I believe we are in a time when our Father is calling us into His rest. Hebrews 4 v 11 encourages us to ‘…strive to enter into His rest…’ It is the only thing we are exhorted to labour at. Everything else is attained through faith. Salvation, righteousness, even demonstrating our faith through works can only be accomplished by Him, “The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me” John 15 v 5
The place of rest is not a state of inactivity. It is a place of peace. A place free from anxiety, stress and fear. We are not designed to carry large amounts of stress for long periods of time. Jesus tells us to cast our burdens onto Him. He can handle it. He said my yoke is easy and my burden is light. He really doesn’t want us to be weighed under by the cares of the world.
We don’t achieve this by avoiding difficult situations, Jesus Himself, ‘for the joy set before Him endured the cross’. When faced with stressful or tricky situations, instead of choosing a fearful response, we choose to believe that psalm 139 is true, He’s got it, and He will work it for good (Rom 8). He has given us ‘The Helper’, ‘The Paracletos’ because He doesn’t want us to be alone in these situations and because He cares deeply about us. We need to remind our flesh that we our seated in heavenly places and that we have access to every spiritual blessing. If we can know together with all the saints just how high, and wide, and deep and broad His love is and simply believe in the overriding goodness of God, then we can start seeing the Kingdom coming on earth and His will being done as it is in Heaven. It takes practise to take our flesh out of the panic, out of the anxiety, but the more we do, the more natural it becomes. Heb. 5 v 14 “who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.’
Bringing the Kingdom to earth and dispelling darkness with light is one of our greatest privileges. It is only now that we have this opportunity. When we have finally left these earthly bodies and are in Heaven, all those opportunities to bring light into darkness will have vanished. When we choose to rest and trust it demonstrates faith, which makes God happy, so everybody wins. Psalm 46:10 tells us ‘Cease striving and know that I am God’, another translation is ‘Relax and know that I am God’.
We may need to remove blockages and get our hearts healed. Perhaps we believe that we will always be alone or that we must be independent. Lies prevent God from moving in our lives by virtue of that fact that in believing them we won’t even ask God, or if we do, we don’t expect Him to come through. Once we are healed and know the goodness of God, that He is our good good Father, then it is easier for our flesh move into the reality of perpetual peace which is our inheritance.
We are made in His image. He is good, He is the Prince of Peace, He is the Father of lights and the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy. That is what we should start to expect as the normal christian life. Righteousness, peace and joy. It is what we were designed for. His kingdom is His presence. His Kingdom is righteousness, peace and joy for that is who He is. We were made to look like Him.
1 King 3 v 9
So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
Another word for ‘understanding heart’ is ‘hearing heart’.
Having a hearing heart is genuinely desiring to understand the heart of what God is saying and what other people are saying. Being interested in what others have to say, getting to the heart of what they mean and feel underneath the words is a gift of Wisdom. It is a far cry away from self interested communication. It takes a sacrificial heart. It is a heart which prefers the other.
Love is not selfish 1 Corinthians 13
So often we play a ‘Snap’ version of interacting and communication which goes something like this. Amy shares something about a trip to France she made. John shares about his holiday to Spain. Tom shares his exam results. Lisa shares what she got in her most recent grades. There is an identification communication of shared experiences. You lay your card, I’ll lay mine and we can shout an inward ‘Snap’ when something matches. Then it becomes a volley. You give me something and I’ll find something similar and send it back. The more we find we can ‘Snap’ the more we feel connected to the other person. Sometimes the communication becomes, ‘And I’ll raise you ten’… Someone shares something and we ‘Snap’ it but then add a bit of oneupmanship… We aim to make ourselves feel good at the other’s expense. We are asking ourselves, subconsciously what can I get out of this?
With God we often go with a shopping list, here’s what You need to do God and here’s what I want or my family needs, tick, tick, tick. Or there’s the vending machine communication; We put our worship, our righteous deeds and tithe into the slot and then sit back and wait for God to do His part - taking umbrage when things don’t work out the way we thought they would. We bang and kick the machine demanding the return for what we’ve put in.
Is being right and understood our main driving force for communication? It is the premise from where most of us learn to communicate with others. These forms of communication are rooted in what we get out of it but there is a higher way.
Developing a heart which is concerned with genuine connectedness; a deep desire to understand the heart of another is beyond riches. It pleases God. In fact it pleased Him so much that when Solomon asked for it, he gave Him riches and wealth as well.
Riches and honour are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness. Proverbs 8 v 18
One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord
And to meditate (inquire) in His temple.
He created us to delight and be curious about Him. Let us inquire of the Lord. There is nothing more beautiful than to discover more about our Saviour and it will take an eternity to know Him.
John 17 v 3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
We are created to discover and delight in others. However, just as in the natural world, if our basic needs of shelter, food and safety aren't met then our time is devoted to meeting those needs and so it is with the heart. If our basic needs of affirmation, value and love aren't met we will devote our time to meeting those needs. It's difficult to have a hearing heart when ours has never been listened to. We need to take time to listen to our own heart, to hear the storyline which is our song He sung over us at creation. The good news is though that there is nothing hidden from Him. He is intimately acquainted with all our ways. We are deeply known by Him and He loves us.
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinise my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all. Psalm 139
From this basis, of being known and unconditionally loved, we can relax into knowing and unconditionally loving Him and others, to rejoice in our songs as our lives harmonise together.
Ezekiel 36 v 33
On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited and the waste places will be rebuilt. The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by. They will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited’.
Our Father loves to rebuild the ruined places and plant where there’s been desolation. He loves to take the weak things of the world to shame that which is strong, the foolish things to shame the wise, the things which are not to nullify the things that are… 1 Cor v 26
He created an entire universe from a void. From a waste and emptiness. Do we think that the waste in our lives and the lives of our families are more of a void? More wasteful? Imagine what He can and wants to do with the void and waste in our lives!!!!!
Even if we’ve never had a prophetic word spoken over us we can embrace these truths; even when we feel directionless and uncertain of the future, we can take these words and claim them as things that God wants to see happen in us and through us, because they are the very Kingdom of Heaven.
We are called to be like a well watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell. Isaiah 58 v 12
His nature is to restore and heal. Jesus promised us life in abundance. No matter how bad the situation, no matter how razed to the ground, His heart is to give us beauty for ashes. He is the Restorer of our souls.
Prepare ye the way of the Lord!
How do we do that? What does it mean? When the Queen or a royal dignitary travels along our roads, usually someone is sent ahead in an important looking car to make sure there are no blockages or hazards ahead. The road is cleared to make way for the coming King or Queen. The Queen will get to her destination unimpeded. Similarly, I believe the Lord is saying to us, ‘Make a way for Me to come through your heart. Allow me an unobstructed pathway through your heart into the world.”
Clear a part of the day to spend time with Him, to make way for Him. Set aside space daily to ‘feed on His Faithfulness’; In our busy lives time is one of the rarest commodities we have, let’s spend some on Him!; Proverbs 13.20 Spend time with the wise and you will become wise but a companion of fools will be destroyed. Spending time with our Father is a sure fire way of helping us become like Him and get to know Him.
Create room in our lives so that He can come through in situations. Whether it’s behind the steering wheel, in the Post Office queue, at the school gates or water dispenser at work, let our hearts be a roadway for the King of Love! Ask Him, ‘How can I love this person in front of me? What are You saying to them Lord?’ Letting His glorious light and love into people’s hearts and situations through our words and deeds is allowing Him to shine through. It is the Kingdom of Heaven being advanced. ‘Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven,’ Matthew 5:16 Our light shining is His light shining through us.
Cultivate an intimate relationship with Holy Spirit. Jesus said it was better for us that He went away so that He could send The Helper - who is the Paracletos, which means one who comes alongside and helps. Holy Spirit loves to help us and has been given to us. Psalm 46:1 says God is abundantly available for help. He is real and waiting to be asked.