Rest

1 Therefore we must be wary that, while the promise of entering his rest remains open, none of you may seem to have come short of it. 2 For we had good news proclaimed to us just as they did. But the message they heard did them no good, since they did not join in with those who heard it in faith. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my anger, ‘They will never enter my rest!’” And yet God’s works were accomplished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works,” 5 but to repeat the text cited earlier: “They will never enter my rest!” 6 Therefore it remains for some to enter it, yet those to whom it was previously proclaimed did not enter because of disobedience. 7 So God again ordains a certain day, “Today,” speaking through David after so long a time, as in the words quoted before, “O, that today you would listen as he speaks! Do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken afterward about another day. 9 Consequently a Sabbath rest remains for the people of God. 10 For the one who enters God’s rest has also rested from his works, just as God did from his own works (Hebrews 4:1-10).2

 

We were blessed with REST this last weekend. Real REST in that there were no phone calls, no emails, no interruptions, just truly peace and quiet and REST. The first thing i noticed was how long it has actually been since i have allowed myself some REST. With no agenda and no real schedule to have to worry about I was able to have 3 days of undisturbed REST from everything. At one point i felt guilty! How hard are we on ourselves that we must insist on moving so fast everyday that we never stop to enjoy the journey and truly REST?

Start with your Sabbath. God’s children have inherited the ABILITY TO TRULY REST IN HIM and REST physically. Take your one day a week and then start to find ways to take more! REST fills you with newness and passion and strength!

ABBA, My Father

Image result for abba father

Romans 8:12-17

12So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

I don’t know about you but as a grown man, while I so badly want to call out to Him, it is difficult for me to believe that the Father wants me to call upon Him, as Paul encourages us to do in verse fourteen. I envision a stern man whom I have interrupted, I am sure that what ever He is doing is far more important that having to listen me, again. Then one day I was in the LaGuardia Airport working through the security line and there was a Jewish mother and her children in front of me. As we finish through the line and were gathering our things to continue to our gates the children saw their father.

What caught my attention was their joyful and exuberant shouts of Abba Abba to their father making his way through security. It was clear that they had not been apart for long and as Abba made his way to them through security both Father and Children were overjoyed to be reunited.

I don’t know if you have ever heard anyone call upon their father as Abba but it is a sweet, kind, expecting and joyous Name. It reminded me in that moment, of when my own children were yet young and would come down the stairs of our home and with sleep in their eyes say to me “good morning daddy” in that very moment as I took them into my arms and held them in my lap there was nothing that I would not do for them. They knew they were safe and loved.

I wonder if today we will call upon Abba Father and rest in Him knowing that were are enough and that there is nothing that we can do that can separate me from His Love. I wonder if today we can lay down our own pride and fear and go to Abba. Time and time again scriptures tells me: 1 Peter 5:7 – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you, Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Will today be the day that we trust and walk in these truths?

Father, thank you for loving us and for sending your Son so that we too can call out Abba!! 

 

The Young Prodigy

Image result for jesus standing for stephen

51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”

54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together[b] at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

I heard a story once of a young piano prodigy who had arrived in his home town to perform a concert. After finishing his performance the crowd erupted with a standing ovation. The young prodigy quickly moved off the stage.

The venue manager was urging the young prodigy back onto the stage for a final song as the packed house applauded his performance. However the young prodigy refused as he noticed one man NOT standing. The venue manager laughed and continued to push him to return to the stage.

The young prodigy continued to refuse and said to the venue manager that the One Man not standing was his Teacher.

In the scripture above Jesus was standing receiving Stephen. This is the only time we see Jesus standing in scripture when He is with Our Father in heaven. Can we remember who we are living to please here in this fallen world? Let us so live that Jesus stands to receive us!!

Set on the Spirit

1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Romans 8:1-11
Shame, fear, and let downs seem to creep back into our minds quickly. Yet here in Romans we hear that condemnation is gone for those in Christ. Gone, it cannot co-exist… thus if it is present then the Christ Like-ness is NOT…
I know that challenge is very mental and sometimes very difficult to believe. Yet it is the TRUTH. Christ has eradicated your shame, your fears, and your let downs. You are in the SPIRIT and are now bound by His righteousness. Yes, that is right,  YOU HAVE CHRIST RIGHTEOUSNESS. It may be hard to feel, it may be hard to believe, and it may be hard to maintain in your mind but you must. For when we allow that negativism to creep back into our mindset we are removing God from our “thrones”. Think SPIRIT life, think Spirit mind, think Spirit power… the more we focus on the Spirit the MORE THE SPIRIT seems to show up! A life controlled by the God of the Universe is the life capable of breathing that life into others! Kingdom Now!

Hands of Hard Work

A young man went to seek an important position at a large printing company. He passed the initial interview and was going to meet the director for the final interview. The director saw his resume, it was excellent. And asked,’

“Have you received a scholarship for school?” The boy replied, “No”.
‘It was your father who paid for your studies? ” Yes.’ He replied.
‘Where does your father work? ‘ ‘My father is a Blacksmith’

The Director asked the young man to show him his hands.
The young man showed a pair of hands soft and perfect.
‘Have you ever helped your parents at their job? ‘
‘Never, my parents always wanted me to study and read more books. Besides, he can do the job better than me.

The director said:
‘I have got a request: When you go home today, go and wash the hands of your father and then come see me tomorrow morning.’

The young man felt his chance to get the job was high.

When he returned to his house he asked his father if he would allow him to wash his hands.

His father felt strange, happy, but with mixed feelings and showed his hands to his son. The young man washed his hands, little by little. It was the first time that he noticed his father’s hands were wrinkled and they had so many scars. Some bruises were so painful that his skin shuddered when he touched them.

This was the first time that the young man recognized what it meant for this pair of hands to work every day to be able to pay for his studies. The bruises on the hands were the price that his father payed for his education, his school activities and his future.

After cleaning his father’s hands the young man stood in silence and began to tidy and clean up the workshop. That night, father and son talked for a long time.

The next morning, the young man went to the office of the director.
The Director noticed the tears in the eyes of the young man when He asked him,

‘Can you tell me what you did and what you learned yesterday at your house?’
The boy replied: ‘I washed my father’s hands and when I finished I stayed and cleaned his workshop.’

‘Now I know what it is to appreciate and recognize that without my parents, I would not be who I am today. By helping my father I now realize how difficult and hard it is to do something on my own. I have come to appreciate the importance and the value in helping my family.

The director said, “This is what I look for in my people. I want to hire someone who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the hardship others go through to accomplish things, and a person who realizes that money is not his only goal in life”.

‘You are hired’.

A child that has been coddled, protected and given everything he or she wants, develops a mentality of “I have the right” and will always put himself or herself first, ignoring the efforts of parents, family and friends. If we are this type of protective parent are we really showing love or are we helping to destroy our children?

You can give your child their own room in a big house, good food, a computer, tablet, cell phone, and a big screen TV, but when you’re washing the floor or painting a wall, children need to experience that too.

After eating, have them wash the dishes with their brothers and sisters, let them fold laundry or cook with you, pull weeds or mow the lawn. You are not doing this because you are poor and can’t afford help. You are doing this because you love them and want them to understand certain things about life.

Children need to learn to appreciate the amount of effort it takes to do a job right. They need to experience the difficulties in life that people must overcome to be successful and they must learn about failure to be able to succeed.

Children must also learn how to work and play with others and that they will not always win, but they can always work harder to reach their goals. If they’ve done their best, then they can take pride in all the effort they put forth.

(this was copied from a friend’s wall today)

 

As a father myself, i have failed at many things with parenting. One thing i have noticed as of more recently is you can start again. There is today to pick up the pieces and work at the repair of broken years. There will be plenty that will not forgive and will hold on to  hurts and pain and heartaches… but with an earnest heart you can move on and try to start again. Do not let the hang ups of someone else determine what you will decide to be today. No matter if your child is 2 years old, 20 years old, or 40 years old, there is always a chance to love again. Be the one that puts their hands out first. Be the one that wants to be different and let go of the things that have stopped you from trying.

Numbers 14:18-19

[18] ‘The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’ [19] Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now.” (ESV)

 

Power to fight

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness  to be tempted by the devil.And after fasting  forty days and forty nights, he  was hungry. And  the tempter came and said to him, “If you are  the Son of God, command  these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, z“It is written,

 “‘Man shall not live by bread alone,

but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

5  Then the devil took him to  the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

 “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’

and

“‘On their hands they will bear you up,

lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “Again  it is written,  ‘You shall not  put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone,  Satan! For  it is written,

 “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and  him only shall you serve.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and behold,  angels came and were ministering to him.

Matthew 4:1-11

The devil was not successful in breaking down the Lamb of God. It leaves me to wonder if he (the devil) really thought he would get to Jesus with his trickery? Regardless, when the devil comes to us in the same fashion is he quite so discouraged? For he has not offered me the realms of kingdoms to rule over, yet have i fallen to his ways? We have this vast resource of God’s Word, God’s Spirit, and the body of Christ (our church) to aid us in protection from this evil one yet how often do we stand as Christ stood and win the war? How often do we recite the scriptures or lean on the Spirit to overcome? Speaking for myself here, i would say not as often as should be expected.

Father, bring us into yourself closer and deeper and fuller that we may not fail. Bring us under your arm of strength and protection and power and put upon us the DESIRE to draw to you and the ability to conquer. Empower us Lord as we KNOW YOU ALREADY HAVE, to fight, everyday, to fight the war of holiness against the invisible and sometimes overwhelming darkness and evil in the world.  Let us hear the angels ministering to us this day.