Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

 When you think of rest, what kind of images come to mind? My mind automatically goes to the beach, on a warm day, with a gentle breeze blowing across me as I lie on a towel and enjoy a good book. I am not having to do anything, no cooking or cleaning or running after children, I don’t even have to speak to anyone if I don’t want to. Ah, rest.

 It seems that in our society, rest seems to be an illusive dream; it may be that we rest at night after a long day at work, or we “rest” on weekends at home where we find ourselves, cleaning, doing yard work, and maybe hanging out with some friends.

 We are running on over drive, at full speed ahead. No stopping, no time for “down time” just go, go, go. If it is not work that we are doing, it is running our children to their various sporting activities.

 God, when he created the world and everything in it, he worked for 6 days, and then rested on the 7th day. He set that rule into place for his people as well, that they would work for 6 days and then rest completely on the 7th day.

 I am sure that most of you have heard the phrase, “Rest in Jesus, Jesus is our rest, the Lord will give you rest” I could go on, but you get the picture. But what does it mean to rest in the Lord Jesus Christ, and why do we as Christians need to know this very important principle?

 I have been wrestling with this concept of rest for a while as I was not sure what God meant when he whispered to my heart that I needed to learn to rest in him.

 I asked him to show me what he meant when he told me that his burden was light, and that I could totally rest in His ability as my lord and Savior.

 I believe that what I am going to share with you now over the next few paragraphs are the fundamental truths about what it means to learn how to truly enter God’s rest, in the midst of our crazy lives.

 In my search for understanding what rest in God meant, I discovered that I am what most people would consider an over achiever, I strive constantly to do my best. I am always throwing myself into projects that require not 100% of me, but sometimes it feels 700%. I often feel the need to try and earn peoples approval, as well as God’s (I don’t have to I know, but I fall into the trap of wrong thinking and then before I know it, I am in so deep when it comes to striving)

 So, as you can see, resting is not a priority of mine. Not only is it not a priority I am not sure what it looks like. God knows perfectly what it means to rest in him and to be honest I was really shocked when I discovered what God’s definition of rest really was.

 My husband and I have embarked on a journey of obedience and trusting God, you might say to yourself, so what we are all doing that, but let me explain.

 A few years ago, we believed that the Lord wanted to do a new thing in our lives and part of that new thing was for my husband to quit his job, and start up his own business.

 We had some savings that we had put away; therefore it was not that hard in the beginning to trust God as we were quite reliant on our money in the bank to see us through until the business started to make money.

 We had it all figured out, we had about 2 ½ years worth of money in the bank and then we would start to run into trouble. So we stepped out of our comfort zone of getting a pay check every 2 weeks and made the break. (Please be aware that we did not do this lightly as we burnt our bridges. We had prayed about it and sought the Lord then we felt that we had the go ahead from him to do this)

 Well, 2 years went by, and we learnt a lot about life and faith and relationships as we were on our new adventure. But then the money started to run out, and we started to get a bit nervous, it was easy to “trust” God when we had all that money in the bank, but now that the bottom of the account started to loom in front of us, we started to get very nervous.

 I remember thinking to myself, that we were so foolish for taking this step as now we were getting to the end of our funds and had absolutely nothing; the business was generating an income, but not enough to sustain us. My husband did have a part time income on the side, but even that dried up.

  I cried out to God for help, as my tolerance of trust was reaching its limit.

 You might think that that is a crazy statement but remember; what I had thought was trust in God for our finances, really was “trusting in what was in my bank account”

 What does that have to do with resting in God? Well in this time of pure panic and fear that I was not going to be able to feed my children, the Lord was speaking this word into my heart. REST IN ME!

 Lord, how can I rest, I need to go and find a job and help my husband with the finances and I need to… yes I had a large list of things that I needed to do in order to help my husband with the finances. I felt like everywhere I turned it seemed to me that rest was the word that I kept hearing.

 

To read the rest of this article please go to part 2.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Tiny faith is all it takes

 This morning I was driving my car when at the side of the road, I saw some workmen drilling holes in the ground. They were doing a huge construction work right on the main street going into Wye road, Sherwood Park.  I looked over and saw something that I had never seen before in my entire life, it was an industrial sized ‘saw bit’  I could not believe my eyes. It was humungous and scary looking. I never even know that size existed.

 It took a great amount of pressure to get it into whatever it was they were drilling. Even with that powerful machine, force had to be administered.

I had this sudden double beat of my heart as I realized a few things. The last few years it has felt like God has left me in the “dark”. I have found that I was feeling sorry for myself and at times wondering if God was even on my side anymore. Having to leave my country, long term illness, sorrow, exhaustion, lack of finances and many more things to remind me of my ‘lack of faith’. 

 Was it lack of faith?

NO! I had been believing a big lie!  How many times has the scripture been interpreted incorrectly and ‘lack of faith’ is one of them.  Jesus spent most of his time healing those who had just about NO faith. Many were unbelievers who, didn’t believe much until they SAW with their eyes!  New believers have a tiny bit of faith, as we know the size of a mustard seed. So where did that leave me and that huge drill bit? as I had been a believer in Jesus Christ for many years.

 I kept driving and felt God placing his hand on the little holes in my heart. The ones that had started off too small even for me to notice. The ones that made me bitter instead of loving as a believer should be.   I realized that those hurting parts that I allowed nobody to see, the vulnerabilities that happen along the way have never been hidden from his greatness and from his love.

 I AM vulnerable and HAVE to be, if God is to keep working in my life. I know that those trials that he has allowed, have been putting that ‘drill bit’ into my heart and I love the words he so gently spoke to me today, as I took a mental picture of that drill.

He brings those trials, so that we can have a hole that HE can full. I realize that every person is born with that vacuum that only God can fill. God’s will for us is that we would  (that we work out our salvation, with fear and in trembling, Philipians).  It is through hardship that we turn to God and HE in turn pours in the love, security, wholeness and healing through those very trials, which God showed me is like that mean looking ‘drill of life’.

We suffer and wonder where we are wondering…a desert,  a dry place… just as we think we are going to fall; when we feel the thirst drying us up like a cracked wilderness THEN Jesus comes along and reassures us that HE was always there. He IS a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

The next time that I am driving and I see those holes been drilled, I will remember that I am like a colourful road, I am under HIS construction and I am being made more like HIM, every day!

 We all need to be reminded that there is always hope.

 Remember that, when you think it is too late, when you heart is too full of pain, when you feel God has abandoned you….. You too are under construction and when God has finished, you will be more beautiful than any words could describe. 

  God could never gives up on you, so please child of God, don’t give up on him!

Used with permission

Written by Tracy von Elling

The Lord’s bountiful provision

 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

 Have you ever given much thought to the Lord’s provision in your life? Have you ever considered the fact that all you have as a Christian comes from the hand of God?

 Well I have been contemplating this exact thing lately, and thought that I would share some of my thoughts on the matter with you.

 I was reading the story of the Israelites and how they had been led out of Egypt by God. He had delivered them from the Egyptian army with a show of his mighty power. He not only parted the Red Sea, but when it was parted, it was on completely dry ground that the people of Israel walked over.

 He displayed his presence in the form of a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire. Wow, imagine seeing that today, in our day and age, I am sure that we would absolutely freak out. He also sent plagues to the Egyptians that wreaked havoc on their society, all to display himself to the Israelites that he was who he said he was.

 So why is this important to us right now, well in Exodus 16, the Israelites are in the Desert of Sin. (aptly named I think) They watched how God delivered them, they even rejoiced over it. Now you hear them whining over their lack.

 You would of thought that they would have been confident in the Lord’s mighty provision already, because of all that they had been through. Instead they were complaining, they were hungry and wanted food, they even went as far as saying:

   “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death” (Exodus 16:3)

 They grumbled against the lord, no longer trusting that He would provide for them, remember He had just brought them out of bondage, and they wanted to go back to it for some stew in a pot!

 The Lord did indeed provide for them, he sent manna (translated from Hebrew, what is it?) and he also sent quail. (Which is a bird that is low flying and easy to catch and kill)

 So my reflection has gone something like this; how often is it that the Lord provides for us in our daily lives, both spiritually and physically and yet we groan and complain about the apparent lack in our lives.

 The lord tells us in the book of Matthew 6:25- 34 that we are not to worry about our daily provisions as he will take care of it. Yet, we work longer hours, we scrimp and save every last penny, we trust in our own ability to provide and in the end, wear ourselves out. That is not God’s best for us.

The lord reminded me of something that happened many years ago. We were living in a small town in Northern Alberta, and we were planning on going to a major city for the weekend. On the Tuesday before we were to leave, I felt that the lord wanted me to take a whole chicken to friends of ours who we would be visiting.

 Well at first I have to admit I thought it was a really odd request, why on earth did I need to take a chicken to them? So I did what came naturally to me at the time, I questioned the Lord and even tried to fight what he had told me to do. I did not mention it to my husband, as he would have thought that I was completely crazy.

  I kept praying and telling God all of the good reasons why I should not take this chicken down to our friends. Like the fact that if I took this chicken down to them, I would not have one for my family.

  I also did not have a lot of food in my freezer at the time, and was planning on using the little that we had left when I got back. I also had paid $10.00 for it, (that was pretty expensive back then for a chicken).  I was looking at the loss of my chicken more than I was looking to God and his provision of that chicken.

 Now I don’t know if you have ever tried to resist the lord, but when you are in the process of resisting him, you are miserable, and it really is not a pleasant experience.

 By Thursday morning I had finally agreed with the lord that I would take the chicken to my friend. I was at peace within my spirit as I had finished fighting with the Lord, and said yes!

 Later that afternoon, the husband of a fellow sister in Christ, knocked on my door. He was on his way to work and his wife had asked him to stop by my house. He handed me a heavy plastic bag. I looked with utter amazement inside the bag, yes you guessed it, inside was a whole fat chicken!

 I did not know what to do, I laughed and cried, and confessed to him and my husband right there and then, that the lord had told me very clearly that he wanted me to take this chicken to my friend. That I was to trust him, but in my natural self all I could see was my loss.

 God, saw his provision for me and my family. So with great rejoicing, I took the chicken to my friend, told her of the wonderful way that God had provided, and reminded her that He not only loved her so much as to provide a chicken, but through his great mercy, taught me that when he told me to do something, he would not only provide, but that I would always have enough.

 My friends, I want to encourage you to put your trust in our heavenly father. He will never leave you, nor will he ever let you go without what you need. He always provides, sometimes in the most bizarre ways, but his provision is always there and on time for our need.

God bless you