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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rest in God

I have decided that I should work on one aspect of my spiritual walk at a time and write about my discoveries in these things regularly. With that in mind, the first things that come to my mind are a statement and a verse from God’s Word.

The statement was by a brother, Elias Aslaksen, who lived from 1888 to 1976 mostly in Norway. He served the Christian Church in Norway for several years. I have a paper entitled “Seven Important Exhortations” which is credited to Brother Aslaksen. The 4th exhortation says, “I exhort each and everyone to work powerfully in order to enter into perfect rest IN GOD, without exception!”

The scripture verse that I am working from is Hebrews 4:11, “Therefore let us labor to enter into that rest lest anyone fall after the same example of unbelief.” (Modern King James Version)

I am first of all fascinated by the apparent contradiction within the sentence “Labor to enter rest.” The Revised Version says “give diligence” and the English Standard Version says “strive”.

There is so much here to look at and so much to receive from God. The main thing that appears to stand in the way of my receiving what Our Father wants to give me is “unbelief”. It seems that unbelief is the natural response to God’s will and promises. Therefore I must work, strive, be diligent to overcome my natural unbelief with completely satisfying belief in God and his wonderful love, mercy and will.

We can say we believe all sorts of things, but my life shows very accurately what I truly do believe. What do I habitually think about? What are the words that casually come from my heart (Lk 6:45)? What do the refreshment, entertainment and/or diversions that I choose say about my belief?

Jesus says, “Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls.” (Matt 11:29) This is the short answer that defines my life’s work and the labor and strife for all who would truly desire to be Christians.

So this is where I am working and I am amazed that the life in the spirit somehow is always whole in each part. I think I will be writing more about my work of entering into rest in God. If you have had success or insight in this area, please offer your comments so we can each receive from the other.

Be faithful, Rick

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Truely a Best Friend

Do you have a best friend? That probably means different things to different people. I had a best friend in high school. His name was Dave. We did all sorts of things together. We went hunting. We went camping. We rebuilt his dad’s ’54 Chevy. Well mostly he did, but I helped. I did things with his family and he did things with mine. And we knew stuff about each other; maybe stuff that no one else knew.

We knew other things about each other. I liked classical music, Dave didn’t. I liked Florsheim shoes and Haggar slacks, Dave didn’t care. But we liked a lot of the same things and we spent a lot of time together. I went off to college and Dave went to work. I have seen him a couple of times since then.

This little trip down memory lane is brought on by a verse I read the other day that caused me to think about ‘best friends’.
John 14:21 says

He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will reveal myself to him.

LOOK at that last phrase. What a crazy wonderful thing to think about. Jesus is beside God the Father in the true ‘Holy of Holies’. He sees into the very heart of God. He loves each of us with unimaginable love, and he wants to reveal himself to us.

Sometimes revelation is not pleasant. Some things you just don’t want to know. You know what I’m talking about, things like old people talk about. My granddaughter will say, “TMI Papa”. (Too much information) But what Jesus is talking about is on the other side of that universe.

What does Jesus want to reveal to me, to you? Some of the things may not be pleasant at the moment. There are things in my life he wants to remove. Do I want to hear about that? My flesh doesn’t but the spirit of God dwelling in me longs to hear and receive help to work with my heavenly father to remove what needs to be removed and receive what needs to be added.

He also wants to help us see the glory that we can experience if we truly follow him! Now that is a best friend!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Crummy Religion

This morning I woke up a little early and was thinking about why I am not happy a lot of the time.  As I was considering this I realized I must really have a crummy religious faith if it doesn't help me find happiness.  There are lots of verses in God's word that speak of abundant life and I often think of the verse in Hebrews 1:9 that says God annointed Jesus with the oil of gladness above all his brothers.  So Jesus was happy.  As I was thinking I realized that the things that I am unhappy about probably won't be affected by my happiness or unhappiness.  And my constant dwelling on these things makes for a really crummy witness. 

So what can I do?  I can set my thoughts on the reasons I should be happy.  There is a song that starts, "Tell me why we should not be extremely happy, We've a living hope that we by faith can see!"  So I got up and looked up the song and sang it. 

Happy is such a fickle thing.  I sang the song and started thinking about the wonderful hope that I have in my relationship with Jesus. 

I became happy. 

If I am living my day thinking about the things that are wrong, I will not be happy.  If I live my day occupied with the blessings of following Jesus I will be happy.  So my religion is what is on my mind in my daily life.  That is the light that shines from my life.  My dear frind Nicholas calls it practicing the presence of Jesus.  Andrew Murray might call it Abiding in the Vine.  Another song calls it Living Faith.

I have work to do here.  How about you?

Be Faithful;  Rick