Oxymoron

Image result for strive to enter rest photo

This picture struck me because I had just written in a previous article of a time when I was drowning beneath a waterfall, and I heard God speak to my heart: REST! As I did, I instantly floated up to the top for air.

I don’t get out much. On average, twice a month I venture out to get supplies. Today was one of those days. As I was driving, I became aware of my shoulders being raised. This triggered a memory of my Beloved Son when he was a little boy…perhaps only 5 years old. We were in a store and he suddenly said to me: “You look so much better, Mommy, when your shoulders are down”. He was such an aware and astute little guy. I, on the other hand, lacked such characteristics.  He observed that when I was feeling stress, that I had a habit of tensing up my back, and that tenseness caused my shoulders to stiffen up and rise.

That led me tonight on a search in God’s Word to see what He says regarding: Rest. Hebrews 4:11 “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.”
Tilt!!

We are to ‘Strive’ to enter that ‘Rest’. Oxymoron time.

Strive is defined as:

  • To exert much effort or energy; endeavor.
  • To struggle or fight forcefully

So, in order to: rest…we must struggle and exert much effort.

Since ‘God is not the author of confusion, but of peace‘ (1 Cor. 14:33), I know the confusion lies with me, not God. It is I who lacks understanding. So, time to ‘go deeper’ with God to gain that understanding.

Physical rest is important, essential actually. But that is not the type of ‘rest’ God is addressing here. I know that when I am grieving, I desire to sleep…to lay in bed and do nothing. My inner thoughts are so exhausting that I crave ‘rest’. Some turn to alcohol and drugs to obtain some rest. But I know there is a better way. Sleep, alone, will not bring me the ‘rest’ that I’m seeking. I want God’s ‘rest’. Yet, He tells me I have to ‘struggle’, ‘exert effort & energy’, and work to get that rest.

Did you ever have a really good productive day of work, and then sleep like a log at the end of the day?

Photo of Log Cabin Inn - Bay Minette, AL, United States. Sleep Like A Log

God “rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made” (Gen. 2:2). This doesn’t mean that God went to sleep. This doesn’t mean that God was tired and needed a rest. It simply means that He ceased from His labors. Jesus, “after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right of God” (Hebrews 10:12). He sat down and rested—ceased from His labor of atonement because there was nothing more to be done, ever. The job was done…successfully and completely. ‘Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.’ (John 19:30b).
I have to work to enter into that rest…His rest.

I call it: ‘soul labor’.

I have to cease from all of my self-effort to embrace His rest. I have to tell my soul to ‘be quiet’ as King David did. Ps. 131: But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
    like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child is my soul within me.

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27), and this doesn’t mean just one day a week. We can busy ourselves with much physical labor, yet still ‘rest’ in God 24/7.

Psalm 62:

My soul, be quiet before God,
    for from him comes my hope.
He alone is my rock, my deliverance, and my high tower;
    nothing will shake me.

I rely on God who is my deliverance and my glory;
    he is my strong rock,
        and my refuge is in God.

Tower of Refuge, Douglas

In the midst of the storm, when the waves of emotion in the midst of my grief come crashing upon me, I can find safety and rest in my Tower of Refuge..my Fortress, my Deliverer. I may have to work hard to get out to that Rock; I may have to sail through many rough seas against winds ‘tossing me to and fro’…but I know my destination and I cannot lose sight of it. “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:9-11).

So, I need to consciously struggle to force my shoulders to lower; I need to consciously take a deep breath and exhale. In so doing, remind myself that my God is still on the throne. As a result, I will float to the top and ride another wave. Let us enter the Promise Land.

“How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 12:3).

My gratitude to another dear sister, Mary, who sent me this Psalm:

Psalm 91

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

TY! Mary and Melodee for throwing me a lifebuoy! Hebrews 4:3a ‘Now we who have believed enter that rest’.

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:

http://www.xulonpress.com/bookstore/bookdetail.php?PB_ISBN=9781498496728

https://www.amazon.com/Gifts-Ashes-Jude-Gibbs/dp/1498496725/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1487342742&sr=8-1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gifts-from-the-ashes-jude-gibbs/1125792801?ean=9781498496728

Please help spread the word…TY!!!  (((HUGS)))

Released 2/15/17

 

 

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