28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” — Matt. 11:28-30 NIV
God has made great promises to us if we will learn to lean on Him. We get so wrapped up in our work and making our own plans for the future, that we have no time left to enjoy today. We carry all this baggage with us all the time, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We say we trust God, yet, we worry when the bank account is low and we feel we have to have weeks worth of food stored in the house. Remember when Jesus sent the disciples out? He told them not to take anything with them, no food, no money, not even a change of clothes. I must ask myself, “would I be willing to start out on a trip like that?” Sadly, the answer is no. We are so concerned about things that we rarely ever get a good night’s rest. We worry about things over which we have no control and a lot of those things never happen anyway. The scriptures above are not meant to be just some “pie in the sky”, future event. They are for now. They are the way we should be living our lives today. We wear ourselves out trying to do God’s job. Just as the Israelis who refused to believe and were not allowed to enter in Canaan physically, we never reach a place to rest here on earth because of our unbelief.
16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. — Hebrews 3:16-19 NIV
When life seems more than we can bear, we have a place of quiet rest prepared for us, near to the heart of God. “Come unto me and I will give you rest”. Come now, don’t be like Pharaoh and spend another night with the frogs.
10 “Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said. — Exodus 8:10a NIV (Exodus 8:1-12)
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. —– 1 Peter 1:3-5 NIV
We should spend as much time as possible each day praying and praising God for all that He has done and is doing for us. We should make every effort to start and end our day with a conversation with God. That prayer will lead us to praise and we will find that our days go so much better. We, of all people, should be filled with praise and joy all day long. We are the only ones with a hope of eternal life with a living Savior and Lord. We have received this hope as a gift from God that was purchased with the death and resurrection of His Son. Through the blood of Christ, we have become sons and daughters of God and we have an eternal inheritance that “can never perish, spoil or fade”. No religion on this earth can make such an offer, a gift that is available to everyone but only received by those who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are kept and shielded by God’s power. That resurrection power will keep us until our “the coming of the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”. Until that comes for each of us, we should practice the three Rs of Christianity:
Remember all the good things that God has done and is doing for us.
Rest in His everlasting arms that will never fail to catch us.
Rejoice because you are filled with the Holy Spirit and have eternal life.
If this doesn’ t fill our hearts with joy and our mouths with praise, perhaps we need to re-examine our relationship with Jesus.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. — Col. 3:15-17 NIV
The word that Jesus used for peace in John 14:27 when He said, “my peace I leave with you” is the Greek word “eirene” pronounced a-ra-na. Like shalom in the Old Testament, it has a much more complex meaning than just an absence of war or conflict. If you look up shalom in the Strong’s Concordance, you will find a long list of what shalom can mean to us.
According to Strong’s Concordance 7965 Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full
This is “the peace of Christ” and that is what the word conveyed to the disciples. It is also what Jesus has given to all of us who accept Him as our Savior and make Him Lord of our lives. Is there anything missing from this list that we need to live lives that are full of peace and joy? Let us be thankful and allow this “message of Christ to dwell among us richly”. To “dwell” means to live in a specified place. For that to happen in our lives, we must meditate on the Word of God and store his Word in our hearts. Then when problems arise in our lives and the lives of those around us, we can encourage ourselves and others with the Word, psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs. Jesus died on the cross that we might live abundant lives full of peace and joy. So, when satan comes around with all of his lies, we can rebuke him with the Word, just as Jesus did.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. — John 10:10 NASB
1 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers and sisters with me, To the churches in Galatia: 3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.–Galatians 1:1-5 (NIV)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
Paul reminds the Galatians and us that he is an apostle sent by Jesus Christ and God the Father. Paul did not, in his own flesh, decide to be an apostle to the Gentiles. He was chosen for God for this specific task.
I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry—Romans 11:13 (NIV)
Then Paul goes on to remind them and us that we have grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Encouraging each other is something we should practice everyday until it becomes a habit. In the turbulent society that we live in today, we all need encouragement and a reminder that there is a safe harbor for us to come to when we need rest and peace.
8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.—Psalm 4:7 (NIV)
10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.—1 Thess. 5:10, 11 (NIV)
Peace and rest are just two of the gifts we receive because we are joint heirs with Jesus. His obedience to death on the cross brought glory to the Father. Our obedience in living for Jesus will bring more glory to the Father forever and ever.
God is waiting to show you the Way.
23 One of the followers sitting next to Jesus was the follower Jesus loved. 24 Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus whom he was talking about. 25 That follower leaned closer to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “I will dip this bread into the dish. The man I give it to is the man who will turn against me.” So Jesus took a piece of bread, dipped it, and gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus said to him, “The thing that you will do — do it quickly.” 28 No one at the table understood why Jesus said this to Judas. 29 Since he was the one who kept the money box, some of the followers thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the feast or to give something to the poor. 30 Judas took the bread Jesus gave him and immediately went out. It was night.—John 13:23-30 (NCV)
Jesus had just told them that one of the 12 would betray Him. It is only natural that they would wonder which one it would be. Jesus told them it would be the one to whom He gave the bread. Even when Jesus dipped the bread and handed it to Judas and said to Judas, “Do it quickly”, they still did not understand. When Judas took the bread, he immediately left. He walked out into the darkness of the night. Judas had spent years with the Light of the world, yet it seemingly had not penetrated the utter darkness of his lost soul. Judas was still more concerned about his own well being than he was about the Good News of Jesus Christ. It is possible to sit in the light without seeing the light when you are blind. Judas was spiritually blind and unwilling to see the Light. Jesus knocks at the door, but it is up to each of us to open the door and let the Light into our hearts and lives. We can hear the Word daily, just as Judas did, and still not be redeemed. We must not only repent from our sins and empty ourselves of all impurities, but we must fill that void with the Light of the Word.
43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. —Matt. 12:43-45a (NIV)
1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2 We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. 3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.—1 John 5:1-5 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
Because of His great love for sinners, such as us, God made His salvation plan very simple and free. Just believe! Once we are saved, we start on a journey that will require everything and every part of us. It is not easy to love all of God’s children. Even so, it is not a choice we can make, it is a command given to us by our Father. Then we must learn to obey His commandments. This obedience and faith in the work of the Holy Spirit in us, we can become overcomers. The flesh alone can not defeat satan in the smallest battle, we have to depend on Jesus to fight our battles. Our job is to “trust and obey”. Instead of worrying and being filled with fear, we just need to lean on Jesus. The world says “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. Jesus says something totally different.
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”–Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)
Jesus will neve
r leave us nor forsake us, just rest in His arms and praise Him!
6 However, some people enter that place of rest. Those who heard the Good News in the past did not enter God’s place of rest because they did not obey God. 7 So God set another day. That day is today. Many years after your ancestors failed to enter that place of rest God spoke about it through David in the passage already quoted: “If you hear God speak today, don’t be stubborn.” 8 If Joshua had given the people rest, God would not have spoken about another day. 9 Therefore, a time of rest and worship exists for God’s people. 10 Those who entered his place of rest also rested from their work as God did from his. 11 So we must make every effort to enter that place of rest. Then no one will be lost by following the example of those who refused to obey.–Hebrews 4:6-11 (GW)
God is waiting to show you the way.
When I read this passage in Hebrews, I am reminded of what Jesus promised us if we would listen and obey Him.
28 “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.29 Place my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves 30 because my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”–Matthew 11:28-30 (GW)
If we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, He will help us carry our burdens and we find that those things we once considered heavy and burdensome are not a load at all. What Jesus wants us to learn from Him is that He wants to fight our battles for us. If we allow Him to do that, then we will find the peace He promised us and we can have a little, tiny bit of heaven right here on earth. The place of rest is abiding in Jesus Christ. Abide with Him, dine with Him, worship Him, praise Him and rejoice with Him in the victories!
1 Now, since God has left us the promise that we may enter his rest, let us be very careful so none of you will fail to enter. 2 The Good News was preached to us just as it was to them. But the teaching they heard did not help them, because they heard it but did not accept it with faith. 3 We who have believed are able to enter and have God’s rest. As God has said,
God is waiting to show you the way.
“I was angry and made a promise,
‘They will never enter my rest.’” Psalm 95:11
But God’s work was finished from the time he made the world. 4 In the Scriptures he talked about the seventh day of the week: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his works.” 5 And again in the Scripture God said, “They will never enter my rest.”–Hebrews 4:1-5 (NCV)
In Exodus, when God delivered the children of Israel from Egypt, His plan was that they would enter into a land of milk and honey. They would eat crops they had not planted, drink water from wells they did not dig, and live in houses they did not build. In other words, God had prepared a place of rest for them. Because they were stubborn and refused to believe that God could and would deliver them, they disobeyed again and again. God became angry at their disobedience and refused to allow any of that generation to enter into the land of Canaan except for Joshua and Caleb. These two men had shown faith in God when all others refused to believe, thus they were allowed to enter into the land of rest. God’s plan was for man to work six days and then rest, just as He set the example in His acts of creation. His plan is for us to enter a period of rest when we leave this earth and then to reign with Him forever. But for us to enter that land of rest, we must accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. Just as God showed grace to those in the Old Testament who believed, He shows us grace through faith. The difference being that He was the perfect sacrifice forever and there is now no need for another sacrifice of any sort. As believers, our place in the land of rest is assured by the blood of Jesus.
7 As the Holy Spirit says,
God is waiting to show you the way.
“If you hear God speak today, don’t be stubborn.
8 Don’t be stubborn like those who rebelled
and tested me in the desert.
9 That is where they tested me.
10 although they had seen what I had done for 40 years.
That is why I was angry with those people. So I said,
‘Their hearts continue to stray,
and they have not learned my ways.’
11 So I angrily took a solemn oath
that they would never enter my place of rest.”–Hebrews 3:7-11 (GW)
We should always be obedient and have a teachable spirit. If we become stubborn and rebellious, God will not be able to use us in His plan and He will remove us from the position He has allowed us to hold, just as He removed Saul from being king of Israel.
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king.”–1 Samuel 15:23 (KJ21)
God sees an unteachable spirit as stubborn and rebellious and compares it to sin and idolatry. We must allow God to replace our stubborn, straying hearts of stone with hearts of teachable flesh and He will write His name upon those hearts of flesh. Then He will be our God and we will be His people.(Read Jeremiah 31:32-34). Then we will learn His ways and walk with Him into that land of rest.
6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.–1 Thessalonians 5:6-11 (ESV)
God is waiting to show you the way.
Paul is not saying that our physical bodies don’t need rest. He is saying that we need to be Spiritually alert at all times. We are to be alert, sober, and dressed in our battle armor each moment of every day. There is a Spiritual battle being waged for the control of our minds 24/7/365. We may not see the combatants but we can know from Scripture that the battle is being waged continuously. There are examples of this in the following texts as well as other places:
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.–Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia,–Daniel 10:12 (ESV)
We just need to remember that if God is for us, who can defeat us? So, we encourage each other with these words.