FINDING REST

Mathew 11:28-30 “Come unto Me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you REST. I will ease and refresh your soul. Take My YOKE upon you and learn of Me for I am gentle, (meek) and humble and you will find REST for your souls. For my YOKE is wholesome, good, and not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but is comfortable, gracious, and pleasant. My burden is light and easy to be borne.”

I have heard many say that life has become so crazy and seemingly out of control. Everything is turned upside down with so many burdens. How can we have REST in all this?

Bible REST is by definition when one ceases to be agitated or disturbed but finds peace and a place of quietness. The Bible speaks of REST some 71 times. Jesus says, “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you REST.” We seem to think we can find rest in drugs, alcohol, self-help books and just about everything but Jesus. In the eyes of our heavenly Father, resting is an imperative, not now and then, but on a regular basis. We must learn that rest is simply taking God at His Word. If this is not so, why would He put it in the Bible so many times. Everything that the Father commands, the Holy Spirit is there to provide the power.

Matthew also speaks of being “yoked” in this verse with Jesus. “My yoke is easy.”

When a farmer would put oxen in a yoke, a younger ox was always fitted in one side with an older wiser one on the other side. The older, wiser would teach the younger by helping guide him in the right direction. Matthew is saying that we are to be yoked with Jesus, the One Who teaches and guides, pulling in the same direction and helping to carry the load. We no longer have to be agitated and disturbed over things.

I heard a song Rest For The Soul this morning by Austin French that speaks so well of this verse. These are the words in part:

Are you tired and troubled? Weighed down with a heavy load? Praying for change, searching for faith. Waiting for a miracle. Are you drowning in questions? Can’t believe where the road has led. There is One who knows, the heavy load and He says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy burdened. All who are hurting, come to Me. I’ll be your shelter. My yoke is easy, my load is light, and you will find Rest for your soul. Rest for your soul.”

You were never meant to carry that weight alone. You were never meant to carry it on your own. Come to the cross, lay it at the feet of Jesus, lay it at the feet of Jesus. There is One who knows the heavy load, and He says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy burdened. All who are hurting, come to Me. I’ll be your shelter. My yoke is easy, my load is light, and you will find rest for your soul. Rest for your soul.”

Phyllis

PREPARED FOR HIS PURPOSES!

“Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When he saw that he had not prevailed against him (Jacob), he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him.” Genesis 32:24,25

Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that the Lord often uses crises to prepare us for His purposes! If one is a follower of Christ, if you are not going though a crisis presently, one will be along presently! And most would add, they have learned more in times of affliction than they have in times of affluence.

That will be the testimony of Jacob (v 30) as the Lord maneuvers him into a one-on-one encounter. That is the Lord’s goal for each of us, to get us alone with Him! After running from his brother, Esau (Gen. 27:42-45), then running from his father-in-law, Laban (Gen. 31:20,21), he finally ran back to the Lord (Gen. 35:1-3). But two key things had happened to him before he returned to the Lord: He was crippled, and his name was changed! For the rest of his life Jacob was limited in what he could accomplish. It was a daily reminder of his limitations, but also a reminder of the supreme sufficiency of the Lord. The change was so dramatic his name was changed from Jacob, which means “supplanter” to Israel, which means “succeeds with God!”

And not only was his name changed, the change was apparent in a new life! He named the place “Peniel” which means “The face of God!” Yet, even seeing God face-to-face, his life was “preserved” meaning “not snatched away!” And not only did he have a new life, but a new light as well…“the sun rose upon him as he passed over.” And not only a new life and a new light, but a new limp. “He was limping on his thigh!” It was a daily reminder for the rest of his earthly life, that he could no longer depend on himself, but he would operate in the presence and power of the Lord he knew, loved and served!

Verse 32 is not addressed in the Mosaic Law, or anywhere in the Old Testament! Yet, orthodox Jews did this to commemorate Jacob’s discovery that self-sufficiency is not compatible with, or needed for the work of God! The first step in deliverance from constant defeat is this disabling touch of God that prepares us for His purposes.

Jon Moore

Crossing Over

As I was reading my devotional the other day, I was struck by what the Lord said to Moses in Deuteronomy 32:51-52, ´Although from a distance you will view the land that I am giving the Israelites, you will not go there, because you trespassed against Me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah Kedesh, in the wilderness of Zin, because you did not hallow me in the midst of the children of Israel.”

Moses was the man that God raised up to lead the people out of bondage in Egypt (Exodus 3). The man that used the rod of God to part the waters of the Red Sea (Exodus 14). The man that God spoke face to face as a man speaks to a friend (Exodus 33:11). The man that God gave the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). The man that prayed to God for mercy for the people even when they rebelled against his leadership (Exodus 33).

Do we get the picture of how the Lord used Moses in these few of many verses that I have listed? YET, one of the saddest verses is the one in Deuteronomy 32:52. “you did not hallow Me in the midst of the children.”

Just think of how many times we as His children have trespassed (sinned) against the Lord when He was very clear about something that we needed to do or stop doing. We just rebel and don’t obey. What a challenge to be vigilant by the power of the Holy Spirit to obey quickly and completely when the Lord speaks. Moses was so close to crossing over but was having to look from a distance. Are we just looking from a distance, but not crossing over into the power filled promises of the Lord. We may be saying, “it is just one small thing, and it doesn’t really matter.” It does to God!

Joy,

Phyllis

THE QUALIFICATION FOR GOD’S KINGDOM!

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God!”

John 3:3

Through the centuries many have tried to establish standards for entrance into heaven. In John chapter three we are introduced to a man named Nicodemus. He was someone seemingly well qualified by his religion (he closely practiced Judaism), by his race (Jewish by birth), by his reputation (Jesus referred to him as ‘the teacher’ of Israel) and by his recognition (a member of the Sanhedrin, the highest political office of the day)! Yet, Jesus laid down one requirement Nicodemus had never met! Suppose you had to answer today why the Lord should allow you to enter the Kingdom of Heaven! Would you answer be regarding your religion, your race, your reputation or your recognition by others? I challenge you to examine how you would answer that question today. Let us look honestly at what the King of the Kingdom of heaven said about entering His Kingdom!

First of all, Jesus demands two births-(v3). Note that the Lord made this known to a well-respected man, emphasizing there are no exceptions! When a preacher preached from the same Bible text night after night he was asked, “With the whole Bible before you, why do you preach night after night from the same passage of Scripture?” His response was, “Because, except a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God!” This is not a recommendation; this is a divine requirement! Find a quiet place! Get alone with God! Ask Him if you are qualified for entrance into His Kingdom! Have you been born again?

Then, in (vv 4-5) the Lord describes the two births. One is a birth of water. The second is a birth of Spirit! The first is a natural birth, and the second is a spiritual birth. Most are aware that prior to birth a child is encased in the mother’s womb in a membrane filled with water, and when that membrane “breaks” the time for birth is at hand! This is a reference to natural birth. The second birth is a spiritual birth, a birth “from above.” Just as no one has ever lived physically without first being born physically, the same is true spiritually! Are you qualified for entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven? Have you been born again?

Finally, Jesus defines the two lives that result from the two different births. A physical birth results in a physical life-(v6a), and a spiritual birth results in a spiritual life-(v6b). He then uses an analogy from nature-(v8). The word “wind” can be translated wind, breath or spirit depending on the context of how it is used. Only a life spiritual in its origin can be spiritual in its operation! Life that results from a spiritual birth (again, from above) is forever under new (from above) management! You hear the sound of the wind and notice the resulting difference it makes, yet it is different! So is everyone who is born of the Spirit! Only God determines the qualification for entrance into the Kingdom of heaven! Have you been born again?

How one is born again is defined in v16, by believing in Jesus Christ. The word believe in the original language means more than intellectual agreement. It is defined “to trust in; to cling to; to rely on.” Have you trusted in trusted in Christ alone? Are you clinging only to Him? Are you relying daily on Him?” Have you been born again?

Jon Moore

 

STRONG ARMS

“CONFIDENCE” A trusting or reliance; an assurance of mind or firm belief in the integrity, stability, or veracity of another, in the truth or reality of a fact. 1828 Websters Dictionary

One day a week I help our daughter take care of her granddaughters, A 2+ years old and a 9 months old. On occasion I see the oldest ask her grandaddy to throw her up in the air. When he does that, she laughs and laughs, “Do it again, Popa, do it again,” It never enters her mind that he wouldn’t catch her and hold her tight. She has such confidence and trust in her Popa’s ability to care for her. Oh, the beautiful faith of a child. Some qualities of a child are, humility, wonder, trust (confidence) and hope. How much more can we have confidence in our heavenly Father’s strong arms. God has our best in His mind for His children. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Psalm 27:10” Even if my father and mother abandon me, THE LORD WILL HOLD ME CLOSE.”

Isaiah 41:10 “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I WILL HOLD YOU UP WITH MY VICTORIOUS RIGHT HAND.”

Isaiah 46:4 “I will be your God throughout your lifetime, until your hair is white. I MADE YOU AND WILL CARE FOR YOU.”

Troubles, hurts, sadness, sickness, and things we don’t understand will come, but we can have confidence in the strong and safe arms of our heavenly Father, Who loves us.

Joy

Phyllis

WHY BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT? (Part Three)

“Do not get drunk with wine for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit!”

Ephesians 5:18

“When He, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify me, for He will take of Mine and disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.” John 16:13-15

“When the Helper comes…He will testify about Me.”

John 15:26

WHY BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT? (Part Three)

In part one (Aug, 2021) and part two (Oct, 2021) of this series we pointed out there is a great deal of misunderstanding about the ministry of the Holy Spirit that has led to some questionable teaching on the subject. Instead of criticizing false teachers/teachings, I have chosen to spend our time on what the Bible does say about the command to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). As the Lord anticipated the closing of His earthly ministry, He spent less time with the crowds and more time with his disciples. John chapters 14, 15 and 16 record His preparing His followers for the coming presence/ministry of the Spirit!

In John 16:13-15 Jesus uses the term “disclose” three time. In the original language the term means “to tell back”. The Holy Spirit “tells back” to the Believer what Jesus has said, and by doing so, He quickens, or makes alive Christ to the Believer, in the Believer and through the Believer! In the same manner that the Son came to “disclose” the Father (16:15). So, He says in John 15:26, The Holy Spirit came to “disclose” the Son. Note also that the author of Hebrews describes Jesus thusly, as “the radiance of the Father’s glory, and the exact representation of His nature! (1:3a) To expose the meaning only the Believer filled with the Holy Spirit can be used to “disclose” the Life of Jesus Christ!

The Lord promised Abram and Sari a son, but before the promise was fulfilled, an H was added to each of their names. The letter in the Hebrew alphabet that corresponds to the H in our English alphabet is formed in the lower throat. It is a “breathy” sound. The same word in the Hebrew that is translated “breath” can also be translated “wind”, or “spirit”! It is only as we are emptied of self and filled with the Holy Spirit that the life of Jesus Christ can be made real to us, and ultimately through us to others!

So, why should each believer be filled with the Holy Spirit? Because we are commanded to in Ephesians 5:18, an opportunity to demonstrate our love for Christ by obedience. In addition He indwells (John 14:16a), instructs (John 14:26a) and endows us (John 16:14)! So, what does it mean to be filled? It means “To make full; to be filled to the full.” We cannot be filled with the Spirit until we are emptied of self (Matt. 16:24)! Then, who needs to be filled with the Spirit? Anyone lacking any portion of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22,23, or the power promised in Acts 1:8! As the believer denies the ‘self-life’ and crowns Jesus Lord of their life, that one is promised to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Jon Moore

ANCHORED

Another year has come, another year has gone. As I get older it seems that time has hastened its pace. Life is much like an old roll of toilet paper, the older it is, the faster it goes. Just when I get the Christmas tree put away, oh my, it’s time to get out the Christmas tree again. Maybe that just happened to us oldies, but I think the invention of the internet, cell phones, microwaves, and all the other things that help us to hurry, hurry, hurry, have made the pace of life ever changing. It is such a blessing to me when I read the Bible scriptures that remind us that the Lord never changes. The Lord and His Word are strong anchors that we can count on in every situation and at all times.

1. Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”

2. Malachi 3:8 “For, I the Lord do not change; therefore you, oh children are not consumed.”

3. Numbers 23:10 “God is not man, that He should lie, or the son of man, that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will not do it? Or has He spoken, and will not fulfill it?”

4. Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.”

5. Isaiah 40:28 “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does nor faint or grow weary, His understanding is unsearchable.”

6. Psalms 102:25-27 “Of old, You, oh Lord laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands. They will perish, but You will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, they will pass away, but You are the same, and Your years have no end.”

Seems to me with every part of our lives moving like a whirlwind, it would be a great idea to be sure you are anchored in 2023 in the right place, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST THAT HOLDS HIS CHILDREN IN THE PALM OF HIS STRONG RIGHT HAND

John 10:27-28 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal Life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of MY HAND.”

ANCHORED !!!!!!

Joy

Phyllis

THANKING GOD IN TROUBLED TIMES!

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

Let me be clear! The Thanksgiving/Christmas season is my favorite time of the year. I am grateful that I live in a country where our forefathers expressed their thanksgiving to God for His ongoing blessings, and though it may seem hard to believe today, elected officials of a previous day voted to make Thanksgiving Day a national holiday! However, there likely would be some today that would say, ‘We live in a different time, under different (difficult) circumstances.”’ What about the frustrations, anger, hostile words and actions; the increasing attack against Christianity and the Church? The answer to our question, and the counsel for Believers in terms of our response is clearly to be found in God’s Word! James under the guidance of the Holy Spirit gives us wise counsel in James 1:2-4.

He teaches us a systematic method of response in verse 2. The Greek word translated consider is a bookkeeping term. When we encounter circumstances that test our faith in God’s keeping, we should open our spiritual journal and enter that experience under the column titled “Joy”! Note this will not be “if” these times come, but “when” they come. The bottom line is that the Believer’s thanksgiving is not dependent on favorable circumstances, but by a free choice (Not a natural response, but a spiritual response)!

Be sure to recognize that this response is not just “hocus-pocus!” It is affirmed by eternal Truths in verse 3. The first Truth is essential. God is in control of our situations! One of the most mis-quoted, misunderstood verses in the bible is Romans 8:28. This verse does NOT say, “all things are good.” All things that happen in life are not good, but the verse says, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” The question in some minds would be, ‘Why does the Lord do things this way?’ Verse 3 gives the answer. The Lord is building character in the life of His children using adversity. He knows that we will need the quality of “endurance” in us if we are to finish the course. Christian, do you have confidence in God? You can only be thankful in the midst of trials IF you have complete confidence in God!

The Bible clearly reveals God as the God of order from Genesis to Revelation. In verse 4 He says “let” endurance have its perfect result. The Greek word translated perfect here means ended. Don’t focus on the earthly problem, but God’s eternal purpose! Of course the Lord wants an ended work so He can have a “perfect” worker. The second time the word perfect is used, it is translated from the Greek as “whole”! This is what God is after in each of His children.

Consider this bible Truth, “Jesus is Lord!” If this true, and it is, He is in control of the so-called good, and the so-called bad. The pleasurable and the painful. If you have not trusted Christ with your eternity, I encourage you to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved!

If you have trusted Christ for your eternity, trust Him now with your adversity!

Jon Moore

What is Missing?

As I have been reading about the great revivals of God in the earlier days of this country and around the world. I hear many say, oh how we need revival! We need a mighty move of God across this land. The world and our nation are morally decaying. I would like to share in part a few stories that I have read from, “Revival Fires” by Wesley Duewel. What is different today than in those days of Spiritual Awakenings? What is missing today?

Charles Finney was greatly used of God in 1825 to spread the fires of revival to central New York. On a Thursday night the Lord brought much brokenness in the leadership of the church where he was preaching. It was on Sunday that God gave Finney a “burden of prayer.” The power of the Holy Spirit was so powerful that the people were gripped with conviction that they could not contain their emotions. Everyone that came into that town felt the overwhelming sense of God’s presence. The town was FULL of praying. As one would walk around town the sound of praying was everywhere. Finney lists the striking characteristics of the great moving of God and number one on his list was prevailing prayer. According to the Boston Recorder in the 4 months of 1831, 362 places experienced revivals. It was a day of prevailing prayer.

In 1898 while visiting the Keswick convention a Hindu woman named Pandita Ramabai, who had been converted pled with the 4,000 that attended to pray for a Spiritual movement in India like in America. She was at the time caring for some 2,000 girls in Bombay. For several months’ “prayer continued,” and 1200 girls accepted Christ as their Savior. Later another 600 were saved. Pandita started a prayer circle of 10 girls to pray for the salvation of others. That began to spread and encompass many other groups, and many were saved.

A man called, Rev. John Hyde in 1852 began to pray for revival. It was 12 years before he was granted his prayers. He would spend whole nights praying. Hyde became known as the “wrestler with God, a prince prevailing.”

As I read these and other accounts of the great awakenings of old, a couple of things stand out to me about them. God had given them the “burden of prayer.” It seems to me that we are asking for revival without asking for the “burden” (carrying a load, heavy laden, burdensome) to pray. God is the initiator. We cannot even pray without God impowering us. The second thing I noticed, it was months and even many years before God chose to answer their requests. We live in such a microwave society, our expectations are, “I want it yesterday.” We need to ask ourselves, are we willing to ask for the “burden” (carry the heavy load that will cost us time and energy). Are we willing to continue until God chooses to pour out His power on this land and receive the glory that is due Him. Each one must answer that question for themselves.

Joy

Phyllis

 

THE MISSING INGREDIENTS! 

“Now the Lord saw, and it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice!  He saw that there was no man, and was astonished that there was no one to intercede…”  Isaiah 59:16a 

The great old founder of Methodism, John Wesley said it well, “Prayer is the fuel that runs the engine that drives revival.”  In this day where there seems to be an abundance of those who point out the need for revival, there is a glaring absence of those who are willing to pay the price to pray down revival!  

Last year (February, 2021) we looked at the prophet Isaiah’s prayer for revival in chapter 64.  Today, I want to take a closer look at that passage, especially at the urgent tone the words suggest. 

“Behold, You were angry, for we sinned.  We continued in them for a long time…All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment, and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities like the wind take us away…  There is no one who arouses himself to take hold of You!  Isaiah 64:5b-7a 

Years ago, a wise person advised me from time to time to close the door to my office and pray the prayer of the Psalmist in 139:23,24.  Then ask the Lord to search ME and know MY heart; Try ME and know MY thoughts; and see if there be any wicked (grievous) way in ME, and lead ME in the way everlasting!  I have become increasingly more convinced that the one Christlike quality that is most lacking in those of us who profess today to be Christians is brokenness!  

Listen to Isaiah again concerning the Lord, “I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”  57:15b 

Oh, that God in His mercy would once again restore the spirit of brokenness among His people.  That each of us would cease blaming other things, or other people for our un-Christlike behavior.  That we would follow the example of Isaiah and go to the Lord (Who is the ONLY ONE who can truly restore and revive)! 

“But NOW, O Lord, You are our Father.  We are the clay and You are our potter; and all of us are the work of your hand.  Do not be angry beyond measure, O Lord, nor remember iniquity forever; Behold, look now, all of us are Your people!”  64:8,9 

Is it possible that these are the missing ingredients today in our discussions about the desperate need for the reviving touch of God.  Is it a matter of our failure to humble ourselves before the Lord and ask for His mercy and grace?  Let’s join together in brokenness and begging the Lord in prayer and see for ourselves! 

Jon Moore