Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 4: Provision of Rest

I am thankful because...
I can rest in my Daddy's arms!
“Rest” Defined:

  1. To cease from action

The word rest means to cease from labor or exertion.  Applying that to God’s rest, it means no more self-effort – no more trying to please God by your fleshly works.  Rest involves ceasing from legalistic activity/religious behavior; we rest in free grace.

  1. To be free from worry

Some people are never at peace because they’re always bothered about something.  To rest means to be free from whatever disturbs you, or causes you to worry.  It means in this sense to be quiet, still, peaceful, and free from guilt.  To enter God’s rest means to be a peace with God – to possess the perfect peace that God gives.  It means to be free from guilt, because our sin is forgiven.

  1. To be settled

God’s rest is the kind of rest where a man is established in Christ, and does not run from religion to religion or philosophy to philosophy or theology to theology, etc.  This is a man that is NOT blown about by every wind of doctrine, but is rooted and grounded in the truth of Jesus Christ!

  1. To be secure

To enter God’s rest is to be secure, having absolute trust and confidence in God’s care for you.

  1. To have something to lean on

To enter God’s rest means that you can lean on Him.  You can rely on God for support, that you can trust Him to supply ALL your needs.

The Bible speaks of rest in the millennial kingdom and rest for eternity in heaven.  That’s what God is promising and that’s what He calls rest.

God’s promise of rest still stands “today” – Hebrews 4:1
We can paraphrase it this way: God makes it possible for us to enter His rest, so we need to make sure that we accept His offer.  If we do not keep our faith in Him, we will fail to enter.

Let’s look at examples throughout the Bible of Rest:
  1. Genesis 2:2 – Creation
God is still at rest and He wants us to join Him!

  1. Children of Israel
Do not be like our ancestors and try the patience of the Lord.  Fear unbelief and press into Jesus, there is more for us and He wants us to believe in His promises!

  1. Judges - Othniel
Are you called to be the next deliverer?

How do we enter into God’s Rest?

1.      Come
Matthew 11:28
The invitation is “COME TO ME”, and that means a choice is made to leave sin, walk away from our past mistakes and come to Jesus.  You cannot read about Jesus with an honest heart without being motivated to come to Him.  Now you may read about Him merely out of some academic interests, or intellectual curiosity.  The knowledge you gain from that kind of study may never result in any conversion or salvation.  But when you open your mind – when your heart is sincere – when you know you need something better in life, and read about Christ – you are motivated to change your direction, give up the sin in your life and Come to Him!

“Come unto met” literally means Jesus has His hand out waiting for us to press into Him, so we can follow His commands.  He wants us to relinquish control, so we may enter God’s rest. (Ex. – Storm & Disciples)

Mark 4:35-41   “Principle of Resting & Caring”
a.    We care – He rests.  (God will allow us to mess up our situation.)
b.    He cares – We rest. (When we give up control over the situation and give it to God, we will find peace.)

2.      Faith
Faith is the Doorway into God’s Rest.
Hebrews 4:3 tells us the destiny of those who exercise faith and those who don’t.  The part says, “those who believe enter into rest”.  It doesn’t say we are on the way to rest; it states we are in it.  Every Christian is in God’s Rest! This is another way of saying we are saved and fully believe it in our hearts!

Now those who fail to exercise faith, God says, “In my anger I took an oath: They will never enter my place of rest.” This is God’s attitude towards those who do not exercise faith.  To fail to believe the truth is to forfeit God’s rest for all eternity.

For example, Adam and Eve while in the Garden of Eden were in God’s Rest.  When they believed the lies of Satan they forfeited their time in God’s Rest because they did not trust in Him.  Now, throughout the entire Bible God has left the doorway open for us to enter through.  Romans ( ) says, there is a remnant He has chosen.  There is a remnant of people that will find this doorway and come into God’s Rest, where He desires for us to be. 

Since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, God wants to see us restored to His Rest.  (Add info on brazen alter stuff…)

You cannot enter rest without coming to meet Jesus and openly accepting Him, believing that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Light.  This also means we cannot be double-minded, meaning we are riding the fence.  We have one foot one side and one foot on the other.  This is called riding the fence and you will get splinters in your tooshie! Not just that, James 1:6-8 states we will not receive from God! You will not enter His Rest if you waver back and forth, you have to press fully into Him, trusting completely that all things work out for your good and His Glory!

3.      Death
Romans 7:14-25
Within ourselves we have a battle between the spirit man and the flesh man.  Picture it like a devil on your shoulder representing the flesh and an angel on the other representing the spirit man.  They are always in conflict of each other.  But we were born a sinner, we don’t sin because we want to, but because it is our “nature”, our heredity. 

4.      Take
Matthew 11:29
We cannot have the promised rest Jesus wants us to have if we do not do what He wants us to do! Those under the load of sin need to come to Christ, take His yoke, learn of Him and find rest.

In the book of Acts you can read beginning in Chapter 2 about people who did this.  Beginning on the Day of Pentecost we read this: The apostles received the Holy Spirit and began in speaking in tongues.  Those around thought they were drunk.  Peter stood up and said “we are not drunk, for it is only the third hour” then prophesied to the people and they asked “what do we do now?” Peter told them “Repent and Get Baptized”.  The people DID just that.  And after baptism it says they continued steadfastly in the ways of Christ.  What were they doing? They were coming to Jesus, taking His yoke, learning of Him and finding rest for their souls.  Every other case of conversion in the book of Acts is the same!

Consider “taking the yoke”.  This is not about getting rid of one load in exchange for another load; that is not the idea! The yoke is SUBMISSION AND GUIDANCE.  As we submit to Jesus, we are guided in exactly the path and the work that right before God! You’ve got to get in the “hear” and “now” – meaning when Jesus tells you to do something you respond with an action, not a question and not doubting.  When Jesus was on the earth, He did ONLY what the Father commanded Him.  As Christians, we are Christ-like, we must follow the same thing, heeding only what Jesus commands us to do, for we are the vessel that needs to be open for Him to pour into, so He ministry can work through you! This is His yoke – His ministry working through you!

5.      Learn
James 1:3-4; Matthew 7:24-27
Tests and trials arise in our lives for a reason.  A test is something we may not always pass, but develops our character and allows us to learn from mistakes.  A trial is something we will pass, for the tests have prepared us for the trial.  God does not give unto us more than we can handle, He knows when we are ready for the trial – because He’s already tested us!
Tests are nothing more than being refined in the fire.  When God tests us, He is basically saying “will you seek Me out for the answer or will you not?”  So many of us run to wrong places.  We are constantly turning to everyone else, but never turn to God.  Here’s something to learn, “He is God, I am not”.  Say that out loud, “He is God and I am not”.  The one thing many of us struggle with is when God tests us, many of us want to run to everyone around, whether it’s the person that does our nails, the cashier in a checkout line, our hairstylist, or whoever that just might of asked “how are you?” and we dump on them hoping for an answer.  I personally believe we break God’s heart when we do this.  God puts a test on your life for YOU, not anyone else, they are personal.  He wants you to RUN to HIM with your tears, with your thoughts, with your anger, with your problems, etc.  He’s your Daddy in Heaven that can help you through ANYTHING and yet we still run to everyone else for advice.  We have to LEARN from HIM! That is what allows us to enter into God’s rest.  It’s not going to be from someone else.  Every answer is in God’s Word and if you would just pick it up and READ it, you’d find that everything you need in life is in this Book.  Go to Him in prayer. 

Here’s an example: Growing up in my home I had a dad who didn’t receive Jesus as his Savior until I believe I was 4 or 5 years old.  My mother is a Christian.  When I saw hard times in my house, there is one thing I learned from my mother, turn to a prayer closet! Every time there was a decision to be made, I saw my mother get her on knees.  Every time we were to make a move, I saw my mother get on her knees.  Every time finances started to come to a halt, I saw my mother get on her knees.  Every time the sickness entered the home, I saw my mother get on her knees.  Every time my mom would worry, I saw my mother get on her knees.  I never saw my mom run around to everyone else looking for an answer, she went straight to God who has ALL answers, and every time she did, God brought peace into the home and blessed our family.  As I saw that growing up, I’ve been able to use that in my own life.  When I miscarried in January, that was a trial in my life.  I can’t tell you how many days/nights I cried on the floor in the room of our townhouse that was going to be our nursery.  I closed the doors to people around me, not because I wanted to seem rude, but because I wanted to cry out God.  And when I cried out to God, that’s when God started pouring into me and I started learning of Him.  He allowed me to lean on Him for strength and He sent His Spirit to comfort me.  No one knows better than God Himself about what I am going through.  Why? Because Jesus suffered too! Not just that the Spirit lives within me, it is A PART of me, it shares in everything I feel, think, and act.  He understands better than anyone.  And when I did that, God did something amazing for me… He gave me a vision and I saw my baby in His loving arms, a beautiful baby boy.  That put my soul at rest and allowed me to refocus and move forward, and God started teaching me new things about pregnancy.

We have to turn to HIM, He wants to be the source for your answers! If I would have turned to everyone else around me, I would have missed out on what God had for me.  He wants to comfort you.  He wants to teach you.  Let HIM!  I ended up buying a Precious Moments figurine of a girl on the telephone crying and it says “Tell it to Jesus”.  That is my reminder when I feel the urge to pick up the phone and dump on someone, I need to go to my prayer closet and get on my knees and telephone God and dump on Him.  He has everything I need to comfort me and teach me where to go, what to do, or to handle the situation.

So here’s my next thing for you to do, turn to your neighbor and say “He is God and you are not!” We need to learn from our Heavenly Father, the more we do, we can enter God’s Rest freely.

6.      Find
Matthew 7:7-8
It says “Seek and You will find”.  We will find God’s Rest, IF we take all  the steps that lead into God’s Rest.  I picture it like this, the doorway of Faith is partially open and there in the doorway is Jesus, like He’s peeking around the corner just to glimpse of your face (Song of Solomon…).  He wants you to see Him, so He reaches out His hand and says “Come to Me”.  It takes faith to grab hold of His hand and let Him alter everything of your nature and who you are to be what He has called you to be. 

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