

Are you worried about something? That is a great indicator that you are carrying a burden that is not yours to carry. 1 Peter 5:7 says to cast that heavy burden on the Lord. Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.” The word ‘commit’ is a picture of a loaded camel. When it’s time for the load to be removed, the camel kneels down, tilts far to one side, and its burden rolls off.

What Is Presumption?

Psalm 19:13 says, “Keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression.”

This morning in my quiet time the Holy Spirit led me to compare Scripture with Scripture. I want to share the understanding I gained with you. I ask the Lord morning and night to keep me back from presumptuous sins. I thought it meant to presume I knew something that I didn’t. It is more than that.

Deuteronomy 1:43 says, “So I spoke to you; yet you would not listen, but rebelled against the command of the Lord; and presumptuously went up into the mountain.” Moses was referring back to Numbers 14. He told them not to go up because they would transgress the command of the Lord. Verse 44 says, “But they presumed to go up to the mountain…” Numbers 15:30 uses the word defiantly. They willfully rebelled against God’s word

The context of 2 Peter 2 is about false teachers. Verse 10 says, “And especially those who walk according the the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority; ;they are presumptuous, self-willed…” The Amplified says, “…presumptuous (and) daring (self-willed and self-loving creatures)!”

James 4:17 gives us more succinct understanding. It says, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” Passive inaction to do what God tells us to do. I love Psalm 19:7. It says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, make wise the simple.” His word is our standard of conduct. All action or inaction comes first from our thoughts.

Hebrews 12:10 clearly defines His disciplining purpose. It compares His way to our early father’s way. It says, “For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.”

Let’s go back to verse 9. It says, “…Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?” Amplified says cheerfully submit. Here is an interesting verse. Luke 12:33-48 is talking about servants. Verse 47 says, “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will…”

Contrast the above with Hebrews 5:8 which says, “Though He were a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things that He suffered.” Jesus didn’t sin. He promptly obeyed in all the Father asked Him to do. He was the perfect Son. We sin. We can be grateful the Lord watches us, and therefore cheerfully submit to the discipline of His loving course correction.

As I started to type this blog I got a text from a dear friend. She texted: I want to encourage you to not lean on your own understanding. It is just in my heart today. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. That is the encapsulation-fortification of not giving in to the temptation to presumptuously sin.

Intentional Actions

Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” The law of Christ here is to love one another as He loved us. Do you have someone in your life that is hard to bear? Amplified says, “Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults…”

There is an old hymn that says to take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there. Have you ever taken something to the Lord and then taken it back? Colossians 2:5 Amplified helps us understand how we leave it through faith. It says, “…steadfastness of your faith in Christ (that leaning of the entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness).”

In Nevada we had a really strong wind called the Washoe Zephyr. One time I leaned backwards allowing the wind to hold me up. That is how the Lord wants us to be with Him. No props, no struggle, just laying back resting in His care.

We cannot change another’s sinful behavior. That is a character issue. However, we can take them to the Heart-Changer. He is the only One who can bring character transformation (inner sanctification).

We leave our “burden” with the Lord through prayer. Then we must be diligent to renew our mind so that we do not react in our flesh. Flesh fighting flesh is unprofitable.  We ask the Lord to help us love that person (in their lack of grace) with His love in grace. God gives grace to the humble, but He resists proud flesh.

Renewing our mind is intentional thinking, leading us into intentional diligent actions. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Unresolved issues create the perfect backdrop for sinful behavior. Negative thoughts, anger, resentment, and bitterness are the fruit of unforgiveness.  It is the seedbed that constantly seeps out of the heart to defile and contaminate us and those around us.

We are to live in the present in His Presence. Yesterday is passed, and tomorrow has not come. Don’t be distracted by things you cannot change. Be diligent to change “you” by renewing your mind through God’s word. That is truth that never changes. It is the truth we can absolutely lean on and be upheld by at all times.

The Power of Integrity

Proverbs 11:3 says, “The integrity of the upright shall guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.” One with heart integrity acts the same as their words. Honesty is the freedom to be openly transparent. There is no need to hide in the shadows.

2 Corinthians 8:21 Amplified says, “For we take thought beforehand and aim to be honest and absolutely above suspicion, not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of men.” The context of this chapter is taking collected money from one place to another. I love Paul’s character assessment of Titus. Verse 22 says, “…whom we have often put to the test and have found him zealous (devoted and earnest) in all matters…”

David asked the Lord to put his heart to the test. Psalm 26:1-2 says, “Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the Lord; I shall not slip. Examine me, O Lord; and prove me; try my mind and my heart.”

The one who walks in integrity doesn’t need to be looking over their shoulder. There is nothing hidden making them fearful that someone might find out. There is no guilt, shame, or regret that lurks in the back of their mind. There is no fear of what others may think. They walk in heart purity and intentionally make choices that will keep them from falling into sin.

Notice in the above verse. Paul said that they took thought beforehand. Daniel was an example of this. Daniel 1:8 says, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself…” Long before any temptation would ever present itself, Daniel had set his heart to not give in when temptations would arise in the future to pull him off course.

Here is an interesting observation from Genesis 20:5-6. Abraham had lied to the king of Gerar by saying that Sarah (his wife) was his sister. So the king took her into his house. Verse 3 he had a dream. In it God said, “…Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.”

Verse 5 says, “…in the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” The Lord replied in verse 6. It says, “…yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.”

When Abimelech acted in integrity, the Lord Himself protected him from sinning against Him. Anytime we sin against another we are sinning against the Lord. Integrity of heart is character that is finely honed, refined, and perfected each time we intentionally resist and walk away from a temptation.

Working Definition of Christlikeness

This morning I was thinking about Hebrews 11:27 and what it means to gaze on Him who is invisible. That took me to Colossians 1:15 which says, “Who is the image of the invisible God…” The Amplified says, “(Now) He is the exact likeness of the unseen God (the visible representation of the invisible)…”

The question comes: How closely do you represent the Lord?

1 John 2:6 says, “He who says He abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” How did Jesus walk? Here is one way. Luke 6:35 says, “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.”

Do you love your enemies? Are you doing good to others, expecting nothing from them in return? Are you kind to those around you who are ungrateful? Hmm. What about being kind to those who are unbelievers?

2 Corinthians 5:20 says, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us; we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” Verse 18 says that He has given to us the ministry of reconciliation.

An ambassador is a representative of a ruling authority. We represent the Lord Jesus through our lives, walking in spiritual maturity, grace, and Christlikeness. Ephesians 4:13 says, “Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Perfect here means mature.

I would like you to say the last sentence out loud several times. Let it sink into your heart until it fills you with joy. John 15:16 says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” O the marvelous wonder to actively live in such a truth will cause your heart to bow in worship and honor.

You chose me to represent You