Matthew 11:29-30 NKJV – Find His rest

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

The yoke is a piece of rigging with which a team of oxen or horses are tied together and come under the control of the one driving them. It is a cross bar which rides on the shoulders and then is linked around the head of the animal with a ‘U’ shaped piece. For humans, there are two kinds of yokes in life. The yoke of the world is filled with things that create burdens and cause weariness in people. The other yoke of life is the spiritual yoke which Christ invites all of us to take upon ourselves. This yoke is a symbol of partnership. Partnership in Jesus Christ’s service. This yoke again binds us together with Christ, but we must give up the yoke of the world, in order to take on the yoke of Christ. Did you get that? First, we must give up, take off, throw down, the yoke of the world, in order for us to take on, put on, and wear with joy the yoke of Christ.

When we learn and experience Jesus, we find the very Lord of the universe to be humble. Yes, Jesus is humble. He also desires for us to be like Him. He desires for us to come to Him with a humble heart, promising then to lift us up. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10 NKJV) In this humbleness, we will find rest for our souls. I remember times when in the quietness of prayer, in the stillness of the room, God manifested His rest upon me. There were times where I felt being lifted up and I hovered above where I was. This isn’t something mystical. This is the presence of God and His hands were lifting me. When we set aside all that engulfs us, all that the world throws at us, all that distracts us, and simply quiet ourselves before Him, I suspect or rather I believe that kind of humble submission beckons God to encounter us. He has with me. There we find God’s rest. His yoke is then easy because He bears the load. Hallelujah!!!

Dear Lord. Thank You for inviting us to take Your yoke upon us. Help us so that the heaviness of the world’s yoke doesn’t break us down. In Your lovingkindness, You bring us to the point of humbleness where we can encounter Your rest. Bind us together, Lord, and lift us up. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

2 Peter 1:2-4 NKJV – Everything for life and godliness

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Peter starts with a wonderful salutation. “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” Knowledge is an important theme; the knowledge of God and of Jesus are connected because God is known savingly only in and through Jesus Christ. “All things have been delivered to me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (Matthew 11:27 NKJV) But this Scripture goes on to say even more wonderful things. God’s divine power has given to us (believers) all things that pertain to life and godliness through our knowledge of Him. A promise that all things that pertain to living our lives and living in godliness is given through the knowledge of Him. That knowledge comes from the Holy Spirit.

And then this Scripture ends with another glorious promise. We have been given “exceedingly great and precious promises” and that through these promises we would be partakers of the nature of God. We are being conformed to the likeness of Christ and the image of God.

Human knowledge of God may be a purely an intellectual thing, as somebody knows about things by observing. But believers know God in a personal way because we have relationship with Him; a personal relationship with Him through our faith in Jesus Christ. But I have to ask one thing. If we (believers) have a more than human knowledge of God because we have relational knowledge of Him, why is it we have a hard time believing in the promises that Scripture says are “exceedingly great”? God’s promises reveal His particular and eternal purposes to which He is committed and upon which we can depend. God is absolutely trustworthy. “For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.” (Hebrews 6:13-18 NKJV) Sometimes believers don’t believe in the promises of God because we look at them with worldly eyes. Our faith in God and in His promises is fundamental to believers, but just like anyone else, we place those promises into a very small box and believe in our own power.

But friend, it’s not about our power to believe. It’s about the power of God to believe. This Scripture says that God has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness and that through His promises we may be partakers of them. God’s power not our own. God’s strength not our own. God’s victory not our own.   We’re given a choice to believe in the promises of God or not to believe. “For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV) What choice will you make?

Dear Lord, thank You that your divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. Thank You that your promises are exceedingly great and precious and that they are available to us. Draw us Lord into a closer, more personal relationship with You so that our knowledge of You increases. Forgive us when our faith and belief rests in our own knowledge, strength, and power. Our victory is in You, Lord. May we glorify You in all we say and do. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

1 Kings 19:11-13 NKJV – Is that You God?

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Today I write on God’s “still small voice”. The Lord answers Elijah in an unexpected way. God is present in near silence. Divine silence does not mean divine inactivity. I think you would agree with Elijah as well as me that an Almighty and All-powerful God would speak in the same way; resounding in authority and power. Sometimes God resounds in a way we fully understand. He grabs a hold of us and communicates. While other times, in the gentleness of God, He simply whispers to us.

Either way, God will communicate to us. So how many times do we miss the “still small voice”? How many times do we come short of hearing the voice of God? Are we too busy, too preoccupied, or just don’t pay attention? I think it’s a little bit of all of that. When God wants our attention, He will get it one way or the other. The words of God’s mouth are always effective. “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed?” (Lamentations 3:38 NKJV)

Communication is the effective conveyance of a message. When we desire to hear God’s voice; sometimes it is necessary for us to quiet ourselves before Him and give Him time to speak. It’s a two way process. Seek Him in prayer and then listen for God’s reply. “Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.” (Psalm 27:7 NKJV) God’s desire is that all people should seek after him and find him.

Being quiet before God is something that isn’t as easy as it sounds. We need to be deliberate about it. We need to settle our minds and our hearts and put ourselves in an attitude of worship and prayer. We have to take whatever is happening around us and set it aside and place God in the #1 position of attention. We need to press in to the presence of God. God is near. The more we seek the presence of God the easier it will be to hear His “still small voice”. The voice of God is conveyed through His Son, Jesus where His voice is recognizable. “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:14-16 NKJV)

Friend, how much do you want to hear God’s “still small voice”? How much do you want to hear from Jesus? An intimate relationship with Jesus begins with two way conversation called prayer. An intimate relationship with Jesus is nurtured through the study of God’s Word. When we combine the study of God’s Word with prayer and worship, what we get is an attitude in our hearts and minds that allows us to hear God’s “still small voice”. The hustle and bustle of the world is set aside and all that is left is the quietness of the presence of God. Take some time to nurture your relationship with God and get into the quietness of His presence. God will begin to speak. Just listen. God is near and desires to speak with you.

Dear God thank You that You desire to speak with us. Speak to us, God, and direct our ways. Speak to us, God, and teach us Your ways. Teach us, O God, to settle our hearts and minds so that we can fully hear You. Our desire is an intimate relationship with You. Deliver us from our busy lives into Your presence where we may experience all of Your power. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Nehemiah 8:10 NIV – The key is the joy of the Lord

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Enjoyment is the ability to find pleasure and joy in life. Scripture sees the capacity for enjoyment as a gift from God, whose people are to find pleasure and happiness in Him and the many blessings He has given to them. I have to ask this. When you see the words “joy” and “strength” what do they mean to you?

When meditating on this Scripture, the Lord impressed upon my heart that the word “joy” is the key and the word “strength” means everything for every circumstance. Let me tell you what I mean.

Sometimes the word “strength” means “Spiritual strength”. God is the source and supplier of all spiritual strength through which believers can do all that God asks. The joy of the Lord gives you all you need regarding “Spiritual strength”. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” (Ephesians 6:10 NKJV)

Sometimes the word “strength” means “Physical strength”. We all face times of physical weakness. It may be the result of illness but can also be a part of just keeping up with the physical needs to survive in this world. God is the source and supplier of physical strength through which believers are equipped for the calling God has placed on their lives. “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 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.” (Ephesians 4:11-13 NKJV) The joy of the Lord gives you all you need regarding “Physical strength”.

Sometimes the word “strength” means “Psychological strength”. We all face times when our minds become our worst enemy. There are times of doubt, fear, and lack of confidence. God is the source and supplier of psychological strength through which believers minds are cleansed and made new. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV) God gives strength to His people. He enables them to be courageous through His gift of faith. God proves Himself faithful to His promises and enables His people to trust Him in everyday life. The joy of the Lord gives you all you need regarding “Psychological strength”.

Friend, the common denominator in this Scripture is the joy of the Lord. Keeping the joy of the Lord pulsating in our hearts each and every day provides all the strength we need, whether it be Spiritual, Physical, or Psychological. How do we keep the joy of the Lord pulsating with each heart beat? Prayer and the study of God’s Word. Prayer is based on God’s love for believers. Through His grace, He gives them things which they do not deserve, while through His mercy He shields them from those things which they do deserve. The study of God’s Word places the truth of His Word into our hearts. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11 KJV) Allow the joy of the Lord to strengthen you for all things.

Precious Lord, thank You that our strength comes from the joy of the Lord. Thank You that as we cultivate our relationship with You, that You increase our strength. With every day our joy increases, You equip us Lord physically, spiritually, and psychologically. Forgive us Lord when we think we can survive anything in our own strength. Help us to walk in the steps You have ordered for us so that we can walk hand in hand with You. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 90:17 NKJV – Your presence is all we need

And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.

The beauty of the Lord encompasses so many things. He is glorious. He is matchless. He is wonderful. He is all loving. He is Almighty. In the midst of life, in wilderness or not, it’s the blessing of God’s own presence which gives meaning and joy. When we are wandering in the wilderness of life, we may not leave any monuments or boast to any of our own accomplishments, but God will give eternal significance to the deeds of hands that serve Him. It is God that establishes the work of our hands. It is God who receives the glory.

There are times when we just “keep on keepin on” because we are called by God to live out His will in our lives. We press in when it gets tough. We labor in the face of discouragement. We endure the hardships. The reason? It’s all about Jesus. God gave His all for us. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NKJV) Now we give our all for Him.

An essential part in the life of believers is more than a matter of external observance. It’s more than a matter of what other people will observe, but it’s a total commitment to God. We serve because He served. We love because He is love. We give because He gave. We submit because He submitted. We press in toward the goal because He established our prize. We give our all because He is our all in all. And if others see our service as being different, or see us as “peculiar”, than glory to God. Pleasing God involves inward attitudes, not simply external observance. “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.” (Romans 14:17-18 NKJV)

The beauty of all of this comes from the eternal and everlasting desire for God to spend eternity with His creation. His desire to be with us has never changed. His gift to us, Jesus, opened the gateway to God’s presence. Jesus Christ is the way to engage God’s Holy presence. Jesus Christ is the way to eternal life. Jesus Christ was given to us because God loved us first. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:18-19 NKJV) And when we accept Jesus Christ into our lives, God continues with His promise to establish the work of our hands.

No matter what we may face, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, no matter the time or the day, no matter how severe our situation is, as believers, God will establish the work of our hands. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV) And if we keep our eyes on God and if what we accomplish by the hand of God touches someone else’s life, than Praise God!

Friend, join me today in prayer, thanking God for His work in us. Thank God that He prepared beforehand the good works we would do. Thank God that He establishes our way for His purpose and His glory. And thank God for giving us His Son, Jesus, as our gateway to His glory.

Precious and eternal God. Thank You that since the beginning of time You desired to spend eternity with Your creation. Thank You that You establish the work of our hands. Keep us Lord as we serve You. Strengthen us with Your mighty hand. Restore us Lord when we become weary. Thank You God that You gave Your all for us, Your Son Jesus, so that we can receive Your greatest gift. May all we say and do give glory to Your name. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Isaiah 48:18 NKJV – Peace like a river

Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

In this Scripture verse, God reveals a compassionate longing for His people to find their peace in living for Him. Our peace will be like an abundant river; in continuous movement with life giving flow; the waves of the sea carrying our righteousness in Christ. God longs for us to heed, to obey His commandments. God longs for us to walk with Him. Our lives are at peace and rest when we abide in Him. To be at rest spiritually is to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. This rest is promised to all who put their trust in God and obey him. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27 NKJV)

To find rest and peace in the Lord is far better than to place our trust in the things of the world where there is no rest; where everything is temporary. Can I get a witness? Scripture says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20 NKJV) God promises to give us peace if we abide in Him and that is where I will place my trust.

Spiritual treasure consists in knowing God. Knowing God has a transforming effect on a person. Spiritual transformation occurs; it brings a person from death to life. “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19 NKJV)

As we live for God and heed His commandments, the peace of God will encompass us. The peace of God will surround us. The peace of God will sustain us. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians4:5-7 NKJV) The world cannot give us rest. The world cannot give us peace. Peace can only come from a relationship with Jesus. Peace is promised to those who abide in Him. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NKJV)

Friend, join me in fixing our minds, our thoughts, our lives on the peace of God. Open your heart and allow the peace of God to flow in and through you. Allow the peace of God to be your life giving water. Allow the peace of God to flow over you and carry you in God’s righteousness. Allow the peace of God to guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus. Take hold of God’s hand today and walk with Him. Let peace be like a river for you.

Precious Lord, thank You for Your peace. Thank You God for Your compassionate and sustaining love. Forgive us God when we place our faith and trust in the world. Help us God to place our faith and trust fully in You. May Your Word guide and direct us. May Your Word instruct us in all righteousness. May we walk in Your ways and in Your hand. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Isaiah 32:18 NKJV – The peace of the Lord

My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places

There’s something about the phrase, “peaceful habitation” that is comforting and even soothing to my mind. The world we live in is not very peaceful. There are areas of great unrest and conflict. There are wars and police states. We’ve heard the term, “Marshall Law” in areas where peace cannot be controlled. But God’s people are promised “peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.”

It’s God’s Holy Spirit that brings a sense of well-being, contentment, and security whatever our outward circumstances. Peace is an indication of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Peace is a resource that the Holy Spirit gives to believers. “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17 NKJV) If peace is a resource of the Holy Spirit, then to partake in a peaceful habitation, we must be spiritually minded. “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6 NKJV)

So where do we find peace, security, and quiet resting places. It’s found in an intimate relationship with the Lord. Our lives are often filled to the max with things to do. We are very busy. I will warn you that this is one of the enemy’s schemes to keep us from spending time with the Lord. But to find peace, security, and rest, we must find God. To be at rest spiritually is to find peace through Jesus Christ. And this rest is promised to those who place their trust in God and obey Him. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27 NKJV)

I cherish the moments in the day when I place my full attention on the Lord in prayer. Prayer time for me is where I sense the presence of the Holy Spirit (peace) and grow in intimacy with the Lord. When I place my mind on nothing else but conversation with and praise to the Lord, the surroundings I am in and the circumstances I am facing disappear. Everything around me vanishes and all that is left is the Lord. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.” (Psalm 61:3-4 NKJV) My security, my well-being is promised in the shelter of the Lord.

Friend, if you are feeling the effects of the world which may include stress, unrest, and weakness in spirit, turn to the Lord. I encourage you to call upon the name of the Lord in prayer. Set aside time every day to sit in the stillness of His presence and pray. In the secret, in the quiet place, in the stillness You are there.”

Precious Lord, thank You for Your presence. Lord, You are as close as a whisper to us. In Your presence we find peace, security, and rest. We find strength in You as we spend time with You. You are our strong tower, our hiding place, our safe refuge. Forgive us Lord when we think that we can find true peace in the things of the world. True peace comes only in You. Thank You Lord for the fullness of Your grace and mercy. Turn our hearts toward You Lord. May we be refreshed by Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!