Warm sunshine The gentle wind Scent of pines Crickets calling out The first leaves of fall come tumbling down A day shouting to God’s glory His mercies are new every morning. How can I not hear and join in the praise?
Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. Hebrews 4:1 NIV
What causes people to not enter His rest? It seems unbelievable that someone would stop short of entering God’s rest. Like a mountain climber turning back a few meters short of the top, it doesn’t make sense. That’s where the second part of the verse comes in:
For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Hebrews 4:1-2 NIV
Entering God’s rest happens when we trust Him. You can’t enter His rest unless you stop trying to do it your way, and trust Jesus––following His way.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NLT
When I pray sometimes I catch myself going through a formula to determine how effective my prayer will be:
Have I been obedient for at least 48 hours?
Length of prayer is directly proportional to its effectiveness.
Fasting will really increase my chances for a favorable outcome to my petition.
It is funny how I think I can twist God’s arm by doing these things. Don’t get me wrong these spiritual disciplines are good to do, but they are not meant to leverage God––to get Him to do what we want. Instead they are disciplines that get us to a place of humility and dependence upon God.
I propose a different checklist to go through as you approach God with a request:
Does God’s love reach to the heaven’s and endure forever? Psalm 36:5 √
Is His compassion new this morning? Lamentations 3:22-23 √
Is God faithful in all that He does? 1 Corinthians 1:9 √
I must remember prayer is all about God, and not about me.
It is God’s grace that turns this day into a special day with eternal purpose. All that is needed is God’s grace upon grace. His grace that forgives and makes me right, followed by grace to give me strength to do His will. At the start of each day I need to let these verse wash over me.
For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. John 1:16
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Rejoice for this is the day that the LORD has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
Thick wildfire smoke is not usually conducive to landscape photography. But God is so surprising, He can make an ash filled day into a vision of glory. Like this scene of an orange sun peaking through the aspen. When I took the photo I couldn’t help but give thanks, for I saw God in the dust of that dark dreary day.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:25
That same evening on the news, there appeared a clip of people singing gospel music in a Texas evacuation center. Their praise carried a clear vision of God’s glory in the midst of the devastation from Hurricane Harvey, even the news announcer smiled and said “Amen.”
Where ever you find yourself don’t forget to look for Immanuel (God is with us), He is wanting to surprise you.
Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O Lord, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:5-7
All of creation is a metaphor proclaiming the attributes of God. It is for us to see and take joy in them.
Life is a gift, given on my birthday.
The moments start rolling each one a tick of the clock.
Life is each now, yet I overlook it waiting for something else.
Life is more delicate than how I treat it.
Life is beautiful, yet often my mind rummages in darkness.
Life is in family, yet I ignore those around me for my smart phone.
Life is loving others, yet my own desires are preeminent.
Life is to enjoy, yet I’m never satisfied with what I have.
Life is laughing at yourself, yet I never get what’s so funny.
Life is listening to the birds sing, yet I only hear the sound of money.
Life is a gentle breeze, yet I push against it.
Life is a gift, yet I am too distracted to receive it.
Lord give me the gift of life, then help me to live it.