Friends,
Someone sent me this link yesterday of the song “Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting” and truly, the words and tune are peace-giving as they help us turn our eyes to our Savior:

https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/579

She also sent me a devotional message about the hymn at this link:

https://wordwisehymns.com/2012/04/20/jesus-i-am-resting-resting/

I’ve quoted several times this week Jesus’ words in John 14:27 where He tells us that He gives us His own peace, and that it is not like the peace the world gives, which, we know, is fleeting or even false and deceptive. Jesus then tells us in this verse to allow our hearts to be neither troubled nor afraid. Our Lord is letting us know that to abide in Him is rest for our souls. And as He says elsewhere, fellowship with Him is where we drop our burdens, exchanging them for His good and rest-filled plan for our lives. (See Mt. 11:28-30)

Many people seem to be living with fear and anxiety, and almost everyone probably feels troubled in some way. Jesus tells us not to be so, but to instead receive the peace and rest He gives. As we take Him –He who rules over the wind and waves, and He who is the One who is “called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6), we do truly abide in Rest.

As we read the words of this lovely hymn again, let us allow Christ’s Spirit to fill us up with His rest and peace, and continue there in faith.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

The Door To Life

September 17, 2014

Friends,
Someone I grew up with and who seemed to be trying hard to follow the Lord most of her life, but who has recently turned to a New Age-type path, mentioned at her blog Jesus’ words about being the Door. But then she asked, “The Door to what?” I was surprised that she could ask such a question without seeming to know the answer, for Jesus’ teaching in John 10 is not hard to understand.

In John 10:1-16, Jesus tells us that He is the Door (v. 7,9) and that everyone who enters the sheep pen without going through Him exists there illegitimately. (v. 1,5,8) This could be anyone who tries to pretend they belong to Christ, though Jesus’ emphasis is on those who try to usurp the (true) Shepherd’s authority in order to get the sheep to follow them. (same verses & 10-13) Such impostors are like those who, even in our day, use Christ’s words (and the rest of the Scriptures) to teach doctrines that are false. Distorting the Word of God and promising the Way of the Truth and the Life, they actually are in league with him who is bent on destroying lives. (v. 10a) By bringing in falsehoods to confuse the flock, the ensuing division separates and scatters the sheep so that the weaker ones can much more easily be devoured by the Lie. (v. 10,12 // 1 Peter 5:8) Such deceivers really care nothing for others (John 10:13) but only for their own egos and desires. (Jude 1:15-19)

So, if Jesus is the Door, what is the answer to, “The Door to what?” In John 10:9,10 we have it in a nutshell: By going through the Door (Jesus), we receive safety, provision, and Abundant Life. The latter actually encompasses the other two (the safety and provision) and all of it is for eternity –if we do not rebel and turn away from lovingly and willingly following the Shepherd’s instructions / leadership / teaching. (v. 4,14,27-30 & 8:31-36 & 15:1-10)

So again, “The Door to what?” No one who knows and believes God’s Word would ask such a question. The whole Gospel tells us that Jesus is the Door to Eternal Life and that this Life begins the moment we abandon ourselves –repenting of our pride, our self-preservation, our desire for power, and all our participation in the evil realm– and cast ourselves into Christ. (Gal. 2:20 & 5:24 & 6:14) Once we do this, we have entered the realm of Rest (Heb. 4:1-11), the realm of Peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7), the realm of Love (John 15:10), and the realm of Safety. (10:9,27-30) This is the realm which, no matter what is happening around us or to our bodies, the real inner-self has already been tenderly tucked away in the blessed care of the Lord Jesus, our Creator and Shepherd and Savior.

Jesus is the Door to Life –the eternal existence that is blessed, not cursed, and is increasingly more wonderful into eternity than we can currently imagine.

Who would not choose to cast themselves through This Door?

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
When we have been in a gigantic battle, especially one that has lasted seven years or yes, even twenty, and especially when we see that it is truly over and God has led us to His green pastures beside quiet streams (Ps. 23:2), we must rest. And we should take joy and contentment in the rest. We should not look for more battles or feel guilty that we are not up wielding “the Sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17) as we were doing for years on an almost continual basis. There is a time for hard-working pastors to take time off every year. There is a year for committed missionaries to go home from the field and spend time relaxing with their families. And there are times for all of us to be quiet, to rest, to lay back and enjoy the puffy clouds moving across the blue sky. Our bodies, as well as our minds and our spirits, are not made to be in high gear continually.

Jesus tells us that when we come to Him, He will give us rest. (Mt. 11:28-30) This means He will give us the rest we need –for our bodies, our minds, our spirit. If we have pain, He will soothe it. If we have worries, He will give us assurance and reminders about His promises. If we have fear, He will give us courage. If we have storms, He will gives us peace. If we are weary, He will give us rest.

One thing I’ve learned about the Lord is that He lets the battles go on waaaaayyyyyyy longer than we anticipate that they’ll go on. But, I’ve also learned this: That the pauses, the rests, and the wait-times also go on much longer than we would have them.

I (and our whole family) had a big lesson in this area back in the 70s. Several of the missionaries who had come to the Philippines about the same time that my parents had, were on their last stretch of finalizing their New Testament translations. Not that they were in any race, but it looked like my dad (who has always given 120% of his effort and dedication to projects) would be the first to finish. But whoop! Down the Lord laid him –stuck to his bed in neck traction. I really don’t remember how long that lasted –many months, though, and with visits from other missionaries who would say things to my dad like, “Wow, God is teaching me so much through your situation.” My dad still jokes about those comments –and about his answers –ones like, “Well, could you pray that the Lord would use some other way to teach you?”

It was a hard and scary time for us all, and for a kid, the duration of watching my dad lay there in pain, and the loss of the excitement he created with his fun ideas and activities seemed endless. But, one day he was healed, for God suddenly righted the pinched nerve. I remember the feeling (still) of relief and joy as I walked with my healed dad around the “circle” of the mission center as he tested the validity of his healed neck. However, the battle-pause was short-lived, because a few months later my dad came down with a terrible illness that kept him on a death-bed for another half-year or so. Needless to say, my dad was not the first to get his translation done.

So why that long pause? Well, God knows how to keep us humble. And He knows how to teach us to trust, to be patient, to rest, and all sorts of other things we need for living a lifetime committed to godliness. Besides, a whole set of different circumstances would have happened. For example, my dad may have entered his Ph.D. program at the University of Hawaii a year earlier, which would have changed my life and my husband’s life dramatically. For we wouldn’t have ever met in that new kid’s classroom then, would we have? Truly, I can’t even comprehend how many other things would have gone differently had the Lord not forced my dad to rest a year in bed.

So, when the Shepherd leads us, orders us, or forces us to rest, we should accept it gratefully, even if there is pain involved. Because He knows what He’s doing and why. But there’s not always pain in the rest. Sometimes it’s just quiet streams and plenty of fresh green grass. Such times are to be enjoyed, our fellowship with God deepening in the meadow just as it was doing on the battlefield all those many years.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Work, But Also Rest

June 7, 2014

Friends,
What much needed encouragements we read at Israeliteindeed’s blog! I love how, in her message today, she reveals God’s heart concerning working and resting. Yes, rest is also needed –!!!– and I appreciate how she points out that, we, like trees, are to bring forth “fruit in its season.” She reminds us that God Himself rested on the seventh day, modeling for us His desire that we take time to regularly rest from our labors as well.

Read her refreshing post here:

Working and Resting

by israeliteindeed

He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper. (Psa. 1:3)

Have you noticed that trees have fruit bearing seasons and non-fruit bearing seasons? God has not commanded the tree to continuously bear fruit all year long, but to bear fruit in its season. Even when the tree is not actively producing noticeable fruit, much work is being done on the inside of it. Beneath the ground, the roots are expanding and the tree is becoming stronger and bigger. The winter season is a time of rest, during which diseases and pests are dealt with, so that the tree can begin again with fresh energy…

Continue here: http://israeliteindeed.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/working-and-resting/

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Jesus tells us to go to Him and we will find rest. (Mt. 11:28-30) God’s Word, throughout, tells us to take refuge only in the Lord. Indeed, only in the Creator, the Healer, the Redeemer, is our place of true and lasting repose. (Isa. 28:12)

No matter how restful something appears to be, if it is not filled with the presence of the Lord, it is only a mirage. It may give hope, and therefore infuse some strength to go on, but mirages, once encountered, are nothing. No help, no refreshing, no life. Their existence, along with their great promises, amount to absolutely zero.

Sadly, even when a mirage is found to be a fake, many people, fatigued though they are, simply scan the horizon for another. And another can almost always soon be seen. For we live in a world that is full of deception, a world that is led by the father of deception, and a world that is inhabited by men who delight in their ability to deceive.

Why won’t people go to Jesus? Why do they plod wearily through the sand dunes, expecting to find an oasis of paradise somewhere beyond? Why won’t they learn that the cisterns are broken and hold no water? (Jer. 2:13) Why do they continue to trust that the gleam ahead is the palace of their promised prosperity?

The truth is, there is nothing beyond. Except pain, misery, and death. Even if they should find what they’re looking for, one day they awake to realize that they were merely dreaming, and that the dream was the kind that comes to a man nearing death.

If only Jesus’ words were believed! He is the only rest, the only existence of Life. Everyone must come to Him, step into Him, abide in Him. Yes, it is a striving. (Heb. 4:11) But as we strive, we are given His strength. And being strengthened, we receive, and experience, true rest. Rest to the soul, rest to the body, rest to the spirit, rest to the mind, rest to one’s whole being. Helped, refreshed, rested. Through Jesus. In Jesus. This is the Rest that saves.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Yes, He Truly Is…

January 29, 2014

Friends,
Below is the link and the lyrics to a very comforting, soothing song. Indeed, when the wind and the waves howl and crash about us, listening to this song should immediately induce peace and calm within our souls. The pictures inserted at this link are very lovely, but it also is greatly worth it to close one’s eyes and let the Spirit of God use the song itself, along with its powerful reminders of who God is and who He is for us, relax our frazzled nerves.

Truly we can take heart when we know our beautiful, glorious Creator-Savior-King has gone before us, paving the way He has for us, and carrying us when our burdens become too much. Yes, most definitely, as the song says, our Faithful God is our Assurance every morning and our Defender in the night.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

TAKE HEART, MY FRIEND
by: Fernando Ortega

Take heart my friend, we’ll go together
This uncertain road that lies ahead
Our faithful God has always gone before us
And He will lead the way once again

Take heart my friend, we can walk together
And if our burdens become too great
We can hold up and help one another
In God’s love, in God’s grace

Take heart my friend, the Lord is with us
As He has been all the days of our lives
Our assurance every morning
Our defender in the night

If we should falter when trouble surrounds us
When the wind and the waves are wild and high
We will look away to Him who rules the waters
Who spoke His peace into the angry tide

He is our comfort, our sustainer
He is our help in time of need
And when we wander He is our shepherd
He who watches over us, never sleeps

Take heart my friend, the Lord is with us
As He has been all the days of our lives
Our assurance every morning
Our defender in the night

Take heart my friend, the Lord is with us
As He has been all the days of our lives
Our assurance every morning
Our defender in the night

Hearing God’s Great Name

January 5, 2014

Friends,
The song below by Natalie Grant called “Your Great Name” is a truly powerful worship song. Natalie’s voice is beautiful and every word and phrase declares mightily the Truth of God’s message and glory. The line I cannot listen to without great emotion is: “All the weak, find their strength, at the sound of Your great Name.” And also this one: “The fatherless, they find their rest, at the sound of Your great Name.” Strength, rest… Both of these I so need from God. Every day, every hour. For the world tears us down, lies to us, cheats us, and brings us pain and labor. Spiritual strength and rest for my spirit –are we not all in dire need of these?

I think of those who have no Heavenly Father, those who don’t know the Creator is there, reaching out to mankind in love, waiting to be received as the Tender Shepherd and Leader everyone longs to have, to follow, to look up to, to trust in completely. What rest it is to find this Friend and Savior. To come into His everlasting arms and take refuge. Refuge from the storm, from the heartache, from the confusion, from the corruptions and cruelties of all that make up the evil realm.

What a soothing, yet invigorating, song. It’s a song that should bring any believer hope and healing, as well as renewed courage and strength to go on in the fight. For how true it is, that at the name of Jesus, Yahweh, the LORD God Almighty, the King of Kings, Redeemer, and Defender, fear and evil have to leave.

Here is the song:

I chose a link that has the words in writing, though I’ve also pasted them below. I did this because I hope everyone will meditate on the words, and the power in the Truth of those words, as they listen to this exceptional song.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel
~~~~~

Verse 1:
Lost are saved; find their way; at the sound of your great name
All condemned; feel no shame, at the sound of your great name
Every fear; has no place; at the sound of your great name
The enemy; he has to leave; at the sound of your great name

Chorus:
Jesus, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us, Son of God and Man
You are high and lifted up; and all the world will praise your great name

Verse 2:
All the weak; find their strength; at the sound of your great name
Hungry souls; receive grace; at the sound of your great name
The fatherless; they find their rest; at the sound of your great name
Sick are healed; and the dead are raised; at the sound of your great name

Chorus:
Jesus, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us, Son of God and Man
You are high and lifted up; and all the world will praise your great name

Bridge:
Redeemer, My Healer, Lord Almighty
My Savior, Defender, You are My King

Chorus:
Jesus, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us, Son of God and Man
You are high and lifted up; and all the world will praise your great name