Rest Easy

cat resting on a person

In the observable universe, there are an estimated 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars. That’s 1 billion trillion. And that’s not counting planets, moons, and so forth. We can’t truly comprehend that number, yet each celestial object is unique. Here’s what our God said about this starry host:

Isaiah 40:25-26 (ESV)
“To whom will you compare Me,
or who is My equal?” asks the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high:
Who created all these?
He leads forth the starry host by number;
He calls each one by name.
Because of His great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

Indeed, God is beyond our understanding, and yet He knows everything and everyone in the universe! He knows you, and He knows me, and He knows what we need and what our hearts desire.

Thanks to Jesus, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 ESV)

We have joy, mercy, grace, and peace in God through Jesus Christ. Rest in Jesus, no matter what you need!

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Reserved Seating

Stadium seats

If you popped out as a doer when you were born, then one of the most challenging things anyone can ask of you is to stop and sit down. 

Doers need to be busy; if we aren’t, then we get grumpy. As we age the need to “do” doesn’t change, but our bodies start letting us down. Our heart says “yes,” but our body can’t cash that check. It’s no wonder that many older adults are cantankerous.

Well, God loves everyone, including doers. But doers have to submit to the same process that God requires for all His children. Here’s what God expects: 

Ephesians 2:4-7 (ESV), But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 

Our Seating

Hmm. It seems that God has handled all the details, hired the staff, and prepared a place for each believer. Paraphrasing Jamieson-Fausset-Brown: “As believers, we already have reserved seats with Jesus in heaven. In our spirits, we are already seated.”

To be seated is to be in a resting position. We know new Christians don’t start off standing because Paul writes of that at the end of Ephesians. Also, new believers don’t start off walking. Paul urges all of us in Ephesians, chapter four, to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called.

Surprisingly, the first thing new believers do is sit down; to be at rest (Ephesians 2:6). To receive the peace that can only come from Jesus (John 14:27). Once we have Christ’s peace then we can walk in faith. And, with His peace in us, we can stand against the enemy of God when he comes against us.

Because of God’s rich mercy and great love, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Savior, every believer has a reserved seat in heaven. I must admit that I look forward to finding mine.

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Insecurity

Are you insecure? If so, the following devotional can fix you in just three minutes.

When I was in middle school – it was called junior high back then – I began to notice and be attracted to girls. My first girlfriend was Leslie. I had no courage around girls, so she chased me until she became my girlfriend for about two weeks.

We’d been friends for much longer. My best friend and I would play tetherball with her in her backyard and, sometimes, she’d watch my wrestling matches at school. But, after I became her boyfriend, she quickly dumped me and moved on. I don’t fault her for that.

Before this first brush with courting, I was backward and clumsy; afterward, I was backward, clumsy, and completely insecure. Attraction, attention, affection, and abandonment is the process of how kids begin to learn the social skills they will need once they mature and are ready to start courtship.

If nothing else, I’m consistently a slow learner, so when I entered high school, I had to take a speech class. When it came to my turn to stand up and give a speech, I took an “F” because I was too insecure to give the speech I had prepared and held in my hand.

As a novice student of history, I am astonished by the number of kingdoms destroyed by the actions of insecure leaders. Pride, combined with fear, produces an insidious foundation for insecurity. You can be sure that this toxic abscess within one’s self will manifest itself.

Hold on, you might say. If insecurity is a person’s nature, why am I picking on them? For twenty years, I was the poster child for insecurity. Then, God showed me that just as worry is a sin, so is insecurity.

Now, here comes the cure.

Just as worry is an expression of a person’s lack of trust in God, so insecurity is pride with doubt. Both pride and doubt are not God’s will for His children. God loves us and has told us, “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” (Psalms 46:1 KJV) If we are called on to give a testimony or to take a leadership role, we need to pray. If God tells us “yes” then any action on our part to undermine God’s call is a sin. None of us want that.

Left unchecked, when insecurity has run its full course, an implosion takes place leaving that person an empty shell, exposed to all as someone who’s God-given strength was drained by insecurities abrogating God’s joy, peace, contentment and love which are available to each of us through Christ Jesus.

You can read a brief example of the impact of insecurity in Mark 6:21-28, I’ll give you the “clincher” here: “And he [King Herod] promised her with an oath...” He was a king. He did not need to write her a blank check, but his insecurity in front of his guests manifested itself much to his remorse and eventual destruction.

‘Insecurity’s fruit is loss, destruction, and embarrassment. God wants better for you.

Insecurity will lose its hold on us if we do what Jesus said in Mark 12:29-30, “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” If we do this, then there’s no place in our lives for insecurity.

Prayer: Father God, we know your bountiful promises in your Word that calls us to peace and rest in You. Therefore, right now, we ask that you would give us the boldness to deal with the root causes of our insecurities. Set us free and teach us to cast all of our care upon you. Thank you for this new freedom you have imparted to us. In the Name of Jesus we pray. Amen!

There you go. If you take to heart these passages of Scripture and pray a prayer similar to the one, above, you are free of insecurity. Walk in faith and that’s good news.

Photo by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash

Craftsmen at work

Have you ever visited a leather factory? A friend of mine took me to one that his family jointly owned with another family. The factory had been in business for more than one hundred years, and it looked it!

They had a massive warehouse where raw cow hides were unloaded from rail cars. From there hides were thrown into pits of lye and stirred with giant wooden paddles to get the hair off the hides before the hides went through the other gruesome manufacturing steps.

The stench was nearly unbearable. Every process was labor-intensive and probably hadn’t changed since the factory opened. Finally, we walked up a long, ancient, wooden staircase.

When my friend opened the door it was like I had been transported to Italy in the 18th century. The massive room was staffed by Italian leather artisans.

Italian was spoken as fluently as English, perhaps more so. All of the carnage, stench, and crudeness had produced the leather canvases upon which these masters of their trade created leather products for some of the highest-end fashion houses. It was a marvel to behold.

As with leather, the beauty of God’s abiding love was made available by gruesomeness. For the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross was profoundly gruesome. But God’s great sacrifice has secured us. As the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 NIV)

With such a clarion decree will we still cry out, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38 NIV) I hope not. Rather, let us rest in Jesus, not as a lazy guy on hot summer’s day, but as a craftsman, “who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

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