Friday, February 24, 2012

Rest- Here I go Again!

Yesterday, I wrote about how the Lord wants us to do the things that He has called us to do, doing it heartily and unto Him. Today, the Lord took me to the next step in this lesson that I am walking. He took me to Hebrews 4:6-12. I have heard this word, and prayed for it many times, and today, as always, He spoke to me about the meaning of it, the promise of it.  I have been praying, and asking and seeking the Lord’s answer for a specific thing. I have been bouncing around between belief in what has been promised and unbelief that it is all in my head and not really from Him. Today, He spoke exactly what I needed to stop this struggle in my head and my heart! (This has been keeping me up at night, tossing and turning on my bed-hate that!)  
Hebrews 4:6-12 says, “Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, ‘Today,’ after such a long time, as it has been said, ‘Today if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.’ For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not have afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God; for he who has entered His rest has himself ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. For the Word of God is  living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Rest, it is something we as women seek, it is something we desire. We rest at night (some of us) and we may take a few hours off here and there to watch a movie or read a book. But do we truly rest? The writer of Hebrews tells us that there is a rest waiting for us to enter into. But we choose not to enter it because of disobedience. We are to “be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.” That is all well and good, and I get it, but how? How do I enter this rest that the Lord is speaking of? What exactly is this rest? There seems to be more to this than what I initially understood. (I have written about this rest before, but I do not think I learned the lesson fully the first time. So, here we go around this mountain again!)
First, it begins with faith, or belief in what God has promised us. If the Lord God has given you a promise, as in my case, then I need to stop questioning, and start believing. “If you expect the best, you will be the best. Learn from the most powerful law in this world; the Word of God. Change your mental habits to belief instead of disbelief. Learn to expect, not to doubt. In so doing, you bring everything into the realm of possibility. Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.- Mark 9:23 & Phil. 4:13 (From I am A Woman of God Facebook page) I am not a follower of the “name it, claim it, blab it, grab it, prosperity teaching that is out there- it is false and brings false hope. But, if I believe that the Lord has clearly spoken to me a promise, then my faith needs to follow that promise.
The word “rest” means ‘a putting to rest, calming of the winds’. Wind describes what is going on in my head! A mighty wind blows in with, “believe God, He promised, He will fulfill.” Then the next hurricane force wind blows in, “Did God really say that to you, or are you just hoping that is what He said?” The “did God really say” should immediately throw up red warning signs and loud sirens in my thoughts, but it doesn’t always. Resting is something we all have to learn to do. It is not something that just happens, we have to begin to use it and walk in it. But instead of resting, we get busy trying to fulfill what God has already promised He would do. Rest is a tool God gives us to help us on our walk toward the ultimate prize- life eternal with Him.
Take for instance our Salvation. Do we attain salvation by works or by faith? By Faith- by believing that the work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross finished and fulfilled the requirements for our salvation. So, why am I still trying to earn it? (If I am honest and allowing God’s word to discern my thoughts and intents- I am at some areas of my life, still trying to work my way into God’s good grace. We all do it; it is a response of our flesh. We just have to realize it, repent of it and give it back to God- yeah; I’m still working on that one!) Pastor Chuck Smith wrote this commentary about Hebrews 4:10, “When God created the world; He rested on the seventh day. He didn’t rest because He was tired. He rested because He was through. His work was finished, so He stopped. In the same way that God stopped after finishing the work of creation, we can also enter into the rest of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. It is finished! It’s a done deal! I don’t have to work to achieve my own salvation. I am saved by grace. As far as my salvation is concerned, He is resting and so am I.”
Just as we can rest about our salvation, we can also rest in the promises that God has made to each of us, individually and personally. If we believe that our God has planned and purposed our whole lives out from beginning to end, if He has promised it to us- it will come to pass. May not be when we think it should be- and that is where we get into trouble. We begin to try to “work” the promise out in our own lives, when God is calling us to rest in Who He is.  What did Jesus tell us? Faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains, if we ask, we have, if we say to that mountain, be thou removed, and ask in faith, it will be moved. He said these things to us so that we would be able to rest.
Those storm winds that blow into your mind, into your soul and spirit, tossing you from belief to disbelief- God says today, “I will give you rest. Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” I have been hardening my heart to what He has already promised, worked out and finished in my life. I have been trying to make that mountain move on my own, instead of falling back into the loving arms of my Father, who has finished the work and is resting.
In verse 10 it says that we should “be diligent to enter that rest,” it is referencing the way we enter a house of a friend or neighbor. What do you do when you enter someone’s home? You walk through the door, wipe off the dirt from your feet, and enjoy the fellowship and company of your friend. God is asking us to enter His house of rest. Wipe the dirt of disbelief off your feet and enjoy the fellowship of Him. (Big sigh of relief today).
I do not know what the future will bring, but I have a God in heaven that has already planned, prepared and made the way.(Ephesians 2:10)  Here is a promise that is given to each one of us, a promise of rest, today and forever- do we want that rest? Rest is the “heavenly blessedness in which God dwells, and of which He has promised to make persevering believers in Christ partake after the toils and trial of life on earth.” Let us not fail to enter the eternal rest by trying to make it all happen on our own. Let us fall into the arms of our Daddy, our Abba Father, and let us have faith in what He has promised, to all and to each individual. Amen.