Where Rest Begins

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The key to entering His rest

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

So trust Him and enter.

Deep Roots

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Deep roots to stand strong.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18 NIV

There is no shame that the love of God cannot remove.
There is no anger where God’s love cannot bring peace.
There is no hurt that the love of God cannot heal.
There is no dark place God’s love cannot reach.
There is no imperfection that will not yield to the love of God.

Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT

Let your roots go deep into God’s love.

Eruptions in Life

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Kīlauea erupting

Words have power

They can bring harrowing fear:
“The biopsy shows cancer.”

They can produce shame:
“The jury finds the defendant guilty.”

They can bring terrible sorrow:
“I am sorry we tried everything to save your child.”

Fortunately, the Word has more power than any words:

“Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:41

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. Psalm 139:11-12

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

“ I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” John 8:51

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. Revelation 1:17-18

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…” Matthew 28:18

Therefore humble yourself before The Word, and let Him quiet the words in your life, and bring forth peace.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Piercing the Darkness

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The sky proclaims the sun is coming.

“He is risen,” but what does it mean?
The death of Death for those who believe.
His Life for our life for those who receive.
The proof of His Power to break all powers for those who bow.
The Joy of heaven becomes our joy for those who confess.
He is risen is hope reborn, declared by God for those who will follow.

Every morning comes heaven’s whisper––
“He is risen.”
Can you hear His love calling to you?
Let it pierce your darkness,
Let it wash over your heart,
And rest in His grace and peace.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7

The Blessing of Being Still

God cares for the pelicans

This morning my mind is beset by the turmoil of this world. At every level anger, greed, lying, and pride inflict our country. National trust is eroded by the leaders who should preserve and cherish it, and even religious leaders trade truth and justice for political gain. On top of this no one knows how much we have been manipulated by our enemies using social media to push lies and distrust. Our anxiety surges with each news flash. Into this cacophony we are given words to meditate upon:

“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:10-11

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

The stillness and peace we long for doesn’t come with one reading of these verses. It takes time before God with thanksgiving, until finally you can say:

I have stilled and quieted my soul; Psalm 131:2

Gray Day

Gray Day

Sometimes the view is obscured

I awoke this morning feeling lost and lifeless. On such gray mornings I need a big dose of Hebrews 4:26.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Followed by Romans 15:13.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Usually it takes some time for the Son to burn off my grayness. Fortunately my coming before the throne is not about my feelings, but about trusting in God’s grace. 

Coming Before the Throne

Before the Throne

At Heaven’s gate

Trying to write, but I am so uninspired and sleepy.
Trying to pray for a good friend who has terminal cancer, but I am so lifeless in prayer.
Trying to live for my Lord, but I am so weak and easily tripped up.
How wonderful is my great high priest who sits enthroned at the right hand of God.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

My soul soars to His mercy seat and I fall before Him in thanksgiving.

Flying Through the Morning Mist

Morning Mist Along the Wenatchee River

Flying through the fog of fear

Life is like this scene along the Wenatchee River—shrouded in fog. I am often unable to see clearly to know what lies ahead. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Christians at Philippi, encourages us to to move forward not letting our past sins and fears bind us and prevent our advance.

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,…” Phil. 3:13

So I made my own list of the things I need to forget:

Past sins and failures that have been forgiven.
Past ugliness and pain.
Fear that I don’t have what it takes to keep going.

Trouble is to forget I need to replace my fears with something that encourages, and clears the fog of uncertainty as I move forward. This is why I also need to remember:

Jesus Christ died for my sins, and now I am new in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Jesus loves me and is my faithful shepherd. (John 10:11)
God is building me up in Jesus to do good things. (Ephesians 2:10)
Nothing can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:39)

When you can’t see ahead moving forward depends on what you let your mind dwell upon. (Phil. 4:8)

Recapturing Innocence

Innocence

Oh, the peace of innocence

Often, when I try to pray, past memories harp at me about why I’m unworthy to go before God. Only when I pray trusting in the power of Jesus to forgive all my past and future, am I able to enter the peace of God’s presence. Placing my faith in the His grace, and the power of Christ’s blood is the key. God’s love then quiets the cacophony in my head and brings me to innocent communion with Him.

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.         –Ephesians 3:12

I need the Lord’s help to remember the sufficiency of His grace. I need the Lord’s help to forget the ugliness He has forgiven. I need the Lord’s help to live for Him in the innocence He gives.