Know Christ and know rest. No Christ and no rest.
Everyone goes through their ups and downs in life. Mark and I found out news from our mortgage company last October that changed how we live and our financial situation. The holidays were particularly hard on me this year because Mark and I couldn’t afford to go down and visit family and friends in sunny San Diego. It was my first holiday season ever without seeing them. My cousin’s mom passed away after a life that spiraled downward full of drugs, alcohol and depression. My dad’s family is dealing with a stroke that left my grandma messed up on one side of her body and in a residential home. Many family members still are having a hard time as my grandma’s house is being prepared for rent. And for someone who grew up with endless sun and surf even in winter, the bleak, dead and pretty much snowless landscape of Boise can have its moments. (I am laughing because 45 minutes later it is now snowing hard and it hasn’t snowed in since December!)
I write all of this looking backwards now. My heart is truly at rest. Things have been looking upward. Our mortgage company sent us a letter that changed our financial situation for the better. Praise God! A bill called HB 30 is an answer to prayer as well. It would allow military homeowners in Idaho to continue receiving property tax exemption even after moving even though their homes aren’t owner occupied. We have to move in April 2012, and expect to rent our home for eight years until Mark’s retirement. (We’ll see what God’s will is!) It passed in the House and was introduced two weeks ago to the Senate in Idaho. Mark started going back to school two weeks ago to finish his bachelor’s degree in Health Care Studies. This is an answer to prayer after three years on my knees. My parents are coming to visit me in three months! They haven’t been here since July 2008. And it looks promising I’ll see sun and surf this summer as Mark and I take a road trip in August. My grandma is doing well too. There is a new male resident who likes to sing and keeps her company. She is even okay with her house being rented by strangers and seems to enjoy where she has settled. God continues to give me peace and unusual patience even though Mark and I are not parents yet. I am extremely blessed to have many friends here with babies, and I am learning a lot about what to expect someday in the future. It was answer to prayer in 2009 when my boss announced she was pregnant. I had prayed for several months to see a pregnancy from beginning to end and her child is a big part of my life today. (Mark and I especially love to babysit!)
I feel very content right now. Nothing totally drastic has changed in my life. When I’m not working sporadic hours part time on my job, I spend much time alone. I think God gave me a job with always-changing hours on purpose, so I can’t commit my spare time to “being busy” elsewhere. Most people hate to be alone for too long. I’ll admit, during holidays I find it hard. The combined total time I’ve spent with family since moving to Boise three years ago is about two months. I feel, however, I’ve been given a gift of having a lot of time alone. I listen to sermons online, read the Bible (Numbers is a super cool book!), sing praises to God as I clean the house, write and blog, and pray often for many people God places on my heart and in my life. I guess I never truly feel alone with God ever present. I can always sense his presence and His love for me. He has given me rest, peace, contentment and patience just be drawing near to Him.
God has even taken this place where I am right now to bless and encourage others. He uses us when we our hearts are rested and ready to serve. Someone close to me confided in me some issues she has been trying to work though. I was able to talk with her, pray for her, encourage her and provide her with some resources. She was so grateful, and it really touched my heart. I love making cards as a hobby, and I made several Valentine’s Day cards for family and friends with encouraging messages. They were unexpected, fun and well received. In the past, I’ve been “too busy” to be there for people, but I feel like making a greater effort at not having my own agenda, but God’s agenda for me has opened up opportunities to serve and bless others. Sometimes it’s as simple as just listening to someone. Listening for me almost always leads to a desire to prayer earnestly for someone and their current circumstances.
It’s really hard to describe how a life resting in God can make a difference. I guess Philippians 4 sums it up best: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” The NASB puts it this way: “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” True rest is not at all dependent upon our circumstances. It is dependent on Christ. Oh, how we Christians long to experience this kind of rest each and every day of our lives! And how we mourn for those who do not know Christ and fill their lives with anything and everything in an effort to be content, never even experiencing a single day of true rest. We can all point to someone who we have watched ruin his or her life. It’s really sad.
I can’t imagine how restless a person lives without Christ. It must be so hard and so disappointing to rely on the world in vain trying to find true rest and peace. I’ve watched a couple of documentaries lately that chronicle the history of rock and roll through the generations. (I’m not suggesting all rock and roll is evil!) They discuss Satanic influence, and it is downright scary when you listen to the lyrics of many songs and the inspiration behind them. It is even interesting to think that several scriptures in Ezekiel and Revelations point to Satan being like a musical instrument in heaven and possibly being a “head musician.” A lot of lyrics of secular rock and roll music are truly depressing and suggest life isn’t even worth living. It has no value, no worth. A life without Christ leads to a path of death and destruction. Romans 8:5-8 says, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” Romans 8:13 goes on to say that if we live according to the sinful nature, we will die. This should send all Christians to their knees in prayer for those who don’t yet know Jesus Christ.
I have a picture hanging on my wall in the dining room that has John 14:6 on it: “Jesus said unto Him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me.'” We have no life at all without Jesus. In John 13:38 and 1 John 3:16 we read about how Jesus laid down His life for us and we are called to do the same for His sake and others. There are many people in this world who have never experienced life, rest or peace. Let us Christians remember that their lives are headed nowhere good. We must earnestly pray for their souls. We would never want to be where they are at now again, before we knew Christ.
Valentine’s Day happens once a year. It’s a fun day to express our love towards one another. Jesus Christ loved us much that He showed humanity the ultimate expression of love. He died on the cross a humble death so that we may have life and have it abundantly. Our Heavenly Father sent His only Son down to Earth knowing He would die a criminal’s death with no honor, glory fame or friends. God is love and the death of Jesus demonstrates just how much God loves us. Share the love of God to others in some way each and every day! Give others a chance to know Him and know rest!!! They will have rest on Earth and they will have the promise to enter into rest when there time to leave this world has come if they come to know Christ.
Here are some final scriptures to share about rest:
Psalm 62:1 “My soul finds rest in God alone.; my salvation comes from Him.”
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. 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.”
Hebrews 4:13: Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”
My brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray your soul will find rest today and always!