Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rest For The Weary

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
- Matthew 11:28

It seems that everyone around me is tired. Eyebags are prominent and the most common groan is "Sien ah..." or "Shag ah shag..." or "I'm so tired... I don't know why." And that's just within the first years doing Veterinary Science around me. The world is a tired place it seems. Everyone is rushing around trying to make a living, build a life, live the life of the world. Inefficiency, frustration and depression come from fatigue. Isn't that obvious? Evidently not. I'm learning that slowly too (and I just told it to you! Those who cannot do... teach?).

Jesus was quite aware of the world around Him, how eventually even the strongest man, the most righteous man, the most God-fearing man would tire and would stumble. For the treasures, or should I say burdens, of the world are heavy. Jesus calls His sheep to Him, asking for a belief in Him that He might give rest to those who believe:

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
- Matthew 11:29-30

As we chase our goals and run headfirst through the lives laid out for us, whether by God or circumstance, we slowly but surely build up fatigue. Anyone who objects raise your hand and say so! God knows how fruitless fatigue can be so He calls out to those who would hear and proclaims:

"I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint."
- Jeremiah 31:25

The promise is this: God will give you rest. There is no loophole, no disclaimer, no condition upon your heart. When you come to God to worship Him, even with one song, there is a peace and strengthening of the spirit. Just for a moment, all the burdens of the world fall away. All frustrations fade away in the joy of God.

Yeah, never believed I'd be saying this sort of thing either ;) It's true though. Try it.

I'm not sure how much people understand that the cross is not only a symbol of God's triumph over sin and the Lord's sacrifice for the lost people of the world but a burial place. This burial place is a burial place, not for man, not for animal but for the problems you face in your life. All the uncertainty, all the frustration, irritation, sinful nature and addictions that you ever faced in your life. Bury them at the cross and know the truth that:

God loves you, Jesus loves you and He will give you rest.

Are you being bowed down by work, studying, strife or worry? While work and studying are undoubtedly necessary and strife can sometimes be inevitable, worry is not. In Chapter 12 of the book of Luke, Jesus said to His disciples:

"Therefore I tell you, do no worry about your life, what you will eat or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes."
- Luke 12:22-23

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?"
- Luke 12:25-26

There you have it. Why worry? Sure, it's natural to want to know what's going to happen next, whether everything will be alright. But that's what trusting God is about. Placing your burdens at His feet and letting go of your worry just for the while. At the end of the day, if you can just let it all go, Jesus will give you rest, both spiritual and physical, giving you the strength to carry yourself through the trials you face, tomorrow. Let them go for today. When tomorrow comes then you can worry about it.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
- Matthew 7:34

And if ever you feel that the rest God promises is unattainable, please realize that Jesus too, though divine, was human too. He felt the same hunger, sadness and tiredness that you do. Yet He endured by his faith and trust in the Father. If Jesus Christ knew to come to God for rest, how much more should you come to Him for a break? And maybe a Kit-Kat.

"The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down."
- Psalms 145:14

Be at peace and be at rest. Go get some! :)

May you find the peace of God in your life.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Trusting God

He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?" 
-Numbers 20:10

This verse was my devotional reading for today. To put it into context, the Israelites were stuck in the desert without water, understandably frustrated, thirsty and displaying the natural human tendency to blame figures of authority. So they came to Moses who had, by God's will, brought them out of slavery from Egypt and, obviously, they complained rather loudly to Moses.

"Why did you brings us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink.
-Numbers 20:5

First thing to note I guess is that the people were so ready to go back to slavery, to go back to the devil they knew. God had promised a fertile land, flowing with "milk and honey" in exchange for faith but the people had no trust in Him to deliver them nor trust in Moses who spoke for Him. As a result, they were stuck in the desert to wander and wonder.

The thing is, I'm learning (a bit slowly) that God is always there to take you through life the best way. Part of that is to be ready for change and not afraid to go forth at the Lord's command. Jesus called on the fishermen:

"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 
-Matthew 4:19

Simon ("called Peter") and Andrew could have stuck to fishing fish. Now I have nothing against fishing, in fact I do enjoy hauling the poor creature by a hook in the mouth and landing it. Ah the joy. But Simon ("called Peter") and Andrew did not hesitate:

At once they left their nets and followed Him. 
-Matthew 4:20

And they became the first disciples. Now surely they had some thoughts of sticking to their old lives. Surely they worried of what the future held for them. But I do believe that they had such faith and trust in Jesus that they knew that whatever befell them, He would pull them through. Indeed, where would Christianity be without them and all the others who just believed in God and continued on through opposition, persecution and 'all the hard times'? They all believed in God. And that belief is what will get you (and me) through every trial.

But there's no denying that it is hard, so ingrained in the world are we that we strive automatically to be independent and self-sufficient. But in the times when you fail, and you're all alone with your failure. Independence is not a blessing nor an ability that will help you recover from the disappointment and eventual loneliness. There have been times when I just felt so left out, so disconnected, such a failure in my own right. No, I'm not making this up. And every time, just praying and letting myself trust in God dries the tears and lays peace upon my heart. As an additional bonus, sometimes the Bible smacks you in the face with things I ought to have learnt that might have stopped me from falling. It's quite amazing.

And God has never failed me. In all the hard times He is there, whether to support me, calm my anger, guide my words or supply me with a carpark when I wake up late. 

Ask and it will be given to you;...
-Matthew 7:7

All it takes is a little bit of faith just say a little prayer and to unlock the glory of God in your life. Trust in Him. Just a little. He does the wonders.

For all my words and praises to God, it does need to be understood that Christians are still human. We still make mistakes and are still subject in to human desires and temptations. That is all part of our walk with God. The only difference between 'non-believers' and 'believers' is that faith that God is there and He has the best plan for you. He doesn't ask any more than a simple belief in Jesus Christ and the words of the Bible.

Now the Scripture isn't an ultimatum. By no means is it an ultimatum in a "disobey and go to hell sense." We all have the choice to follow. But when the Word teaches you things like:

"But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also"
-Matthew 5:38

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven."
-Luke 6:37

"Do not hate seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbour as yourself..."
-Leviticus 19:18

Are these words something any ordinary person should strive towards anyway? Yes? Well then all there is left is to believe that He is and always was watching over you in your heart and spirit calling you.

Learn from the Israelites who refused to truly believe and trust in the living God. He is there.

Move away from the devil and step out to the truth.

May you find the peace of God in your life.