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For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Hebrews 4:1

Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I have the tendency to hesitate to ask for help. It doesn’t matter how heavy the object is to lift or how hard the task is, if there is any way I can do it on my own I’ll do it! I’ve had plenty of sore backs and pulled muscles to prove it!

The ridiculous part about being driven to do things by ourselves is that it often causes physical pain, frustration and even damage to people and property. Still each of us is inclined to risk our physical and emotional health to do things on our own.

Sometimes we do that because we see the need for help as a sign of weakness. Sometimes we do it ourselves because we have that ‘pride thing’ going on inside us that says: (1) My way is the best way; and (2) No one can do it as well as I can!

What is true for us in the physical realm can also be true in the spiritual realm. In fact the two intersect in some ways. Those of us that are Christ-followers agree that we are sinners and willingly rest on God’s promise of forgiveness and grace for our eternal lives. However, for some reason, if we aren’t careful we think that once we receive this ‘free gift’ of grace we need to work hard to keep it or earn it.

We do this by taking responsibility to make sure our job is right, our kids are healthy and responsible, or homes are fancy and well kept, we have all the right toys and latest gadgets. We even work hard to make sure our ministry or church is stronger, larger and has more technology than the people across the street. Not all of these things are bad unless they become the sole reason for our existence. When they become all we live for then frustration sets in because we can’t possible achieve all we want!

Jesus says, in Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus isn’t necessarily talking about physical rest here. He’s telling all of us who are spiritually tired and emotionally spent that we can come to Him for rest. He wants to comfort us and encourage us when we are struggling to keep afloat.

One of the mysteries of our human existence is that when we are at peace with ourselves on the inside, the things that bring stress on the outside aren’t as powerful. When I allow Jesus to completely control my thoughts, my attitudes and my feelings about people, places and things I have the strength to endure the attacks that are thrown at me.

God’s rest is both present and eternal. His rest gives us freedom to live life to the fullest while we are here on earth. When we rely on God’s power nothing that comes our way brings complete despair. This is true whether the circumstances we face are a result of our own failures or the attacks of others.

God’s rest is also eternal. As Christ-followers we have a hope that reassures us that no matter how bad things are now, someday all the pain and frustrations will be gone. Our physical lives will end, but will usher in an eternal life of peace, happiness and health, all in the presence of God Himself!

PRAYER: Father God. I’m tired. I’m tired physically, emotionally and spiritually. The things that are happening around me have taken away the joy I thought I was supposed to have in you. I confess that I’ve been struggling at my spiritual life all alone and not accepting the help you have promised. Forgive me for trying to do it alone. Empower me by your Holy Spirit to accept your comfort, your power and your help to make it through the daily grind that seems to pull me down. Thank you for your understanding and your rest. Amen.


When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7

I used to work at a factory where there was this old man, I’ll call him John, who was a walking Bible Encyclopedia. He was a short, stout little man who walked with a bit of a limp due to years of hard work on the farm and arthritis which had attacked him.

John wasn’t afraid to open ever conversation with something from the bible, a verse, a thought, a question about where you were with the Lord. He was a humble man with a captivating smile and a twinkle in his eye, and although he was a humble man, he wasn’t afraid to ‘boast’ a bit about the fact that he’d read the Bible through every year for 40 years! The man knew his Bible and he loved Jesus dearly.

While there were some that mocked John when he wasn’t around, no one turned him away when he stopped by to talk. He was a well respected man and when he died a few years later the church was packed with fellow factory workers, community people, family and friends, some of whom John had lead to a saving faith in Jesus.

The interesting thing to me about John is that there was nothing that would really draw you to the man. He was sort of, well, goofy in some ways and simple in others. He didn’t press himself on you, but he wasn’t afraid to ask how you were and give you advice on how to live life. He wasn’t concerned about how other people thought of him. He WAS concerned about what Jesus thought of him.

In the wisdom of Proverbs we see the way to living a life of peace. The way to living in peace is to focus on living for Jesus. It’s interesting to note there are three players in this short verse. Myself, God and my enemies. But my enemies are the third player and not directly involved in the process. The most important players are me and God.

There will always be those people who oppose us. We’ll be judged for our past, our family background, our gender, or life-style, our convictions, even our hair color. The list is endless of things people will be able to find to judge you on. Opposition in life is inevitable. If you aren’t opposed by SOMEONE in life about SOMETHING then you are doing NOTHING! It’s God’s job to deal with our enemies. Our only responsibility is to make sure we are in right relationship with Him.

What is important for us as Christ-followers is that we don’t give the enemy any ammunition. Peter tells us “Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.” (1 Peter 2:20). Many times we complain about persecution or attack and fail to realize that sometimes the actions against us are at least partially our own fault.

The message of Proverbs 16:7 is this. Make the main focus of your life today, to live for Jesus. Rely on His Spirit to guide your thoughts, actions and words. In this way, even though people will oppose you they will have no evidence to back up their attack. They may not like you, but they will have to admit (if nothing else to themselves) that their attacks are unjustified. Each of should live in such away that even our most vicious enemies will say, “I don’t like them, but I have to admit they seem to have their act together!”

 PRAYER: Father God. You know better than I that there are people in my life that oppose me for many reasons. Some of those reasons may be justified. I ask that you would give me the wisdom and strength to resolve those to the best of my ability. I also pray that you would empower me to live from this day forward in such a way that others will have no evidence to convict me of their negative feelings about me. What I really want God, is for you to be glorified in my daily life to all that I come in contact with. I give you all the praise and glory for this. Amen.


When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2

The fairy tales of old all have a familiar ring to them. They all start ‘once upon a time’. It doesn’t matter when they started or took place or where. They started. That’s all that needs to be known. The other thing that rings true is how they end. ‘They all lived happily ever after.’ The tyrant or big, bad wolf, or wicked witch all vanished. The flowers grew, the birds sang and life was good. Forever.

As children, perhaps one of the reasons we loved fairy tales so much was that they give us a glimpse of life that we know, as adults, will never really happen. Wolves win sometimes. Wickedness doesn’t just go away. Giants still roam the land and the walls of our unseen prisons seem inescapable. Fairy tales gave us hope that someday things will work out. Our dreams can be attained. Miracles will happen.

Isaiah 43:2 gives us a more realistic view of how life happens and what we can expect. There will be waters to pass through. The original languages describe this water as ‘deep water’ such as an ocean. There will be rivers to cross. Rushing, rock smashing rivers that threaten to tear our boats apart. There will be fire. Consuming fires that have no regard for the sanctity of life or the treasures we possess. Fire destroys everything.

But along with the horror Isaiah describes comes hope. When the Israelites were trapped at the edge of the Red Sea. And Pharaoh’s army was closing in. And there was no way out, no hope, nothing left to do but surrender and hope for the best. God made a way through the deep waters. He took a hopeless situation and brought His people through it.

When Israel needed to cross the mighty river Jordan to enter into the land promised them long ago. God parted those waters. The rushing torrents were silenced. He delivered His people safely through to dry ground.

When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace for refusing to give into an evil world system. Innocent as they were and following God’s law to the letter, their fate was sealed by an evil king bent on proving his power. Yet when the King looked into the furnace he saw the impossible. The men were walking around in the midst of the flames. When they were released, they didn’t even smell of smoke!

Three lessons. Three examples of life’s attacks. The open attack of an enemy. The barriers to our dreams. The attacks when we are innocent. They each come into our lives. We were never promised that we would not see adversity and calamity in our life time. We were promised that in the midst of the most violent circumstances our Heavenly Father will walk us through. He loves us. Even in the direst of circumstances He will see us through.

PRAYER: Father God. I thank you for the promise you made that my life is completely and totally in your hands. Today I have many worries and concerns. It seems like my enemies are surrounding me. Sometimes I think I’m my own worst enemy! Help me to trust you in the midst of the trials of life. Thank you for loving me. Amen.

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