I have been mulling over what Slyvia Gunter sent via email last week or the week before. We are still in the month of January which many people use as a dividng point. The start of a new year is a reminder that each morning we are offered by God a new day. We can choose at the very start of that day how we are going to spend our moments. Will we spend them in anger or frustration? Or forgivenss and peace? Will we spend them on fear and worry or Quiet Trust? Will we sit about in self pity (or any other selfism) or will we choose to set our hearts and eyes and mind on things above?
How on earth do we choose to REST all that is uniquely us on all that God offers and provides to us? The topic that Sylvia used was called:
I know her, have been to a retreat she co-lead and have permission to share. This is from a huge book called Prayer Portions. At the end I will give you a link if you want to suscribe to her weekly devotions. Her heart’s desire is to be vitally intentionally connected to the Vine and to help others do the same. One reason I like her is we are similar in giftings and in that desire. It is ONLY as we receive from God who we are and begin to delight in who God designed us to be that we are able to “be” who we truly are. To live, as one writer put it, from the heart Jesus gave us instead of the hurts and wounds of the past. (That is an excellent book and study by James Wilder).
Let’s join Sylvia now: In our culture and language the word rest can sound like a simple word. We talk of taking a rest which usually means a short break, long enough to regain some strength but never quite long enough for a full recovery before we have to start again. So it is no wonder that when we hear God say "Rest in me," we don't begin to understand what He means. God is inviting us to a God-size rest.
Dodi Note: Did you notice that? A short break, long enough to regain some strength but NOT long enough for full recovery. Not long enough to fully connect, to trust-lean-rely on God to meet our every.single need.
In the Old Testament, one of the Hebrew words for rest is nuah. It means absence of activity or movement, being settled in a particular place with finality, victory, security, or salvation. I love the strength of that definition...finality, victory, security and salvation. That is a God-sized rest.
Dodi Note: Did you see that? Settled. Finality. Victory. SECURITY. When we linger with God we become settled and we have a deep inner knowing of who and whose we are and can cease getting our needs met by other than God Himself.
Rest is in God alone (Ps. 62:1-2,5; 116:7). It is a gift from God (1 Kings 8:56). God promises rest from the enemies called sorrow and suffering, turmoil and trouble, hard service and cruel bondage (Is 14:3). Nevertheless, God warned that continued rest depended on their obedience (Num. 32:15, Is 28:12, Ps. 95:11). Continuing in God's undisturbed composure requires that we keep our spirits and souls stayed on Him.
Dodi Note: Let’s look at these attributes and verses Sylvia has given us.
1. Rest is in God alone. Psalm 62:1-2,5
1-5 For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
Dodi Note: Is this something that is usual for you? Do you intersperse times of simply being silent before/with God? If you never have it might be something to consider. Often we are so busy… we have an endless stream of “noise” surrounding us. We have lost the ability to “be still” and know God in the silence.
Anyone want to share a time when they were silent before/with God? No music, nothing.
I like to go where water is and simply “be”.
After my husband died, the hospice lady suggested being intentional about simply being still. Since I already incorporate this into my life, it was easy. But she added a demension. She said as you do so. Ponder, notice then later journel. I feel. I see. I smell. I hear. My heart is……..
Then in verse two we remember that God alone is our rock and our salvation, our fortress and we therefore shall NOT be shaken.
Verse 5 repeats… Oh my soul, wait in SILENCE, for my hope is in Him.
Then in Psalm 16:7, we are given another example of Rest being found in God alone.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me…
In the night…. when the world around us is hushed and more silent…God can speak into our heart.
Have you ever waken from a sleep and just “known” the answer to a problem or comfort from God?
If not I pray you will watch for it.
2. Rest is a gift from God. 1 Kings 8:56
56 “Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant.
Dodi Note: Do you see the gift? Blessed be the LORD who has GIVEN REST to his people. Rest as in ceasing from striving. Ceasing from the need to measure up. Ceasing from seeking approval of men. And learning to just REST all that we are on God.
3. Rest is a PROMISE from God against sorrow, suffering, turmoil and trouble, hard service and cruel bondage.
When the Lord has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve,
Dodi Note: When…. not if…. when the LORD has given you REST from pain and turmoil….etc.
Ever had that even for a moment?
Ever even consider it as a possiblity?
Now Slyvia moves us into a key requirement to enter the Rest of God.
4. REST depends on OBEIDIENCE.
15 For if you turn away from following him, he will again abandon them in the wilderness, and you will destroy all this people.”
Dodi Note: we MUST be following God and NOT turning aside from God to seek “self” ways to meet our very real needs.
to whom he has said,
“This is rest;
give rest to the weary;
and this is repose”;
yet they would not hear.
Dodi Note: I find this a very sad passage. God offers us rest and respose when we are weary. God invites us to trust, lean, and rely on Him…but we dont hear, as in obey.
herefore I swore in my wrath,
“They shall not enter my rest.”
Dodi Note: There are things which prevented “them” and prevent us from entering that place of shalom-peace and rest aren’t there? We could probably name our own personal booby traps that prevent us from resting.
5. Rest requires we keep our spirit and soul (natural mind) stayed on Him.
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Dodi Note: as you know, if you know me, this is a recurrent scripture.
Continuing with Slyvia’s devotional:
Another word for rest shavah means to repose, to end, to observe the Sabbath, to cause to rest, to bring to completion.
Can you imagine the dramatic change when all the whirl of activity in creating everything on earth came to an end. When God rested from creation.
He did not stop because He was tired, but because His work of creation was complete. It speaks again of the strength and finality of God's rest.
God ultimately accomplished true rest for His people through Messiah to make for Himself a glorious name
(Is. 11:10, 63:14).
10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
Like livestock that go down into the valley,
the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest.
So you led your people,
to make for yourself a glorious name.
The fulfillment of this is expressed in Hebrews 3:7-11 and 4:1-13
This Greek word for rest katapauo means to cease, refresh, give intermission from labor. This passage speaks of entering into God's rest. It also speaks of choosing NOT to enter his rest. All we are going to do is read these and invite the Holy Spirit to speak to us. I will not be commenting.
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years.
Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
they have not known my ways.’
As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
4 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.
3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,
“As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”
although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5 And again in this passage he said,
“They shall not enter my rest.”
6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
We enter this rest through Christ's completion on the cross of all the work needed for us to enter into His victory and grace. He has won the victory and the battle is over. We rest as we choose to have our total being, our spirit, our will, heart, imagination, and conscience centered in His perfect work. This is rest to be enjoyed in fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is the rest of God Himself in our spirits and hearts, based on relationship with Him.
God is longing to give you His God-size rest of spirit, soul, and body as you abide in Him. Allow His God-sized rest full of victory, finality, security, and strength to take care of everything that concerns you today and enjoy Him in it.
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As we do this God will lead each of us to promises from the Word to apply to our own lives.
God is able. At our care/home group we were listening to David Jeremiah and he said something that caught my attention. A simple phrase that is often repeatd in Scripture. God is ABLE.
Think about that. God is able. Every time we turn to our own ways, our self desires, our self protective ways, our own way to meet our needs (perceived or valid) we are in a sense calling God a liar.
If God said HE is enough and He is ABLE and we run around in a tizzy aren’t we denying the validity and truth of God’s Word?
Do we believe God is able to keep/guard us?
And I can’t speak for you all but there are times when I fall apart. Life is difficult for all of us. Every single person has their own “stuff”. But God says His grace is sufficient…enough. He is able.
Paul is speaking in 2 Corinthians 12 about a “thorn in his flesh”. There has been a lot of speculation on what that might have been. I go with the authors who say God deliberately did not tell us, so that the truth application could apply to whatever our own “thorn” is.
v 7-10 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul knew God could remove it, fix it, heal it…God was ABLE. Right? He even asked 3 times.
Side Note: Do you remember someone else who asked God 3 times to remove something, knowing full well God COULD, he was able to?
Right Jesus just before the cross.
God told Paul and God is reminding us all that God’s grace is sufficient. God’s power is made PERFECT in our weakness. Notice why Paul said he was able to “boast” in his weakness? So that the POWER of CHRIST could REST upon him. Cool?
I know that for me, the places which I have needed to surrender to God’s healing balm, the hurts and wounds of my past and even the present are the very things which have formed me and caused me to be more and more who God created me to be.
Do you like yourself?
Just as you are on the way to becoming more and more who God designed you to be?
If not I pray you will.
Father God thank you for this time. Thank you for Sylvia’s email and we ask your blessing over her and those she loves. Father God thank you for creating us. Thank you that as we REST in Who You Are and receive from you that which you are fully able to give us…. healing-love-value-acceptance-righteousness etc we are enabled like Paul to forth blessing others and living as your Beloved Sons and Daughter. Be with us this week and help us to be intentional about entering your rest. In Jesus name amen
I think next week we may look at some of the God is able scriptures.
Meanwhile here is a quote by Graham Cooke: That’s why in Brilliant we teach that graham Cooke said. Yes Next to every problem is a provision. God knows the territory you’re heading into and all the challenges it holds. And He’s been good enough to put a provision of His peace, His joy, His grace…whatever it is that you will need right next to every single problem that you’ll face.
Have a good week and the room is now open to fellowship.
Closing Song if you desire it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tc3sattQjKE
It is a different and interesting song
Monday night Bible study discussion archive. Feel free to view and comment on the studies posted here.
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