It is a season of REST

It is a season of REST

In a world where you see so much violence, in a land where the political realm is almost dangerous, this word keeps entering into my soul: REST.

There are many descriptions of rest but these best explain what is on my heart:

  1. peace of mind or spirit
  2. free from anxieties and disturbance
  3. to remain confident (trust)

How can we discover this rest?

“Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you REST.”  Matthew 11:28 (ESV)

“And he said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you REST.” Exodus 33:14 (ESV)

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will REST in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91 (NIV)

It requires God’s presence.

  1. Come to the Lord
  2. Stay in his presence
  3. Dwell in him

It doesn’t matter what news you may hear, whether in the world, in the nation, or in your personal life, you can still rest and experience peace as you stay in his presence.

Yes, we do need to pray earnestly for our government, for those around us and even for ourselves. But ultimately the battle belongs to the Lord. In spite of what we might see, our confidence must rest in his faithfulness.

As believers we should always stay vigilant in prayer and reading the Word, because the enemy seeks to bring destruction. But in the midst of this: REST.

I was thinking about the season of King David. While he remained king it was a season of war and conquering. When his son, King Solomon reigned it was a season of peace.

I feel that this isn’t just a season that the Lord is giving to me personally, but it is a season that the Lord is granting anyone who desires it.

God has heard our prayers. Like he heard the cries of the children of Israel when they were slaves in Egypt, he will bring deliverance to us, as well. Though we see turmoil in this world, God is doing great miracles of deliverance in the realm of the spirit for each of us individually and in our nation.

Remember the story of Martha and Mary? Martha was busy doing what needed to be done, but Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet. And what was Jesus’ reply when Martha began to grumble about her sister’s apparent laziness?

“Martha, Martha, you are getting worried and upset about too many things. Only one thing is important. Mary has made the right choice and it will never be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

If you have been diligently praying about a situation, he has heard your prayers. Make the choice to sit in his presence, listen to his words and REST in his faithfulness.

It is a season of REST.

God bless.

 

 

The Warrior

The Warrior

The battle blazes and the fight continues. The warrior looks up and sees another flaming arrow flying towards her and her comrades. Without hesitation she maneuvers her shield high into the air, stopping the arrow from piercing her or those she has grown to love and admire. It almost knocks her off her feet. She is not wounded, but exhausted.

This particular battle has been raging for some time. She has been using all her training techniques but lately she has been distracted by other cares. Her mind is on things that take her thoughts to places that her commanding officer has warned is a distraction. Lately it seems she cannot focus.

She knows she has to learn to think about things that bring hope and not allow thoughts of despair to paralyze her. The commander has warned her to think about things that bring peace, especially while in battle. She must stay sharp.

Whoosh…another burning arrow flies right towards her. Suddenly a shield swoops in front of her and she hears the thud of the arrow bouncing off of it. This time the shield belongs to her friend. She turns towards her friend. They lock eyes. A smile crosses her friend’s face.

“Don’t worry,” she says. “I got this one.”  They nod at each other as they turn to continue the fight.

The warrior thinks to herself, “My commander is right, my thoughts are distracting me. That arrow could have hit me.”

“Charge!” demands the commander.

The orders produce a power that shakes her from within. With no more distracting thoughts filling her mind, the warrior and those with her charge the enemy with all of their strength. The battle turns from defense to offense. The warrior does what is second nature to her and begins the hand to hand combat with her sword. Strength infuses her weary body.

Suddenly the enemy runs in terror. The hooves of horses can be heard pounding away from the battle ground. The warriors holler in unison as they chase the enemy away. The slaughtered enemy that lay at their feet begin to disintegrate into black smoke, then disappear. They are not of human form but come from devilish soil. At that moment a shout of victory echoes throughout the camp. Another battle has been won. 

Joy fills the air where despair once resided.

Tonight there will be a celebration, a celebration of victory and hope. The tired soldiers can rest for a time. The grateful warrior turns to thank the commanding officer for the training and the tenacity he has taught her. As she reaches out her hand, he pulls her close for a huge papa bear style hug.

“Well, done my child,” he says patting her on the back. “Well done. You didn’t give up when you wanted to. You didn’t quit.”

“But I was distracted by despair. An arrow could have hit me when I lowered my shield,” the warrior says embarrassed by her actions.  The commander simply laughs a hearty laugh as if it isn’t a big deal. “But you weren’t hit. Your friend shielded you. That is why you need one another. Besides, I already won this battle. Did you notice how fast the enemy ran?” he said in triumph between deep chuckles.

She did.

“They always run when they see me pull out my sword. They know that I will only allow my children to go through just so many trials. Once I pull out my sword they screech in their tracks, abruptly turn around and run in fear.”

She knows that his sword is extremely sharp and destructive. As he swings it  in demonstration a brilliant light radiates off the metal causing the entire land to flood with the light.

No wonder the enemy runs away with such speed. There is nowhere to hide. They understand they can be annihilated by the commander at any time so they cower at his greatness. 

A thought rushes through the warriors mind. “If  the commander is for me, then who can stand against me?”

As she lets that sink in, peace floods her mind and her heart.

The battle was his all along.

_________________________________________________

That is a synopsis of a moment in the spiritual realm of a warring believer in prayer.

As believers we will always be in some sort of battle. Here are a few things we must remember as we fight in the battle of prayer.

  1. Ultimately every battle belongs to the Lord.
    Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15 (NIV)
  2. We do not fight people.
    “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
  3. We need one another.
    “As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.”
    I Corinthians 12: 20-21 (ESV)
    “Help carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (GNT)
  4. There is a time for rest.
    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

God is merciful but also fierce. He will defend his own. We have to trust him. We may be warriors but we are also his children.  Be strong, fight diligently and rest in his grace.
God bless

What then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31  (NIV)

 

“The Warrior is a Child”
Twila Paris

Lately I’ve been winning
Battles left and right 
But even winners can get
Wounded in the fight
People say that I’m amazing
Strong beyond my years
But they don’t see inside of me
I’m hiding all the tears

They don’t know that
I go running home when I fall down
They don’t know Who picks me
Up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
“Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child

Unafraid because his armor is the best
But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest
People say that I’m amazing
Never face retreat
But they don’t see the enemies
That lay me at his feet.

They don’t know that I go
Running home when I fall down
They don’t know Who picks me
Up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
‘Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child.

 

 

 

 

Waves of Regret

Waves of Regret

I was off the grid for a couple of days. It was different not being able to communicate with others, but it was also relaxing. I was on a vacation at the ocean with some fun and delightful people I call family. It was quite coincidental that before I boarded the plane for my trip I was handed a book, a novella to be exact, called “Seaside”, written by Terri Blackstock.

The story is about an older woman who desires to take a short vacation on the ocean shores with her two grown daughters. She had found peace in her latter years and wanted to share that same peace with her daughters hoping that relationships could be healed. Part of the story plot mentions past regrets.

That word struck me. I had recently listened to a popular comedian tell her life story with that “R” word riddled throughout her testimony of life. I suppose as we get older we might have the opportunity to look back at our lives and possibly fill our life stories with many, “what ifs” or”if onlys”, if we allow ourselves to go down that path. I don’t think that those thoughts and words do anything positive for the soul.

I was talking to someone about these expressions; “if only” and “what if” and realized that perhaps God already knows our future, and just perhaps he already knows what choices we will make. (I say that in jest, as I understand it to be true.) So if that is the truth then there isn’t any room for an alternate dimension of ourselves making other decisions with different outcomes like we may see in the movies or read about in books. Instead there is a God that takes the choices we will or have made, right or  wrong, and uses them for our good.

 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)

That is the crazy yet miraculous thing about walking with the Lord.  Though we may have made “wrong” choices they may be the very choices that can actually be our spring-board into success, if we allow it. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying to go ahead and be stupid. I am saying when you make a mistake or go off the right path for you, God stands there ready to use that mistake as your stepping stone of strength to go from glory to glory. It might not necessarily be a wrong choice but a choice that leads you down a different path with unexpected consequences.

You hear these testimonies quit often. The rehabilitated drug addict turns around and is reaching out to other drug addicts to save them from destruction. The thief goes to prison and hears the gospel of hope then decides to share that hope with those imprisoned with him. The baby who was lost on the streets of a war torn country is adopted by loving parents who give her a good education. That education is later used when the individual finds her lost family and chooses to use the education she received to help those less fortunate from her homeland.

Let’s take a look at young Joseph who was thrown into a well by his brothers and then sold into slavery. Later in his life he is thrown into prison and forgotten for years. But eventually he is used by God to save a nation from famine, including his relatives that previously sold him. It was if he was predestined to be a slave and a prisoner in the land of Egypt .

OR-

Perhaps God knew what Joseph’s brothers were already going to do and so used their evil plan to save them from starvation. It was if God took what was meant for evil and used it for good.

Joseph states,
“Even though you planned evil against me, God planned good to come out of it. This was to keep many people alive, as he is doing now.” Genesis 50:20 (GWT)

Possibly it is a choice of sin. Think about King David. There was a time that he desired Bathsheba and had her brought to his chamber. When he finds out that she is pregnant he summons her husband to come back from battle in hopes that he will stay with his wife. But when her husband decides not to sleep with his wife David realizes what he did and decides to have her husband transferred to the front of the battle where he is killed. All these wrong decisions create chaos as he tries to cover up his sin. But God is not blind to these things and David weeps with sorrow over his choices.

He then marries Bathsheba but the child that is born from their relationship dies of an illness. Later Bathsheba gives birth to another son and names him Solomon. From this  bloodline comes the birth of Jesus, the Christ, the savior of the world. If you think about it, it is almost as if God predestined King David and Bathsheba to unite.

OR-

Perhaps God used all the wrong choices that he knew David would make for David’s good and for our good. Despite his choices David still loves God which causes him to repent in anguish. God sees his heart and still has a great purpose for him.

There is a God that takes the very choices that we make, and uses them for our good because he promises that all things will work together for good to those that love him and are called according to his purpose. He is capable of taking what was meant for evil and turning it around for our good.

Why? Because he already knows the choices we will make and even though we are sinners and often make bad decisions he uses those decisions and polishes them with his blood and then hands them back to us better than they were before.

So back to you and me. Do we make some wrong choices? Most likely. But should we live in regret? Not at all. Of course we should not live in sin, but if we do sin we should repent to restore our relationship with our Lord. But maybe the choice wasn’t sinful but just not the best option. Still there should be no regrets. Regret is for those who have no hope. We have hope. We have hope that the God of creation, the God of salvation, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will turn all things around for good in our lives because we are called for his purpose and because we love our Lord.

On a personal note I remember a time when it seemed I made one wrong choice after another. I thought about the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13. The seeds planted on good soil reaped a crop up to 100 times what was sown. I called out honestly to the Lord saying, “I have made a crap load of wrong choices how can I reap a harvest?” Then I heard him speak tenderly deep inside my spirit. “But what do farmers use to plant a good crop?” I realized they use manure (aka: crap). It would be those very choices that the seeds of my faith would fall into. The crop springing from those decisions are returning to me as blessings because I surrendered them to the Lord, instead of fretting over them.

Trust him. He seriously loves you and me more than we understand. And he can turn any wrong choice into a blessing as long as you let him, even things that were NOT YOUR choice but were dealt unjustly to you by someone else. Hand them to the Lord and he will give them back as a blessing. He still is a miracle worker. He is amazing!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (N(V)

 

Rest

Rest

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”
-Corrie Ten Boom

When life has gone crazy
And I can’t hear Him speak
When dreams seem blurry
And my knees feel weak-

When it seems like I’m waiting
And waiting some more
When I don’t understand
what I’m even waiting for-

When trouble surrounds me
Like a tempest unleased
When I’m tired and weary
And confusion has increased-

When I say, “Why Lord?”
And don’t hear a sound
When I want to just quit
And stomp on the ground-

When all of these things
Seem to knock at my door
That is the time I put my
Trust in Him more.

That is the time
I rest in the hands
Of my heavenly Father
Who cares and understands.

That is the time
That faith in action grows
When I don’t know the future
But I know that He knows.

If God stood by Noah
When the flood waters rose.
And He stood by Moses
The deliverer He chose.

If He stood by three Hebrews
That were thrown in a fire,
Won’t He stand by us
In our darkest hour?

He said to not worry,
He said to rest in His care.
He can handle our future
He’s already there!

So I trust in you Lord
I surrender each test.
I know that you love me!
In you I will REST!!!

“Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (GWT)