BLESSED REST

In Hebrews 4 it speaks of the precious rest that God has provided for His children. Even though it was all lovingly prepared for them, Israel could not enter into the enjoyment of that gift God has provided  because of their unbelief.

So what about us?

Hebrews also says that God’s “works were finished from the foundation of the world. And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”. (Emphasis mine)

I meditated on that, trying to determine what was included in ALL His works. I’m convinced that it was much more than the six days of creation. I believe that the history of His entire creation was determined in His planning “from the foundation of the world”. That included your life and every detail of what His plan was for your being on His earth at this particular time. In fact He had plans for you long before even that time, for in II Timothy it tells us God has saved you and called you with a holy calling, not according to your works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to you in Christ Jesus BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN. That’s how long He has known you!

So what does this have to do with a blessed rest?

When God completed any of His works, He “saw that it was good”. So His plans for your life, for our country, the nations of the world, and even for the universe are all good. They are in the process of being fulfilled this day. We look around us in dismay at things we see happening, but none of it is taking God by surprise. We are occupying our place in His plans for history, which He has in complete control, and we know from Scripture how it will all unfold.

So even though we take a stand against the evils around us, we are well able to enter into God’s rest for us if we believe God—that He has it all under perfect control for the completion of His work, and that it is all right on schedule. Israel couldn’t enter His rest because of their unbelief. We believe His wisdom and goodness, so let’s ask Him to help us occupy our little corner with faithfulness—and be at rest.

God’s blessed rest — what a soft pillow for a tired heart!

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DIVINE PARADOXES

This is not originally mine, but was written in the 4th century A.D. by Gregory, and is certainly worthy of our consideration today:

“Christ hungered as a man, and fed the hungry as God.
He was hungry as a man and yet He is the Bread of Life.
He was athirst as man, and yet He says, ‘Let him that is athirst come unto Me and drink!’
He was weary and yet He is our Rest.
He pays tribute, and yet He is the King.
He prays, and yet He hears prayer.
He weeps, and dries our tears.
He is sold for thirty pieces of silver, and redeems the world.
He is led as a sheep to the slaughter, and is the Good Shepherd.
He is mute like a sheep, and yet He is the everlasting Word.”

Moving Day

My special grandson, all unaware, has been a little preacher to his Grandma .  It’s been as though he stands in my place, and his mother and daddy in God’s position…..
The move from the apartment was initially a time of great trauma for him.  In his baby understanding, he couldn’t possibly see all that was involved in the decision to move.  So because he couldn’t understand, he had great feelings of fear, uncertainty and insecurity.  Every box that left the apartment was part of his life being torn away from him.  If his daddy left the house or his mommy went out of his sight,  would they stay away like the boxes that were never brought back inside?  Such trauma!  He didn’t have the capability of understanding that his mommy and daddy had made such special plans for his happiness, such special preparations for his comfort—because he was so greatly loved and such a special child—because he belonged  uniquely to them.  And then came that final closing of the door, that turning of the key when he had to venture forth into a new world.

Soon another key was turned—another door was opened, and his eyes expressed the words of the Psalmist, “Thou hast set my feet in a large room”!   In spite of the clutter, he could see the possibilities.  And there was room to run free even in the midst of the boxes.  THE BOXES!!!  Why his life hadn’t been taken away from him at all!  Here it was—every little piece of it, but with so much more room to expand, and enjoy, and explore!  Life preserved—but more abundant life!

So this was my little preacher’s sermon, because his Grandma doesn’t always understand either.  But she’s a little up on that precious grandson because she knows her Father has only her good at heart, and she will hopefully live in patience, waiting for the “large room” that He has planned for her.  Then she’ll know by experience what she knows now by faith—that all the insecurity and fears and hurts today are only the surface evidences of a lack of understanding.  They’re all part of the necessary “boxes and clutter” for moving on to something so much finer.

Thank you, little preacher—and thank you, Lord!

Common Sense versus Wisdom

When the children of Israel were finally to occupy the land God had promised them, He also instructed them to totally destroy every inhabitant of that idolatrous and sinful land so that godliness would be the hallmark of those who would now dwell there.

And then the fear-filled Gibeonites plotted a scheme to preserve themselves from the annihilation that had come to their neighbors.  They said they had come from a very far country, but had heard about God, and offered themselves and their countrymen to be servants to the Israelites  They offered proof of being from a long distance by showing them the moldy bread, the broken wineskins and their tattered clothing that had all been new when they left on the journey.

Common sense told the men of Israel that the condition those men were in was surely proof that they were being truthful, so they believed them.  They depended on their own observation and good reasoning that it was a good thing to accept what these men told them, and make an alliance with them.

However there was one important truth they missed; they didn’t pray about it to seek the counsel of the Lord—who knew the truth and would have given them warning!

As I meditated on this passage, I thought of times that I have depended on my own common sense. good reasoning and observations, and came up with my own decision without first asking my Father about it.  It must grieve God’s heart when He knows every pitfall and yet sees us go blindly ahead on the path of our own choosing.

May God give me (and all of us) the sensitivity to seek His wisdom when decisions need to be made.  He knows what’s best, and it must give Him a heart of joy when we trust Him to lead us on the right path.

JESUS BIRTHDAY

Christmas has become a time of such commercialism, and there is great anticipation in children’s hearts for the gifts that might have their name on them beneath the Christmas tree.

When my children were small, I wanted them to understand fully that Christmas was a day for us to celebrate the birthday of Jesus; so we had a special dessert for Christmas dinner to make them very aware of the real reason we celebrated that day.

I baked an angel food cake (angel food was appropriate) for the birthday cake, which was frosted with white divinity frosting.  One thing that made this cake outstanding to the children was that I always baked a dime into the batter– carefully sterilized, of course.  The cake had one tall white taper in the center hole and when it was lighted, we all held hands, bowed our heads, and softly sang   happy birthday  to Jesus.  Then the cake was cut, each child choosing just the spot in the cake they wanted for their serving., hoping to be fortunate enough to get the piece with the dime in it.

As the years went by, my children decided on their own the dime was so special that they took it to Sunday School the following  Sunday to put in the offering.  And now  that they are adults, most of them continue the Jesus-birthday-cake tradition in their own homes.

We never allowed our children to believe in Santa Claus either and they had great fun in greeting him as the storybook character he is. We wanted them always to know that we told them the truth.  If we made them believe Santa was real,  when they  eventually found out it was untrue, would they believe what we told them about Jesus was also untrue?  That was a risk we were unwilling to take.

Have a special “happy birthday Christmas” this year!!!