Entering Into God’s Rest

I came to Christ in college and I felt compelled to be busy for the Lord. I served through the Baptist Student Union in revivals and community outreaches, witnessed on my college campus and served in my local church through the College and Career group.

After my marriage, my foremost ministry was to my husband and children. I was described by church members as a casually spotless homemaker, and I provided them with healthy, home cooked meals from scratch. When my children reached kindergarten age, I volunteered in local schools as a teacher’s helper.

In the churches my husband pastored, I helped to lead worship with my guitar, I mentored younger women one-on-one, and I volunteered in the community at the weekly soup kitchen and seasonal food drives.

Since I had extra time once my children went to school, I volunteered in the church office, conducted women’s ministry meetings, taught children’s Sunday school and eventually directed the children’s Sunday school.

I taught crochet classes at a local yarn shop and led my boss to faith in Christ. I did inreach to members and outreach to visitors in the church setting and helped in my husband’s ministry as much as he would allow.

Then, we moved into a travel trailer and our little family accompanied my husband around the eastern USA as he went from church to church as he felt led. My children did puppet shows; and I led singing with my guitar for the children’s ministries, sang specials in the church meetings and shared encouraging word pictures as the Lord gave them to me.

I home schooled my children and continued to cook from scratch in our little trailer home. When we settled in a permanent location again, God provided a job for me at a local alternative school to teach social studies and math.

I also volunteered to teach art classes, since that was not supported by the school budget. I had a few student to our home for supper every week so they could experience the love of a Christian family. A time or two, we even housed a student who was homeless or from a violent home. I continued this frenzy of service well into my 40s.

Am I telling you all of this to brag? No, but to confess my faults.

I did much of this in the flesh and was not led by the Spirit of God in many of my activities. I am sure I was walking in God’s will at various moments of all of this effort; but I was often out of His will too.

I certainly was not ministering from the place of God’s rest, but from my own human effort and understanding. I did not consult God in order to allow Him to direct my paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). I just ran around doing good.

It was only in my late 40s that I really realized the importance of functioning from God’s rest (Lamentations 3:25-26). In my 50s, God taught me that prayer is as vital as service; and in my 60s, I started to write more, which is where God was anointing my time.

I learned to say “No” when asked to serve in a ministry where God was not calling me. As a codependent perfectionist, this was painful to do; but as I reaped the blessings of God’s continual presence in all that I did do, it did not take me long to learn that to obey is much better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22).

Prayer:
Father God, I am so glad that people are learning this lesson at a younger age now than ever before (Psalm 40:6). We are coveting Your presence and anointing in our life rather than sacrifice and service to which You are not calling us (Hebrews 10:6). You would much rather that we spend our time loving You with all of our heart, strength and understanding, and our neighbor as our self before we get caught up in the business of life and church work (Mark 12:33; Psalm 51:16).

You want us to listen to Your Spirit and to function in Your will for our life (Ephesians 2:10; Ecclesiastes 5:1; Proverbs 21:3), because our perfect sacrifice to You is humility, mercy and obedience as we consult You for Your will for our life rather than for us to sacrifice in areas where You are not calling us. – Hosea 6:6; Jeremiah 7:23; Isaiah 1:11; Psalm 51:17

Thought for the Day:
God created us as a Body and if we all function in the ministries to which He calls us, the church will be perfectly fitted for service to Him, to one another and to our community. – Ecclesiastes 5:1

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Mind Over Matter

There is only one way for our mind to control matter, and that is through satanic powers. Most of us never try this; yet, every day we attempt to control our life by our sheer will power (Matthew 6:27).

This accomplishes nothing more than to increase our anxiety (Jeremiah 17:5). The phrase that “God helps those who help themselves” is not in the Bible.

The only profitable result of us using our will power is that we eventually realize the futility of it, and we come to the end of our self-effort.

We quit trying to be good and to make things happen in our own timing and way; and instead, we trust in God’s will for our life (Isaiah 40:28-31). This allows us to enter God’s rest and for His Spirit to totally control our life (Hebrews 4:9-10).

God teaches us to separate our soul from our spirit (Hebrews 4:12). We disregard the thoughts from our mind, and listen to His leading in our Spirit.

Our human thoughts are centered on earthly matters – what we will eat, where we will live and how we will provide these items for our self.

The emotions, which accompany these thoughts are equally as carnal (Matthew 6:31). If we focus our heart on the temporal, we will work for and be controlled by the momentary issues of this life.

If we set our focus on things above, we have a spiritual context to our life, which lasts throughout eternity (Colossians 3:2).This way too, God will lead us in the center of His will.

In this union life with God, we realize in our spirit, rather than our soul – our mind, choices and emotions, what God’s will is for every moment of our day (John 17:11, 20-23; 1 Corinthians 6:17).

We follow His Spirit’s direction, even when it is contrary to the thoughts and feelings in our soul. As we recognize the union life provided for us by Christ’s suffering, we live for our Father every moment of our life (John 10:30, 5:19).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that our heart is fickle and despicably wicked, and that we do not even know our own mind. Then, we will no longer allow our human heart and mind to dictate our activities and thoughts throughout the day; but we will focus on Christ and Your will for each moment (Psalm 57:7).

We will revere You and never be moved from following after You (Psalm 42:11; Ruth 1:16). You will cherish us in Your everlasting embrace, so that we will not even fear bad news, because we totally trust in You (Psalm 112:1-8). We know You provide a seed for a miracle in every trial.

Thought for the Day:
While we live on this earth, we have only partially tasted the goodness of the word of God and His powers, which will manifest in the age to come. – 1 Peter 1:23; Hebrews 6:5