The Labor Of Rest...
Illus. Hymn Haven of Rest
My soul, in sad exile, was out on life’s sea,
So burdened with sin and distressed;
Then I heard a sweet voice saying, “Make Me your choice,” And I entered the Haven of Rest.
I’ve anchored my soul in the Haven of Rest.
I’ll sail the wide seas no more.
The tempest may sweep o’er the wild, stormy deep; In Jesus, I’m safe evermore. Evermore.
Illus. by Johnny Wilson
The late Manley Beasley defined faith as a "reason at rest with God." To me, that's powerful, but it hits me even harder when I remember that he went on to say, "Faith is dependency upon God, and this God-dependency only begins when self-dependency ends
Have you ever been sick or felt like you needed something and went to the doctor for a diagnosis, only to find out all you needed was rest.
Here you were sure something was seriously wrong and you were in the danger zone, only to be somewhat disappointed when you found out what you were lacking was rest.
Spiritually speaking there are far to many self diagnosing Christians doing the same thing day in and day out. Constantly telling God what they are in need of, and yet not totally willing to rely and completely rest in His ability to meet that need!
Some would say, who me? I’m not that way!
Have you ever been impatient with God?
Have you ever said or thought these things?
I've prayed and prayed and prayed…
I have asked and asked and asked…
I don't know why in the world this is taking so long....
The word says to ask, so I've asked...
and Lord I know you can do it so why isn't it happening?
God's will and prescription is for you is to rest in His ability and not your ability!
Sometimes doing that resting thing is hard… Sometimes we like to blame
other people and things or circumstances, for really what is our inaction to do what we’re told.
All of our lives we have been taught… Ready, set, go. From learning to play sports, to our studies, to our pursuit of our careers, to our everything we do in life.
Figure out what you need to do, make a plan and work the plan! Go, Go, Go!
But with God...God instructs us to REST in His care and capabilities!
In other words… a need arises, pray about it
and let God know what the need is and then you REST
in His ability to answer and help you out of your situation!
Let’s call it the three R’s
Here are some great words of encouragement from the book of John
John 3:34-35 MSG
“The One that God sent speaks God’s words. And don’t think he rations out the Spirit in bits and pieces. The Father loves the Son extravagantly. He turned everything over to him so he could give it away—a lavish distribution of gifts. That is why whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever!”
God in all His wisdom turned all things over to Jesus. Why?
So God could shower the world with His Grace through His Son....and give it away; Not sparingly, not begrudgingly, but lavishly distributing all (say all) the gifts...He longs to share with His children!
And how do we know this?
Because while, He was here on earth we know because it's recorded and written in the word...He gave and did so many things TBS if they were to be written down, not enough paper and pen would be available to write them down!
It didn’t matter what your social status was, rich or poor He gave to and healed everyone...
He cause Peter to catch more fish than his boat could carry
He healed the lepers....
He healed the blind and the lame...
He turned water into better than vintage wine....
He even did long distance healing....
He raised men from their grave
If you came He gave...
He gave and gave and kept on giving
to everyone...He gave all the way to the cross!
As I said, It didn't even matter what your social status was...
There were never any waiting lines..only receiving and healing lines
Very few people who came for healing or help were mentioned for their great faith, the Bible only records a few, but yet all who came the Bible says were healed and helped!
The mindset was all you had to do was get to Jesus, they were ready for...ready, set, go... Jesus wanted them to know even though He was the Son Of God, it was still all about what His Father was capable of doing through Him! Jesus was always about bringing and giving God all the glory ! And He was going to teach them about...ready, set, REST in the Fathers capabilities!
Matthew 19:16-22 The Message (MSG)
16 Another day, a man stopped Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17 Jesus said, “Why do you question me about what’s good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you.”
18-19 The man asked, “What in particular?”
Notice here, the rich young ruler wanting to rest in his abilities and capabilities rather than Gods instruction. Jesus knew the weight of what was required to accomplish what the man was asking and the impossibility of the mans own abilities accomplishing his request.
Jesus said, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself.”
20 The young man said, “I’ve done all that. What’s left?”
Notice again, his reliance on his abilities and the confidence of who he thought he was and his self worth. Just like a lot of people still do to this day with their self effort!
21 “If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.”
22 That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.
downhearted, downcast, despondent, disappointed, depressed....
you get the idea...
There are two sides to every coin, and spiritually speaking just as the rich young ruler thought he could accomplish whatever was needed for the end result. There are those on the other side of the coin, who think nothing can be accomplished even if all the odds are stacked in your favor, and God Himself is in charge of the results!
Let’s go to Numbers 13:27
Here we find the children of Israel, after the hand of God had delivered them from every imaginable circumstance, still unwilling to rest and find comfort in the Promise God had made to them! I think the crestfallen adjective could be used to describe the child of Israel as well!
Numbers 13:27-28 NKJ
27 Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there
It was not the land that was not ready; the people were the ones who were not ready.
For this was how they responded.
Numbers 14:1-4 NKJ
“So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.””
It wasn't ready set go… It wasn't ready set rest…
What they were saying was...ready set..forget it!
You know sometimes, it takes a long time to get out of that kind of mindset…for whatever reason.
And because of that...it took them a whole generation to be ready to go into the promised land...and that generation never did make it to the promised land either....
We like to think, “well...we’re not that way” Fact is, far to many Christians are exactly the same way as the children of Israel were!
Just as God took them consistently through the fires of the everyday battles and never missed one miracle of opportunity, God has done the same day in and day out for you and me. So many times we were rescued when we weren’t even aware we needed to be rescued!
We may not always realize it, or be ready to accept it...but when we have a Promise from Gods Word we are standing on and holding fast to. That Word still has Gods power and Gods promise tied to it and still stands ready to accomplish every task it is applied to!
You must believe God always stands ready in every situation..to deliver us and to deliver his promises that he's made to us, if we are willing to rely and rest on His abilities and Promises!
If anyone could ever brag on the slogan Promises made, Promises Kept...It would be God! But since He can’t, I will do some bragging for Him! God keeps both His Word and His Promises!!
Our Circumstances, whatever and believe me whatever is about as a broad of a paintbrush you can use, to describe a circumstance, are never a hinderance.....When it comes to the word and promises of God!
Psalm 23:5 NKJ
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.”
And what He did for David...He still stands ready today...to do the same for you
What david is saying here is,
*when you feel like running you don’t have to run.
*when you feel like crying you don’t have to cry
*when you feel like it’s over...IT AINT OVER!!
As long as you rely on God preparing the table and God anointing your head...you can rest in the fact that the only thing that will be over, “IS YOUR CUP RUNNING OVER” with God’s ability to work all things together for those who Love Him!
John 13:3-6 MSG
Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”
Peter was reluctant, we’re all like Peter sometimes. Jesus was saying then and is still saying now, My Father sent me to serve and to take care of you, I’m am your Shepard and you are my sheep.
Jesus knew that all things had been given into His hands....He could have done anything He wanted to..and what did He choose to do?
He chose to serve us...
Even though He knew us and knew the quality of our character and how we would react...
Illus. by Darryl Bell
A wealthy American traveler visited a hospital in Southeast Asia. He walked in just as a young missionary nurse was cleaning the sores of a sick, dirty, elderly man who had been found lying in a gutter. The rich man said to the nurse, “I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars.” She answered quietly and firmly, “Neither would I.”
The elderly man was resting and relying on the mercy of the young nurses willingness to give unconditionally!
We read that God decided to do to same in John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that who so ever would believe on Him or not Parrish but have eternal life.
Are you resting in God’s ability to meet your need?
Illus. Song Every need supplied by Joel and Christie Hemphill
I asked my dear Saviour what he had purchased
For me when on Calvary He died
For all my past and all my problems
He just said that He'd provide.
Every need supplied
Every need supplied
Healing, Cleansing, Sweet peace inside,
Every need He supplied