Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest – Matthew 11:28
God wants to give you rest. He wants to refresh and restore your soul. It’s so easy sometimes to get caught up in the “busyness” of life. Before long, your mind, will and emotions are so “spun up” that you can barely think straight! But even in the hustle of life, you can find rest, ease and relaxation. That’s what God has for you. He wants you to enjoy your life. He wants you to come to Him so He can take care of everything that concerns you.
Imagine how you would feel if someone came up to you today and said, “Give me all of your monthly bills; I’m going to pay them.” You’d get pretty excited, wouldn’t you? But it wouldn’t happen until you did your part to actually hand that person your bills. They can’t pay them for you if you never release them. In the same way, when we release our cares and concerns to God, He promises to take care of them.
Today, choose to release your cares to the Lord. Let Him fill you with His peace and joy. Receive the rest that He promises and enjoy the fulfillment and blessing He has for you!
IT SHALL NOT COME NEAR YOU!
Psalm 91:7 – A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.
Your doctor or insurance agent may ask you, “Do you have a family history of cancer?” If you say, “Yes,” they will probably tell you that you might get some form of cancer too.
Now, if you are without God, you would probably agree with them and start worrying about your health. But you are not without God! In fact, His Word tells you, “A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.” Therefore, even if you have a family history of cancer, and your family members have died of cancer, you can have the confidence to declare that it will not come near you!
My mother had this attitude. After a thorough medical check-up, the doctor was surprised and told her that she did not have high blood pressure or heart disease, although these two conditions have plagued her father and siblings. You see, my mother had already firmly declared that no deadly, family-related disease would come near her.
Praise God for my mother’s trust in God’s Word because I am the generation after her! In fact, after my mother told me about the results of her check-up, I randomly opened my Bible only to read about Rahab the harlot who by faith “did not perish with those who did not believe”. (Hebrews 11:31)
Beloved, God wants you to know that even though you are in this world, you are not of this world. You belong to Him. You don’t have to get caught in dire situations along with the people of the world. Because God is on your side, “He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence”. (Psalm 91:3)
Even when it comes to generational diseases, you can boldly declare, “That disease stops here!” because you have God and His Word. And when you believe God and His Word, you will see His promises come to pass for you—“A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you”!
THE TWO BEARS
Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. —Proverbs 13:10
Some years ago, my wife, Carolyn, and I spent a few days camping on the flanks of Mount Rainier in Washington State. When we were returning to our campsite one evening, we saw in the middle of a meadow two male bears boxing each other’s ears. We stopped to watch.
There was a hiker nearby, and I asked him what the conflict was about. “A young female,” he said.
“Where is she?” I asked.
“Oh, she left about 20 minutes ago,” he chuckled. Thus, I gathered, the conflict at this point was not about the female bear but about being the toughest bear.
Most fights aren’t about policy and principle, or about right and wrong; they’re almost always about pride. The wise man of Proverbs swings his axe at the root of the problem when he writes: “Pride leads to conflict” (13:10NLT). Quarrels are fueled by pride, by needing to be right, by wanting our way, or by defending our turf or our egos.
On the other side, wisdom resides with the well-advised—those who listen and learn, those who allow themselves to be instructed. There is wisdom in those who humble themselves—those who set aside their own selfish ambition; who acknowledge the limits of their own understanding; who listen to the other person’s point of view; who allow their own ideas to be corrected. This is the wisdom from God that spreads peace wherever it goes.
Dear heavenly Father, help me as I battle pride today. It’s so easy to take my eyes off You and focus on myself. Give me a humble heart.
Humility brings wisdom.
WORKS DON’T SAVE
And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. – Mark 11:16
Only Mark points out that Jesus would not suffer anyone to carry any verse l through the temple. No explanation is offered by Mark as to why Jesus would not allow this. It is probable that Jesus wanted His Father’s house to be dedicated completely to prayer and the ministry of God. Also, as with the Sabbath, work symbolizes our own effort, and our own effort will always fall short of what God demands for salvation. Therefore, anything that resembled work was inappropriate in the house of God.
What are “works of the law?” Any rule, command or law that a person observes in an attempt to be accepted in right standing with God is a “work of the law.” In other words, “works of the law” are a righteousness produced by one’s self, a righteousness belonging to one’s self, offered to God as a means of meeting God’s standard for acceptance.
It takes a radical revelation of the gospel of grace to abandon faith in the works of the law. God’s standard of righteousness is the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD alone. God has designed salvation in such a way as to eliminate any boasting from man. If salvation was by works either partially or wholly, then man could boast. But grace and faith eliminate man’s boasting altogether. Faith towards God and what He has done through Christ Jesus is the only means of receiving His free gift of salvation. Salvation by grace brings praise and glory to God. If we could save ourselves, either partially or wholly, we would take the credit for it. But that is not the case. All the glory goes to God.
Exodus 14 records the story of how the Hebrews escaped from bondage and slavery in Egypt. On their way out of Egypt, they camped in the desert near the Red Sea. They thought God was leading them out of Egypt. However, Pharaoh led the Egyptian army to where the Israelites were, and he trapped them against the sea. The Israelites must have felt betrayed by God, for it looked as though he didn’t follow through on his plan to lead the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt. But God was faithful to his word — he didn’t let his people down. He led them through the Red Sea and delivered on his promises.
You have probably faced times when you thought that you could never do something, never complete a particular task, or never make it to the finish. However, if God has promised you something, then you can be confident that God will get you through the difficult times in order to bring about his promise.
This is true in Joseph’s life. God took him through years of pain and suffering for an ultimate benefit; Joseph realizes this and, in Genesis 50:20, says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” God had a bigger plan for Joseph’s life, and God didn’t let him down. God led Joseph through his struggles.
This principle is also true in your life. Even though you may be going through extremely painful times, do not fear for God will get you through the hard times you face (see Psalm 23:4). If God took you to it, He’ll get you through it
BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS …
At its heart, the Gospel is the story of a God who so deeply loves you and me that he was willing to humble himself, to suffer, and to pay the ultimate price just so that we could personally know him. We were powerless; there was nothing we could do to know God. Yet, he loved us so much that he gave us an opportunity to know him.
Romans 5:6-8 gets at the heart of how deeply God loves us: You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
We didn’t earn or deserve God’s love (we were still powerless and we were still sinners). However, God loved us anyway, because God is love (1 John 4:8) — that is, his nature is love. God can’t help but to love us, because that’s what he is.
In Ephesians 2:4-5, Paul writes about the nature of God’s love for us: 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.
Nothing you do can cause you to earn or deserve God’s love. You can’t earn God’s love, but he loves you anyway — that’s why it’s called grace. God loves you, because he is love not because you have earned his love.
CAN YOU TAKE ADVICE?
‘Where there is no counsel, the people fall…’ Proverbs 11:14NKJV
The only thing that’s worse than making a mistake is concealing it and allowing pride to lock us in to it. Why do we do that? Insecurity! Low self–esteem! We’re all prone to being defensive from time to time. But if you find that this has become a pattern in your life, you must do something about it. So:
(1) Try to listen to yourself as you speak; become aware of your tendency to defend and justify your actions.
(2) Guard against defensive body language. For example, crossing your arms when someone is offering their opinion could be your subconscious way of saying, ‘I’m closed to what you’re saying.’
(3)Counter the anxiety that comes with feeling attacked, by breathing deeply and silently praying, ‘Lord, I receive Your strength now.’ Combining this physical and spiritual act will help to minimise your emotional response.
(4) If there is a genuine and credible justification for your action, state it in a calm, unemotional manner. And if you are really brave, ask a trusted friend or co–worker if you are being defensive. Then refuse to become defensive if the response is, ‘Yes!’
(5) Don’t attack your attacker. Simply ask them what they would have done in the situation under discussion. Then thank them for sharing their insights.
(6) If you are guilty of a bad decision or wrong behaviour, try admitting it before it comes to light. A simple ‘I made a mistake’ will give you credibility, preserve your integrity, and not allow your mistake to redefine who you are in the eyes of others. It may even increase their level of trust in you.